Every flower that’s planted, every weed that’s pulled, every bush that’s sculpted and every tree that’s trimmed improves a property’s curb appeal.
Homes and businesses with a great deal of curb appeal generally make for communities that are pleasant to look at, live in and visit.
Every year for almost three decades, Oxford Village has celebrated its curb appeal by handing out beautification awards to properties representing the best of the best when it comes to their appearance. This year is no exception.
Last week, six homes and three commercial properties were selected by the Beautification Commission to be honored.
The winners are:
• 614 Bay Pointe Drive owned by Ryan Silk.
• 695 Lakes Edge Drive owned by Laura Fabbro.
• 836 Leighton Lane owned by Jeff and Tammy Stewart.
• 10 Park St. owned by Gary Douglas and Midge Stewart.
• 36 Park St. owned by Dave and Harriet Delisle.
• 20 Pontiac St. owned by James and Cheryl Trudeau.
• 600 S. Glaspie St., the home of Acorn Stamping, owned by Bobby and Sandra Cox.
• 47 N. Washington St., the home of Unique Stuff, owned by Chuck Schneider.
• 91 S. Washington St., the home of Oxford Lakes Dental Care, owned by Drs. Daniel and Donna Sahutske.
The long-running awards program is designed to encourage people to spruce up or maintain their properties, which has the net effect of helping to beautify the entire village.
As can be expected, this year’s crop of winners was excited and honored to have a spotlight shined on their properties.
“It feels very rewarding,” said Jeff Stewart. “It validates that we (have been) moving in the right direction. Curb appeal is real important to us. We feel that the outside of the house is probably the first thing people are going to judge. No matter how beautiful (a home) is, if it looks like the Beverly Hillbillies on the outside, nobody’s going to want to come in and look at it when you put it up for sale.”
Stewart and his wife, Tammy, moved to the village from Richmond five years ago and this is their second beautification award. He noted that just recently their house was selected as one of 15 homes in the Oxford Lakes subdivision with the most curb appeal.
Stewart said when they first moved in, they devoted “probably 100 hours” to removing the existing vegetation and making improvements, including adding retaining walls, different levels, stones, mulch and plants. “You couldn’t tell that there was a (front) porch (because everything was so overgrown),” he noted.
During the growing season, Stewart said he and his wife spend their free time working in the yard.
“Every weekend, we’re doing something more,” he said. “We don’t have a cottage. We don’t take a lot of vacations. Our vacations are more like stay-cations. We just work on the outside . . . We both enjoy it. My wife has a good eye for the plants and I’m good for the physical labor.”
Because Stewart’s house sits at the corner of Leighton Lane and Oxford Lake Dr., there is some extra pressure to keep the backyard looking just as attractive as the front. Both yards are fully visible from the street.
“It’s a blessing and a curse because most everybody, if they’re worried about curb appeal, it’s just the front yard, but we’ve got the whole strip going down Oxford Lake Drive to also worry about,” he said. “(That makes just) as much (of) a first impression as the front of the house.”
Cox, who’s owned Acorn Stamping for 23 of the company’s 61 years, said winning a beautification award “feels pretty darn good.”
“We like making a good impression (on) our customers,” he said. “Curb appeal applies to businesses as well as homes . . . It tells the public, here’s a business that thinks quality is important, it’s a business that cares what people think about them. That’s the start of building trust.”
Cox explained “stamping is often looked at as kind of a dirty, noisy business.”
“We don’t want to portray that kind of image,” he said.
That’s why inside the 26,400-square-foot facility, Cox said they “take a lot of time and effort to keep (the place) clean,” while outside, they rely on the Attica-based Sunrise Services, owned by Kalvin Sutherby, to keep things in tip-top condition.
“We’ve used him for a long time,” Cox said. “He does good work.”
Acorn Stamping, which has 23 employees, has been located in the village since 2001 and Cox reports things are going very well.
“Last year, we set new records in total revenue, new records in total profit and new records in the amount of profit-sharing we did with our employees,” he said.
Cox noted that sales revenue “topped $5 million.”
“We’re obviously very proud of what we’ve been able to accomplish over the last 23 years,” he said.
Fabbro, who’s lived in the village for 30 years, was quite pleased by the news that she had won another beautification award. Her last one was in 2008.
“I’m very proud they chose (my) house again,” she said.
Fabbro puts a lot of personal time and effort into her landscaping because she thoroughly enjoys being outside, breathing fresh air and planting different flowers.
“A lot of people have the work done for them, but I do everything on my own, from the bushes right on down,” she said.
Fabbro believes a home’s curb appeal is important because it does say something about the owner.
“You drive by somebody’s house, you can see who takes the time and who does not,” she said.
The beautification awards will be presented in October.