CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — About two years ago, 12-year-old Ryder Villareal approached his parents about starting his own landscaping company.
“He said one day he’s going to do it, I said, ‘Okay.’ It’s one of those things you’re like, ‘I know in a few months you’re going to change your mind,’ so we didn’t push it,” said Ryder’s mother, Christina Villareal.
But Ryder was serious. He saved up his money, and purchased his first set of equipment. Ryder’s uncle got him a push mower as a gift, his parents bought him a riding mower and trailer, and he got free equipment from Worx, after writing the company to tell them he liked their equipment.
Ryder started mowing lawns for family and friends, but on his 12th birthday, he registered his business, Knight Mowers, in Nueces county.
“Most of the time it was just me practicing, and now it’s just pure business,” Ryder said about his start to his business.
Ryder isn’t just mowing lawns to save up to buy something, he’s doing it because he’s passionate about mowing lawns and being a business owner. He said he was inspired to start the business by his family members, as his parents are both self-employed.
“My family, they’re all awesome, and they have businesses, and I just wanted to be a part,” Ryder said.
His family continues to help him; his mom, dad, brother, and uncle all help him mow lawns.
As for the name, Ryder came up with that on his own.
“My name Ryder means knight, like a knight in shining armor, and I was going to mow lawns, so mowers,” he said.
He came up with the tagline, “Treating your lawn like royalty.”
Ryder’s mom said she is proud of her son for setting his sights on a goal and following through on it.
“He works really hard," Christina said. "He doesn’t like a lot of things, but when he does, he works really hard. He loves cutting the grass, and he’ll look and be like, ‘No, we’ve got to fix this, or we’ve got to do whatever. It’s a good thing that he’s going after what he wanted to do. Even if it’s maybe a year or two years, or whatever, and he changes his mind, he invested in it.”
She also said the timing of Ryder starting the business is perfect; working outside after spending a lot of the last year inside.
“This past year they were at home, and he wasn’t outside, he likes the A/C, and of course the gaming. So, I’m glad he’s getting out there,” Christina said.
Ryder doesn’t typically work during the heat of the day, but summers in South Texas provide hot work days no matter what time he works. Ryder takes breaks to drink water and cool off in the shade when necessary, but always gets the job done.
“My family, once we start, we don’t give up,” he said.