Though it seemed unlikely just 10 months ago, the Knupper name will be associated with gardening in Palatine this spring for an 89th consecutive year.
Now called Knupper's Flower & Garden, the revived Rand Road business will open for the season this week and run until early July. It'll be a lighter version of Knupper Nursery & Landscape, which closed in June after its family owners sold their 5 acres to Napleton's Automotive Group.
"We are very happy to be continuing the legacy of the Knupper name," marketing manager Kate Kysiak said. "The excitement from our customers and neighbors about reopening has been just wonderful. Customers should expect the same great customer service they came to love, a lot of familiar faces, as well as a great selection of annuals, perennials, roses, herbs and vegetables."
John and Sue Heaton ended their five-decade run -- and Knupper's 88 years as a mainstay for Northwest suburban green thumbs and landscapers -- when they closed the family business. The old nursery was known for its range of plant materials and employees with expertise.
Napleton Automotive Group obtained the Knupper name and the business' 5 acres for $2.9 million when it bought a neighboring site with a long-vacant Menards from the village of Palatine last year. Palatine sold roughly 9 acres and the 52,000-square-foot building to Napleton for $2.5 million.
With the Menards and a couple of original Knupper structures now demolished, Napleton will start to build a 24,900-square-foot Subaru dealership, a 17,362-square-foot Mazda building and a 5,000-square-foot car wash on the property.
Kysiak said the rebooted Knupper's has been working with the same growers and suppliers as the Heaton family in an effort to continue selling the same high-quality flowers, herbs and vegetables. Familiar faces also will be at the business, including Alison Johnson, the general manager of the old Knupper who is running the new venture.
Johnson said she began in 2001 as a greenhouse manager in charge of ordering all annuals, hanging baskets, combination pots, herbs, veggies, houseplants, tropical plants and pottery. She was elevated to general manager in 2016 and said she's happy to be in the same role at the new operation, ready to see old customers and greet new ones.
"I have come to know and love many gardeners from Palatine and the surrounding communities," Johnson said. "Having worked for Knupper Nursery for the last 18 years, I have had the pleasure of sharing my love of plants and gardening with those who share the same passion."
John Heaton bought the garden and landscape business after the death of his father-in-law, original owner Richard Knupper.
It'll remain a family business with automotive group Chairman Steve Napleton's company owning it and his daughter Kysiak serving as marketing manager.
"I am ... really happy about continuing the familial nature of this business -- even if it's a different family," she said.