Austin’s TreeHouse plans to expand, add more stores


TreeHouse, Austin’s eco-friendly home improvement store, is gearing up to go national.

After 10 straight quarters of growth, including a 60 percent year-over-year increase in revenues during 2014, executives said this week they’re ready to expand four-year-old TreeHouse into other markets. Possibilities include elsewhere in Texas, as well as cities in California, Colorado and the Pacific Northwest.

The first – and so far only – TreeHouse store opened in 2011 in the Westgate Shopping Center at 4477 S. Lamar Blvd. in Southwest Austin.

“It’s been our goal to grow and expand from the very first day we opened our doors,” co-founder and president Jason Ballard said. “We really want to move the needle and one small store in one small part of one city isn’t going to do that.”

Over the past four years, Ballard said the TreeHouse team has worked to refine the store’s look and inventory, based on feedback from customers. They still carry many of the tools you’d find at a Home Depot or Lowe’s store, but the assortment has been downsized to make way for more top sellers – items in the home performance, home design and outdoor departments.

TreeHouse, for instance, is one of the nation’s top sellers of products from Nest, a company known for its smart thermostats, Ballard said. Solar power systems, rainwater harvesting gear and non-toxic paints are also popular items.

“We have a joke, ‘If you don’t like TreeHouse, come back in a month,’ ” he said. “In retail, you have to prototype in real time. We wanted to be prepared for everything when we first opened.”

A TreeHouse shopper for the past two and a half years, Adam Reiser has witnessed many of those changes and is glad to see the retailer planning an expansion.

“I view them as the Whole Foods Market of home improvement stores,” Reiser said. “What you put into your house and into your environment is so important to your health. It’s great to see people who take that so seriously.”

Reiser said he patronized TreeHouse extensively while building a new home and still finds himself at the store on a regular basis.

“They have great products and people,” he said. “We use TreeHouse as much as we can. There’s nothing like it in Austin.”

Future TreeHouse stores will be similar in size to the TreeHouse in the Westgate Shopping Center, Ballard said, spanning 25,000 to 30,000 square feet. The areas being targeted were selected for two reasons, he said. They’re either geographically adjacent to Austin or in areas that are known for being eco-friendly.

“We’re really proud of everything we’ve done so far and what’s ahead,” Ballard said.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Business

Top Local Business Stories of the Week
Top Local Business Stories of the Week

BIG FUNDING Austin AI firm SparkCognition closes on $56.5 million round of funding: Austin-based artificial intelligence company SparkCognition has raised an additional $24 million, bringing its Series B round to $56.5 million, company executives said last week. The Austin-based company previously raised $32.5 million in June from investors including...
As Whole Foods reshapes procedures, suppliers rush to adapt
As Whole Foods reshapes procedures, suppliers rush to adapt

Whole Foods has changed its procedures for suppliers, and some Austin-area Whole Foods vendors say it’s becoming harder to start and grow as a small brand with the chain. The changes at Whole Foods include widely reported alterations to promotion and delivery costs, the centralization of Whole Foods operations and differences in how suppliers...
Should you talk about your pay? Career experts weigh in
Should you talk about your pay? Career experts weigh in

Even with nearly every cultural taboo thrown to the wind− from discussing sexual orientation to politics; one last conversational taboo still exist among Americans − how much we get paid. "These days, it's okay to talk about the troubles we're having with our children or even our marriages," noted one blogger from PayScale...
BB&T recovering after 'technical issue' left customers without access to accounts, cash
BB&T recovering after 'technical issue' left customers without access to accounts, cash

Millions of BB&T customers were locked out of their accounts Thursday night and Friday morning due to an outage that bank officials said was caused by a "technical issue." The interruption of services was first reported Thursday night and appeared to last until just before noon Friday. “At this time, many of our services...
Visa joins other credit cards in getting rid of signature requirement
Visa joins other credit cards in getting rid of signature requirement

The days of signing the receipt after a credit card purchase are numbered. Visa, the largest U.S. credit card issuer, became the last of the major credit card companies to announce its plan to make signatures optional. Visa announced it will get rid of its signature requirement for cards with EMV chips starting in April. EMV — which stands for...
More Stories