Turning Acorns into Oak Trees
August 25, 2020 Projects
"We get to turn the ugliest home into the best-looking one in the area!"
Tee and Daisy Thepsourinthone know what it takes to bring an abandoned home back to life. In fact, they're so committed that they'll brave rot, mold, collapsed porches, old swimming pools, trees and vines overtaking the property, and yes, even the occasional torrential downpour to get the job done.
The Land Bank first got to know the couple after a property on Dickens Street in Toledo's Dorr-Richards neighborhood was abandoned. Shortly after the Land Bank became the owner, the team met to consider what to do next. For those who had inspected the property, there was no question: it was bad! Others saw a glimmer of hope. A friendly office wager for a free lunch was made. Would anyone step up and renovate this property?
Soon after marketing the property for sale and accepting Tee and Daisy's offer, it was clear: never bet against the Thepsourinthones. They transformed the property, uncovering a simple elegance that the neighbors hadn't seen for years with all the former overgrowth and decay.
"These projects mean a lot to us because we like to learn something new every day," they said in a recent interview. "We are so happy to hear the buyer say 'wow' when they walk into the house."
After showing how capable they are, the Land Bank has partnered with them on other projects over the years. They've helped save a property on Curwood Road in Springfield Township (pictured above) and other homes in south and west Toledo. They also purchased and renovated their own home in the Reynolds Corners neighborhood from the Land Bank. Right down the road from the business they own, Tee Oriental Food & Gifts, it was a perfect fit.
Asked about the worst part about these projects, they say there isn't one. "We love doing it."
The acorn metaphor says that if you provide the right conditions and support to a small seed, it is destined to grow into a magnificent oak tree. That's exactly what people like Tee and Daisy are doing by partnering with the Land Bank. The acorn of their investment is fostering a large and lasting opportunity for these properties and the neighborhood overall.
Why do they do what they do? For them, it is simple. "To improve the value of the community."
P.S. That lunch bet was paid with Subway.
This story is the sixth in a series as we Countdown to 1500 and showcase some of the great people who are working with the Land Bank to transform their lives and their neighborhoods.