Maumee grad building upon her dad’s dreamWritten by Brandi Barhite | Associate Editor | email@example.com
Jessica Rainey took the long road home.
She returned to Northwest Ohio in 2006, but not before suffering through many hard-learned lessons along the way.
Rainey graduated from Maumee High School in 1999 and then attended Miami University, but did not graduate.
“I didn’t make the smartest decisions, but it is my past, and the bottom line is, I made the decisions. I put partying above schooling,” Rainey said.
After Miami, she moved to Vermont where her sister lived, and she worked for Ann Taylor Loft. Ten months later, she transferred to another Ann Taylor job in Cincinnati, where she stayed three months.
It was a pattern she started at age 16: a new job nearly every year.
Restaurants and hotels were where she mainly landed, including Charlie’s Throttle Stop, TGI Friday’s, Waffle House and Bob Evans.
Along the way, she became a single mother, while still trying to figure out how to stop having jobs and start having a career.
When her stepfather, Brian Stavermann of Maumee, started Go Green Outdoors, nearly one year ago, her professional world began to take shape. The lawn and landscaping business was her dad’s longtime dream, but it soon became her focus, too.
In addition to taking care of the office work and bookkeeping, Rainey decided it was time to go back to school. She started full time at Owens Community College in January, majoring in small-business management.
“I was inspired to do that because of what I was doing with Dad,” said Rainey, now 28. “One day, I would love to open my own business and figure out how to make his business more successful.”
Despite the economy, Rainey said the lawn and landscaping business has been steady. It doesn’t hurt that her dad diligently does all the work himself and offers a variety of services that include mowing, seeding, full landscaping and building ponds.
Rainey is proud of her dad and the talent he has for designing, building and maintaining all things outdoors. It’s something they feared might flounder because people might trim flowers and trees from their budgets during a recession. Instead, Rainey said her dad can create an oasis, so when people cannot afford a vacation, they will still have their well-manicured backyards.
“I think his goal and dream and motivation is that he would like to make everyone happy through the beautiful things he envisions,” Rainey said.
Her dad is proud of Rainey. One day, she hopes to one day become his CFO and help market the business.
“She has been a great asset to the paperwork end of it,” he said. “And in more ways than one,” he is glad Rainey is back in town, back in school and working for his business.
“And she has that little blessing, her son,” he said.
Rainey said she tries to live by the motto of “no regrets.” With each job she has had, she has gained a new experience, which she can bring to her dad’s business and whatever else she decides to do with her life.
“Though you may not be happy about the decisions you made, it all shapes who you are and where you are at,” Rainey said. “I have a beautiful son. If I had made one different decision, I might not have had him.”
Rainey said staying busy is not a bad thing either. She finds that when she has too much time on her hands, it goes to waste. She goes to school during the day and works for her dad’s business in her down time. Three times per week, she works at The Neighbor’s restaurant in Waterville while her parents watch her son.
“He is getting more family love and attention, which is absolutely wonderful,” she said. “I am up at 7 a.m. and go to bed around midnight. It works out well. I am still getting my seven hours.”
Rainey also knows she is building a better a life for herself and her son now that she is a college student again. With her credits from Miami University, she expects to graduate in December.
“The degree behind you opens up some many doors. Everything I was interested in stated I needed at least a two-year degree. I would always put it off; saying, ‘I don’t have the money,’ or, ‘Oh, I will go next year.’
“Now is the time to go get the degree,” she said.