A touch of boredom and some conversations at the pub prompted Bryce Robb and Mary Cameron to start operating Beaver Tree Service in Whanganui.
Robb, who has done tree removal and maintenance work for 25 years, has owned Christchurch business Beaver Tree Services for about 15 years ago and still has a team of eight working in Christchurch. He moved to Whanganui about a year ago, intending to retire and develop some properties.
However, after he had renovated their home he was at a loose end and some conversations at their local pub prompted a change of plan.
"People started asking me if I'd have a look at their trees or do a bit of work for them so I said I would and now we're swamped with work and looking at employing people," Robb said.
"We did a bit of research and found that while there are a few tree companies in Whanganui, they seem to be flat out. Our focus is on residential and commercial work - we'll leave the council and power line work to the other companies.
"We're specialists in difficult tree removal - places where you can't take trucks or cranes so it's all manual. Fifty per cent of our work is doing tricky removals and the rest is ornamental pruning of amenity trees and residential work, reducing trees and putting more light and shape into trees.
"After 25 years I know what trees need, how they grow and how to make properties feel more spacious and open by thinning out the trees. People plant trees not realising how large they get - that's the general issue people have."
Cameron, who is Whanganui born and bred, left her full-time job a few months ago and is now working in the business as they focus on developing it.
"We're looking at doing tree work from Whanganui to Manawatū down to the Kāpiti Coast and Wellington," Cameron said.
"We are working really hard on customer service. We want to make sure people are happy with what they get."
They plan to employ local people and build up to the stage where Robb is not doing the physical work himself. The company is currently on the hunt for an arborist and a marketing manager.
Beaver Tree Service has done some work on the heritage trees at Pakaitore/Moutoa Gardens and is working with a number of schools.
The company is big on community involvement and is currently talking with schools and the Department of Conservation about tree planting initiatives for Arbor Day.