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


Neighbors, Christmas Trees and Pine Needle Fun

  If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people together to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the sea. ~Antoine de Saint-Exupery ….. and if you want to unload Christmas trees, call over a group of energetic, fun loving employees who already have the holiday spirit! That’s exactly what Neil and Deb Krueger from Krueger’s Christmas Tree Farm did.

At least twice a year, the Krueger’s have made their way over to our Giving Garden to plow and turn it under. In exchange, we have had a standing offer to help them with any projects where help is needed.

This past week we received a call from Neil asking if we had staff that could come over and help unload trees over the next couple days. They had two semi-trucks arriving late afternoon on both days and I believe we unloaded 640 trees on Tuesday and well over 500 on Wednesday! We all smelled of fresh pine needles, learned that hand sanitizer removed sap from not only skin, but clothing too, and I think many of us were still finding stray pine needles this week! We had a great time, and as is the nature of our staff, shouting out the count of each tree as it came off the truck and the placement of them turned into something resembling Monty Python or a Saturday Night Live skit...!

Curt hiding out....!~

Below is a note we received from Neil and Deb:

“Hello Joni and crew at Retail Construction!-- Wow! We were so surprised and blessed with all the help from your whole crew last week! We hoped for just a few people to come down and help...but about 8 people came down the first day and helped us unload two huge trucks of Christmas trees! We all unloaded those trucks in under 45 minutes, which is a new world record! The second day, about 15 people showed up to help unload yet another truck! We couldn't believe that you all came to help us twice!

We never could have believed such kindness and generosity from our neighbors "up the road". It certainly was a humbling experience, after unloading trees for forty years, to stand back and watch someone else do it. Everyone sure seemed to laugh, work, and have fun together. I've never heard of anyone enjoying themselves unloading trees!

We hope that we can bring up a tree and a wreath for your lobby next week as a small token of our appreciation for all you've done.

You have touched us and we are grateful. Thank you all again! Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!!

Neil and Deb Krueger - Krueger's Christmas Trees of Lake Elmo

Thank you Neil and Deb for all you do… You know people had fun when they ask if we could make it an annual tradition to help unload those trees.... the answer... "YES"! See you next year!

ATruck 1/2 unloaded


Scarecrow Bob

We received word from Tammy Palmer with the Stillwater SPIN Program that a group of students had “made something to put in the garden”. What could this surprise be?

So yesterday I paid a visit to the school to find out what surprise they made for the garden. To my delight, this creative group of students made “Scarecrow Bob”! They were so excited to share information; how they assembled him, how he was laid-out on a table like they were doing surgery, how he was stuffed and put together. I enjoyed watching the expressions on their faces as they each added to the conversation, layers and layers and layers of talking, laughing and explaining with show-in-tell demonstrations. They pointed out that each student had also signed Scarecrow Bob’s straw hat and on the front they wrote:  Property of Scarecrow Bob.  As a final touch, the students put a shiny metal tape with Bob’s name on the front pocket of his flannel shirt.

Back L to R:  Dylan, Charlie, Sydney, Olivia, Hannah, Megan. 
Front L to R:  Jane, Tatiana, Lindsay, and Sara
(Click to enlarge photo) 
I asked where in the garden we should put him in the spring. Someone said “In the corn of course!”… However, the corn moves every year. We all agreed that Scarecrow Bob deserves the center of attention and he will be placed in the middle of the garden for all to see. This spring we will construct a support stand to keep Scarecrow Bob standing tall for all to see as they visit the garden.

In exchange for the garden gift, I left this group with fresh apple cider and apples from a local orchard. They had one extra jug of cider that they were going to freeze and save for a celebration they were having on the 28th of this month.

Before leaving, one student told me to “remember to buckle him in!” With that in mind, since Scarecrow Bob weighs less than 40 lbs, I put him in the back seat, and secured him for the ride home, and then back to the office. (there is a photo of him in the back seat of the car in the movie at the end of this story) I have to say, riding with a Scarecrow in the back seat was quite funny… more than one car would slow down next to me and then pass by after exchanging a big smile. I had to ask myself if perhaps they thought this was my attempt at an extra passenger to use the ride share lanes!

Scarecrow Bob is now home at Retail Construction Services. As we wait for that first blanket of white to cover the garden, we look forward to enjoying the quiet peace this time of year brings. With Scarecrow Bob as our new garden guardian angel, and his rags of love to flap in the breeze, we are sure to have an amazing year of produce to come!

“For I consider brains far superior to money in every way. You may have noticed that if one has money without brains, he cannot use it to his advantage; but if one has brains without money, they will enable him to live comfortably to the end of his days.”
   ― L. Frank Baum, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz


Solar in the Garden

Our Giving Garden took on a new look this fall!  With the partnership with Able Energy Co., RCS installed solar, not only power our corporate office, but to put energy back into the grid for our friends and neighbors in the community when we generate more than we use.  We will have a live feed appearing on our website after November 4th.  This live feed will display our energy production and usage.  Please visit: go to the "CSR" page and the live feed will be on the lower right hand side of the page.  Please also visit: for more information about the type of solar we installed.


This Shed.....

Marv Newville
(Click to enlarge photo)
We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean, but the ocean would be less because of that missing drop. We can do no great things, only small things with great love.
                                                                                                 - Mother Teresa
This shed…

Over the past year this garden shed has come together in bits and pieces.  Bits and pieces of not only reused and re-purposed material, but bits and pieces of volunteer time as well.  A foundation here, a frame there, doors fit into place… windows, a floor, a roof… a few more nails, some caulking, and a fresh coat of paint.

This has not only been a collaboration of employee time and talent, but also a generous donation by a partner company, Newville Construction Co., Inc.   Russ Newville had stopped by the office and said that they wanted to donate 3 to 4 days of labor to do whatever we needed to complete the shed.  Marv Newville has been here doing just that. He has added trim, cedar shakes, power washed, is painting, and will also be setting up a seedling shelf as well as adding some window boxes to put herbs in for the 2012 season.

While the end result of this shed doesn’t bring food to the tables of those whose need is so great, it does much more. Each garden tool, well worn garden glove and row marker not only hold the stories of seasons past, they hold the stories of seasons to come and the promise of what this garden has yet to produce; not only in fresh food, but in producing compassion, comradeship and in the lesson that the greater pleasure in life lies in the art of giving rather than receiving.

Thank you to all of our employees who have helped out on this project over the past year, and a huge thank you to Marv, Russ and Melanie Newville for their generous gift of materials, time and talent.

"Thank You"
(Click to enlarge photo)