When Branden Donley was in college, he set out with his push mower to earn some cash tidying lawns around the neighborhood. His friend Sam Johnson began pitching in, and though the two were just 18 and 19 years old, their success soon made them realize they could turn their small operation into a full-time business.
That was more than 20 years ago. Branden still runs the business, but today, he shares his love of creating beautiful yards with a staff of more than 40 people. The crew is dedicated to manicuring lawns with services that range from mowing grass and pulling weeds to complete landscaping overhauls. Rather than find a compatible bear to hibernate with during winter months, the crew turns its focus from greenery to snow removal, using its fleet of snowplow trucks to clear commercial parking lots, roads, and paths.
Family patriarch Nordy Rockler opened the doors of his first store in 1954 to supply his fellow craftsmen with knowledge, friendly advice, and a large selection of tools for at-home woodworking projects. Now, the chain of retail outlets brims with more than 20,000 tools and specialized woodworking equipment. Next to a steely rainbow of hinges, casters, and screws, a supply of lumber and exotic hardwoods provides planks for building tree houses or just leaving around as a warning to uncooperative trees. The tenor buzz of power tools operated by newly knowledgeable guests drifts from educational sessions on operating equipment and woodworking.