Most people wouldn’t associate starting a pest control service with a love story.
But, once they meet Ed and Bonnie Tekampe of Valrico,there’s little doubt that love played an integral role in founding their new family-owned business, TnT Termite & Pest Control Service.
Married for 33 years, the couple raised their two sons in River Hills on Ed’s salary with a national pest control company he’d worked at for more than 20 years.
Then a few months ago, their world fell apart. A victim of a flagging economy, Ed was laid off from his full-time job.
The setback was only momentary for the Tekampes. With Ed’s expertise in pest control and business, and Bonnie’s background in marketing, they immediately regrouped, deciding to open their own independent pest control service.
“It was something we talked about doing off and on for a long time,” said Ed. “I’ve been wanting more of a presence locally. Being laid off just made the decision for us.”
“One of the thrills about doing this is we’ll be able to live, work and play right here in the community we love so much,” said Bonnie, who has her own business selling Miche purses.
“It was kind of the perfect storm,” said Ed. “With my expertise in the business and Bonnie’s marketing background and knowledge of the community, we had the resources to make this work.”
The couple began making plans to open their business, TnT (representing Tekampe and Tekampe) Termite and Pest Control. “Our motto is ‘Dynamite customer service,'” said Bonnie.
Then the Tekampes got more bad news two months ago. Doctors discovered a mass in one of Ed’s kidneys.
“Just as we were getting things set up to launch the business, we get this news,” said Bonnie. “We didn’t know what was going to happen. Everything was up in the air.”
Fortunately, the mass hadn’t grown beyond one kidney. Surgeons were able to remove the kidney and pronounced Ed cancer free.
“I really appreciate the support of our friends and neighbors,” said Ed. “Everyone has been very supportive.”
The Tekampes are now back on track, launching their new enterprise last week.
“We’re thrilled to be able to serve the Brandon, FL community that we love,” said Bonnie, who is involved in several networking groups as well as the Greater Brandon Community Foundation and the Greater Brandon Chamber of Commerce.
“We have so many friends and resources right here in our community at our disposal,” she said.
But the Tekampes said the key to the success of any business is passion.
“You have to feel very passionate about what you do, and we feel passionate about providing the best service possible,” said Bonnie.
“While Ed takes care of the business end, I plan to do a lot of educational and marketing to the community,” she said.
TNT provides both residential and commercial pest and termite control.
“Unlike the national companies, these are our friends and we’ll be working to provide the best service possible to our friends and neighbors,” said Bonnie.