ALBION – Two brothers who were mowing lawns together as teen-agers decided to form a new business, Preston’s Lawncare & Landscaping, three years ago.
The two spent about 15 years doing other jobs before coming back to a business they enjoyed as children.
Jim Preston, 38, and his brother Aaron, 35, are the winners of the “Small Business of the Year,” given by the Orleans County Chamber of Commerce.
Their business has grown to five seasonal workers, along with the two brothers and other family. They do lawncare and landscaping from cutting grass to the increasingly popular hardscape – patio pavers, fireplaces, walkways and retaining walls. They also trim bushes, put in mulch and tackle over lawncare and landscaping issues.
“We’re able to work in Orleans County and meet great people,” said Jim Preston.
The two Prestons are Kendall graduates who spent many hours of their youth pushing mowers to Countyline Road to take care of customers. They also worked with their father, the late James Preston Sr. on many lawncare jobs.
The elder Preston was 56 when he died on Sept. 23, 2015, following a career at Kodak. He helped get the lawncare and landscaping business off the ground for his sons.
Jim and Aaron are both grateful to have returned to their roots, doing a career that gives them both a great sense of accomplishment.
Jim previously worked as a truck driver, electrician and was in sales.
“The office work wasn’t my thing,” he said today in a greenhouse at Preston’s, where he and his brother grown nursery stock.
Growing their own plants and buying some from wholesale helps them give their customers a better deal, the brothers said.
Jim asked his brother if he would be interested in joining the operation in 2015. Aaron had been working nine years as an electrician.
Aaron welcomed the chance to work with his brother, while being closer to home. (Both of them live in Albion.)
They are so busy with their Orleans County customers they seldom leave the county for a job. When they started the business they assumed they would be on the road, outside Orleans for jobs.
“It’s a great feeling because we rarely have to go outside Orleans County,” Aaron said.
He said he is grateful to have met so many people locally, especially after several years of driving into Rochester and outside the area for his work as an electrician, and a warehouse manager prior to that.
Many of their customers are older people, and the Prestons say their work maintaining the lawns and property has given those customers peace of mind and helped them to stay in their homes.
“We meet a lot of wonderful people in this town,” Aaron said.
His brother followed that by saying, “They are friends. We’ve built great relationships.”
The Prestons don’t want the business to get too big. They want to have at least one Preston at each job site. They also like to physically do the work, and plan the beautification projects for the customers.
They will be presented with their award on Thursday during the Chamber of Commerce dinner at the White Birch Golf Course in Lyndonville.