LINVILLE — After nearly 20 years of conducting his landscape design business in an industrial area of Pleasant Valley, Andre Mast was ready to make a move. He opened the new headquarters of Mast Landscapes at 5420 Jesse Bennett Way in October 2011. The six-acre site is located off Va. 42, and includes a historic mill, a building that housed a grocery and gas station and a new rustic shop.
“I’d had my eye on a few sites, but this one really appealed to me,” said Mast, 48, who lives with his family nearby. “The mill and the bridge really attracted me to the property… it felt like a place where I could grow as a business center.”
The company offers design and installation of landscapes for residences and commercial buildings, but Mast sees the tranquil, historic location off Va. 42 with plenty of potential to become a “destination,” and to develop as a nursery and retail center.
A Singers Glen native and Eastern Mennonite School graduate, Mast developed an early interest in landscaping and attended Oklahoma State University, where he earned a degree in horticulture and landscape architecture.
“I like that it’s an art and a science,” he said. “You have to know the science of plants and how they grow, but also the art of selecting the right ones. With that kind of degree, you can run a garden center, provide maintenance, work on lawns… some are even more specific, like I have a friend who just does tree trimming. But I get the most satisfaction out of design/build, because you see growth and development and it’s creative.”
After working a few years, he opened his own business, often renting space with brother Chris Mast’s construction company, Mast & Brunk. In 1990, both companies headquartered in Pleasant Valley. In the first few years, business grew by “leaps and bounds,” but it’s stabilized now. The company employs seven people.
Mast also developed a subsidiary business, Great Trees Virginia, inspired by a joint project between the Virginia Urban Forestry Institute and Virginia Tech. The Remarkable Trees Project, completed in 2008, asked Virginia residents to nominate trees in their communities that were unique for their age, beauty, size or significance.
Planting trees that are of good quality stock and species well-suited to Virginia soils and climate are key to longevity, Mast said.
Many trees planted in the building industry are quick-growing, but weak stock, such as Bradford pears or silver maples, that are susceptible to insects or storm damage.
Great Trees Virginia “is more about doing business the way you want to do it,” he said. “I want to plant trees that are going to be around for years.”
He has the same idea with his business—and the move to the Linville site, close to home and rich with local history, is just one more way of putting down roots.
For more information, call 432-0788.
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