Everyday People: Teenager branches into landscaping | Local News
SEASIDE – Westin Carter speaks fervently as he shows how he hopes his company can build local market share. Its goals are precise. He is sure that he will be able to continue the success of his company.
Westin Carter and Shelby Treick, a counselor at Seaside High School.
Carter recently graduated from Seaside High School and received a $ 2,000 scholarship from the Clatsop County Master Gardener Association. The award recognized his “significant horticultural skills and entrepreneurial acumen” in running his landscaping company Local Lawnboy LLC.
Carter describes the fellowship as incredibly generous and appreciates that it has given him the opportunity to talk about his passions for plants and business.
“As an 18-year-old, I sometimes have a hard time identifying with my friends when talking about whether or not to plant a hydrangea,” he says. “With this scholarship I can really show what I’ve learned over the years.”
Carter credits Janet Willoughby, a former client and member of the Gardeners’ Association, for urging him to apply for the scholarship as a senior.
“I don’t think he’s approaching halfway,” she said. “I thought I was a workhorse, but I’m pale compared to Westin.”
Carter’s business started six years ago with a little inspiration from his grandfather, Brent Wilson, who rose through the banking industry throughout his career.
“I said he was my hero in my graduation speech, and I really meant it,” Carter said. He fondly remembers driving around on his grandfather’s wheeled lawnmower as a child. The deal, he said, was a combination of his interest in horticulture and his admiration for his grandfather’s work ethic.
As a sixth grader, Carter carried his three-knife push mower around the neighborhood removing weed stains for the neighbors.
However, when he sustained a hip injury, Carter was frustrated with how his brother was able to successfully mow lawns in his absence. The little sibling rivalry quickly became the starting point for Carter’s sideline to turn into a full-fledged business.
“One lawn became two, and two became three,” he says. “At the beginning of last year, I had around 10 to 15 regular customers.”
The hallmark of Local Lawnboy’s job, Carter said, is a dedication to getting every job done perfectly. He insists that if his customers don’t like it, they don’t have to pay him. “I want to do it right. My first choice is: ‘My parents feed me one way or another.’ “
Carter – who was an outstanding soccer player for the Gulls – works seven days a week and manages five full-time employees. Warrenton-based 3D Landscape owner Daniel Sturgell supported Carter’s business by providing trucks for mulch spreading and other chores.
“He really drove for someone his age,” said Sturgell. “What he does, started with a hand mower and then worked his way up, is really great to see.”
Carter will visit the University of Oregon this fall to study business administration and finance. He knows it will be difficult to keep the business going remotely and start his education at the same time. But he said he spent months training his workers so they could pilot the ship once he left for Eugene.
Carter also recognizes how many of his mentors and clients advise him to take time off and enjoy his college experience.
“I keep in mind that I’m having fun,” he said with a chuckle. “But it’s sure to be a balancing act.”