ST. CLOUD, Minn. — If the Minnesota Twins need some love this summer, all the team has to do is see Jim Noyes’ backyard.
Noyes hires Schultz Lawn Care to mow his St. Augusta lawn. The company’s owner and operator, Nick Schultz, worked 12 hours to cut a 75-by-75-foot Twins logo into the lawn.
“Now that we’re in the pennant drive, I figured this could get (Joe) Mauer and (Justin) Morneau riled up,” Noyes said. “I’m willing to tattoo the logo in the backyard.”
It might seem novel, but Schultz, 18, takes his latest creation seriously. While most teens find their first jobs in retail or fast-food restaurants, Schultz runs his own company. He started mowing lawns at age 12, started doing it professionally three years ago and added plowing and landscaping during the past few years.
The Technical High School senior creates patterns in the lawns he mows this summer. He usually mows stripes and checkerboards in the lawns. It looks better, he said.
“It’s what stands out,” Schultz of St. Augusta said. “You can see it from the road.”
But if any of his 50 accounts this summer want words, pictures and, yes, logos mowed into their lawns, Schultz is more than willing. Last year, he engraved a military ribbon into Noyes’ yard to show support for troops serving abroad.
“I’ve lived all over the country, and I haven’t seen lawns like this,” Noyes said.
Schultz used a Twins T-shirt as inspiration for his Twins logo. It featured the team’s signature blue and red colors.
He used marking paint for the added touch.
“They use it for marking electrical wires,” Schultz said. “I use it to paint the lawn.”
If he can research it online, he can design almost anything, Schultz said. He doesn’t consider himself a traditional artist, however.
“I can’t draw,” he said. “Throw a pencil in my hand, and it’s not pretty.”
Schultz approached neighbors when he started his business. Now, most of Schultz’ clients come from word-of-mouth recommendations, he said.
He has mowed Peter Terrahe’s St. Cloud yard for three years. Terrahe watched Schultz transform from using his dad’s mower to buying a truck, two commercial mowers, one push mower and plenty of attachments. He also carries business cards, made company T-shirts and maintains a website.
Terrahe admitted at first he thought Schultz seemed a little young, but he was ready for some help when Schultz approached him. He’s happy he made the change, Terrahe said.
“I kind of think he’s a cool little dude,” Terrahe said. “He’s young and vibrant. It’s a joy to see him come.”
A family friend inspired Schultz to venture out after helping with the friend’s mowing business.
He has gradually expanded his business. He started plowing two years ago, and wants to buy a dump truck to help with snow removal.
This year, he expanded into landscaping. During that time, he’s noticed customers give him more freedom to maintain their property, Schultz said.
The hours can be long — especially in the winter. Schultz wakes up in the middle of the night and plows until he has to leave for school. He then plows after school, does homework, naps and wakes up to repeat the cycle.
His buddies don’t understand why he would want to start a business, Schultz said. They also don’t know why he started paying taxes at age 15, he said, with a laugh.
“They thought it was a push mower and that kind of deal,” he said. “They don’t think it’s a legitimate company.”
That’s OK, he said. Being a young entrepreneur suits him.
“It’s a lot easier to be my own boss,” Schultz said. “I like to be in control; to know what happens next. I’m the one who decides that it’s good enough for me.”
Noyes was worried. With Schultz being a senior, how long would he have his services?
Schultz plans to attend St. Cloud Technical & Community College this school year while managing his business. After graduation, he’ll complete the college’s business management degree, he said.
He has considered making his company a long-term goal, he said. After all, he loves to be outdoors, Schultz said.
He also wants to own and manage apartment buildings one day. He could do that and run his business, Schultz said.
“My game plan is to keep expanding this and hire someone or people if I need to,” Schultz said. “I hope to do this business for a long time.”
Schultz recently watched television at Applebee’s when he saw something about the Vikings.
He wants to try a new design featuring something to do with quarterback Brett Favre and the iconic Vikings’ horn.
He thinks Noyes’ backyard would be the perfect canvas, even though he hasn’t told his customer his plan.
Chances are pretty good Noyes would be more than fine with anything Schultz recommends. Not all customers request to see his prom pictures or write his mother a glowing review of her son, after all.
“(Schultz is) open to trying new things,” Noyes said. “I like doing wild things with my backyard.”