Landscaper grows business

Published 9:54 pm Saturday, March 24, 2012

Mayor Linda T. Johnson helps owner Jason Fawcett, right, and his employees cut the ribbon at Elizabeth River Lawn and Landscape on Friday. The business will create about 40 new jobs.

Jason Fawcett started his landscaping business at the age of 16 with one lawnmower and a $10,000 loan co-signed by his father.

That was 11 years ago. On Friday, he took the biggest step since opening his business when he expanded into his first building that doesn’t also double as his home.

“It’s been a lot of hard work,” he said during the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

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But that hard work is paying off in big ways. The company’s business grew 37 percent last year. With the expansion, he plans to hire about 40 new employees.

The new building at 3909 Nansemond Parkway was formerly owned by Rountree Construction Co., but it had been vacant for two years. Fawcett finally took it over and got the building and grounds ready to go in less than two months.

It’s a far cry from running the business out of his home, he said.

“It grew so fast that we couldn’t catch up to move,” he said.

Fawcett said he chose Suffolk over at least three bordering localities. He also had conversations with them, but “just didn’t like what I heard,” he said.

“I see a young man who has a vision and who has worked hard,” Mayor Linda T. Johnson said during the ceremony. “Jason looked at a lot of different places he could have gone, but he chose to come to Suffolk.”

Fawcett also said he wanted to be in close proximity to the interstate.

He has diversified his business so he also can do snow removal, work on golf courses and perform other specialty work besides landscaping, Johnson said.

He already has hired 16 employees and has plans to hire 10 more this week and 10 next week.

Even though he’s expanding at such a rapid clip, Fawcett said he will remain true to his customers.

“Our focus is not on gaining new customers, but on keeping the ones we have,” he said.