Your Lawn, Your Landscape, Your Source for 50 Years…
In 1966 while working the third shift at the Lincoln Goodyear plant, Ray Svoboda, at great financial risk, left his full-time position with benefits to fulfill a dream of owning his own business and Ray’s Lawn Care was founded.
With a true entrepreneurial spirit and instinct to survive, Ray and his wife Mabel, along with their four sons, grew the business to Lincoln’s largest, most complete grounds maintenance and landscaping firm. Sons Ken and Larry Svoboda are now the owners and are both very proud of their parents and grateful for the risks that were taken to provide a better and more secure life for the family.
The hard work ethic that was instilled in the sons has been the number one reason why the company was able to survive through years of drought, excessive moisture, slow economic times, and even a fire that leveled their business property to the ground only 45 days before spring, completely destroying the structure along with several vehicles and the entire season’s inventory. This year the company is celebrating 50 years in business and is dedicated to continue providing the highest quality services to its customers just as Ray did with his very first customer.
Today, with a name change that better reflects the services they provide, Ray’s Lawn & Landscape (rayslawn.com) employs between 35 and 40 workers annually with gross revenues near $1.9 million. To put this into perspective, a business that started with a used pick-up truck and two used push mowers has now grown to a fleet of 28 vehicles and 25 trailers, with its major equipment inventory consisting of approximately 90 mowers ranging from 21” self-propelled mowers to riding mowers with 64” decks and a John Deere Tractor with a 90” deck for large lot mowing.
Started out of Ray & Mabel’s garage, once business picked up enough, Ray’s headquarters was moved to its first stand-alone commercial property in west Lincoln where buildings were added as the company grew. In 1993, the company moved to its current location at 503 W. A Street where it still stands today, despite being completely rebuilt on the same site following the early morning fire that destroyed the building in February of 1995.
Currently, Ray’s services just over 12 million square feet of turf and provides a wide range of landscape design and installation services including outdoor kitchens and living spaces, retaining walls, patios, and of course, plantings. Their core lawn care services remain, including mowing and lawn treatments, complete lawn services including aeration and edging, tree and ornamental care, trimming and pruning, snow removal, and landscape maintenance.
With vast experience in their industry, the professionals at Ray’s have been the go-to resource for numerous lawn and landscape stories within all forms of media over the years and have also been honored with a wealth of accolades, including: LIBA Enterprise Gambler of the Year Award, 2000; KFOR Radio Best of Lincoln, 12 years total; the following Nebraska Professional Lawn Care Association awards: Business of the Year, 1999; Pioneer Award, Ray Svoboda, 1997; Outstanding Professional of the Year, Ken Svoboda, 1999; Outstanding Professional of the Year, Larry Svoboda, 2001; and the Pro Magazine front cover, July 1995. The company has also received numerous civic awards and is actively involved in local organizations such as Junior Achievement, LIBA, Lincoln Chamber of Commerce, Willard Community Center, Homebuilders Association of Lincoln, and several others.
While there have been major changes over the years to accommodate the growth of the company, one thing that hasn’t changed Ray’s being family owned and operated. Ray’s wife Mabel continues working for the company 5 days a week (and sometimes more) year round, dealing with everything from answering customer calls to accounts payable and receivables. Larry’s daughter, Jenni, works in the office alongside her grandma and is responsible for payroll and customer correspondence.
The Svoboda family and the team at Ray’s Lawn & Landscape wishes to extend its thanks to the Lincoln community for their continued support over the past 50 years!
Thank you, Lincoln!
Call Ray’s Lawn & Landscape at 402-476-8614 for more information or visit rayslawn.com.