Get your mower runnin’
Zac Coxworth knows a lot about mining.
He spent time doing that kind of work in Mankato. He even went all the way to Alaska for it, spending between five and six years in North America’s northwest extremity, a far cry from rural hometown Blue Earth, to put in hours at a gold mine.
But in search of a job that could keep him grounded in the city of his upbringing, the 2003 Blue Earth Area High School graduate did a little mining in Southern Minnesota.
Mining for a new career.
“I was always looking to start my own business,” he says. “I looked at a couple different things and considered pressure washing, but there wasn’t really a need for it.”
The real mining opportunities kept calling Coxworth back to Alaska, but it was during a stay in Mankato when a little family advice helped him strike career gold. Even if it may not have seemed to be the case at the time.
“My dad was driving and saw this lawn service guy,” Coxworth recalls, reciting a conversation from 2013, “and he asked him what he charged, and it was an outrageous price.”
Just like that, a simple tip about local lawn service became the seed for exactly what Coxworth was looking for a chance to start his own business back home.
Initially, of course, some of the draw of running his own local career centered on securing a more convenient income.
“I figured I could make a couple extra bucks doing what that guy did,” Coxworth says, “and I could charge way less.”
From Mankato, he shelled out the money for a single lawn mower, a 52-inch-deck Toro, and began building a list of accounts from scratch.
Four years later, Coxworth and his fiancee, Jesica Rios, have what is now known as Zac’s Lawn Care mowing local yards as often as the grass grows.
“Now we have three mowers, Toro and John Deere,” Coxworth says, “and we’re up to about 26 different accounts.”
The more than 25 customers on Coxworth’s list are both residential and commercial clients. Everyone from neighborhood residents to big-lawn businesses like Kerry Ingredients and Nortech Systems’ Aerospace Systems have called upon Zac’s Lawn Care for some mowing help.
And that help comes just about every day, except for in the winter.
In between responsibilities as a drainage inspector for the Faribault County Soil and Water Department, Coxworth says he is mowing lawns “as long as the grass is growing.”
“I mow after 4:30 p.m. when it’s not raining, pretty much every day until it’s dark out,” he says. “There was only about one week last year when I didn’t.”
In the early goings, Coxworth says he had a relative help mow lawns while he was away. But otherwise, the business is powered by his yard work and Rios’ help, drawing in customers from Blue Earth, Winnebago and even Fairmont thanks to its combination of hometown familiarity and “very reasonable prices.”
“I’ll offer a senior discount, especially if it’s just someone living by themselves,” Coxworth says. “And I like to have contact with the homeowners. Obviously it’s not that hard to just go and mow a lawn, but I like to talk to them and see what they want done.”
It is a fitting mentality for a man who was born and raised in town and, therefore, can claim to know local lawns as well as anyone.
But, especially considering its inception as a means of simply getting back home and maybe earning him “a couple extra bucks,” Zac’s Lawn Care has also, well, been a lot of fun.
“Oh, I love it,” Coxworth says.
Stationing the business out of his own home, not far from his brother Jeremy’s Coxworth Water Conditioning on Main Street in Blue Earth, he says plans for expansion are in the works.
“I don’t have a spraying license yet, but I’d like to get that at some point,” he says. “The hope is to have full fertilizer and lawn services in the future.”
Competition, even in the small town of Blue Earth and surrounding areas, is relatively steep, according to Coxworth. And pricing for his own mowing varies depending on the size of yard and what each customer requests.
But if anyone is looking for hometown service and a man who knows how to dig deep into his work, they should look no further, Coxworth says, than Zac’s Lawn Care.
The owner was a miner, after all.