Delbert Holmquist starting mowing yards in Pratt as a youngster, now he makes a living out of it. And business is good with all the recent rain.
Delbert Holmquist does not let the grass grow under his feet, or on many lawns in Pratt city limits. He mows it.
Fifty-four-year-old Holmquist is a familiar sight as he drives his riding lawn mower around town towing a small utility trailer with a walk-behind mower, weed eater and other essential gar- den tools.
His trailer proudly bears his business name, Delbert’s Lawn Service, and includes his phone number. It’s his life-size business card.
“It works,” he said. “Some- times people flag me down.” Currently, Holmquist has over 200 lawn customers. Some, he said, are regulars and some utilize his services off and on.
“It’s a lot of yards,” Holmquist said, a touch of pride edging his voice.
Holmquist started mowing lawns when he was a youngster. His love for mowing yards propelled him to turn it into a lifetime business, aided by a lucky break 50 years ago.
“In 1988 I won $20,000 on a lottery scratch-off ticket,” he said. “That’s how I got all my tools and stuff.”
Now Holmquist averages five yards a day and he works six days a week, reserving Sundays for at- tending services at First Baptist Church. He has been a member there for many years.
He said a church friend, Julie Bishop, helped him put signage on his work trailer a long time ago.
Holmquist said he determines which of his of mowers to use by the cus- tomer’s preference. He uses the walk-behind when clients want the clippings bagged. Some- times, the lawn layout de- termines which mower he will use and sometimes he uses both.
Whichever mower he uses, it will be a Crafts- man, even down to his utility trailer and other lawn tools.
“I’m Craftsman, all the way,” Holmquist said. “They hold up for me.”
Which is not to say, that everything always runs smoothly, all the time.
“There’s bound to be breakdowns,” he said. ”A lot of the fixes are things I can handle, but sometimes I need a new part or a trip to the repair shop.” To keep his business running without interruption, Holmquist has a second riding mower that
serves as a backup. Repair and other routine expenses, such as gas and oil, come out of his earnings, he said. Holmquist has established his fees at $30 for an av- erage-size yard. He said he establishes a price before the work is started for work that is going to ex- ceed his basic rate.
“I had to increase this year from $25 last year,” he said.
Holmquist’s work sea- son runs from April 1 to October 31.
ways thought it was the right thing to do since he did,” Barnhart said. “I started it, and I guess I re- alized the need for it and I’ve just pretty much con- tinued it all my life.”
Along with knowing the blood donations are going to people who need them, Barnhart said that donat- ing can also have med- ical benefits for donors like himself.
“My doctor said, ‘you make too much blood, you ever think about giving blood?’” Barnhart said. “So that’s really what prompted me to go to bloodmobile and give blood.”
Several years ago, an event was held to cele- brate other donors who had reached the 100- pints-of-blood mark but since whole blood donors must wait 56 days until their next donation and double red-cell donors must wait 112 days, it takes dedication and con- sistency to reach 100 pints of blood with only 1 to 2
“During the fall months, a lot of people want their leaves picked up,” Holmquist said, which is why he extends his season beyond summer. In the spring, it’s lawn cleanup that generates business for him.
Off hours, Holmquist is something of a home- body. He lives with his brother, Dwayne, and they share quarters with their cats Tinker Bell, Tinker Butt and Tiger.
As for his own lawn, the corner of North Oak and Holly Street, the grass gets mowed regularly. He likes to keep things look- ing good. It’s good for business.