Livingstone Outdoor is getting ready to welcome customers to Brandon’s newest Garden Centre specializing in everything for outdoor living.
Livingstone Landscaping expanded the retail side of its business and moved to an ample space beside the 18th St. bridge. Livingstone Outdoor lives on just over four acres of land just east of the bridge (the former North American Lumber site). It is 30,000 square feet of the indoor retail area. Including three large greenhouses full of plants, a seasonal centre for landscaping materials, landscaping tools and equipment, pavers, and landscaping supplies. With a storefront that welcomes visitors to Brandon’s newest, most significant shopping environment.
The expansion has created 20 new jobs, bringing the part-time and full-time contingent to 95 staff members.
Livingstone Outdoor is the brainchild of co-owners Josh, Matt, and Michelle Berg.
It all began in the ‘90s when Matt started working for landscaper Drew Livingston at 14. Four years later, he bought the home-based business and "bought myself a job in the process."
His younger brother Josh started working with Matt in his spare time while in high school. Upon Post education at ACC, he became a full partner and has helped manage the company from there. During this time, Matt was attending Brandon University; he met his future wife Michelle, who also was in the Business Administration Program.
Very quickly, the Bergs realized Livingstone Landscaping had outgrown its Park Avenue headquarters. Together the trio worked hard with the help of a fantastic team to build the company, many of whom have built careers with Livingstone.
After ten years in that location, they decided to split off the retail side and give it a much larger home base. One would serve professional contractors and do-it-yourselfers by providing all the tools, equipment, and materials to create fabulous outdoor spaces.
And that meant finding more room.
"We’d been keeping our eyes open for years looking for a spot," Matt says. "We first saw this spot (on Byng Ave.) seven years ago, but it was out of our price range. Finally, the stars aligned, and we were able to purchase it in November 2019."
Their goal was to renovate and open the new retail centre in 2020, but pandemic regulations led to restrictions.
COVID-19 also necessitated changes to the store design, such as more expansive aisles and separate entrances and exits to allow customers to distance themselves while shopping socially.
Then, when the 18th Street bridge reconstruction project got going, it changed the size and scope of the Livingstone development, requiring them to come up with a new layout quickly.
But those challenges are all water under the bridge as the Bergs prepare to open their doors to a population that’s been stuck indoors for too long and is hungry for the promise of fun in the sun this summer.
As Michelle points out, Livingstone Outdoor is much more than a store for yard beautification products.
"We’ve got the creativity to help customers understand and create their amazing projects, and we have the technical expertise from being in the field for several decades, and we have trained staff with experience. It’s a diversified offering that wasn’t available until this point."
For customers who can’t visit the store in person or who prefer the convenience of shopping online, an e-commerce website is also on the way www.livingstoneoutdoor.com.
The site, LivingstoneOutdoor.com, will let customers browse thousands of products, order online, request local delivery, curbside pickup, or shipping.
Meanwhile, the company’s social media channels will share instructional videos, gardening tips and tricks, and new product updates, among other helpful offerings.
Michelle says, "People often go online before they go shopping. They even search for products while they’re in the store. With the nature of business in this day and age, the website is integral for us to be in the forefront of the market."
The Berg’s say they’re looking forward to finishing Livingstone Outdoor’s expansion phase so they can open the doors and get back to doing what they love: helping people create their dream oasis for outdoor living.
This article is produced by the Advertising Department of the Brandon Sun, in collaboration with Livingstone Outdoor