Niles lawn service closing after two decadesPublished 2:43pm Tuesday, February 19, 2013
After 22 years of offering lawn maintenance and landscaping services to the greater Niles area, Wayne Martin said he is shutting down Martin’s Yard and Garden.
He said the economy had nothing to do with the decision.
“It was just time,” said Martin, a Niles native and avid outdoorsman, Tuesday morning at his home in Niles. “If it wasn’t going to be this year, it was going to be next year.
“I wanted to get out before I had to climb around with a walker.”
Martin grew up in Niles and graduated from Niles High in 1965. He got his degree in education but said he “never taught a day in my life.”
Instead, Martin traveled the country working as a manager for the RV manufacturing company Fleetwood Enterprises. After 20 years, Martin got tired of the nomadic lifestyle and quit his job.
Not sure what to do next, but knowing he wanted to work outdoors, Martin founded Martin’s Yard and Garden in Niles in 1991.
He started with 25 customers the first year and one employee — himself.
He had more than 400 customers and six employees by the time he was finished.
Martin gives all the credit to his employees, Don Bennett, Matthew Brodhead, Charles Monohad, Justin Harroff and Jeff Harroff.
“I’ve had one with me for 18 years now,” Martin said. “They are a great bunch of guys. That’s what makes retiring sad.
“We could’ve never done the number of lawns, I mean, on a Monday we’d mow 50 lawns. We couldn’t have done that if they didn’t work as a team.”
Martin made the decision to retire last week. He told his employees on Thursday and sent letters to his customers Friday.
“My phone has been ringing off the hook with sad calls,” he said. “I had some wonderful customers — some that have been with me since day one.”
One of those customers was the Four Flags Area Chamber of Commerce.
“I was always impressed that he was right out there with his guys and not sitting in his truck,” said Ron Sather, chamber president. “He was a hands-on type of business man. He always knew his customers and took care of them. He will be missed.”
Martin doesn’t plan on moving south for retirement.
“We will always live in Niles. Of all the places I’ve lived — and I’ve lived in lots of states — Niles and this part of Michigan, I couldn’t ask for a better place to live.”