A Family’s Dream and Team Effort
Jonathan Bush first contacted the Penn State SBDC in 2001. At that time, he had been laid off from his position at a local manufacturing company. For many years prior, he had been doing odd jobs—painting, drywall work, mowing, landscaping, snow removal—and thought that it might be time to turn that side business into a full-time venture. His sons, who were in their early teens at the time, were excited to be able to work with their dad. Over the years, they were able to purchase additional equipment and hire new employees to allow them to grow the business.
Being a home-based business had some disadvantages. The dining room table was the “office.” They didn’t have much room to store or service their equipment. If customers wanted to see their display pond and gardens, the Bushes would have to open their home to guests. Finally, there was no way that they could offer bulk landscaping supplies for sale.
In 2011, Jon and his son, Caleb, pulled together a plan for a significant expansion of the business. They wanted to open a retail garden center and gift shop to complement their landscaping services. They found a suitable location and had an architect design a building. This became a group effort, with their wives and office manager offering input and helping to write a business plan. Finally, they started to look for financing for the project.
Jon had reached out to the SBDC on numerous occasions over the first decade that his business was in existence. If a question would arise concerning taxes, hiring employees, or marketing, he would email or call for assistance. He attended several of the SBDC’s workshops. An SBDC consultant showed him how to process certain transactions and correct errors in QuickBooks. Finally, when they were writing a business plan for the expansion project, they asked the SBDC to review it and offer feedback.
In early 2012 the Bushes initiated conversations with their lender. Shortly afterwards, another property in the same area as the property that they had been looking at came on the market. It was an 1800s brick farmhouse on a very busy street just blocks from both Lowe’s and Wal-Mart. The financial projections were reworked to show the acquisition and start-up costs at this location, which had a much lower asking price. The project was attractive for the lender and it was funded.
After taking possession of the building, the Bushes immediately transformed the grounds into a beautiful garden with a pond, waterfall, and paver walkways. The entire first floor of the home was remodeled, stocked full of seasonal gifts. Bushmen Landscaping @ Home officially opened on August 13, 2012. A ribbon-cutting grand opening was held on September 22, 2012.
Inventory of the gift shop changes for every season and holiday. This spring saw the addition of bins for mulch and other landscaping supplies. Bushmen Landscaping @ Home has become a destination for local residents and tourists in the market for unique gifts, home accessories, and garden supplies.