Member Profile – Rivendell Distribution, Inc.

Rivendell Distribution, Inc.
3961 County Road 114
Glenwood Springs, CO 81601
(970) 945-2568

Interview with John Rischmiller, Owner

What attracted you to this business and to Colorado?

I’m originally from Minnesota and my family had a trucking business that hauled freight to Colorado weekly. When I was a kid, I went on these trips and spent a lot of time in Colorado and I really enjoyed the state’s western slopes. In college, I studied landscape architecture and construction at North Dakota State University, and in Minnesota. Then I was involved in sales and land development for a building construction company, but corporate lifestyle became exhausting through COVID times.

During COVID, I started looking for a business in Colorado that focused on landscaping and maintained an outdoor experience. When the former owner of Rivendell wanted to sell, it seemed to be just what I was looking for. I bought the business in 2021 and moved my family to Colorado. We kept the name Rivendell, a known, locally owned and operated business.

Garden Center

How has the business changed since you took over?

Rivendell has been in business since 1989 and started as a sod farm, primarily serving the Western Slope. Following a change in ownership about two decades later, Rivendell grew and diversified, focusing on wholesale distribution in the Roaring Fork Valley. We are fundamentally a landscape supply and distribution company serving mostly dealers, wholesalers and contractors. We also serve retail operations and municipalities, and still operate a retail garden center on the farm, which accounts for about 5-10% of our business.

We have about 40+ different vendors and carry a lot of bulk and pallet products such as mulches, seeds, soils and more. We recently teamed up with Paonia Soil Company to help with distribution of their products. With our large and expanding fleet of delivery options, we can offer competitive shipping and delivery efficiently within a 150-mile radius on orders up to 12 pallets. We direct-ship larger orders to the property or project location all over Colorado and neighboring states. Being a company that serves industry experts, our employees are very informed about our products and their benefits, and we are constantly learning from our customers and the industry.

Pallets of mulch and soil with pallet loader

What are current challenges and what is the future outlook?

There is a lot of growth in this area of the state – more housing development and more businesses coming. This growth suggests increased demand for landscaping products from these new residents and businesses. Additionally, some people in the area just want to upgrade their properties and recreate an outdoor living experience. Unfortunately, one of our main challenges – typical for seasonal businesses – is keeping employees. We have two open positions now with more growth to come. I’m trying to find creative ways to retain employees year-round, maybe through online sales and other alternatives. As we go into my fourth season as owner, my main goal is to position Rivendell as a business that helps our clients throughout the year.

Why did you join CNGA?

I wanted to meet other people in our industry and have conversations with them about how we can meet our customers’ needs, instead of them meeting ours. That may be bringing on more new products like soil from Paonia Soils Company or being more competitive on price matching and/or shipping costs. We went to ProGreen this year and I’m thinking of doing a booth next year. As a rather small company, I want to find ways to get us ‘out there’ so that more people know about us.