Dan Rattiner's Stories

The Hedgerow Twins: Building an Empire from Nothing

It is not very well known, but the headquarters for the founder, patent holder, seller and largest distributors of hedgerows in the world—Global Hedgerows LLC (GHL)—is located right here in Southampton. You are probably not aware of it because it is tucked away behind some hedges, but last Thursday I learned of this while interviewing the twins, Harry and Arthur, who built this firm into the billion dollar corporation it is today. They also took me out to see their office.

We met over coffee at Silver’s Restaurant on Main Street.

DR: I understand that you are the descendants of Scottish royalty, is that right?

HARRY: We trace our lineage back to Mary Queen of Scots, whose maiden name is Hedgerow.

DR: So the family name is not from the bush.

HARRY: It’s the other way around. Royalty—our family in Scotland—is the creator of the hedgerow bush.

ARTHUR: But they didn’t call them that. They called them hedges.

HARRY: A particular kind of hedge. And we carried the seeds to America when we immigrated.

ARTHUR: Legally.

HARRY: We named them Hedgerows.

DR: So they started in the Hamptons?

ARTHUR: Yes they did. Right across from here, on the other shore of Agawam Pond, is where we first planted the first Scottish hedgerow seed.

HARRY: We don’t capitalize the name anymore.

ARTHUR: Our patent is both for Hedgerows and hedgerows. And we defend it vigorously. Recently we had to send papers out to a winery that wanted to use the name on an award-winning red wine.

DR: I’ve been told this is a very big firm?

HARRY: Big. Very big. Every hedgerow in America, Canada, the Caribbean and now the rest of the world comes from Global Hedgerow.

ARTHUR: We have hedgerow growing in farms in every country of the world, except in North Korea. We are a trillion dollar business that is enclosing properties around the world, one lot at a time.

DR: Have you expanded the business at all?

ARTHUR: We were involved with Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss for a while when they took over Bitcoin.

HARRY: And we launched Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen into their careers.

ARTHUR: But we soon found that these were just distractions.

HARRY: Not our main business.

ARTHUR: So we divested our interests in those other properties.

HARRY: We do hedgerows. We are proud of it. And it’s what we do best. Every landscaper who plants a hedgerow anywhere in the ground in the world pays us 50 cents a plant.

ARTHUR: It adds up.

HARRY: Hedgerows do two things. One is they enclose property. So where before there was farmland or just people living next door to one another who knew each other and could come by to borrow a cup of sugar or something, now the name of the game is privacy, and our hedgerows enable people with them to say this is MINE.

ARTHUR: And you can’t see in. Or come in, unless we invite you. This gives people great peace of mind. Entire economic and political philosophies have sprung up around this theme of what is yours is yours and what is mine is mine.

DR: What’s the other thing?

ARTHUR: Hedgerows can stop global warming.

HARRY: If everybody uses them. Humans take in oxygen and emit carbon dioxide. Hedgerows take in carbon dioxide and emit oxygen.

DR: Do you always answer questions one after the other?

ARTHUR: We have hedgerows that can rise to 20 feet. And we have hedgerows that can rise to just 6 feet. We have done genetic mixing to get this done. We have some that are bluish green and we have some that are yellowish green. Depends what you want to spend.

HARRY: The sky’s the limit.

DR: And your headquarters is here in Southampton?

ARTHUR: Yes it is. Just a few blocks away, in the estate section.

HARRY: We can take you to it.

DR: I guess a headquarters must be some place. Are you zoned to be able to run a business of this size in the estate section of Southampton?

ARTHUR: Yes.

HARRY: No.

ARTHUR: But who knows?

DR: I see you have two identical Tesla silver grey T3 two-seat sports cars parked out front here.

ARTHUR: These are the first two two-seaters they make. Elon wanted us to have them.

HARRY: And report back how we like them. They’ll be available to the general public sometime next year.

DR: So how do you want to do this?

ARTHUR: You come with me. Harry will follow behind.

HARRY: Arthur knows the way.

DR: So we are now going down First Neck Lane and we turn right on Ox Pasture.

ARTHUR: I’d rather you not spell this out. We like to maintain our privacy, after all. We don’t want just any riff-raff people showing up. That’s why we have hedgerows.

DR: Harry has turned into a driveway just behind you. He’s pressing the code buttons on the gate speakers.

ARTHUR: That’s not it. It’s down a little farther here. I’ll flash my taillights.

DR: He’s backing out.

ARTHUR: Here we are.

DR: This looks just like the other one. Harry is driving right by you.

ARTHUR: Sometimes the code box sticks. I’ll try it again. Hmmm.

DR: Harry is flashing his taillights further down.

ARTHUR: He’s still wrong. What’s going on? Something is wrong here. I better call in. “Wilson? Wilson? Are you there?”

DR: Nothing.

ARTHUR: I think it’s on Little Plains Road.

DR: Hmm.

ARTHUR: [Punching numbers on his cellphone.] Harry? Where are you? You’re not in the right place. No, it’s back here. But there’s something wrong with the code box. I can’t reach Wilson.

ARTHUR: You’re going where? Meet me at Old Town and Ox Pasture.

DR: Could you drive me back to Silver’s?

ARTHUR: We’ll find it. You really have to see this. We have 18 acres, satellite telephone service direct to our subsidiaries around the world. A great dining room. Sleeping rooms for naps. Some of our people get exhausted. We’ve even got a chopper pad in here, and a whole team of limos, even a laboratory with dozens of scientists.

DR: I’m sure it must be amazing.

ARTHUR: It is. Hello?

HARRY: [Rolling down his window]: I’m going to try along Halsey Neck.

ARTHUR: You see how effective this is? Other companies make “hedges.” We  couldn’t patent “hedges.” It’s a fine old name. English, not Scottish. But it’s just not hedgerows. As you can see.

DR: I see a helicopter settling in further down Ox Pasture.

ARTHUR: That’s it. That’s it. I think. But now you can see just how effective a true Hedgerow really is, and why there is nothing like it. Nothing Like a Hedgerow. That’s our motto.

DR: I really should be getting back.

ARTHUR: I’ll set the GPS. Wait a minute. I think the entrance is just up ahead. No that’s not it either.

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