Christopher Hughes

Junios Smith | May 15th, 2019
Christopher Hughes (Photos by Luguzy Atkins)

Christopher Hughes (Photos by Luguzy Atkins)

For Christopher Hughes, it all started with the goal of a pair of shoes. Hughes, the owner of C&K Landscaping, said he remembered a time when he was 12 years old living in Saginaw, Mich. when his eyes were fixated on a desire. Hughes’ father ended up giving him a piece of advice which ended up birthing his entrepreneurial skills.

“I remember seeing these Dr. J Converse tennis shoes in a store window,” Hughes said. “My dad said he didn’t have the money because he was raising six of us and if I wanted to get the shoes, I needed to go out and make money. I got a lawnmower and did my first yard for $6, and it started from there.” Hughes continued into the landscaping business as an adult, eventually starting up his Greensboro-based company in 2010. As his website states, Hughes has “over two decades of experience serving the triad area with quality service in mowing, aerating, shrubbery, tree cutting, leaf removal and clean outs.”

Hughes, a North Forsyth High graduate, said he takes pride in his work. “I like to beautify properties, similar to a hairdresser does hair or manicurists do nails,” Hughes said. “The goal is to make the grass and shrubbery accentuate the properties of the house. It’s a way to show expression and creativity, as different houses and lawns have separate ways of looking, whether they need pine needle, flowers, mulch, rock or flower beds.”

The additional pride in Hughes work comes from what his father did, which also fueled his drive. “My father was a Methodist minister, and he would go across the country building up churches and congregations,” Hughes said. “I lived in places like Birmingham, Ala., New Orleans and Saginaw while he worked. Every morning, I was able to see him get up and build congregations that went from a few members to the church reaching capacity.

“Through it all, he drove me to have ownership and accountability toward what I wanted instead of looking for a handout.” As a result, Hughes decided to travel a route unconventional to others, but has worked for him. “I was working with another company, but felt it was better to do this on my own,” Hughes said. “I started C&K with a friend in 2010 and he sold his half in 2018, but I wanted to honor him by keeping the name. Entrepreneurship to me is about freedom and independence. There’s the idea of knowing I put my own price on work and no one else can value it for me. There are plenty of benefits to entrepreneurship, including the feeling of ownership.”

Hughes has also grown his business, going from strictly residential to adding commercial properties. “With residential, it’s basically going around through the neighborhoods and soliciting services,” Hughes said. “It’s more of a seasonal thing — if people want their lawns cut and manicured, we have the properties for it. As the company became more established, it was easier to go with commercial properties.”

Hughes said he encourages others to go the entrepreneurial route, including the youth. Over time, Hughes has employed about 25 men and women in part-time positions, teaching them the ropes of the business. “To me, it’s definitely the freedom and the fact that the value we put into others’ businesses can go to ourselves,” Hughes said. “Wealth can happen through our own practices if we take our God-given talents and express ourselves through whatever abilities we have. Mine just happened to be landscaping and I do motivational speaking from time to time.

“Grass is going to grow everywhere, so it’s something I believe is a secure business. The fact that I am my own boss, president and CEO, I put into it what I give, and I also help young men and women learn the trade. This way, not only can they get a look into the trade, they’ve also got a good foundation when it comes to business and professionalism.”

Hughes was able to fulfill a goal of his as a child, and never looked back from the window where those Dr. J Converses once resided. “I got plenty of those shoes now,” Hughes said with a laugh.

Hughes has also grown his business, going from strictly residential to adding commercial properties. “With residential, it’s basically going around through the neighborhoods and soliciting services,” Hughes said. “It’s more of a seasonal thing — if people want their lawns cut and manicured, we have the properties for it. As the company became more established, it was easier to go with commercial properties.”

He encourages others to go the entrepreneurial route, including the youth. Over time, Hughes has employed about 25 men and women in part-time positions, teaching them the ropes of the business. “To me, it’s definitely the freedom and the fact that the value we put into others’ businesses can go to ourselves,” Hughes said. “Wealth can happen through our own practices if we take our God-given talents and express ourselves through whatever abilities we have. Mine just happened to be landscaping and I do motivational speaking from time to time.

“Grass is going to grow everywhere, so it’s something I believe is a secure business. The fact that I am my own boss, president and CEO, I put into it what I give, and I help young men and women learn the trade. This way, not only can they get a look into the trade, they’ve also got a good foundation when it comes to business and professionalism.”

Hughes was able to fulfill a goal of his as a child, and never looked back from the window where those Dr. J Converses once resided. “I got plenty of those shoes now,” he said with a laugh.

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