Retail Construction Services, Inc. is dedicated to giving back.

We give back not only to those in need within our community, but also the future generations of this wonderful community. What started out as a great idea has grown exponentially and has become an amazing reality. Here at the RCS Giving Garden, school groups, master gardeners, corporate volunteers, and our own employees work together for the common good of teaching children the art of gardening and the importance of healthy eating. Click Here for Full Story.

Retail Construction Services, Inc.
11343 39th Street N.
Lake Elmo, MN 55042

From HWY 36 - go south on Lake Elmo Ave, turn left onto 39th Street, garden is at corner of 39th and Laverne.
From HWY 5- going west from Stillwater take right onto Laverne (near Fury dealership) garden is on the right at corner of Laverne and 39th street.

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The RCS Giving Garden

The RCS Giving Garden


St. Croix Valley ALC Breaks Daily Record with 292lbs!

AM Group L to R: Jackson Maier, Max Christenson,
Andrea Kasinak, Coner Patterson, Henry Simmons
(click to enlarge)

PM Group L to R: Oscar Berry, Joe McKinley, Tom Wendt,
David Meyer, Emily Faust, Sam Thomson, Mikalah Moreno,
and Taylor McDonough  (click to enlarge)
The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.
~William James

As a garden so often does, it teaches us, every day, and today there was a lesson learned from this early frost. Upon arriving at the garden this morning and seeing the blanket of white, it would have so been easy to throw up my hands and start cutting down the plants that had white crystals on them… whack, whack, whack! After all, if the tomatoes and peppers aren’t going to ripen, why allow them to just take up space? But I didn’t. It’s one of those moments that you stop and say “What if?”

Well, the sun came out, the St. Croix Valley ALC students arrived, and frozen fingers didn’t stop these hard working, wonderful students…. and guess what? We had the most profuse bounty of tomatoes and peppers we have ever had in the garden! These students picked a combined 292lbs of produce for the food shelf! Had we cut those plants down, it would have still been in their prime, right before they could show their real stuff - that burst of brilliance that filled the food shelf with reds, orange, yellow and green......


So, what was the Lesson Learned? Plants can be like people... Don't be too hard on people before they are ready or are briefly frozen from growth; maybe the best bloom of their season is yet to come. If we cut in haste and anger we may cut them down before we can see their true magnificence!

THANK YOU to Jackson, Max, Andrea, Coner, Henry, Oscar, Joe, Tom, David, Emily, Sam, Mikalah and Taylor!

First Frost!

There is something breathtaking about the first frost of the year. Every twig, every branch, every blade of grass, every surface looks like they have been sprinkled with little crystals.

And while it’s breathtaking… it can literally take away a gardeners breath! We had a flurry of activity in the garden as we covered our tomato, eggplant and pepper plants with tarps and bags. Then we waited, held our breath, crossed our fingers, and hoped.

And while the drive to work was beautiful… the ice on top of the tarps was not! While we have a few plants that did not survive, we were fortunate to have the majority of our remaining crop survive!

This first frost was about three weeks early… and while it was breathtaking, we are more than happy to wait a few more weeks for the 2nd frost while the rest of our crop ripens...


Garden Shed, Inspectors and Humor!

Click to Enlarge
Three of our Project Managers, Mike, Curt and Bob, began the final construction on our garden shed. This little building project has had to be squeezed into everyone’s day job of building bigger buildings.   Thank you guys for all of your hard work - this winter it will make a great home to our garden stuff!

We had a surprise project inspection by two of our comic relief employees, Molly and Kelly, who came out to do a “building inspection”. Gotta love the pink sticky citations they issued all over the side of the building!

This… is a GREAT place to work!

The human race has only one really effective weapon, and that is laughter. The moment it arises, all our hardnesses yield, all our irritations and resentments slip away and a sunny spirit takes their place." -- Mark Twain


Cornstalk Harvest

L to R:  Dan Pilquist, Max Christianson, Chris Pool, Joe Hinman
Henry Simmons, Coner Patterson, Jackson Maiers and James Barrett
Kneeling in front:  Instructor Tom Wendt

Click to Enlarge

The St. Croix ALC Students were out today to not only pick, but to clear the corn stalks. The students bundled to stalks in groups of 5 and have them leaned in a corner of our building to dry out.

Once dry, the school, RCS and staff members can make use of these for fall decoration.

Click to Enlarge


Willis of MN Insurance Agency Sets New Daily Record!

L to R:  Debbie Rentz, Marcia Smith, Jeanne Woolley (standing), Nina Werstein,
Tara Michaels and Katie Connell  (click to enlarge)
"Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass...
it's about learning how to dance in the rain!"
- Vivian Greene

We began this Friday with the skies opening up to some much needed rain… and greeting the rain drops and a muddy garden was a crew of six from Willis of Minnesota that knew how to dance in the rain. While the rain ended, the dance of collecting produce for the food shelf included lots of mosquito bites, questions, curiosity, prickly plants and a lot of smiles and laughter amongst the tomatoes, eggplant and beans.

Volunteerism is one of those things that is a little bit out of step with the trend to measure results immediately. Today, so much of what we do, especially in business, has to be measured for some sort of quantifiable return and the return has to be relatively quick. Yet volunteerism is the willingness of people to work on behalf of others without the expectation of pay or other immediate tangible gain.

Even though volunteerism may not easily be able to demonstrate the quick results so often demanded today, the spirit it represents has “immeasurable” importance to our communities.

Thank you to Tara Michaels, not only for joining us in the garden, but for organizing this fantastic group of volunteers from Willis; Nina Werstein, Marcia Smith, Debbie Rentz, Jeanne Woolley, and Katie Connell. 

A new daily record for 2011 was set today with this group picking 262.6 lbs of produce. The quantity of fresh food that made the food shelf before a holiday weekend is beyond measurement, and I’m sure was enjoyed by many families over the long weekend. This record breaking day was not just about the numbers… Your impact on the community is “immeasurable”. Tara, Nina, Marcia, Debbie, Jeanne and Katie, RCS extends a heartfelt “Thank you” and an invitation to join us in the garden again - anytime.

"One hand cannot clap on its own
but it needs the other hand to make a clap."
"Many hands make light work."
- Maasai tribal saying