Landscape business expands to become wedding venue

Photo: Kimm Anderson, St. Cloud Times.Photo: Kimm Anderson, St. Cloud Times.

One Minnesota landscaper is expanding his business in an unusual direction: weddings. Randy Schmitz, owner of Scenic Specialties in St. Joseph, has spent the past 14 years transforming a 14-acre family farm into to a successful garden and landscape business specializing in custom water features.

Soon after installing the business’s main water feature, Scenic Specialties became a photo destination and Schmitz started receiving calls for engagement, wedding and graduation photo shoots. As an entrepreneur who had been in the landscaping business since he was 18, Schmitz saw an opportunity. By the end of this summer, he plans to open Rolling Ridge Wedding & Events Center on the same site as his landscaping business.

Schmitz is building the new business around a popular – and growing – bridal trend: rustic barn weddings. The property’s original 120-year-old barn and other structures are getting complete makeovers, a project Schmitz described to The St. Cloud Times as an expensive labor of love.

“Many people have said it would be cheaper to just build a new barn,” Schmitz said. To ensure the structure is accessible to people with disabilities, a team of professional movers will lift it off its current foundation and then reposition it on a new one. Heating and air conditioning, a sound system and rest rooms will be added, as well as a new oak flooring from trees on the property.

When it’s finished, Rolling Ridge will be able to accommodate 300 people and will be open from spring until late fall. “I expect we will be very busy,” Schmitz says. “And there is a lot of growth potential for our business.”

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