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In a time of layoffs, a new eco-friendly lawn care company, Rakemates, is working to provide jobs for community members whose careers were affected by business closures.

The brain child of local entrepreneurs Michael Barbera and Crystal Wambeke, Rakemates has provided employment opportunities for six people who lost their jobs due to COVID-19.

“When the pandemic hit, we felt as entrepreneurs that we needed to do something,” Crystal said.

Rakemates hard at work. Photo contributed.

Michael and Crystal began drafting their business plan for Rakemates just one month ago, but they’ve considered starting a lawn care company, for the past two years.

“We noticed that this was an industry that needed to be disrupted,” Michael said. “We aim to do things a little bit differently with our business. Our focus is doing front yard maintenance really well, serving our customers the best we can and making it a great work environment.”

Michael and Crystal posted the job on Indeed.com, and received 57 applicants. They chose the top six based on financial need.

They’ve serviced almost 18 subdivisions within their first two weeks of business.

Rakemates offers three packages on their website that cover everything from basic landscaping to porch cleaning. Selecting a service is immediate — no in-person quote is required.

The company uses eco-friendly, battery-powered lawn mowers, weed eaters and blowers in an effort to reduce their carbon footprint. The battery-powered tools also reduce noise that typically accompanies landscaping.

Michael and Crystal said they plan to keep Rakemates operating after the pandemic, and hopefully employe even more community members.

 “If we have the ability to create a job and provide monetary compensation for a person, then we’ll absolutely create a job for them,” Crystal said.

For more information on Rakemates, visit their website, or follow them on Facebook and Instagram.

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