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Meet Morgan Huston of Birdsall & Co. in South Broadway/Englewood and RiNo

Today we’d like to introduce you to Morgan Huston.

Morgan, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I was raised by two entrepreneurs in the landscaping industry, so childhood summers were spent planting annual containers and dragging hoses around. After college, I lived in New York City for a couple of years, working in the non-profit world. But the entrepreneurial mindset was hard to ignore and I came back to Denver when the family bought Birdsall & Co. from its original owner in 2012. We were lucky to have acquired a business that had already made a name for itself in the city for over 25 years, but we saw an opportunity to transform the little shop. We moved from our tiny space in Antique Row to a larger space in Englewood, which allows us to have a truly inappropriate amount of inventory, especially for containers and fountains. We’ve seen a huge uptick in the number of younger, more millennial customers at our Broadway store looking for indoor plants and smaller scale outdoor decor for their condos and starter homes, so it was a natural move to start considering a Birdsall location in RiNo. We could not be more thrilled with the enthusiasm for our new store with this different demographic!

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Absolutely nothing is smooth in a seasonal business, but I guess I sort of like it that way! We face pretty significant seasonality in our business, but we have majorly increased our selection of indoor plants, gifts, and decor to counter that and we’ve been truly surprised at the success we have had. We stock the store with ornaments, decorations, and gifts during the holidays, which is also increasingly successful year to year. Everyone who has moved their physical location is confronted with recurring nightmares about whether their customers will follow them and if their customer base will expand as a result, and we were no different when we moved our Broadway store farther south. That said, we realized that we are in truth a destination store; people will make the time to come to us, whether they just want to browse through our plants or they are in the market for containers or a fountain. (Which is super flattering.) And just like any retail establishment that appeals to a higher end market for the majority of our sales, we are often at the whim of the market and the state of the economy. Denver is an amazing place to have a business like ours though; we have a strong economy that allows us to sell higher end garden products to a large customer base, but we also have a community that really believes in supporting local, small business.

So, as you know, we’re impressed with Birdsall & Co. – tell our readers more, for example, what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
Birdsall & Co. specializes in high-end garden decor, which encompasses containers, fountains, furniture, statuary, birdbaths, and much more. While we are increasingly known for our decor, gift, and indoor plant items, these larger items are what we are known for. I place direct container orders every year from small factories in Vietnam and China, where our containers are quite literally handmade and glazed by hand. This model allows us to bring in custom containers, in color and shape combinations that are exclusively ours. We pride ourselves on having the biggest container selection in the state, if not the region. We carry cast stone fountains, granite/basalt fountains, and a line of zinc fountains we import from Hungary; during the height of the season, we can have upwards of 200 fountains running among the thousands of containers. We have anything from estate sized tiered fountains to sizes perfect for small backyards. We specialize in teak outdoor furniture, which is perfect for the Colorado climate because of its natural oils. Teak is timeless, almost by default, and we bring in both classic styles and more modern/design-forward pieces to suit all tastes.

We have a very small staff of five to six full-time people split between the two locations, but our goal is always to provide a super hands-on, personalized experience for our customers, especially when it comes to making decisions about fountains and containers. We know our products, and those we can source, inside and out, and I like the challenge of helping customers find exactly what they’re envisioning for their spaces. We work very closely with the trade, including landscape architects, builders/developers, and interior designers; one of my favorite things is to get involved in a project and do research on products to help our trade partners find the perfect piece. We also do a huge amount of special orders; customers can order exactly what they want, at no extra cost to them.

There’s a saying floating around the internet: “When you buy from a small business, an actual person does a little happy dance.” We actually do this! We take this business very personally, and we are here to be problem solvers. People who shop at a small business appreciate the personal connection, and by doing that, we create our own little community centered around the shop.

So, what’s next? Any big plans?
Since we just opened up our second location this year, our goal this year will be to get that shop onto solid footing; that way, we can focus on our third location! Our goal has always been to create a scalable model that can translate to different markets around the country, and we have our sights set on the Southwest or the Pacific Northwest for our next venture.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Campania International, Colorado Homes & Lifestyles Magazine, The Denver Post

Getting in touch: VoyageDenver is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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