Need a 7-foot chicken? Pasco store offers extreme lawn art
Klint LowryHOLIDAY - Some people want their property to feel like a Mediterranean villa. Others prefer Caribbean casual.
Published: July 28, 2010
Published: July 28, 2010
But for a select few, nothing says "Home, sweet home" like a life-size hippopotamus statue wallowing in the front yard.
Or, instead of a hippo, how about a rhinoceros? Or a bear, or a lion, or a dragon, or an orangutan?
If homeowners can imagine their own perfect Garden of Eden, odds are Don and Carol Campbell can supply the wildlife. The couple own Everything Outdoors Inc., in Holiday. They relocated to Pasco in February from The Villages-Ocala area, and have been supplying residential and commercial customers with yard art and lawn art, from the sublime to the ridiculous - to the sublimely ridiculous - since.
Even those who aren't in the market for lawn décor have likely noticed the Everything Outdoors lot at 1709 U.S. 19, just north of the Alternate U.S. 19 split. It's hard to miss the strategically placed 7-foot-tall rooster at the front of the lot.
"Everybody sees the big chicken," Carol said with a smile. If it is enough of an attention-grabber to draw in customers, they will be greeted in the parking lot by a life-statue of an orangutan sticking its tongue out serving as sentry at the entrance of the sales office.
Nearby, a baby triceratops waits for someone to give it a loving home.
When people come in, Don said, the first two things they want to know are how much does the big rooster weigh and who would buy such a thing?
In answer to the first question, it weighs 3,600 pounds. So far they've sold two. The first was to a woman who bought one for her $11 million home in Brooksville. The woman also bought a triceratops.
"She has her own Jurassic Park there," Carol said.
Two weeks later, they sold another of the giant roosters to a couple who live in a mobile home park. It was a 50th wedding anniversary present.
"She's been collecting chickens the whole time they were married," Don said, so her husband decided to surprise her with the chicken to end all chickens.
A lot of the Campbells' figures are sold as gifts. Although they do get a fair share of customers who are interested in the large and exotic pieces for businesses or large scale developments - the big animal figures seem like they would be perfect as company mascot - overall most of their customers are private individuals.
"A few days ago, I sold a lady a big monkey, a giraffe, an elephant and a lion, all four," Don said. "That was just for her house."
She thought about buying the rhino and the hippo, too, but decided the bill was getting up there a bit.
The larger concrete beasts can run anywhere from $295 to $1,750. The size of the piece is only one factor in the price, Carol explained. The degree of time and difficulty pouring and working with the mold all factor in, as well.
Actually, Don added, their prices are pretty low compared to places that sell similar items. The Campbells make all their own pieces, pouring and curing the concrete themselves.
They were in business in Flint, Mich., before moving to Florida seven years ago, and they know mold makers all around the United States with whom they do business. The Campbells take pride that every phase of their product is American-made.
"We make 10,000 different pieces," Don said, "They're all licensed, copyrighted pieces."
Just recently, Don said, a woman came in representing a new subdivision that wanted large-scale medieval knights on horseback. On rare occasions like that, when a customer doesn't find what they are looking for on the lot, the Campbells will check with all their mold makers to see who might have or be able to make a mold. Custom jobs like that can get a bit pricier, he warned.
While the big chicken, big monkey and the dinosaur, are at the distinctive end of their inventory, the most popular pieces that constitute the bulk of their business are their wide array of lawn décor items - benches, fountains, birdbaths, garden gnomes and traditional figures.
They range from palm-sized garden figurines that run three for a dollar to a 10½-foot-tall, four-level fountain that costs $3,000 and weighs 6,000 pounds.
One nice thing about concrete lawn decorations, Carol said, they won't blow away in a hurricane.
Since relocating to Holiday, business has been good, Carol said. House sales may be down, but people are reinvesting in the houses they have, either because they've decided they are staying right where they are for the foreseeable future or because they've decided improving the landscaping will help them sell, and having a rhinoceros or dragon in the back yard might make them more distinctive.
Everything Outdoors is open Mondays through Saturdays. Its website is still under construction. For information, call (727) 942-1585.