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STRUTHERS Landscaping company becomes newest tenant in Castlo park



Published: Sat, February 15, 2003 @ 12:00 a.m.



Castlo's location is within a 15-minute drive to most of Garden Scapes of Ohio's customers.

By MARALINE KUBIK

VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER

STRUTHERS -- When David Lauer was in high school, he earned spending money cutting grass. Thirty-five years later, he's back at it and his business, Garden Scapes of Ohio Inc., is helping to bring new life to an industrial area that collapsed about the time Lauer was finishing college.

Garden Scapes of Ohio is the newest tenant in the Castlo Industrial Park.

Castlo Community Improvement Corp., which operates the industrial park, is a joint effort among Campbell, Struthers and Lowellville to foster redevelopment of former steel-mill property.

After a varied career of selling everything from printing services and packaging materials to services for cleaning, separating, grading and selling recyclable metals, Lauer decided to stop working for someone else and go into business for himself.

Working out of his home and the trunk of his car in the spring of 1998, Lauer, of Boardman, cut grass, planted flowers, trimmed shrubbery and installed stone sidewalks for homeowners throughout Boardman, Poland and Canfield.

Growing business

As word spread, his business grew. He hired a high school boy to help that first summer and now, in addition to himself, employs two adults full time during peak planting and lawn maintenance season.

"In the summer," he said, "we work from early morning until almost dark."

More business translated into a need for more equipment and by last summer, Lauer said, the company had outgrown his garage.

He started looking for space as soon as business tapered off in December -- "We work until the ground is frozen," he said.

"I never looked for commercial real estate before," Lauer said. So, he sought input from professionals at SCORE, Senior Corps of Retired Executives. Someone there suggested he look in Struthers, Lauer recalled, so he called the mayor and was referred to Castlo.

A building about the size of a three-car garage was available and would require only minor modifications and a security fence, Lauer said.

The location is within a 15-minute drive of most of his customers and the "rent structure is very suitable and fair for what you get," he said.

So, Lauer signed a one-year lease with options to renew.

Because business has grown every year, Lauer said it is difficult to predict how long it will be before his company outgrows its new space.

kubik@vindy.com




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