It’s been a big week for a small, woman-owned business in Philadelphia named Four Seasons Total Landscaping.
The 28-year-old landscaping company was thrust into the spotlight on Nov. 7, when president Donald Trump’s lawyers held a press conference there. Trump had first announced that the press conference would be held at the Four Seasons Hotel across town, apparently having assumed it would take place at a more upscale venue.
The internet wasted no time pointing out the deliciousness of Trump’s blunder, and soon Four Seasons Total Landscaping became an instant Philadelphia landmark—rising to the meme status bestowed on the huggable, red-sweater wearing undecided voter Ken Bone of last US presidential elections.
Media trucks and selfie hounds descended en masse at Four Season’s offices nondescript headquarters off the I-95 interstate. Fans are dropping off steaks, fruit baskets, and asking to renew their wedding vows in the parking lot where Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s attorney, held a press conference. There’s a Saturday Night Live skit about the locale, a VR simulation, and inevitably, a Zoom background. The company’s social media grew by several thousands.
After initially bristling at the avalanche of snarky jokes, Four Seasons decided to lean into the lunacy of the election debacle. In the process, it’s become a beacon for struggling small businesses affected by the Covid-19 pandemic shutdown.
Across the US, small businesses are among the hardest hit by the economic shutdown. A recent study by Yelp attests that nearly 100,000 independently-owned businesses have been forced to permanently close since March. In Philadelphia, 63% of small businesses suffered losses.
Four Seasons founder Marie Siravo has declined media requests for interviews but has launched a line of irresistibly kitschy merchandise bearing slogans like “Lawn and Order,” “In Sod We Trust,” and “Make America Rake Again.”
Siravo has also been featuring other women-owned businesses on her social media accounts, giving a boost to Beauty and Braidzzz, a braiding salon owned by her niece Nicole Macrone, and Peck’s Heavy Friction, a California-based truck supply company. “We are doing something new!” announced Siravo on Four Season’s Instagram. “Due to the tough year for small businesses, FSTL is going to try and give shout outs using our social media to help small businesses.”
Macrone explains that her aunt wanted to parlay the attention to benefit struggling businesses around town. “It was a fluke and they wanted to turn it to something positive,” she tells Quartz.
Macrone, who also teaches Spanish at a local high school, adds that Siravo has served as a role model when she was starting her business. “She built her business from the ground up. She told me to never look back.”