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updated: 8/27/2013 8:45 AM

Paving, landscaping firm grows in suburbs, North Shore

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An interview with Javier Huerta & Jesus Maldonado, co-owners of J. Brick Paving & Landscaping Inc.

Q: Describe your business. What do you do?

A: We do complete landscape and hard-scape services, installations and design. We do paver patios, driveway walks, steps and water fixtures, retaining walls, including flag-stone, blue-stone and complete landscape maintenance, design and installation.

Q: What made you start your business?

A: Working for other companies as a foreman, one day I just bought a truck and started looking for site jobs. After pounding the proverbial pavement, I eventually had enough work to quit my "day job" and ultimately never looked back. Also, I was working as foremen for another company, when my direct boss passed away unexpectedly. That incident taught me that life could change without warning. I decided right there and then that even though it meant taking more risk, I wanted to have some control over my career destiny and decided to take a bet on myself, knowing that I could produce beautiful landscapes and hard-scapes to grow my business.

Q: What has been the most difficult obstacle in running a small business?

A: The biggest challenge for us is weathering the slow periods. Since our business is also seasonal, we have to make sure that we maximize our work "in-season" so to speak because slow stretches can be the death of a business. Finding that balance is critical. We provide snow plowing during the winter months to offset the quieter months of the year.

Q: What areas do you service?

A: We service Lake and Cook counties including the North Shore and Chicago area.

Q: Is this what you pictured yourself doing when you were young?

A: That's hard to say. My dad had always been a masonry and I helped him a lot and interestingly, here I am doing the same work - slightly different but still, very similar. I always loved construction and even though I still dream of adding "engineer" to my resume one day, I am so passionate about my work each and every day.

Q: When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up?

A: Down in Mexico, I did not receive enough education to become an engineer, which slowed my path to getting to where I am. However, I wouldn't change a thing. I have a great wife and children and the best partner in Jesus. He's like a brother.

Q: What keeps you up at night?

A: When we're out of season and things slow down, I am concerned not just for my family and partner and his family, but for my "guys" who bust their tails working so hard to feed their families too.

Q: If you could give one tip to a rookie business owner, what would it be?

A: Never allow any challenge to become an obstacle. Know that when you work hard and treat your clients and employees with respect and dignity, they will not only appreciate your integrity, they will stick around, even when conditions are not ideal or challenges show up. Ultimately, everybody wins.

• Every Monday we feature a small, suburban business. We want to hear about yours. Contact Kim Mikus at kmikus@dailyherald.com.

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