If it hasn’t been made evident by now, we love people here at AAT! We love hearing about their stories and passions for our community, but we also love hearing about what our fellow locals do and why they do it! For example, we have some wonderful neighbors who own/manager some fantastic local businesses and serve our town tremendously by doing so! This fact is why AAT has partnered up with our good friends at Duke’s Diesel Repair, to bring you all “Small Business Fridays!” Each week, we’ll feature a different, local small business and talk with its owner and hear about their journey, their business in general, as well as their heart for their customers and our city
This week, we’re joined by one of the coolest business owner, husband and wife teams around! When I (Anthony Crosby) showed up at their place for the interview, they handed me a beer, introduced me to their friends/co-workers who were there relaxing after a hard day’s work and quickly made me feel like part of the group. However, not only did they have a welcoming character about them, it became apparent, once we started chatting, that they’re very knowledgeable about their trade!
The business I’m talking about it Battle Born Tree Trimming, owned by Scotty and Jess Steninger! Scotty grew up here in the Elko area, and Jess came here from San Diego, with her full-time job intact, a few years ago. Together, they run a young but successful tree service company with six men out in the field and Jess running things on the backend!
Thank you so much for joining us this week, Jess and Scotty! I know that Battle Born Tree Trimming is quite busy and even booked out for a fair amount of time! So, we appreciate you fitting us in between climbs and chainsaw cuts! Take us back to the “roots” of your business! How did everything come to be?
Scotty– When I was in my twenties, I went to culinary school, and I hated it after many years in the kitchen! I went to work for the Nevada Division of Forestry. When we weren’t fighting fires, our crew boss would show us how to climb trees. I moved back to Elko from Reno, about four years ago, and I realized there was a lot of demand for tree work here; the old tree trimmers of Elko had just retired! I bit the bullet and started the company!
Jess– We met, going on four years ago. I was in San Diego when I met Scotty and followed him up here. I started building the backend of the business with him. And since we’ve started working on this together, it’s been lucrative! The growth has been insane! We have found a real honey pot here, and you wouldn’t think that about Northeastern Nevada. But the whole town is covered in trees, and Scotty is good at what he does!
What would you say you guys are all about at Battle Born Tree Trimming? What kinds of standards are you working by?
Scotty- We are all for promoting the proper care and health of trees! We want to preserve the trees we do have, and you have to have a lot of knowledge to do that. The science of arboriculture is always evolving, and it’s hard to study something when it takes sixty years to study the right way.
Jess- It’s really only a hundred-year science! So, we have to be all about preservation for the beauty, longevity, and health of the tree. We do what we do not only because we love it, but we know that this can make our surroundings and our community even more beautiful.
Scotty- We love trees! We’re all about the tree life! During the week, we’re all about trees at work. On the weekends, we’re traveling around, climbing other trees, and hanging with other tree climbers from around the country! And I think Elko has really enjoyed it so far!
How does it work, practically, when people need your service?
Scotty- People will call us. And then we (Jess and himself) will go out, take a look at the job, and then give an estimate.
Jess– With everything else we have going on, it can make for some long days, but that’s just part of the joys when it comes to owning your own small business!
What’s something you love most about your work, Scotty?
Scotty- I get to employ and make a livelihood with and for my closest friends! Every day we go out to work never feels like work. We’re hanging out outside; we’re in a new yard every day! And the thing about trees is that no two trees are ever the same. It’s always a huge puzzle!
What’s something that we need to know about the tree service industry that many of us may never have considered?
Scotty- There’s a reason that logging and tree service is the third deadliest industry in America. It’s because nobody is properly trained on how to do it. Even here in Elko, I’ve seen people pull up in a pick-up truck, with some ropes and a chainsaw they got at Cal-Ranch and think they can do it. But it takes a lot of training, and I personally train all of our guys.
Jess- It’s a dangerous profession. I’m sending my husband up a tree, in tight conditions, with a chainsaw, on a rope! He risks his life every day to make sure that you have something beautiful to appreciate for years and years. It can be expensive because of those reasons, but we do things the right way and safely! You’re going to love the product that you have when he’s done. Someone called him the tree ninja, once!
How has it been bringing your tree-honoring mindset to the Elko area as a relatively younger business?
Scotty- When we first started, there was a huge learning curve. Every estimate that we went to, people wanted their trees topped. They just wanted them cut in half! But that’s a bad practice. We had to have a twenty-minute conversation with the clients about the science and why that’s bad. We can lose our license by doing that kind of stuff.
Jess- However, a lot of people appreciated being educated and us having that stewardship over the trees.
Scotty- We provide safety and health for the trees instead of making it worse. The only other option is removal, but we try not to remove trees as much as possible.
Wonderful! Thank you again for speaking with us this week, Scotty and Jess! Is there anything else you’d like to share before we let you get back to work?
Jess- We do this because we love it! Yes, the guys have fun every day, and it’s a profitable business, but we do truly care about this community! We’re not going out there just looking to make a buck. We actually do care about keeping our area beautiful. It’s something to be proud of.
Scotty- We are about that tree life! We care about trees and making customers happy. And when you make the tree happy, the customer is always happy!
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Until next time, we’ll see you around, Elko!