Froggy Bottom Materials
The Extra Yard
Landscaping materials business helps transform yards into something special
Two years ago, when Susan Raybon was given the opportunity to move from the healthcare industry to owning a business that involved being outside all day, she went for it and hasn’t looked back.
by Rebecca Flatt
Susan Raybon loves the outdoors, and is a self-proclaimed country girl.
Two years ago, when she was given the opportunity to move from the healthcare industry to owning a business that involved being outside all day, she went for it and hasn’t looked back.
Froggy Bottom Materials, Inc. has been in business in Montgomery for more than 25 years, providing top quality landscaping materials to most of Central Alabama. It was started in the 1980s by Gene and B.J. Shaver.
While going through a divorce, Raybon worked for the couple at Froggy Bottoms on a part-time basis. When health issues became a factor and they decided to sell the business, Raybon was an obvious choice for the potential buyer.
“They asked me if I would stay and run it full time,” Raybon says. “We worked out a buy-out agreement, and two years later here I am.”
The business caters to landscapers, contractors and individuals looking to revamp their ordinary yard with anything from pavers to water gardens, which have become very popular and are available at a reasonable cost.
Froggy Bottom Materials recently became an authorized Belgard pavers dealer. These pavers are designed to provide many years of protection in all climates, enhancing the aesthetics and value of properties. A wide range of colors, shapes and finishes are available right on site at the business’ location on Cook Station Road.
With a name as unique as Froggy Bottom, many wonder where it originated. Legend says that in the early 1900s, the small community in east Montgomery County was named Froggy Bottom because it is an area of wetland with many croaking frogs. As the years went by, it became an old gravel pit and a sort of lover’s lane, where couples would go parking.
When the Shavers started the company, they named the business Froggy Bottom Materials in honor of this area. Also unique to Froggy Bottom Materials is that it is the only landscape material business in the area offering custom-blended soil.
Delivered all the way from Pennsylvania, this product is blended with mushroom compost, the medium which results from the mushroom growing process. It is made from various agriculture materials such as hay, poultry litter, cottonseed meal and gypsum. Mushroom compost has a high water- and nutrient-holding capacity, and can be used for farming, gardening, lawn care and landscaping.
Raybon does buy many of the products locally, but in addition to Pennsylvania she also purchases materials from Tennessee, California, Colorado and Mexico.
Generally, customers come prepared with a landscape design, and Raybon and her team of five help fulfill that vision. She gives much credit to her employees James Duncan, Bryan Hutchison, Tommie Lee Johnson, Max Russell and Bo Bozeman, all of whom work full time.
One of her favorite aspects of the job is seeing pictures of the before and after.
“I enjoy helping customers fulfill that visual image of what they want their yard or property to look like, and actually making it happen,” Raybon says. “It’s fun being able to walk through and show them all of the products that are available.”
She gives individual estimates based on the size of the project, the chosen products and the amount of labor for installation. While the economy hasn’t had a negative effect on her business, the weather can pose a problem, especially when the materials are outside. But working five days a week, as early as 6 a.m. and as late as 4 p.m., gives customers a wide range of time to peruse the soils, pavers, stones, gravel and rocks. Spring is her busiest time of year, and gives a new boost of energy after the winter months can slow things down, but she rarely gets discouraged.
“I remember one day when we had 60 walk-in customers in 5 1/2 hours,” she says. “That was a great day!”