From Sawdust to Sparkles
Leona Skiles’ Little Fixes is making a big splash in the world of home repairs—and it all started with a little bit of kindness
An air-conditioning diagnosis in July of 2020 would change Leona Skiles’ life forever. Her house had been so hot that she and her daughters had been sleeping on the couch. But when she finally called for help and the repairman arrived, he announced that the bill to repair the unit would be $2,600. Leona burst into tears. It wasn’t just the AC that had gone — her hot water heater, dish-washer, and refrigerator had died, too.
“When getting divorced I had no idea how hard single parenting would be,” she says. “I had no idea the challenges I would face.” But one Friday, while working at a hospital in CAT scan, it was her turn to stay overnight to cover a coworker’s shift and she found out very quickly how tough the decisions were starting to be.
“It was 4:30 p.m. My two girls were 5 and 7, and I had no family or anyone to pick them up from after-school care,” Leona says. “I was given the choice to keep my job and stay or leave and get my kids.”
Needless to say, she chose her kids. By the next week, Leona landed in real estate, a job where she could take her kids to closings, showings, and meetings. Just as she started doing well, the pandemic began. She would lose contracts while homeschooling her kids, working, and trying not to lose her house. By July, she was broke and exhausted and her appliances died.
“That afternoon in front of the repair-man, the tears wouldn’t stop. I was down to my last hundred bucks and I was just tired,” she recalls. “But I am here to tell you I believe in angels on Earth. Not only did a perfect stranger fix my AC for free, he fixed my dishwasher, my fridge, and my hot water heater. That repairman’s one act of kindness changed my whole life trajectory.”
It was in those moments Leona knew she wanted to start a business to pay it forward, to help other single moms who might be struggling with the leaky faucet, the broken shelf, or the bi-fold closet door hanging off the track.
“It’s a very vulnerable feeling as a single mom to have someone that you don’t know come into your home and then trust that they are not over-charging or taking advantage of you,” she says. “I wanted to design a company to send someone safe and trusted into your grandmother’s house, or to the home of that single mom who is at rock bottom and needs affordable and trustworthy people to come help. They need someone to show up for them.”
Leona recruited her own team of repairmen to get started while she continued in real estate. Then in December of 2020, in the midst of Covid, she started Little Fixes.
Her first week in business, she was fully booked. Three years later, with manager Selena Wolfenbarger working alongside her, the business is thriving. “When people call in, Selena is their first point of contact, getting things scheduled and making sure all their needs are met,” Leona says. Then she sends out her team of repairmen and women to serve individuals, restaurants, small businesses, property managers, realtors, renters, builders and more.
“A phrase I have said a lot is, ‘I didn’t know what I didn’t know about starting a business.’ I just knew I had this vision of helping single moms,” Leona says. “It’s the little fixes that make the biggest difference.”
Silver Winner : Handyman Services