It is not every day that we get the opportunity to meet people like Lorenzo and Maria Rodriguez. In the small community of Centralia, they are raising three beautiful daughters and running a local landscaping business called LoMar Yard Maintenance. It has not been an easy journey despite Lorenzo’s humble nature, but theirs is a story of hard work and determination that will surely inspire you.
Lorenzo was born in California where he lived until he was seven years old. It was then when his family decided to move back to Mexico. At the age of 20, he made the decision to move back to California, where he dabbled in some landscaping work. His friend and former classmate talked him into going to Alaska to do seasonal reforestation work. He spent three years working seasonally there, and in the off-season, he landed in Centralia. Settled in this small town, Lorenzo began his quest to learn during the off-season.
He took English as a second language (ESL) classes through Centralia Community College mornings, noon and nights. At the same time, he took on odd jobs and worked in a convenience store in order to make ends meet. And not only did he work to get his English polished, but he also worked to earn his GED.
All of this schooling pushed Lorenzo in yet another direction. In 1996, he was introduced to his love, Maria. Her mother was the evening ESL teacher at the college, her father was a classmate in the morning, and they were his employers at the Jackpot convenience store on Harrison Avenue. In 1997, the pair got married, and Lorenzo traded-in his seasonal work in Alaska for a stable full-time job at Briarwood Farms in Rochester. With a new baby in tote, the two bought the business in 1998 from M&K Yard Maintenance and renamed it LoMar. LoMar stands for Lorenzo and Maria.
Lorenzo had only basic experience with yard maintenance, and from a completely different climate, so he spent the next five years learning about the industry, taking training through Integrated Pest Management (IPM), running the business part time, all while keeping his full-time job at Briarwood. Somehow, in the midst of all of this, Lorenzo completed his AA degree, and then proceeded towards his Bachelor’s degree at Evergreen in Olympia. And as if this were not enough for this now father of two, he had begun teaching the ESL classes at the college, and even the Spanish GED program there.
Lorenzo would spend 10 years total working on that education, but he finally graduated from Evergreen College with a bachelor’s in Cultural Anthropology. Maria, an Evergreen graduate herself, got a master’s in bilingual education, and before long she was the mother to three. She works an educator at Centralia Community College, and graciously rolls her eyes when we discuss her extremely busy husband.
“Sometimes I tell him to get a regular eight hour job,” giggles Maria. “He is working from the time he gets up until the time he goes to bed.” Although it has been around 13 years since Lorenzo left Briarwood completely, and almost two years since his teaching courses were cancelled, he continues to work six days a week with LoMar, putting in ten to twelve hour days regularly.
LoMar’s current client base averages 90% residential and 10% businesses.
“Businesses are more money, but residential is always more steady,” said Lorenzo. He currently employs three to four employees during his peak season, which is April through August, but insists he remains a labor-guy himself, doing work right along with his employees. His customer base is around sixty per year, and it takes six to seven employees to operate LoMar on a Saturday in season.
Services offered vary from lawn mowing, installation, renovation, moss removal, fertilizing, de-thatch and aerate, irrigation systems, flower beds, pruning, patios and pathways, installing fence, concrete work, and more. Lorenzo has also received his license from the Washington State Department of Agriculture (WSDA) to apply organic pesticides.
With an ever-changing climate, he explains: “Our lawns are being destroyed the last few years. The long dry summers are not allowing our grass to go dormant, but instead killing the roots.”
He is more determined than ever to concentrate on his business, new concepts and adding more services. He plans to add a hydroseeding system, and continues to adopt methods from the dryer southern states, such as dry river rock hardscapes as well as lawn painting. You have probably seen some of this work at the newly renovated Casa Ramos off Harrison Avenue in Centralia. The river rock hardscape is a cost-effective choice as money is spent up-front, but there is very little maintenance attached. Lawn painting with all organic paint lasts up to three to four months. The purpose is a quick fix for dry and yellowed grass, and often is used when photos are needed.
Whether you are cleaning up to move, renovating an existing landscape or just looking for a little extra help from a reliable, family oriented, reputable company, give LoMar a call at 360-269-5275 or visit their website.