When Mauricio Álvarez created K & A Landscaping 25 years ago, his greatest dream was that his daughters would one day run the family business.
That day came unexpectedly when “Magi,” as his friends and clients fondly called him, lost his battle against COVID-19.
Born in Jalisco, Mexico, Álvarez arrived in the U.S. with empty hands but brimming with hope. He tended the gardens in Chicago’s southwestern suburbs and developed a loyal clientele. Now, three of his daughters — Verenise, Estefanie and Kasandra — are keeping his memory alive and honoring the legacy of “Don Mauricio.”
“He told us that it would be great if one day, when he couldn’t work anymore or retired, we would take over the company,” said Verenise, the oldest sister. “Not long ago, he was teaching us about the business — how to run it, how to deal with customers, and how to budget. That helped us a lot when we had to keep the company alive,” she said.
After Álvarez’s death in December 2020, his wife Alicia and their three daughters were left in charge of the landscaping business. Nine-year-old Adriana is the only member of the family who is not involved in the business.
“As her oldest daughter, it is truly an honor to continue his legacy and [keep his] vision for the company. … We strive to provide the same excellent customer service and professional gardening experience that my father gifted to the community for the past 25 years,” said Verenise, 29.
For the first-born, working at K & A Landscaping is not new. She helped her parents in the family business from an early age. “It was very nice for me to work with my hands, learn about plants and do landscaping designs. I learned from my dad how to treat clients from a very young age,” she said, explaining he was the inspiration she needed to become an entrepreneur, committed to helping the community.
Not an easy journey
As a child of immigrants, Estefanie, 25, knows her parents’ journey was not easy. But it was full of hopes and dreams, said Álvarez’s second daughter.
“While growing up, we watched my parents persevere through adversity and build their own American dream. It amazes me how they came to this country with nothing and were able to create a very successful business,” she said.
Don Mauricio left his mark on K & A Landscaping.
“He fostered positive relationships with his clients that bear witness to the incredible culture the company has established over the past 25 years,” said Estefanie. “His story makes it clear to me that my father’s legacy and the family business have to continue.”
The four women lead a team of seven and work primarily in Chicago’s southwestern suburbs.
Verenise received the support of the business’ clients after her father’s death, which has allowed the company to remain strong. She gets calls from all over Chicago, thanks to her father’s solid relationships with his clients. “My father was a well-loved person,” she said.
“My dad taught us to leave a mark and make this world a more beautiful place,” said Verenise.
This year, K & A Landscaping will increase its digital presence.
“We are trying to have a greater presence on social media … and we have our website,” she said. “We are trying to implement technology in our business.”
Translated and edited by Gabriela Olmos; edited by Fern Siegel
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