Maintaining Your Outdoor Living Spaces

It’s said that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. In the case of Outdoor Concepts, a landscaping and equipment company that now employs more than 70 people, it began with Steve Gerber mowing the local Hardees after work in 1984.

At the time, Steve worked with his father and brothers at Gerber Lawn Service. However, taking on additional jobs let him make the “unsure, scary, exciting” transition in 1987 into full-time work at his own company – Steve’s Landscape Maintenance.

Steve and his wife Gayla initially ran this new venture out of their home. However, the company moved several times as it grew, settling in 2009 at its current location on State Road 1 in Bluffton. With this final move, the business changed its name to Outdoor Concepts Inc. (OCI). They’ve also opened an additional store in Muncie, now located near Ball State University.

Regarding the growth and location changes, the Gerbers say it was “exciting – we felt blessed to be able to do this with great employees.”

Both stores offer lawn and landscape equipment sales, parts and service, giving customers a one-stop shop for their equipment needs. They also carry landscaping supplies and lawn care products that are more affordable than those at big-box stores yet are of comparable or higher quality.

In addition, the Bluffton store preserves the original spirit of Steve’s Landscaping, offering property maintenance services and landscape consultations, design and installation. It also features a 30,000-square-foot nursery.

The business’s expansion might have surprised the Gerbers back in 1984.

“We never really had a plan, just a dream of a lawn and garden center with services,” Steve says. “It organically happened as new hires with different gifts and talents moved our company in ways we didn’t even dream or think of.”

Despite the changes, they still emphasize high-quality customer service.

“We have a great staff that is knowledgeable about our products and services,” Steve adds. “We train and expect our staff to acknowledge and welcome our customers quickly when entering our store. We value our employees and customers as OCI family.”

Outdoor Concepts also empowers people with the knowledge they need to care for the outdoors. One example is Steve’s free lawn and shrub bed classes, which he hosts several times a year.

“I love seeing customers being able to save time and money and being able to share our knowledge and experiences,” he says.

Influenced by their Christian faith, the Gerbers seek to use their business as a ministry, supporting local nonprofits and holding company-wide community service efforts. Moreover, employees receive paid community service days to volunteer for other organizations.

“We believe we are where we’re at because of God’s blessings in our life and on our business,” Steve says. “So naturally, we want to give back and help out those in need. We always have the philosophy of like Jesus said – ‘treat others the way you want to be treated’ and ‘love and care about others the way Jesus would.’”

While the business has grown beyond what the Gerbers imagined, it retains their passion for serving their community and customers with excellence. The next time you need equipment, supplies or just advice for maintaining your outdoor living space, consider stopping by Outdoor Concepts. They’ll be happy to see you.