From The Concrete Up

Written by: Geneva Nodland

When Luis Flores was 11-years-old, he worked a labor job on a family friend’s farmland with his uncles and cousins. When he was 16, he started working at American Crystal Sugar. Years later, he would prepare pounds of produce for a local restaurant, putting in hours of time. Next, he would discover a new trade and in the years to come, he would find himself a fresh 30-year-old, a dad, a new business owner and a man all too familiar with hard work.




Luis Flores registered Northside Concrete LLC in October and is officially starting jobs this month. But as most small business owners know, it has been no walk in the park. For Luis, it was every step that brought him here, and he wouldn’t change his course if it meant missing a part of his journey.

When you’re walking, there are clumps of mud on your boots. It was hard like that, you walk with that extra weight. But, you know, it taught us a good work ethic, they told us to keep up or get faster. And then, I got good at it. I was good at it.”

Luis started working on his relative’s farmland with his cousins, and while they got to spend time together and were getting paid, ultimately it was still a hard job. He continued his career with a similar job at 16 and worked for American Crystal Sugar Co, picking weeds from the beets. He worked for $7.25 an hour.

Later in life, Luis had a temporary job at the local restaurant, Mango’s Mexican and American Grill. He worked as their only chef for three, long and taxing months.

(Top Left) Luis Flores, (Top Right) Sarah Dutcher, (Bottom Left) Camila Flores, (Bottom Middle) Aviana Flores, (Bottom Right) Luis Flores Jr.

“That taught me how to cook food with more of the Mexican culture. But, I would chop big 50 pound bags of onions down… making the salsa from scratch and the tamales from scratch. I was doing all that, and I was the only cook there for three months so that put a big toll on me. I was cooking 20 meals at once… and I got nothing but good compliments on my cooking, but it was fast hard work in that industry.”

He was still only making just over a dollar more than he was previously but still working just as hard. That was until he launched into a different industry: construction.

Flashback to his school days. Luis became familiar with the value of money at a young age.

Last year Luis created an octagonshaped patio for one of his customers. If you have an idea or inspiration for a project, Luis brings an open mind and years of experience to the table.

“I played football, but couldn’t play it anymore because I couldn’t afford the equipment. [Same as] wrestling, or when it came to hockey. I would join it and start because there was nothing involved at first or when you’re younger they provided it. But as you get older, it became, you need to pay for this, you need to pay for travel, for these tournaments. And that’s where it ended for me.”

That isn’t to say he didn’t have any hobbies, Luis became very interested in art, a passion he still holds today. But that interest alone couldn’t hold his attention through his schooling.

“There are a lot of things that shaped me to where I’m at now. I never got to learn many of the talents that I could have been capable of doing and loving and enjoying in maybe a future career. I would have to say that because I didn’t go to activities, I wasn’t staying busy, I didn’t get to do sports—I grew up hanging out with the wrong crowd. And that’s just what happened, but I still made it out.”

Luis was the first in his family to graduate high school.

Flashforward to Luis discovering the industry of construction, uniting the hard work he was familiar with and the worthwhile pay he had been looking for.

“When I used to do these patios and side jobs when I had a regular job. I would be going to construction, working from six o’clock in the morning to five o’clock or six o’clock in the afternoon. Right after that, I’m going to my side job. Working from 6 o’clock to 10 o’clock, 11 o’clock at night and depending on the area, midnight.

That was a risk and that was scary. But the customers loved it. They’d say I was doing such a great job and that they were going to refer me. I kept getting more jobs and I just kept pushing it.”

Luis found he loved laying concrete, he designed and executed projects that his customers loved. But all too often Luis was doing the job of three workers by himself, and without the equipment that would make it easier.

“I didn’t have a Skidster, so I would use a shovel. I was out there with a wheelbarrow. Triple the work, but to me, it was everything. I did probably about 85% of my jobs with my shovel when I first started, that was dedication.”

Luis kept at it, counting on his years of hard work to support him, both mentally and physically. Although it may not always feel like it, hard work always pays off. A week after Luis’ 30th birthday, he was informed that he could get full custody of his children. At this time, he also had just decided to kick off his concrete business.

Now, he is building his family and his business, and he couldn’t be more excited.

Luis is passionate about customizable and unique projects. He has experience in specialized projects like a rose patio he is currently constructing. Find out more about Northside Concrete and contact Luis about projects on Facebook at NorthSideConcreteLLC.

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Geneva is an Editor at Spotlight Media and writes for Fargo Monthly, Trendsetters and Fargo Inc. She is also a professional photographer.