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Small Business Spotlight: GreenWorks Landscaping & Fencing

Alerus | DEC 20, 2014

Homeowners and business owners in the Red River Valley are discovering GreenWorks Landscaping & Fencing, a Grand Forks-based operation offering complete landscaping services and beautiful, high quality fencing.

About the Owner

When Jon Olson was 11 years old, he did what so many other young boys do during the northern Minnesota summers – he mowed lawns.  He began knocking on his neighbors’ doors in the small town of Ada offering to mow their lawns for a few dollars.  The youngster stayed on task and kept the yards looking good, and he suddenly found himself with a handful of clients.  He enjoyed the work so much that he kept at it through his elementary and high school years, finding that he could make good money and it seemed more fun than some of the other jobs teenagers do.

Always a good student, Jon had aspired to be dentist.  He enrolled at the University of North Dakota and began his coursework while keeping his lawn customers in Ada, about 65 miles away.  On top of that, he took on a job as a server at Applebee’s.  He was working or studying non-stop.  And just because all of that wasn’t stressful enough, he used the money he had earned in Ada to buy a house in Grand Forks that his friends could rent while they were in college.

After a few months there came a tipping point. Jon needed to simplify what had become a complex young life.  After a great deal of thought and talking with his family, the decision was made that he would leave UND and focus on landscaping, an industry he already knew from experience was a good job with plenty of opportunities to better his skills.  Striking out on his own was a risk, of course, but Jon always felt that working for someone else left a lot to be desired anyway, and what better time to take a risk than at a young age?

Partnering With Family

Jon started GreenWorks Landscaping & Fencing on his own, and made his mark as best he could on his own for three years.  He did a good job, and the company was growing.  It grew so much that Jon needed help, so he turned to his brother Michael.  It was a leap of faith for Michael, because becoming Jon’s partner meant moving his life from Omaha, Nebraska, to Grand Forks, North Dakota.  But they made it happen, and the partnership has sustained the business and helped it continue to grow.
The landscaping business is great for the Olson brothers, who both love being outdoors and staying active.  They are extremely busy during the short Upper Midwest summers, but it’s all worth it because they get to bring customers’ outdoor ideas and concepts to life.  Giving someone their dream yard and seeing the smile on their face is what pays off in the end.

About the Company

GreenWorks offers complete landscaping and fencing services.  They can do anything from putting up a simple chainlink fence to a paver patio to an entire-yard project.  GreenWorks also installs irrigation systems and builds no-maintenance decks.  They try to be a one-stop shop for your outdoor needs, so you don’t have to deal with multiple contractors.

GreenWorks stands out because of its employees.  They show a rare dedication and are willing to go far above and beyond to make a project successful.  That dedication helps GreenWorks get jobs done quickly and with the highest quality, giving people the “wow factor” that is so uncommon these days. Customers often comment about the easy communication and professional attitudes of the crew members, traits that are not always associated with building contractors.

About the Alerus Relationship

Jon’s Alerus relationship started with a basic personal checking account, which he wanted because his hometown bank was too far away.  He came to Alerus when it was time to create accounts for GreenWorks, and feels that it was a great decision.  “I have had the same people working with me from day one,” Jon says. “It’s very nice to work with people that know and understand you and what you’re trying to accomplish!”

Those people Jon refers to are Mike Helt and Matt Zimmer, both of whom have built relationships with Jon over the years.  It’s been nearly 10 years since GreenWorks began, and Mike and Matt have been there to help all along the way.
The relationships are what Jon enjoys most about Alerus.  “Word travels fast when you do good work, and Alerus employees have been some of my biggest supporters,” he explains.  Jon says he recommends Alerus to anyone starting a new business or anyone with an established business looking for a new banking relationship.  “They go the extra mile to make sure your needs are taken care of and they give you professional input along your business path.”

Getting In Touch With GreenWorks

You can learn more about GreenWorks Landscaping & Fencing by visiting their website or by calling their Grand Forks location at 701.741.1131.  Dozens of photos of completed projects can be viewed on the GreenWorks Facebook page as well.

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