A Growing Business

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BRUNO LANDSCAPE AND NURSERY HAS BECOME HILTON HEAD’S FAVORITE GARDENING CLUB.

Let’s face it: it’s been a long, cold winter. That rarest of meteorological occurrences — a Hilton Head Island snowstorm — has left your garden withered and dead. You can bemoan the loss of your begonias, or you can view this as a chance to join one of the island’s most exciting gardening clubs.

There’s no strict membership to this club, nor hard and fast bylaws. Instead, there’s just a place where this club congregates in varying numbers to compare green thumbs. Their home is among the 4 acres of lush greenery on Dillon Road at Bruno Landscape and Nursery. 

“We’re a retail nursery, but it’s almost like a big gardening club,” said Mary Ann Bruno, who has owned the business with husband Gary since 1989. “We keep saying we have to put up a coffee bar out there because people end up meeting here and sitting in the parking lot talking for 20 minutes. It’s a very chill environment.”

Bruno Landscape2The rustic shed lined with Matthew timbers, rows upon rows of leafy flowers and plants, and laid-back family vibe make Bruno’s the perfect soil for growing a dedicated following.

“It’s a little different atmosphere than most nurseries,” Mary Ann Bruno said. “People feel like they belong here.”

That sense of belonging is nurtured by the Bruno family’s dedication to providing a single destination for all customers’ gardening needs. Recent expansion to the nursery’s shed lets the landscape company sell everything from fertilizer to potting soil and gardening tools, following a slew of customer requests. When customers arrive in the Lowcountry from colder climates, the Brunos help them recreate the gardens they enjoyed up north.

“We live in a beautiful place. A lot of people come here to garden,” Mary Ann Bruno said. “We like to make it a place where people can come and get ideas or give us ideas.”

Bolstering this tight-knit community is the true family atmosphere at Bruno Landscape and Nursery. It’s not uncommon to stop by and find four generations of Brunos hard at work.

IT’S A LITTLE DIFFERENT ATMOSPHERE THAN MOST NURSERIES...PEOPLE FEEL LIKE THEY BELONG HERE.

— Mary Ann Bruno

“Believe it or not, my mother, God bless her, she’s 82. She comes in and does the filing for us,” Mary Ann Bruno said.

And as Gary and Mary Ann Bruno grew their business over the past 29 years, they’ve also grown their family. And with each new addition, their workforce expanded. Oldest son Steve Bruno is on the construction side of the business, handling installations and operating the machinery. His wife, Jordan, runs the nursery along with Mary Ann and close family friend Pam Batista. Middle daughter Jenna Hull runs the office — although she’s currently on maternity leave.

“She dared to have a springtime baby,” said Mary Ann Bruno with a laugh. “We told her, ‘you are just in trouble.’”

Finally, youngest daughter Nikki runs maintenance enhancements while husband Raphael is in charge of irrigation.

Even the next generation is getting into the business.

“These kids grow up in the business. The front of the office looks like a different kind of nursery,” said Mary Ann. Waiting in the wings are the grandchildren: a 6-year-old granddaughter who loves to help unload trucks, a 2-and-a-half-year-old grandson who loves taking a ride on the Bobcat, a 1-and-a-half-year-old and Jenna’s new addition.

Since 1989, and with each new generation, Bruno Landscape and Nursery has grown. But that’s what a nursery is for, right?

“You can’t stay what you were — you have to keep growing,” Mary Ann Bruno said. “And I like how it’s growing. It’s very community oriented.”