2 Brookhaven businesses open new offices

Published 8:53 pm Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Brookhaven businesses have done a lot of business in 2018, and two of them did so much business they needed new offices.

The local U.S. Lawns franchise and Ole Brook Heating and Cooling have both opened new locations, almost across the road from each other on Industrial Park Road Northeast, after busy and profitable years. Both owners said the new space was necessary to accommodate their growing workloads and house all the equipment and inventory they need to service expanding client lists.

Basically, business is good — if not always easy.

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“We’ve been working 60 hours per week, six days a week,” said Doug Easley, owner of U.S. Lawns. “We had to have a place for us to work out of.”

Easley, 58, has nine employees — he bumps up to about a dozen during the summer months — doing year-round landscape maintenance. They mow grass, prune, mulch, irrigate, fertilize and keep yards neat and inviting for a mostly-commercial client list that includes around 90 contract customers at 125 locations in Lawrence, Lincoln and Pike counties.

To keep all those lawns in order, Easley’s men operate six zero-turn mowers and an arsenal of weed trimmers, leaf blowers, edgers, clippers and any other yard tool needed, carried around on a small fleet of company trucks and trailers. To store it all, the new location, on the north side of the street near the Trustmark ATM, is almost 3,000 square feet, with 650 square feet of office space.

“I needed a central location for my employees to go to, and when you’re running six zero-turns and three or four trucks, you have to have somewhere to house all that,” Easley said.

Easley started like many other yard-cutters around Brookhaven — as a man on a mower, working for himself. He went into business in 1993, and bought into the U.S. Lawns franchise around 2009. The business has been in a small office on Hwy. 51, next to Wand Seed Store, for several years, but Easley and his workers outgrew it.

“Renting a building, that’s OK, and I had a good deal where I was,” he said. “But you need to own things, especially in business, and to build value into the business.”

Ole Brook Heating and Cooling’s story is newer, but similar.

Owner Kevin Hutchinson got a heating and air-conditioning technical degree from Copiah-Lincoln Community College in 2003 and worked for some big HVAC companies in Jackson before going off-shore as an electrician and HVAC technician. He started doing heat and air work on the side when he was home and began operating under the Ole Brook name in 2013.

“It just kept building and building, and we made the decision in June to go into this full time because the workload was getting to be too much,” said Hutchinson, 36. “We prayed and prayed about it, started to lose sleep over it. We saw the need to separate home life from business, and I felt a strong calling that this is what I needed to do, so we took a leap of faith.”

Hutchinson’s business leapt into an 1,800-square-foot building on the south side of Industrial Park Road, next to the county WIC office, where his five employees — including his wife and new office manager, Beth Hutchinson — will meet and where he’ll store new HVAC units awaiting installation and an inventory of parts for repair jobs.

Hutchinson’s company installs and repairs all makes and models of heating and air-conditioning units, and while he does residential work, a list of big commercial and government clients have helped him grow the business in 2018. He does work for Co-Lin, Riverwood Family, First Bank and Bogue Chitto Attendance Center — he was at the high school Wednesday on a repair job.

“We’ve done a half-million dollars in business already this year,” he said. “We’ve been very blessed. We did a lot of work back in August, when it was good and hot. The economy in Brookhaven is good right now.”