Before joining her family in the wood business, Jenny Barger was in Marketing and Advertising. It turned out to be the perfect background as she now runs the Sales and Marketing for Live Edge Detroit.
Back in 1984, Jenny’s dad started a tree care and removal business. His heart has always been set on sustainability and conservation, and it often pained him to merely chop unwanted trees into firewood.
So in 2016, Jenny, her brother Joe, and her dad Mike founded Live Edge. They now salvage the trees that Mike’s company removes. Once the wood has been cut and taken back to their warehouse, the crew mills them into new usable material.
Slabs of gorgeous dry wood fill the space. Customers are welcome to wander around and search for the perfect materials for their next project or peruse the finished pieces they have to offer.
“Our vision for Live Edge Detroit was to develop a branch of Mike’s Tree Surgeons, Inc. that focused on salvaging our local resources and making them available for the community to enjoy for many more years to come. Our long term goals are to uphold that initial vision and to see it bloom into a more sustainable and profitable branch of the family business. We aren’t planning to take over the world, but we want to make a difference within the community, and we feel that starts right here in our own backyard.” -Jenny Barger from @liveedgedetroit
“Don’t be afraid to ask for help! I’ve been so fortunate to have friends and past colleagues that have pitched in to help me here and there where I may not have expertise. Let people help you, and if you love what you do, and you’re honest and hardworking, I believe success will find you.” -Jenny Barger from @liveedgedetroit
“Everything I know about wood and trees I learned from my dad! He studied Forestry at Michigan Tech University and has been a longtime Certified Arborist and Urban Forester. He is the go-to for anyone in the Metro-Detroit area that needs arboriculture consultation. Not only is he a vast wealth of knowledge, he has been incredibly patient in teaching his corporate-minded daughter how to identify wood species by grain and bark, and understand what species are good for what types of projects, etc. I am not an expert yet – but I have great resources to fall back on when questions arise!” -Jenny Barger from @liveedgedetroit
“My previous jobs were very instrumental to my professional development, but they were not personally fulfilling in the way that working for the family business has been. Not only has it opened up my eyes to how much the community values and respects my dad and his business, but I also have the opportunity to learn from him every day, and to carry out his dream of full cycle sustainability. It has been the biggest blessing! My advice for anyone in a family business is something that I’ve recently had to realize firsthand, and that is to draw a few boundaries between business time and family time. It can be tough to ‘turn off’ when all of the family members are so passionate about what they do, but sometimes you just have to decompress and be a family. As much as we spend time together talking business, sometimes you just need your dad to be your dad to be your dad!” -Jenny Barger from @liveedgedetroit