An appearance at a Toronto home and garden show has proved to be a great launching pad for a New Liskeard landscaper with some unique artistic stylings in handcrafted outdoor design.
Ron Lauzon, owner of Picturesque Stone, thinks his creativity in working with granite and stone has finally struck a chord with a consumer movement toward outdoor entertaining and living.
“The idea is 20 years in the making, but we’re hitting the trend now.”
While displaying his wares at the Landscape Ontario show in Toronto this past January, Lauzon garnered 124 dealer requests from architectural firms, landscapers and garden centres which are interested in carrying his ready-to-install products. But he’s scaling it down to a more manageable 50.
Lauzon just launched Picturesque Stone in January as a spinoff from his successful landscaping business.
He offers an array of indoor/outdoor décor decorating products such as precision-cut stone art inserts, designs in interlocking brick and mounted uprights. He’ll also sandblast or etch pictures or patterns into pavement, stone plaques and boulders.
“Whatever picture a person sends me…I can personalize anything.”
His Toronto booth featured a patio setting of decorative stone pillars, elaborate designs on railings, and stone wall hangings of geese in flight and Northern windswept trees.
His artwork is created by hand-cutting fragments and scraps of various colours of brick and granite that his brother, Ken, imports for his own countertop business, Lauzon Stoneworks.
“I’m just an old shop dog. I want to work hard. I like to create and do all these things.”
Working as a landscaper since 1974, Lauzon said he’s had a knack for knowing what looks right.
“I’ve always been a visionary guy and there are so many ways you can go with this product.”
He’s installed customized retainer walls, staircases and driveways with specialized laser and engraving applications. On each project, he would add his own personal touches, leaving floral patterns like a permanent business card.
His career has taken him from his hometown of Cochrane to North Bay and on to Ottawa. The latter was where he installed an Ottawa Senators logo in the inlaid brick at the then-Palladium arena’s entrance when it was under construction in the 1990s.
More recently, he erected a highway welcoming sign made of granite for the Municipality of Temiskaming Shores.
With a full-time sales rep on the road, Lauzon is placing a trail of distributors and dealers down the Highway 11 corridor in North Bay, Huntsville, Orillia and into the Toronto area and the Niagara peninsula.
He’s also moving his four-employee shop and all its sandblasting, stone carving and cutting equipment from rented space at the Cobalt Truck Stop into the former Co-op building in New Liskeard that’s being renovated for a showroom, production area and warehouse.
With projected sales of $1.5 million this year, Lauzon thinks there’s enough work coming to expand to 25 employees.
He’s also collaborating with Nor-Arc Steel Fabricators, an Earlton custom welding firm, to make a more value-added product by enhancing his stone work with their wrought iron capabilities for decorative fencing, corner posts, gates and framing for outdoor kitchens.
Lauzon said the products can be delivered anywhere as a pre-assembled, pre-packaged product that’s ready to install by any contractor.
“I see it as a global product with the licensing end of it.”
And he has some great ideas involving corporate sponsorships on community fundraising projects like parkland or waterfront rehabilitation where big contributors could etch their names and logos on a boulder, a walkway, or fountain, and leave a legacy for generations.
Lauzon wants to eventually make that same sales pitch to subdivision developers building high-end custom homes or gated communities.
“This is all about branding and that’s where people will see the value of it. They can trademark their logo on every home and after all the subdivision signs are gone, it’s there for 200 years.”