The year was 1980. Interest rates were sky-high, the world was in a recession and two young landscape design graduates from South Dakota State University decided to launch a dream on the south side of Mitchell.
Today, Jeff Heppler and John Bush celebrate 40 years as owners of James Valley Landscape Solutions, one of the community’s most recognized small businesses. James Valley Landscape Solutions now occupies 5.5 acres of land on Spruce Street, with over 10,000 square feet of greenhouse space. The thriving business employs over forty full-time, seasonal and part-time employees.
As the two business partners reflect on the past forty years, they fondly recall a life full of sacrifices, good people and a lot of fun times.
“My dad, Ken, was starting his own feed supply business so we joined forces. We operated both businesses out of the same old farmhouse through that first decade,” says Heppler. “The SBA was loaning money to women, so my mom, Carmen, became a partner in order to obtain a start-up. John and I lived and worked out of that farmhouse until I married Deanna and John married Connie in 1982. Deanna and I continued to live there and raise our family until 2011.”
Old photos show progress through the years: the first greenhouse, a garage for the nursery stock, new trucks and tractors and the addition of valuable employees who made everything possible.
“When we first started, our goal was to provide the highest quality landscaping and horticulture products,” says Heppler. “As the company grew, it became obvious that good people are the most important business ingredient. We’re most proud of the people we’ve worked with and mentored over the years—some of them are still a valuable part of the JVLS family today.”
Over the years, James Valley Landscape Solutions has been an avid community advocate, sponsor and supporter. The company has been involved with the Abbot House, The Mitchell Area Safehouse, Prehistoric Indian Village, the Veterans Memorial and many local organizations.
“The Mitchell community has been wonderful. We have enjoyed the most loyal customer base we could ever imagine,” says Heppler. “We are happy to give back to a community that has given us so much.”
The company is celebrating 40 years in business through the month of October with a new decade of savings each week, contests and drawings, customer appreciation days on October 23-24 and a VIP party.