From the Ground Up

International landscape, lawn and garden wholesaler calls Ballantyne® campus home

By Michael J. Solender | Photos by Lange Photo Studio and courtesy of Border Concepts

Visionary entrepreneurs recognize opportunities where others may see only barren ground. For Border Concepts co-founders Tony Ferguson and Neil Miller, unruly mulch beds and ill-contained lawn and yard borders led them to give up lucrative corporate sales jobs 34 years ago and start their own business selling steel landscape edging systems.

Ferguson recalls the earliest days when the pair had the idea of selling high-quality steel edging products directly to garden centers. “Neil and I worked together selling steel in the open market,” Ferguson says. “We saw the product line out in the marketplace, a steel barrier between a landscaped bed and grass, and there was no patent on it. We thought we could ‘create a better mousetrap.’ We were young and thought we’d give it a shot for a few years and see what came of it.”

Border Concepts’ C-Suite consists of Chief Financial Officer Justin Forbes, Chief Operating Officer Chris Bednar and Co-Founders Tony Ferguson and Neil Miller.

In November of 1990, Ferguson gave up his company car for a moped, and they started Border Concepts Inc. in Miller’s Charlotte garage. “Steel edging is by far the best edging in the market,” Ferguson says. It’s the most durable and long-lasting. It delivers crisp, clear, defined lines. When we started, there was no major supplier of that product in the southern United States. We began selling to contractors, independent retailers and garden centers, which quickly became the backbone of our business.”

Four decades later, the company is headquartered at Ballantyne and employs nearly 200 people nationally. It has a manufacturing facility and showroom in Lexington, North Carolina, and four distribution centers servicing the U.S. and Canada.

Their product line has expanded well beyond edging systems, too. It now includes pottery, decorative steel and wrought iron products, hanging baskets, window baskets, decorative hooks, arbors and plant stands, and outdoor living products. Border Concepts is well known for its extensive and colorful line of imported pottery. Its specially made ceramic products are directly imported from all around the world, including Vietnam, Malaysia, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, Mexico and Portugal.