“I think true success is intrinsic … It’s love. It’s kindness. It’s community.”
~ Tom Shadyac, filmmaker
By Mary O’KEEFE
Love, kindness and community are three words that can easily describe Scott Toro.
On Feb. 26, without warning, Scott passed away from heart disease after receiving a clean bill of health after an EKG (electrocardiogram) was performed only days before.
“It was undiagnosed,” said Laura Toro, his wife of 36 years.
Laura drifts from a world where her husband is still with her, laughing with customers, teasing employees, taking time to speak and listen to everyone who came into his shop, to the harsh reality of his passing.
Scott, along with Laura, was owner and operator of Toro’s Lawnmower, Garden and Chain Saw Center.
“The business has been here for 46 years. Scott and I have owned it for 35 of those years,” Laura said.
They purchased the business from Scott’s father. Toro’s Lawnmower is located at 3228 Foothill Blvd. and its bright green building that can be seen down the small hill driveway has become as much of an icon for the Crescenta Valley as the surrounding mountains.
Despite the competition from big box stores like Home Depot, Toro’s has not only survived but thrived. The shop works with everyone, from Los Angeles County to Santa Clarita, and Forest Lawn. What Laura calls their “little footprint” is actually quite sizable for a small business.
Over the years the couple expanded their reach to sell and service everything that has to do with outdoor power equipment and everything needed to “beautify” a yard, Laura said. This is important to note because it explains the reach that Scott had into the community and beyond and why so many are making a special trip to the business to share their condolences.
“He knew so many people,” Laura said.
People from Glendale Fire Dept., LA County Fire, Forest Lawn and Santa Clarita Parks Dept. have all come into the shop with flowers and condolences; all say they are shocked by Scott’s sudden passing.
“It feels like a hug,” Laura said of all the people coming into the business to share stories of Scott.
Scott’s business life seems a bit reminiscent of the 1990s television show “Home Improvement” with Tim “The Toolman” Taylor. So much of his life was surrounded by power tools, good friends and jokes.
“Scott got along with everybody. Customers would come into the store to just talk,” Laura said. “People would come in and he would always take the time to talk.”
From the delivery guy to a senior who came in to get help sharpening blades, Scott always had time. At the core of the business was customer service and Scott took that very seriously because this was his community.
Scott was raised in Crescenta Valley, graduated from CV High School, and raised his family here. So when he did things like give discounted or even free services to seniors it was not because they were just customers, they were neighbors. Although his business was growing neither he nor Laura ever entertained the idea of leaving.
“Our daughter went to Village Christian, then Lincoln Elementary, Rosemont Middle School and CVHS,” Laura added. “Leaving never occurred to us.”
That connection to community is why so many are sharing the Toros’ grief. It is not just department members but residents who are stopping by or sending flowers.
Laura and daughter Kimberly, family and Scott’s employees are dealing with the loss as best they can.
“He would always have a joke, always laughing … He would greet [the employees] every single morning and ask how they were doing,” she said.
Scott was also a member of the Crescenta Valley Sportsman Club, another group whose members have come to visit and give their condolences.
“I can’t believe the huge outpouring of support,” Laura said, then added as she joked through the tears, “Married 35 years; I was just getting used to him.”
Scott’s memorial will be on April 8 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. People are invited to come at their leisure to Crippen Mortuary, 2900 Honolulu Ave. Memorial donations can be made to Ducks Unlimited. An interactive online memorial tribute page for Scott Toro can be viewed at www.crippenmortuary.com.