Like many people who lost their jobs or were furloughed due to the coronavirus pandemic, Patrick Blankas and several of his bartender buddies were at their wits’ end trying to figure out how they were going to make ends meet. They knew feeling sorry for themselves wasn’t the answer, and they certainly weren’t going to sit around and wait for help to arrive.
So, they did the only thing that made the most sense — they pivoted.
Allow us to introduce you to Yard-Tenders, a Denton-based lawn care business owned by a group of hard-working guys from popular bars and restaurants near the Denton Square. When their locations were deemed “non-essential” and were forced to close on March 18, Blankas said he and a group of 14-15 guys quickly pivoted from serving mixed drinks to mowing lawns — even though their experience in the lawn care industry was minimal at best.
“We’ve just kind of learned as we’ve gone along,” Blankas said. He and his buddies previously worked at places such as East Side, Oak Street Drafthouse, Miss Angeline’s, and Mulberry Street Cantina. “Each day, we learn more and find more effective ways to finish the task at hand. The majority of our clientele are existing relationships, but we are branching out.”
Clearly, they have a lot of people who needed a lawn care specialist. Blankas said Yard-Tenders, which has a slogan of “you’ve been cut off,” serves an average of 15-20 houses a day. Their services list includes everything from mowing lawns to tree trimming, mulching, gardening, laying flagstone, hauling debris, and even doing sprinkler jobs.
They relied on Facebook to get them their first client, including developing their own business page. That page now has over 1,000 followers, and the business has been featured by several media outlets, including NBC 5.
And as far as the tools they use to get the job done — they used their own at first. They then made Yard-Tenders t-shirts and used the proceeds to buy more equipment. A few customers have even offered up their own equipment.
“We just want to provide a service for the community and, at the same time, put money in our pocket,” Blankas said. “We didn’t want to just stay at home — we like to stay busy. All of that is what motivates us to keep going.”
With the state of Texas slowly opening back up, Blankas said he isn’t sure what will become of Yard-Tenders. But he wasn’t willing to suggest that they’d shut it down once they get their regular jobs back.
“We haven’t crossed that bridge yet, but we are kicking around a few ideas,” he said. “Maybe it will be a side thing.”
For more information on Yard-Tenders, visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/yardtenders/.