Time to Pass the Baton

As many of you know, Knecht’s founders Leif and Deb Knecht are retiring this winter. We’d like to take this opportunity to highlight their hard work and congratulate them on a well-earned retirement.

Leif started growing trees in 1988 and the obsession grew from there. By 1999, a landscaping division and full-blown retail garden center were born. One by one, hoop houses popped up and tree racks were erected to become the Knecht’s of today. 

Leif infused the business with his deep connection to plants and wildlife. It is not uncommon to hear him talking about trees as if they are his friends, and he has a keen eye for their creative potential. Leif thinks about plants not only as retail products, but as members of a wider ecosystem. His dedication to growing many of our oak trees from local seed is part of that connection to nature. Indeed, no acorn is unwanted- they simply must be planted! 

While Leif was out fighting squirrels for the most perfect acorns, Deb kept the business running smoothly. Her attention to detail cannot be overstated, and she ensured that Knecht’s met every new challenge. In addition to her eagle eye for administrative detail, Deb is a hosta fanatic. She built Knecht’s reputation as a hosta collector’s oasis and kept on top of every exciting new variety while maintaining a solid inventory of the classics. 

Leif and Deb leave the business in the capable hands of 16 year Knecht’s veteran, Jim Westlund. Jim started in 2005 and quickly became the fearless leader of our landscaping division and an integral part of the business as a whole. Jim’s track record as a good and kind leader, his commitment to high standards, and his unwavering work ethic ensure a smooth change of hands for Knecht’s. We will keep offering the same high quality plant material and customer service that our business was built on. 

Bon voyage and happy retirement to Leif and Deb! Here’s to basking in nature’s glory, taking some great pictures, and catching the biggest fish.