Greenhouse Canada

Features Business Retail
Successful Operator- Jan/Feb 2005

April 24, 2008
By Anja Sonnenberg.


Mystic Woods began as a full service garden centre, but recently owners
Koreen Matheson and Wayne Bairstow decided to stop and re-evaluate what
was important to their business and customers.

24aMystic Woods Nursery in Campbell River, British Columbia isn’t your typical nursery. The 6-acre property is a natural haven surrounded by large native fir, spruce, hemlock and cedar trees. As visitors drive up the forested laneway, a wooden statue of a cloaked man holding a lantern, which was the inspiration for the name Mystic Woods, greets them. Several themed display gardens and a large recirculating waterfall and pond complete with flagstone patio are also featured to entice customers to enjoy, shop and explore this tranquil setting.

Mystic Woods began as a full service garden centre, but recently owners Koreen Matheson and Wayne Bairstow decided to stop and re-evaluate what was important to their business and customers.

At a Glance:
Company Name:
Mystic Woods Nursery
Koreen Matheson and Wayne Bairstow
Campbell River,  B.C.
Facility Space:
6 acres
Web Site:

“We got too big, too quickly,” says Matheson. “We were doing landscape construction and design, while running the nursery.  I found that I was getting stuck in the office doing paper work all day.” Matheson decided to downsize to become a specialty nursery focusing on perennials and rare and unusual trees and shrubs. “When I first started doing landscape design and construction, there really wasn’t a big selection of plant material in our little town,” says Matheson. The solution to this dilemma was Mystic Woods Nursery.

Mystic Woods is open to the public seven days a week, from the first of March to mid-November. Customers come from Van-couver Island, the mainland and the U.S. to find suitable plants for their gardens. The nursery has also become a popular destination for tourists, often coming by the busload. Every city across Canada, big or small, is contending with superstores and box stores, and Campbell River isn’t an exception.  Matheson prides herself on not only offering her customers a place to shop, but also a destination to experience.

“People get an opportunity to see how to make gardens beautiful, and we use them as a selling tool to sell the products,” Matheson says.

Mystic Woods Nursery’s marketing and advertising campaign has changed over the years to allow for the changing business.

“I first started spending money to get our name out there, mostly through newspapers, local radio stations, and magazines,” Matheson says. “Once we were known, word of mouth became our method of advertising.” Customer feedback has become a tool that is vital for the success of Mystic Woods. “We get a fair amount of people who find us from our web site, and customers who have been coming here for years give us their e-mail addresses, so we are able to keep in touch with them. We also send out a newsletter, based on our customer list.”  The Internet has become an essential tool to many businesses, often saving time for both the customers and owners. “We’re planning on including an extensive plant catalogue with photos and information on our web site,” Matheson says.

In the future, Matheson would like to develop the property further to incorporate a naturalized destination, expand the nursery’s selection of unique and rare plants, and expand her seminar topics, which she presents to local gardening clubs and groups.

“People can come and do a little bit of everything – they can enjoy landscaped gardens, shop for interesting plants, and have their own gardens designed,” say Matheson. Mystic Woods Nursery has become a one stop shopping resource for all gardening enthusiasts.

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