Bear Creek Outdoor Living is moving to Downtown Waynesboro
Grand Opening expected this Fall
WAYNESBORO, Virginia – When Victoria Mininger founded Bear Creek Outdoor Living five years ago, she rented a friend’s abandoned chicken house for fifty dollars a month to work from and store materials. Since then, the female-led business, has moved a few times and grown its vision to make excellent backyard structures and build people. They now employ more than 35 people in the Shenandoah Valley and are ready for a larger space to put down more permanent roots. “To grow well and keep fulfilling our mission, we needed a space that can grow with us,” Mininger said. They found a new location, suitable for that growth and community engagement, at 180 Port Republic Rd in downtown Waynesboro.
Beyond a space to provide a larger fabrication shop, materials storage and office space, they plan to use the new location to grow their team, employ more people and continue to impact their community. Brian Mininger, Victoria’s husband and Bear Creek’s co-founder was born and raised in Waynesboro. Their family has been a part of the community for a long time and seeing the community thrive is important to them. They plan to be a part of the revitalization and growth that is to come in the downtown area over the next few years.
“We are excited about all the things happening downtown, from the new park and museum plans, to being right by the Greenway for our employees to have access to outdoor spaces,” she said, “It will take some time, but we have some big dreams for the space.” Those dreams include a garden that would provide educational opportunities and help serve their employees and the community and updated curb appeal to create community engagement to inspire families to live, work and play in the outdoors together.
“The strength of our city is rooted in the fortitude and growth of our small business community. Bear Creek has proven itself as a Waynesboro leader that continues to see tremendous success not only because of the high quality of their work, but for the generosity they return to our community. We are so fortunate to call Bear Creek, one of Waynesboro’s very own.” said Terry R. Short, Jr., Waynesboro City Council At Large Member.
“Bear Creek is a strong community partner supporting Waynesboro Public Schools and community-based youth programs through a variety of projects and donations,” said Dr. Jeffrey Cassell, Superintendent of Waynesboro Schools.
A larger space will also help them accomplish a critical need in the industry and our community, growing the construction and skilled labor workforce. In the U.S., the emphasis on vocational education in high schools has declined and as the trade workers continues to age, more laborers retire each year. With the shortage of framing crews, carpenters, bricklayers and other tradespeople, Bear Creek sees a critical need to train and employ skilled craftsmen. Through Bear Creek U (a training program they have developed) and through internship opportunities with Wilson Workforce, they choose to train and develop craftsmen and women. “Being in a larger and more cohesive space helps us emphasize training opportunities for our own staff and for those wanting to get into the industry,” Brian said.
They will be preparing the space this summer for an early fall Grand Opening.