Green. Luscious. Freshly cut. Neat. Well-kept.
These are words that most people would use to describe the perfect lawn. If you’ve ever taken care of a lawn, however, you know that working to grow and maintain a lawn like this isn’t easy. It takes discipline, hard work, and dedication. And Fargo’s own Lawn Improvement has a mission to help others with this significant task.
When Adam Kankelfritz first started working for Lawn Improvement, he had no idea he would end up where he is today. A full-time firefighter for the City of Fargo, Adam began his part-time role as a seasonal job on the side. However, more than 3 years later when the owners were ready to retire, he was presented with the opportunity to purchase the business. Since his wife, Audrey, had over 10 years of experience in financing and banking, the husband and wife duo decided to take this opportunity of purchasing the business and making it grow together. “We figured it would be a good business for our family to run and carry on,” Audrey explained. “We have a lot of connections in the Fargo-Moorhead area since we were born and raised here, so we decided to move forward and purchase it.”
And just like that, the Kankelfritzs were on their way to becoming small business owners.
To purchase this business, Adam and Audrey first needed to acquire the proper financing. Audrey decided to reach out to an old co-worker in her network to figure out the best way to move forward. It was then that Audrey and Adam came across the SBA 7a Community Advantage loan program through Dakota Business Lending that would help them get the capital they needed to make the purchase at terms they could afford.
“My co-worker said Dakota Business Lending would probably be our best bet to visit with about our plan and what we wanted to do and figure out our financing options,” shared Audrey. “So, we reached out and they were able to visit with us, put a proposal together, and help us move forward. It was a fast transaction.”
Now Audrey and Adam were one step closer to achieving their goal:
to grow their new business.
Lawn Improvement prides itself in being a family-owned, local small business. And today, they know that this is what their customers like about them too. “A lot of people like that we are local,” Audrey noted. “A lot of our current clients were familiar with my husband since he worked for the company 3 years prior, so it gave them a peace of mind knowing that someone familiar was coming in to buy the business.” Since the business is seasonal, Audrey and Adam are continually looking for ways to grow each year. They hope to one day add mowing to their service options in order to better meet the needs of their clients.
The Kankelfritzs’ favorite part about owning their business is the fact that it’s something their whole family – including their two sons – can be a part of. “Once we add more services, we hope to carry it on through our kids and teach them about hard work and what it takes to run a business.“
In addition, Adam and Audrey both love interacting with their customers and getting to know them more. For them, it’s a win-win all around!
Today, Audrey and Adam remain proud of their business and the ways they have helped the community that they grew up in and love. They encourage others to go after their goal or dream, but recommend doing some research first. “The more knowledge you have, the more successful you’re going to be,” Audrey advised. Lastly, the Kankelfritzs love looking back, reflecting on how far they’ve come, and seeing just how great this opportunity was.