A cut above. Downers Grove brothers building successful landscaping business – Shaw Local
At 10 am, when most teenagers are sleepily wiping their eyes to start their summer days, Nathan Humphrey tows lawn equipment behind his bicycle as he heads to work. He isn’t worried about his boss being upset if he’s late because he is his own boss, holding himself accountable, and his business is booming.
Four years ago, when Nathan was just 10 years old, he noticed his elderly neighbor’s landscaper neglected to regularly cut the woman’s lawn. Nathan offered to help the woman for free, but she recognized his hard work with money and muffins.
“That was when it really all started because I really didn’t ask many people at first, but the neighbors would see me cutting lawns and ask if I could do theirs, too,” Nathan said.
And so his business was born.
Nathan, 14, and his 12-year-old brother Colin are the sole employees of Two Brothers Landscaping, but Nathan hopes to bring on additional employees next summer. The business grew steadily and organically, he said, and now handles landscaping needs for 14 homes.
In addition to cutting lawns, Two Brothers Landscaping handles weeding, mulching, raking leaves, dirt removal, snow removal and additional spring and fall cleanup services. The two brothers divide and conquer the tasks based on who enjoys each task the most. Nathan typically works all day, stopping only for football practice.
A neighborhood boy with that much work ethic is bound to be noticed, and that’s how Nathan met Jersey Chiluisa, owner of Crowner Barber & Co., 5019 Fairview Ave., Downers Grove.
“I have been actively looking for kids to do basic lawn care for years and here I am and I see this kid on a bike,” Chiluisa said. “I couldn’t get over it, so I made a U-turn to find him and stopped to talk to him about his business.”
That stop was the beginning of a business relationship and friendship. Chiluisa invited Nathan to stop by Crowned Barber & Co. after Nathan finished his workday. Chiluisa waited from 10 am when he met Nathan until 6:30 pm to close the shop, figuring Nathan had forgotten about their meeting, but Nathan hadn’t forgotten. Nathan had been working and his day didn’t end until 6:45 pm
The two eventually got together and Chiluisa offered to help Nathan make his business more official. Chiluisa helped Nathan design a new logo and with the help of social media, Nathan and his brother received six T-shirts, four hoodies and six hats, all with their logo and business name printed on them.
“I wanted to show him that with a helping hand he can be the biggest landscaper in Downers Grove,” Chiluisa said. “He’s such a well-rounded individual and his spirit is so kind and genuine. I would love to be a friend and a mentor to him.”
For Nathan, the excitement of becoming a more legitimate business has been motivating. He hopes to expand his business by buying a bigger trailer to tow his equipment, hiring another employee and, pretty soon, getting his license so he can drive to customers who may live further away.
Nathan will be a freshman at Montini Catholic High School this fall and plans to continue working as much as he can. He credits his business knowledge to his parents and said his love of the outdoors comes from time spent planting flowers with his family.
“It gives me something to do and I like to be outside and working in my free time,” Nathan said. “I like talking to new people and working with the customers, and I love working with my brother, too, and teaching him things.”
To contact Two Brothers Landscaping, call 224-283-4536.
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