When Roland Richardson retired from Toledo Edison in 2005 after 33 years with the company, he created a budget to see how comfortably he could live on his retirement funds. Arriving at the conclusion that he could use a little extra money, and, as someone who always prefers to have an ongoing project, Richardson decided to begin a landscaping company, MP & Son Landscaping (the MP stands for “meat and potatoes”).
“In our landscaping work, we use perennials, shrubs, and trees for the landscape jobs, and about half of the plants that we use are grown at Fangboner Farms,” Richardson explains. “In the beginning for MP & Son, we had some tough times, but— after 15 years— we’re doing very well.”
One of MP & Son’s biggest customers is the Lucas County Land Bank, which employs the company to enhance properties that have often been neglected for years. The work is rewarding for Richardson, beautifying city neighborhoods that need it most.
In 2009, he co-founded Fangboner Farms, a company that carries home remedies (many created by his daughter, Kristal Richardson, a naturopathic doctor), soy wax candles, herbal teas, and spice blends. Now, in 2021, you’ll find Fangboner Farms products in local venues like Boochy Mama’s Natural Living Boutique, Clara J’s Tea Room, Maker’s on Main and others. Expanding product selections with baked goods and skincare products with a steady stream of new scents and flavors added to their popular offerings.
It’s taken the business time to become established, but Richardson is happy with its growth over the years. His advice for anyone who wants to start a business is “be prepared for failure. Be prepared for financial shortages and hardship. If you want to build something, and it is worth building, you have to stick to it.”
Though he focuses primarily on the landscaping side of the business, his daughter— Elizabeth Richardson— is now the CEO of both MP & Son and Fangboner Farms. Roland plans to move on from his involvement with the landscaping, to relax and fully focus on what he loves doing most: Making homemade wine, which you can sample at Fangboner Farms upon request.
I have always wanted to: Own my own business.
What do you admire in people? Reliability and showing initiative.
What plant / flower is your favorite at Fangboner Farms? Hostas are big at the farm, but I also love ornamental onions because of their purple blooms. We have a flower bed at the farm called Purple Valley that has a wide variety of purple perennials.
One of my proudest accomplishments: My work at Toledo Edison, specifically being able to reconcile difficult problems in accounting. I had the task of going back over several years of transactions. With another guy working along with me, we took six weeks to do it and we nailed it! I’m proud of fixing those kinds of problems.
What are the words you live by? When funds are low and debts are high, and you want to smile but you can’t, rest if you must, but don’t quit.
Favorite movie: Back to School with Rodney Dangerfield.
Most interesting place you’ve visited: The naval base in Charleston, South Carolina, where I’m originally from.
A place you’d like to visit, but have never had the chance: Anywhere in the Caribbean.