By: Nevaeh Richardson
When you look around, the most pride in the community comes from the “beauty” in the surroundings, and whether you realize it or not, it speaks volumes of how you represent yourself. Landscapers are often taken for granted, especially Black landscapers, but one proud man has been working hard to keep his father’s legacy alive. African-American News&Issues spoke to Terrence Jelks of “Landscaping by the Jelks.”
AANI: How many years have you been in business and how did you get your start in the landscaping industry?
Jelks: The company’s been in business for 37 years and my dad started it off in… I want to say 1985. He started off pushing two lawnmowers and he built the business up. He worked hard in the business, and two years ago he passed on. The guys he had working with us… they’ve been with us for 15 years. Now, since my dad passed, I took over the business and then I got a crew and we’re still working his legacy and keeping it going.
AANI: As a Black-owned landscaping service, how do you stand out above the rest?
Jelks: Well, a lot of guys out here, they do landscaping, but they don’t do what we do. We are professionals who speak to our customers and pay attention to every detail. We try to make sure we do the job right. My father worked hard to build a solid business and I am following his method. We still have the same customers and practices he left, and I added some more when I took over. He set us up to be able to keep the business going. His main goal was keeping his customers happy. That’s what he always told me.
AANI: What is your advice to new Black-owned business owners who are also looking to be successful and build legacies?
Jelks: You have to be dedicated in what you want to do. Sometimes you might have ups and downs, but you have to get out there. This is a job, it’s not just a one-time deal… so I kept that in my mind and that’s what we do. It’s like a regular job. You have to commit to yourself. If you really want to do this, as far as a Black man or anybody, you’ve got to put in work.
At the end of it all, we all need to be dedicated and support one another. That is the only way we will grow. If you know a business is Black-owned, spend your dollars there. BUY BLACK!