Mark Kivisto’s business, treeStory, started out as a side project. Over the past five years, business has exploded for Kivisto who now works on projects of all sizes across the entire state of Minnesota. Business is currently thriving for treeStory with a recent rebranding and plans to double the size of its staff.
Read this article as originally published in the Herald Journal:
DASSEL, MN – Mark Kivisto, of Dassel, started Kivisto West Tree Service as a simple side project five years ago. Today, that “side project,” now named treeStory, is a thriving business that does work all over the state. Besides a variety of residential tree work such as branch trimming and tree removal, the company clears trees for power lines, construction areas, and Department of Transportation projects all over the state of Minnesota.
“This year we cleared 300 miles of line for Meeker Co-op,” said Kivisto, president of treeStory.
That’s just an example of the large-scale work his company can handle, but treeStory also welcomes residential jobs involving as few as one or two trees.
According to Kivisto, “Each job has its own unique characteristics,” and treeStory treats all jobs with equal care, focusing on individual trees and clients.
“It’s nice to not take a tree down if you don’t have to, if you can do something to save [it]. Trees are important for the environment, the landscape, and curb appeal of a property. It’s nice to be able to keep trees when possible, but also, if a tree poses a danger, it should come out,” said Kivisto.
In that case, treeStory has the skills to, as Kivisto said, “safely and efficiently remove that tree, and do it for the betterment of the property and the property owner.”
Kivisto lauds his team as crucial to the company’s success. Currently, treeStory employs six local residents, including Kivisto’s brother-in-law, Brady Peterson, who has been with the team since the beginning.
“I say he’s been working for me longer than I have,” said Kivisto with a chuckle. “He was working for me when I was still doing it on the side.”
Kivisto has a background in civil engineering, but was inspired to start a tree service after watching his brother, John, succeed at the business in Michigan, where the brothers grew up. Much of Kivisto’s inspiration comes from his family, and Kivisto has memories of growing up with trees all around and cutting wood with his father and brother. He said his father, Cokato native Phil Kivisto, was an electrician, so trees weren’t always the family business.
“It was more just a way to wake us up on Saturdays, and get us outside. When we heard that chainsaw, we knew it was time to get out of bed,” Kivisto said.
He said that he’s had to do some hands-on learning since he started treeStory, but he’s been interested in trees most of his life. He and his brother “always climbed trees growing up – we climbed about every tree on our property.”
When John started his own company, Kivisto took note. “I saw that, and it was something I had an interest in,” he said.
Even now, the brothers stay in close touch. “We talk a couple times a week about projects or ongoing jobs. It’s a good resource to have,” Kivisto said.
With a recent rebranding and a solid client base, treeStory is thriving. But Kivisto doesn’t plan on stopping there.
“This coming year, we’re looking to double the size of our staff,” he said. He also has plans to expand residential crews towards the cities, while maintaining current clients and growing his client base in the DC area. He hopes to grow the company’s commercial clearing and powerline crews, as well.
“We’ve got a really good core group of employees who’ve been with us for a while, so it’s a time that we can put people in positions to succeed. I feel it’s a good time to expand,” Kivisto explained.
When asked what people could count on when hiring treeStory, Kivisto didn’t mince words.
“We’re honest, hardworking people who are local to the community. We’re there – we do good work,” he said.
For more information, visit www.treestory.pro or call 612-607-0041.