Can you believe it? This month just 28 years ago Chuck Heffner started Heffner Landscaping with just a pocket full of money, a truck and trailer, and a couple cheap lawn care items/equipment. Primarily, most of his work was in Seven Lakes. As he grew, he picked up landscape installation and irrigation. Keep in mind that the industry as a whole, was really in its infancy, so Chuck was learning as he went. Fortunately he had a bachelors in Economics, so he could slightly foresee patterns in the market and how to better position himself and the company. However, as anyone who’s ever owned their own business can attest, they can’t teach a lot of this stuff in college. This was the ‘school of hard knocks’.
As the years went by the business had its ebbs and flows. Chuck explored some commercial work and found that to be his niche’. He installed the original landscape installation at Pinecrest Plaza, a re-landscape at Cross Creek Mall (Fayetteville), the old Winn-Dixie shopping center (now Trident Marketing), and many others around town. There was a point in time when you could drive down 15-501 and US Hwy 1, and at almost half (it felt like ) of the commercial properties had his fingerprints. This was a great sense of pride for him. Each time he would have visitors from out of town he made it a point to drive those routes and share his work. He knew what went into those projects and how much of himself was included. There are many aspects of this industry that the public can’t see and won’t appreciate, but he knew that’s why they hired him- to make it look easy.
As the years went along and the business provided new services such as pavement striping and parking lot sweeping, Chuck settled into commercial maintenance, primarily. He was known among local property managers as someone who could get things taken care of, whether it be showing a vacancy to a potential renter, or installing Christmas Decorations on light poles and building facades. This is what he was about- relationships.
A few years into the 21st Century, Chuck’s son Colby came home from NC State to work in the business. He had shown an interest in horticulture for years, maybe even more than Chuck had. This was one of the highlights of his business career. He could pass on his legacy. As is typical, the youth movement started with some experimentation. Some worked. Some didn’t. But Heffner Landscaping kept to its ‘roots’ by providing quality landscape installation, maintenance and irrigation, and now included hardscapes, water features, and an enhanced, more modern form of lawn care treatments.
Chuck passed almost two years ago, but he left more than he came with, which was appropriate considering he was an Eagle Scout. He left something from the past. He left a good husband, a great father and an honest person. The simple things. A legacy.