When Brian Mininger was a kid, something exciting happened in his Waynesboro neighborhood – a construction crew began working on his street. To many, this may seem like an ordinary, even unnoteworthy scene, but young Brian was fascinated. He’d rush through breakfast and make his way to the site, passing the hours watching the crew work. From the heavy machinery to the intricacy of the project design, the work enthralled him. Construction on a large scale also complemented Brian’s natural building ability. “I think I’ve been a builder ever since I was a kid. I was building treehouses and forts and everything else,” Brian recalls. Fast forward to 2020, and Brian is now the co-owner, along with his wife, Victoria, of Bear Creek Outdoor Living in Waynesboro, which specializes in residential outdoor furniture and the construction of relaxing outdoor spaces.
For Victoria, her entrepreneurial inspiration came primarily from watching her father run his overhead garage door business. Throughout the years, Victoria’s entrepreneurial pursuits have included a photography business and a bookkeeping business before pivoting to what is now Bear Creek Outdoor Living. The original Bear Creek business started as a construction clean-up company, but Victoria and Brian wanted to shift into residential work that included their love of nature. Combining Victoria’s talent for management and Brian’s talent for construction, Bear Creek Outdoor Living in its current iteration was born.
On a Mission to Make It Count
Now, the company has thirty-five employees creating epic outdoor spaces for clients, but for Brian and Victoria, the mission of Bear Creek goes beyond the products and services they provide and extends to the contribution they make to their employee’s lives. “We build things, but we also build our people. I love watching our people grow. That’s our greater mission,” Victoria explains.
Part of what makes the Bear Creek Outdoor Living mission possible is how Brian and Victoria thrive as a husband and wife co-owner team. Brian credits this success to refining their distinct roles over time. “Clearly defining our roles has taken some work. We base our model off of a book called Rocket Fuel, which helps identify the visionary and the integrator roles. I’m the visionary, and Victoria is the integrator. I come up with a lot of ideas and she manages the team and gets things done,” Brian says. “He’s really great and loves building things. I’ve always been the more detailed person making everything run smoothly behind the scenes,” Victoria confirms.
They also count being based in Waynesboro, Brian’s hometown, as a blessing. “I grew up here riding my bike on these streets and all over. I love building things in this community and providing jobs here. The majority of our team is from Waynesboro and many of our partners and vendors are other small businesses in Waynesboro. It’s a place where people work hard,” Brian describes.
Facing 2020 Challenges and Moving Forward
Like all businesses in 2020, Bear Creek Outdoor Living has been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. “This year has probably been one of our most stressful years to date. We’ve experienced everything from being concerned about keeping our staff employed to our phones ringing off the hook because people are at home more and want to do home improvement projects,” Victoria recounts. COVID-19 has also impacted the logistics of the construction industry from material shortages and price increases to keeping crews and clients safe within the COVID-19 guidelines.
As for the future of Bear Creek Outdoor Living, the momentum of the company continues to grow. Brian and Victoria remain committed to bringing high-quality outdoor products and services to the Shenandoah Valley while creating ample opportunities for their team to expand. When talking with this dynamic husband and wife duo, it’s clear there’s a higher mission at work with Bear Creek Outdoor Living. It’s a mission of building – the building of unique outdoor spaces for clients, the building of an investment in their employee’s lives, the building of the community in Waynesboro, and the building of a dream that continues to unfold.
To learn more about Bear Creek Outdoor Living visit bearcreek.co and on Facebook and Instagram using @bearcreekoutdoorliving.
Curious how Bear Creek Outdoor Living got its name? Don’t miss the epic story (and yes, it involves a bear encounter!) on the Waynesboro at Work podcast! Find the Waynesboro at Work podcast on YouTube, Spotify, RadioPublic, Breaker, and PocketCasts.