Current address: 815 Blue Crab Road, Suite D, Newport News, VA 23606
Contacts and titles: Stephen A. Orlando, owner, and Erin Snyder-Dixon, office manager
Product or service: Landscaping
Year business was established: 1986. Stephen Orlando launched the company from humble beginnings. “It was a pickup truck that I had and a Sears and Roebuck push mower,” he recalls.
Reason for locating in Oyster Point: “Location,” Orlando says. “We were originally in Gloucester. So it was a matter of being convenient and being close, centralized to Williamsburg and, at the time, Virginia Beach.”
How long have you been with company? Orlando has been with the company since its inception, and was originally the only employee. “It was myself, and I think a year later, I had a Christopher Newport University graduate who helped out,” Orlando says.
Significant milestones: Orlando says that community contributions are his greatest achievements. In 2012, the Virginia Peninsula Foodbank asked him to create a garden in the Hampton Roads Convention Center for its fundraiser, Tastefully Yours. “It was a good size garden, easily 30 by 40 feet, with everything from uplighting to statues, waterfalls and fountains and that sort of thing,” Orlando says. “So it was quite significant. (We received) a lot of feedback from the community in general.”
A significant story: Orlando attributes his most impactful stories to his employees. He recalls an 18-year-old whose first job was with Orlando’s Lansdscaping: “He was very quiet, very introverted, very shy,” he says. The young man, a guitarist who came from a “meager background,” wanted to make a personal contribution to the company’s community involvement. “He came to me and said, ‘I have extra guitars. Do you think the Boys and Girls Club of the Virginia Peninsula would want them?’ He wanted to donate his guitars that he worked so hard for.” Orlando says the young man, now successful elsewhere, comes back to work for Orlando from time to time. “That stands out, that this person who came and was very timid…just blossomed,” he says.
Why has your Oyster Point location been beneficial to your growth? “Being centralized is very important,” Orlando says. He explains that, especially in times of soaring gas prices, a central location is a crucial asset, as routes need to be economically practical.
Plans for future growth: “We definitely want to blossom more into the pesticide and herbicide (business).” Orlando mentions that, along with administering chemicals properly and at the right time of year, he wants to prevent over fertilization, which, he says, harms the environment: “It’s excess, and eventually going into the bay. And that’s the biggest problem.”
Closing comments: “I think…there’s almost an image of landscapers. If you were to have a tier or totem pole of contractors…we’re usually on the bottom, the last thought. Although it’s the first thing that people see, as far as curb appeal.” Orlando urges customers to consider their landscapers “horticultural consultants” who can provide trustworthy education: “Once you can recognize a customer’s problem or concern…suddenly you’re building that relationship, simply on honesty.”