Landscaper strings up holiday cheer
The first weekend after Thanksgiving usually marks the start of the Christmas decorating season, and a few local landscapers will offer their elbow grease to help install Christmas lights.
But John McFadden’s Celtic Lawn and Landscape has taken the service to a new level this year.
Besides a tiny model home decked out in Christmas lights that he hauls behind his truck, McFadden is offering a everything-in-one package: Lights, customization, installation and storage after the lights come down in January.
“Our maintenance is very seasonal, at the end of October a lot of our maintenance staff has got to go,” McFadden, 44, said. “So this was a way to keep more guys employed for longer by putting up lights.”
The business works like this: McFadden’s crew comes to the house, consults with the homeowner on what style of lighting. The crew comes back to McFadden’s Mound House headquarters where he keeps various strings of Christmas lights of different sizes and colors and cuts them to length.
They return with the lights and install them on the house using clips that won’t leave any damage and hook them up to a self-timer. When the Christmas lights come down, McFadden will store them all year until the homeowner wants them back up.
“The biggest problem you have is every year when you go to find your lights you don’t know where you put them, so this way we have the lights and we can call you next year and say here we go,” McFadden said.
The service has so far resulted in 20 jobs for McFadden’s company, which he co-owns with his wife, Linda Cross. One of his customers had him perform a canopy wrap on an apple tree, which included stringing more than 1,500 lights around every branch of the tree to create a silhouette of it at night.
“Our most popular color is the clear,” he said.
He said the Christmas lights business should keep his business chugging through the winter doldrums.
“Even when the economy was good it’s when the work is always hard,” he said. “We are diversifying and getting some winter revenue.”
McFadden has lived in the region for 12 years after moving to the United States from his home of Dublin, Ireland, in 1998. He and his wife opened the landscaping business 10 years ago.
He said the economy has been tough on business, especially during the housing market collapse, but he’s optimistic about his chances in his adopted country.
“The only thing about this country is if you work hard you get rewarded,” he said.