Liberty Landscape Supply’s Mission to Beautify Bedford

Home to the National D-Day Memorial, Avenel Plantation, the Elks National Home and several other historic buildings and landmarks, Bedford is a town with deep roots and rich traditions. Like many historic towns, some buildings of yore have fallen into disuse with the passage of time. Some of them, however, get a second chance to thrive; such is the case with the historic Bedford Coal and Ice building on Grove Street, which is now the home of Liberty Landscape Supply.

Liberty Landscape Supply was founded by Bryan Schley and Scott Elliot in late 2015 and opened for business in March 2016 after extensive renovations to the Bedford Coal and Ice building. “Our building was owned by the town prior to us moving in and setting up shop,” says Ashby Perrow, general manager of Liberty Landscape Supply. “According to some old fire insurance maps, the building has been here since at least 1912, maybe earlier. Though the building was fairly rough looking structurally, it was pretty sound. New windows and doors, ductwork, electric and plumbing were installed. The façade of the building was spruced up with some accent parging and, of course, some landscaping. The renovations really allowed the building to retain its historical feel, which we think is fitting because Bedford is such a historic place.”

Liberty Landscape Supply sells mulch and stone, but it doesn’t stop there.

In addition to its unique housing, the business boasts nearly a mile of walking trails that allow visitors to see how different plant species work together before deciding what to buy for their own homes.

“We had discussed selling plants from the beginning,” Perrow says. “We also knew that we wanted to set up our nursery in a way that would really make for a great experience every time you visited Liberty Landscape Supply. When the adjoining pieces of property became available this past winter, we hit the ground running. Working with Landscape Architect David Bennett, we came up with the series of walking paths, bridges, gazebo and pond area that would showcase our plant displays.” Onsite work began this February, and the business was selling plants by mid-April.

A desire to both work with and enrich the community plays a central role in Liberty Landscape Supply’s offerings. Their gift shop features items from the Simply Southern Collection, but it also features crafts and wares from local artisans. Additionally, the business uses their warehouse for community events. “Last fall, we hosted a fundraiser for the Liberty High School football team with chili,” Perrow says. “We also had a fall event with Brunswick stew, pumpkin painting for the kids and specials on all of our gift shop items. We hope to continue with those events and host workshops and informative talks about gardening and landscaping.”

Liberty Landscape Supply also connects customers with local landscapers. “We help customers find landscape contractors here in Bedford to do work for them,” Perrow notes. “This is beneficial not only to the customers, but also to the hardworking folks here making a living in the landscaping field. We also source as much of our inventory locally as we possibly can, which obviously helps to grow our local economy.”

Although Liberty Landscape Supply prides itself on the variety and quality of their material offerings, Perrow said he believes that making these local connections and offering top-notch advice is what truly makes the business stand out.

“There was no place here in town to get plants as well as advice pertaining to landscaping prior to us filling that void,” Perrow says. “We hope to continue to build our customer base with a reputation for high-quality products and materials and, above all, top-quality customer service. We want to be the go-to place for the surrounding areas when it comes to filling the landscaping needs of homeowners and contractors alike. We want to create a welcoming space where folks want to spend time, not just their money.”

In an effort to create an even more welcoming atmosphere, Liberty Landscape Supply plans to renovate a small building at the center of their property and use it as both a potting shed where people can make their own container plantings and as a site for workshops. The business also hopes to add more landscaping and seasonal products in the future. “We would love to start carrying hardscape (retaining wall, patios) supplies and possibly even feature an in-house design team,” Perrow says. “We also want to sell Christmas trees, wreaths and decorations this coming holiday season.”

A Bedford native himself, Perrow takes personal pride in being part of a team that honors Bedford’s past while also beautifying and innovating its future. “Besides being lucky enough to spend the majority of my day outdoors working with beautiful plants, probably the most rewarding part of being at Liberty Landscape Supply is helping customers with plant choices and giving advice,” he says. “Being from Bedford County, a lot of our customers are friends, neighbors or even family, so it’s great to help them out any way we can. On a personal level, I love getting my hands dirty. It makes me happy to take a few plants, some mulch and some hard work and leave a space looking a little better than it did before I started. If I can lend myself to helping others find a little bit of that joy in their own lives, then it’s been a good day for me.”
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