Scots Landscape & Marketplace opened its doors over 35 years ago in Belpre, Ohio when Scot Witkosky grew his neighborhood yard work business into a full retail store after pursuing a business degree at Penn State. As his store and family grew, they relocated the business to the current property in Vienna, W.Va. Now, with his family grown, his youngest daughter is taking her shot at running the family business.
Madeson Witkosky Barr grew up in the current location and it’s clear that the store is just an extension of her own home. She greets customers cheerfully and offers to help as soon as they walk through the doors.
Although, Madeson did not always want to partake in the family business. Her parents encouraged her to explore the world beyond the greenhouse and she found her way to Marietta College where she pursued a degree in Health Communication. She was sure she would be working in healthcare administration somewhere after graduation.
“I had three open interviews at Marietta Memorial Hospital, but none worked out. I applied to be the director of the Wood County society and I was one of the six, but that didn’t pan out either,” Madeson said.
However, Madeson didn’t take the hard times as a bad sign. She knew that something better awaited her, and she quickly realized it.
“After that, the answer so clear that I was meant to be at Scots because so many doors closed. It’s cool because there is a lot of application I can use with my degree,” she said.
As Madeson grew in her role at Scots’, her parents have started transitioning more responsibility to her. Eventually, she and her husband, Caleb, will inherit the store. As she goes, her parents work with her and Caleb concerning different aspects of the store. Caleb focuses on hardscapes and irrigation while Madeson focuses on the retail aspects.
“My parents continue to focus on the landscape portion of the business – my mom is a landscape architect. Also, she mentors me and my dad is always showing my husband new ways to do things,” Madeson said.
Madeson works alongside two other women who really make the store complete. Jessie Towner is the Merchandise Manager and Dixie Green works as the Assistant Manager and Greenhouse Supervisor.
“This is my life, these are my friends, coworkers and employees as well. But we’re not just that, we’re also a family.”
Madeson loves getting to work with her team while sharing the same goals and working toward them. She describes it as having a family at work.
“This is my life, these are my friends, coworkers and employees as well. But we’re not just that, we’re also a family,” she said.
For five years, Jessie has artfully curated the store’s aesthetic vibe as the buyer for the marketplace and gift shop.
“I love the freedom of creativity. I follow trends and things – what people like to buy. I follow a lot of blogs and read magazines to predict trends. There are some I know the community will like and some that they won’t,” she said.
“We’re growing and always trying to be 10 steps ahead, be more unique. That’s why I love how Jessie really tries to make sure we’re carrying different products that are unique to us. We’re continuing to evolve and expand,” Madeson said.
For Madeson, the future is clear and bright for Scots. Along with encouraging her team to see the growth potential, the store will experience physical growth as well.
“We’re planning on doubling the square footage to add full ice cream shop and a coffee shop. We’re listening to what customers want. Listening and responding is what we do. We’re not here to make it better for ourselves, we’re here to make it better for them,” she said.
The team is working toward making Scots a destination, not just a store. Madeson sees the store as a place where people can buy their flowers, hang out for a little while the kids explore, eat ice cream and have some fun.
As Scots’ grows, it will always remain loyal to its roots. In addition to the marketplace, ice cream parlor and gift shop, they still have the nursery, the greenhouse, chemicals, fertilizer, potting soil, vegetables, herbs, Amish goods, bulbs and seeds.
“They still do everything they used to have, but now they have more. The place is only expanding from the “feed and seed” roots. Now, they have gobs of fresh produce, ice cream and more,” Jessie said.
Dixie works in the more traditional aspect of the store in the greenhouse. As a horticulturalist, she focuses on the health of the plants once they make it to the greenhouse. She also gets to work with customers about plant disease and insect problems native to this area.
“It’s such a beautiful area and there is a lot of room for expansion – specially in the agriculture department and what better place to start than at home.
“I focus on making sure the plants are healthy. Most of the stuff is grown up on the hill and we try to keep it healthy and beautiful. We grow our annuals, some perennials, herbs and vegetables,” Dixie said. “It’s such a beautiful area and there is a lot of room for expansion – specially in the agriculture department and what better place to start than at home.”
Hiring qualified and vibrant employees is important to Madeson as she grows the business. The Mid-Ohio Valley is home to Madeson and she wants to give back in as many ways as she can.
“The Mid-Ohio Valley has given me my foundation, my relationship – this is where my marriage was founded. These are our roots. I’d feel so stupid to leave. No matter who is in charge here, I would have to stay because this has always grounded me,” Madeson said. “I want to raise my kids here. I knew that even if I didn’t take over the company, I wanted kids to grow up here. This is where I grew up. This is where our whole family is. We’ve gone through so much and just to see the blessings from some of the storms and the heartaches, it makes me want to give back more and more.”
Community is the core of Scots as they continue plant deeper roots as a staple in the community.
“We couldn’t do it without the support of the community. If they’re not coming through the door, our doors close and we’re not here anymore. I want to continue to give like they give to us,” Madeson said.