17-year-old St. Lazare entrepreneur builds solid reputation
PHOTO BY JOHN JANTAK
Spencer Abbott, a 17-year-old St. Lazare entrepreneur who started his own landscaping company
by beginning to mow lawns at age 12, stands in front of a stone fire pit and patio he built for
several clients last year.
At an age when many teenagers are still trying figure out what they want to do with their future, 17-year-old St. Lazare resident and entrepreneur Spencer Abbott has already built a solid reputation for the quality landscaping services he provides to homeowners through his company, Paysagiste S.A. Landscaping. “If you ask anybody around here, they know who I am,” Spencer told Your Local Journal during an interview last Saturday, February 21.
“They know me for my hard work and craftsmanship. I’ve never had to advertise because I always get referrals from satisfied clients.” Spencer began his business more than five years ago at age 12 by mowing people’s lawns. His repertoire of services that he provides to clients has grown substantially since then and it includes sod and top soil work, building decks and patios, and designing and building gardens. “I’ve built entire gardens, including a 600 to 700 square foot rock garden all from stone,” said Spencer.
As a seasonal business, Paysagiste S.A. Landscaping begins operating in early spring with a yard cleanup, regular mowing, grounds maintenance, and special jobs throughout spring into fall, and a late-fall cleanup to tidy things up before winter sets in. Gone are the days when Spencer would use his riding mower with a trailer attached at the rear to get to his jobs. He now uses a pickup truck and two trailers to haul his three riding mowers and other equipment and has a staff of about three to four employees to help with the work. In addition to his landscaping services, Spencer plans to focus this year on building outdoor stone fire pits within a patio-type setting as a way to earn more money to enable him to reinvest and expand his business and continue his studies.
A true entrepreneur, he’s enticing prospective clients with a special half-price deal if they pre-order by May 29. A graduate of Westwood Senior High School, Spencer is currently studying Landscaping Operations at the Châteauguay Valley Career Education Centre (CVCEC) in Ormstown to learn everything he can about his trade.
“It’s an extra thing to add onto my list of accomplishments,” said Spencer. Spencer also has great ambitions. In addition to growing his business, he plans to study carpentry, learn how to operate heavy machinery with the possible intention of eventually moving west to work in either the mining or oil sectors, and take a real-estate course. “There’s a lot of stuff I want to do, but landscaping is based around all this stuff,” Spencer said. “It’s my main thing. I’ll never stop doing it. It’s what keeps me going.”
He also has an unwavering sense of generosity towards those less fortunate than him. Last summer, Spencer and his mother Sandra Sundborg spent two weeks building a house in El Salvador with Habitat for Humanity. “Basically I like to give back and to help,” said Spencer. “My plan now is for everything I make, I’d like to put five or 10 per cent into a jar so I can keep doing these habitat trips. We’re fortunate to have all these luxuries when others have nothing.
“It was a great experience,” he added. “It wasn’t at all what I thought it would be like. It was fun – a lot of hard work – but I like to work. We built a plain, cinder block house. We dug up and laid the foundation and put up the walls. I’d like to keep doing this, at least twice a year.” Spencer has also noticed that he’s inspired at least two other budding young entrepreneurs to follow his lead by offering their own lawn care service.
“There’s two kids a couple of blocks down the road. They’ve been doing the same thing for maybe a year now and they’re doing a good job,” he said. “I like to see that too because I’m so young and when I see more people doing it, it’s encouraging for us,” Spencer added. “The best feeling is when people come back to you and say, ‘You’re so young, you do such amazing work and you care’. I like that.”
Even though it’s winter, he stays busy by working as a ski instructor at Mont Rigaud on weekends in addition to pursuing his studies. When asked why he chose landscaping as a career at such a young age, Spencer couldn’t exactly pinpoint the reason.
“I’m still trying to figure that one out,” he joked. “I liked riding the mowers and I figured maybe I could make a bit of money doing this and have fun at the same time. Eventually it turned into a small business that I’ve been able to grow.” For more information about Paysagiste S.A. Landscaping, visit Spencer’s Facebook page at https://www. facebook.com/pages/Paysagiste-SALandscaping/776526025760824.