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This Charlotte landscaping business was in danger of going under. Then Lowe's stepped in.

The Mooresville-based company has so far given $20,000 grants to 26 Charlotte-area businesses with $55 million in grants to still give.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — A Charlotte landscaping business got its start as a way to help kids go to college. They were growing into a pretty successful company when the pandemic hit and they almost went under — but a grant saved them, and there's still money to go around for other small businesses in our area.

Kinson Desmangles was mentoring a neighborhood teen in 2016 and wanted to help him save for college when he came up with a way for the two to work together.

“Our neighbor threw away a lawnmower and I repaired it,” he said. 

Desmangles started Academic Landscaping as a side hustle while he himself was a student at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. The teen started saving cash for college, and the business started blossoming.

“People got word and we blew up from there," Desmangles said.

They started getting big clients like Camp North End. Early in 2020, they took out a loan to buy some new office space and equipment.

“And then things just stopped, the big project we were working on was delayed two months," Desmangles said. "We're small enough that we need every situation to work out we can't really afford a situation not to and so when it didn’t it really was quite stressful.”

Desmangles said the business almost went under — he and his employees were about to be unemployed when they won a grant from Lowe’s.

“They helped me sleep at night," Desmangles said. "They helped for us to stabilize things because it had been such a shock.”

The Mooresville-based company has so far given away half a million in grants — $20,000 grants to 26 Charlotte-area businesses with $55 million in grants to still give away. The grants are specifically for small businesses.

"There was a big gap in the market place for individuals to find monies – bigger businesses were able to find them considerably easier than minority-owned and small businesses," Lowe’s store manager Gary McCoy explained.

If you're interested in applying for one of these grants, click here.

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