East Pierre Landscape and Garden Center was established in 1952 by Tommy and Mickey Thomsen. Wally and Nancy Thomsen continued the ownership of the store until 2015 when Art Smith and Mary Eckstrom became the current owners.
Seated (l to r): Mary, Tommy, and Mickey; standing (l to r): Art, Nancy, and Wally
Art Smith began gardening at a young age in his parent’s backyard in California. In his teenage years he owned and operated a landscape design and lawn maintenance business that specialized in non-motorized equipment. Art has a BS degree in Ecology and a MS in Wildlife Biology and worked as a professional wildlife biologist from the mid-1990’s through 2009. Art gained Master Gardener certification in 2006.
Mary Eckstrom is an accomplished home cook and vegetable and annual plants gardening experimenter for the past several decades. She can look at a picture of a finished dish and comes up with the recipe. She's made eggplant dishes that Art eats - a feat not thought possible by his parents. Prior to taking ownership of the garden center in 2015, both Art and Mary have been backyard gardening, landscaping, and building home greenhouses together at their Wisconsin apartment in the 1990’s and at their Pierre home since 2001.
Steve Bontje is a South Dakota native earning a degree in Landscape Design and Technology in Minnesota. Steve worked in the landscape industry in the Twin Cities area and Sioux Falls before moving to Pierre in 1989 and starting his career at the East Pierre Landscape and Garden Center. In his over 30 years of experience, Steve has designed and built many different kinds of landscape projects from small flower beds to large projects with retaining walls, freestanding walls, patios, fire pits, and ponds. Over that time he has planted countless trees, shrubs, and grasses. He's more than willing to handle any project of any scope and especially enjoys taking on challenging projects of any size.
Our Current Staff:
We all feel extremely lucky to be able to work in a field we all love and enjoy. It's our goal to provide an invigorating and varied place to shop. So if you're looking for a mainstay perennial shrub or tree, annual flowers, this year's vegetables, a new landscape, a gift for someone else, a piece of garden art to dress up your patio or deck, or a new plant that few others have, please don't hesitate to ask us for suggestions of the products that will fit your individual needs.
For the last 60+ years we've always believed that having an experienced and knowledgeable staff is the only way to make the East Pierre Landscape and Garden Center it's best. In addition to outstanding customer service, we offer high quality landscape design and installation, a great variety of healthy perennial and annual plants, handmade outdoors crafts, and high quality garden art and outdoor living materials that are not available elsewhere in central South Dakota.
We also serve as a clearing house for gardening information, home garden products, and gardening know-how educational opportunities. Our goal is to provide the best information and quality in our products so our customers can enjoy their outdoor living and gardening to their fullest.