KNUD NIELSEN COMPANY
The Knud Nielsen Company began in October of 1913 when Knud Nielsen, Sr., who immigrated from Copenhagen, Denmark in 1911, arrived in Evergreen, intrigued by reports of the lush and prolific foliage in the area. After working with one of the already established shipping companies, Knud Sr. started his own business of grading, packing and shipping, via Railway Express, the wild smilax and magnolia leaves brought in on order by local farmers and collectors.
The Nielsen Company prospered for a number of years until the Great Depression of the 1930’s. Experiencing lean times, it managed to survive as a supplier of magnolia leaves and pine cones to some of the largest memorial wreath makers in the country. As Knud Nielsen, Jr. later recalled, “Father was able to sell enough to come out of the Depression. Finally, in the early ‘40s, he actually made some money and became debt-free about 1945.
Knud Nielsen Sr. died in 1947, and his oldest son, Knud Nielsen Jr., assumed management of the company. The younger Nielsen had returned to Evergreen in 1945 after studying chemical engineering at Auburn University. He was joined in 1954 by his brother, John Nielsen, who also graduated from Auburn University. The brothers expanded the facilities and the product line and began importing raw materials from abroad.
Upon the removal of the passenger trains and the demise of Railway Express, the shipping of perishable greens was discontinued. With this change, the company directed its total effort to dried flowers and preserved materials. Over the following years, the Company would develop and patent landmark technology and equipment for the floral industry.
Today, under the management of cousins Knud Nielsen III, chairman and CEO, and Tom Nielsen, president and COO, the Knud Nielsen Company in October 2013 celebrated its 100th birthday. Throughout its exceptional history, the company has grown, adapted and evolved much like the rest of the floral industry. Nevertheless, its mission remains constant and unwavering. That is, the Knud Nielsen Company remains committed to providing its customers with natural floral products of the highest quality in a manner both courteous and prompt.