In the summer of ’69, I was struggling to come up with the funds to buy my first car. Since unloading boxcars of lumber and plywood after school was barely covering my social per diem, I decided to hone my entrepreneurial skills and start my own business – OLDEST SON’S LAWN CARE changing the way America cares for their lawn. Across the street lived my grandmother and grandfather, an entrepreneur in his own right – surely he would admire my new endeavor and with a little persuasion become OLDEST SON’S first customer. Not only was he extremely supportive but with little prodding he asked me how much I needed to make? When I replied, $15 he shook his head and told me that wasn’t enough. I hesitated a bit before proffering an amount that seemed inordinately high like- $30. He said that’s fair and asked when I wanted to start. After agreeing on Sundays, he shook my hand, reiterated the terms and conditions of our business and enthusiastically said, “See you Sunday!”Well, Sunday morning rolled around to which I completely forgot that my friends and I had previously made plans to go on a dune’s explore. Thinking I could just as easily start my new lawn care service on Monday as Sunday (what’s one day?) I opted for the frock with my friends.
The next morning, I grabbed my dad’s lawn mower and strolled across the street.
As I breached the driveway of my grandparent’s house I couldn’t help but notice the smell and look of a freshly manicured lawn.
My grandmother was busying herself with the front porch flowerbeds and asked if I would like to come in for some iced tea. After the second refill, she handed me an envelope and said, “I almost forgot…your grandfather asked me to give this to you.” Inside the envelope, much to my consternation was an invoice for $50 accompanied with a simple inscription – “Charge for substitute services because of non-performance.” After the initial shock wore off, his message resonated loud and clear: you’re only as good as your word is good.
Not only does his credo permeate my professional core forty years later, it also helped form the essence for which Great Northern Lumber stands – because around here, trust and service are tradition. Our people, some of whom have spent their entire careers at Great Northern Lumber, take pride in being problem solvers. Collectively, we will answer your questions, meet your needs and believe you will be 100% satisfied with our great variety of services like: