JACKSON TWP. Jackson Township small business owner Nicholas Olinger said he always knew he would come back to the community he loved so much after living in Columbus and graduating The Ohio State University.

He also always knew he would be working in landscaping.

“I’m proud to be a part of the Jackson Township community, I give back because the community gives so much to me,” Olinger said.

Olinger grew up in Jackson Township and graduated in 2009 from Jackson High School. During his senior year, he was part of the horticulture program and today is a member of the advisory board for that program.

Olinger went on to graduate in 2013 with an associate degree in horticulture science and a Bachelor of Science in grass science with a minor in business from The Ohio University. His goal then was to become a golf course supervisor. He interned at Firestone Country Club.

“I thought Firestone Country Club and Golf Course was the best of the best,” Olinger said. “Before that I had been running my own business while in high school and during college. The people I worked with at Firestone told me my best career path would be to keep growing my own business and that’s what I did.”

Today, he owns and operates Olinger Landscapes. He started out as a one-man operation and then he kept adding more people and is up to five crews and 17 people working at the company.

“I’ve always had an interest in landscaping. My mother is an amazing gardener and I used to help with my parent’s yard. I put in a pond and an irrigation system. One Christmas when I was in second or third grade, they got me packs of seeds and hand tools for gardening and we put out a garden in the spring,” Olinger said. “My dad had a riding lawnmower and I built a wooden trailer and I would put the lawn tools on the trailer and hook it up to the riding lawnmower. I started doing some of the lawns in the neighborhood. I really enjoy the work and love to make our customer’s visions come to life. I love seeing the end product and the customers’ satisfaction.”

Olinger said its important for him to continue to grow his business slowly in the area and to continue to give back to the community. He and his wife give back in a number of ways including donating all the mums used on the tables at the Unity in the Community Pancake Breakfast and Health Fair.

He also does the landscaping at the entrance for the Jackson Township Community Celebration every year. Plus, he has helped coach Kevin Walsh with the 5K Glow run for 11 years at Jackson High School. He sponsors Sauder Elementary School’s Race for Education, sponsors the Jackson High School softball team and is a sponsor for one of the Jackson Township traveling baseball teams.

Jackson High School teacher Roy Dria took over the horticulture program just after Olinger graduated. Dria said Olinger does serves on his advisory board.

“While I was not the instructor at the time Nick was a student in the program, he is a valuable asset to the community and my program right now,” Dria said.  “Nick serves on my advisory committee, keeping me up to date with trends and needs in the industry.  He also is committed to supporting the continuing education of students in my program and provided three scholarships for students who graduated last year.  He is willing to help anytime I need anything, and we are very fortunate to have him as landscaper, with high standards, as part of our community.”

Olinger said he believes the horticulture program is a great introduction to the industry and gives students a chance to see if the work is a good fit for them.

Olinger has expanded his business from landscaping design, installation and maintenance, hardscaping design and installation, water feature design and installation, lawn maintenance and lawn fertilization to include designing and installing holiday lighting. Interested persons can get all of the details at https://www.olingerlandscapes.com/.

In addition to a lot of hard work, Olinger attributes a lot to his operations manager, Gabe Weaver, and his wife, Rachael, for a lot of his success. He said Weaver has been his right-hand man and Rachael has been understanding and patient with the lifestyle of working in landscaping.

“I would be where I am today without both of those people. Gabe has been with me since day one and helped me do mulch when I first started out in high school. He’s just fantastic. Rachael has been great, she’s not in the business but is patient with what it means for me to be in the business. It’s a lot of manual labor and long hours,” Olinger said.