Suffolk small business honoredPublished 10:55pm Thursday, April 17, 2014
Jason Fawcett’s career in lawn care started out as a typical pastime for service-minded young men: He cut the grass for a few older women in his neighborhood.
“I’ve always been interested in helping people,” he said.
Before long, he was also being asked to prune bushes and mulch flower beds. Then businesses started contacting him for commercial grounds care. Then he was installing irrigation systems.
And that’s how Elizabeth River Landscape Management was born in 2003. Now, the Suffolk-based business has three locations with a total of 130 employees and more than 1,000 clients.
Fawcett believes the business’s focus on customer service is what has propelled its growth and contributed to its most recent honor — the Suffolk Small Business of the Year, given annually by the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce. The Hampton Roads Small Business of the Year, chosen from among the six finalists, will be named at a luncheon on May 21 in Chesapeake.
The business now does residential and commercial grounds maintenance, landscape and irrigation design and installation, and turf management for golf courses and other sports fields.
“Anything that encompasses the exterior of people’s businesses or homes, we can do it,” Fawcett said.
Elizabeth River prides itself on the kind of customer service that brings repeat customers and referrals, said Fawcett, who juggles the business with his job as a firefighter at Naval Station Norfolk.
“We partner with our customers,” he said. “We don’t just take their check and do their job and never see them again. I don’t want the one-and-done customer. That’s not our ideal client.”
As a favorite saying of Fawcett’s goes: “I’d rather shear the sheep once a year than skin him once.”
“I think customer service is big,” he said. “We do what we tell people we’re going to do when we say we’re going to do it.”
The business went interstate last year after Fawcett met country singer Luke Bryan at one of Bryan’s concerts. He has since done work for Bryan in Nashville and received several referrals in that area.
“That relationship has grown into something pretty special,” Fawcett said.
He added that this is the first time Elizabeth River Landscape Management has been in consideration for the Small Business of the Year award. A committee takes a look at a number of facets of the business — including growth, financial health, community involvement and more — to determine the winners.
“We were pretty taken back by it,” Fawcett said. “It’s pretty humbling to have that award, because if you look at the business community in Suffolk, there’s a lot of solid businesses.”
Other contenders for the award are:
- R.D. Lambert & Son (Chesapeake)
- Grow (Norfolk)
- Home Instead Senior Care (Peninsula)
- Children’s Harbor (Portsmouth)
- Endurance IT Services (Virginia Beach)
The chamber also named “Top 10 to Watch Businesses,” a list that included EternaWell, located in North Suffolk.