After 20 years, Rick Huffman decided it was time to move.
In 1996, Huffman started Earth Design, a landscape architecture firm, in Pickens. Now, after 20 years, Huffman said it is time to move the company. So, after the first of the year, Earth Design is moving from its location on 405 Johnson Street in Pickens to 1309 Grove Road in Greenville.
“We are so excited to be coming to Greenville,” Huffman said. “We work all across the Upstate as well as Georgia and North Carolina, but a lot of our work is in Greenville.”
It has been the growth of the business, Huffman, who is from Greenville, said has prompted the move. Over the last five years, he said the company has grown its client base by 25% and nearly doubled yearly revenues.
“It has been unprecedented to see that kind of growth, not just in number of clients but scope of projects,” Huffman said.
He said the company uses its design skills “to create art, and the goal there is to, through design, find environmental sustainability.”
Most recently, Earth Design created a playground at the Caine Halter Family YMCA in Greenville. But, while the playground, new amphitheater and pollinator garden was the focus, the design also solved a stormwater issue the site had.
“When you do that, it is a win-win-win situation and that is what we strive for in all of our projects,” Huffman said.
With three landscape architects — not counting Huffman who said he has become “more of the company advocate” — and the “build side” of the business that implements the designs, Huffman said the company stays busy year-round.
He said that constant activity comes from the reputation of the company.
“People are becoming more aware and wanting to see more sustainable designs,” Huffman said. “They want to feel like they are giving something back and I feel like that has been a way people have found us. They are seeing that we bring something unique to the table.”
As for the prospect of leaving Pickens, Huffman said he will still live there and the company still has projects in the area. He said he will always have a connection to Pickens, no matter where the business is located.
Moving from Pickens to Greenville will mean being closer to competition for Earth Design. Despite that, Huffman said there is plenty of work to go around and peers “have really embraced us coming to Greenville.”
Between conservation groups and fellow landscape architecture companies, Huffman said he expects to see more sustainable designs across the Upstate in the future.
“I think there is a great synergy of work and collaboration to celebrate Greenville and build in a way that doesn’t destroy who we are,” Huffman said. “I think that is a very important thing in our profession. Grow, be green, but do it right.
“I am looking forward to the next 20 years.”