Whittlesey to open sales yard in Liberty Hill
By Rachel Madison
A longstanding central Texas landscape supply company is expanding its reach into Liberty Hill with a new yard opening along State Highway 29 in early October.
Whittlesey Landscape Supplies Inc. has been family owned and operated in central Texas since 1975, with its flagship location in Round Rock. Clayton Whittlesey, founder and president of the company, got his start in the industry in the early 1970s tearing up old railroad ties and selling them.
“In the mid-70s my brothers and I started landscaping with yard care and maintenance,” he said. “One thing led to another, and railroad ties became popular, so we started picking them up from the side of the road. That boomed on us and just blew up overnight. That’s how the business really grew. In about 1979 or 1980, we started a supply yard. We were the first supply yard in Austin with landscape materials like mulch, soils and rock. It continued to grow. By 1981, we had built our first building and the business just continued to evolve.”
Whittlesey Landscape Supplies continued to grow, and by the late 1990s, they were able to open their flagship location along Interstate 35 in Round Rock.
“That was a huge time in our business and our lives, and it laid the foundation for where we are today,” Whittlesey said. “At that time, we had three yards. We continued to expand our I-35 location. We also got our sand and gravel operations (quarries) going out in the Hill Country, where we [mine, screen and wash] our own gravel and sand.”
The company manufactures 70 percent of what it sells, including mulch and top soil, and much of that has been recycled. The decomposed granite quarries are in Marble Falls and Granite Shoals, and the company also has a brush recycling facility in Austin where it takes in brush of all sizes, grinds it up, and resells it as mulch. Whittlesey Landscape Supplies also has several other locations in the greater Austin area, and now, it will have a new sales yard in Liberty Hill, where Bubba’s Dirt was previously located on SH 29.
Dakota Smith, vice president of sales and marketing at Whittlesey, and Clayton’s son-in-law, said the company has been looking forward to catering to the Liberty Hill area for quite some time.
“Some of us live out there, so it’s kind of our little nest that we want to make sure we cater to,” he said. “And if we can be efficient on our logistics, because we have trucks going through Liberty Hill down Highway 29 all the time, we might as well use that. On that northwest side [of the Austin area] we have materials going through all the time. About 30 percent of our deliveries are going to Liberty Hill, Seward Junction, Georgetown, Jarrell and Florence.”
Whittlesey has already provided supplies for numerous projects in Liberty Hill, including at Rancho Sienna, Santa Rita Ranch, Liberty Hill Elementary, Liberty Hill Intermediate and Clear Water Ranch.
“We’ve helped to grow the community and now we’re a part of it,” Smith said.
Whittlesey’s Liberty Hill yard will have a variety of landscape supplies available for retail customers as well as wholesale customers, including gravel, compost and mulches. In addition, the company provides delivery for anything it sells—even if it’s just for a quarter of a yard of materials.
“There will be no minimum on delivery and we will deliver everywhere in Liberty Hill,” Smith said.
Blake Whittlesey, vice president of operations and Clayton’s son, said the family also chose Liberty Hill for Whittlesey’s next location because they wanted to take advantage of the major growth occurring in the area.
“We wanted to take advantage of the boom out in Liberty Hill,” he said.
Even in economic downturns, Clayton said the company has always done well by adapting—even getting into the recycling business in the late 1980s and 1990s.
“Through booms and busts we’ve struggled through, but that’s a testament of our business,” Clayton said. “We are diversified to where we can go through tough times because we have our retail side as well as our wholesale side. Someone buying one bag of mulch is just as important as someone who needs 10 truckloads of gravel.”
Because of this philosophy, Clayton said he puts a big emphasis on taking care of retail customers, which he hopes to serve a lot of in Liberty Hill.
“My employees have to prove they’re willing to take care of one little person, because we pride ourselves on customer service,” he said. “That’s huge to us and huge to me.”
The Liberty Hill yard is located at 14775 SH 29 and is set to open Oct. 1, pending any weather delays.
A grand opening event is planned for Oct. 13 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. There will be vendors and barbecue for the community to enjoy.
The yard will be open Monday through Saturday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, visit www.989rock.com.