Small Business Owner, Unhoused Man Team Up for Business Success


Business owners don’t always follow conventional hiring practices. And for one landscaping business in the San Antonio, Texas area, that decision really paid off.

Chad Huff is the owner of Chad’s Landscaping, which has been operating for more than 20 years. However, when the business was just starting, Huff had a difficult time finding reliable employees.

That’s what led him to hire an unhoused man he met in a field shortly after launching the business. That man was Walter Madden, who had lived on the streets for 11 years before landing the job with Chad’s Landscaping.

At the time, Huff didn’t have high hopes for his new hire, but he needed the assistance. And Madden needed the work. Since he was so grateful for the opportunity, he worked incredibly hard and became one of the most dependable members of the team.

Now, more than 20 years later, Madden still works for the company, at 76 years old.

While Madden is still incredibly grateful for the opportunity he was given, Huff is perhaps equally thankful for the years of dedicated service. Though he didn’t set out to hire someone who would still be on his team 20 years later, he now recognizes what a huge difference this one decision made on his business.

Huff described Madden in a conversation with CNN Newsource/KENS/WKRC, “Always there. The guy that I needed to stick by my side to get this business going.”

Not all businesses will be lucky enough to find an employee like this in a field. But it’s worth noting that this great asset to the business wouldn’t have been possible if Huff didn’t keep an open mind. Although he didn’t expect much of the initial interaction, he allowed Madden to prove him wrong and that ultimately is what allowed the pair to grow together and support the new business.

Image: Depositphotos

Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 12 years. Annie covers feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. She has a bachelor’s degree from Columbia College Chicago in Journalism and Marketing Communications.