KNUD NIELSEN COMPANY
Knud Nielsen Company was founded by Knud Nielsen, Sr. Knud Nielsen immigrated to the United States in 1911 from Denmark, where he had been introduced to the foliage preserving business. He worked for two years in the office of the Danish Consul before deciding to return to the foliage business. He elected to move to Evergreen, Alabama, because the area was known for its prolific foliage growth. South Alabama's dense forests provided an abundant supply of magnolia, smilax, holly, palms, mistletoe, huckleberry, oak, ferns and Spanish Moss.
Knud Nielsen worked with one of several shippers for a few months, then decided to start his own business. Many farmers and collectors brought fresh foliages in on order to packing houses in Evergreen, where the foliages were graded and packed for shipment. Delivery time was two days to St. Louis and Cincinnati and three days to Chicago and New York via Railway Express.
Knud Nielsen Company prospered for a number of years until the Great Depression of the 1930's. The company experienced lean times but managed to survive, and business revived during the 1940's. Then in 1947, Knud Nielsen Sr. suffered a fatal heart attack.
Knud Nielsen, Jr., returned to Evergreen in 1945 after having studied chemical engineering at Auburn University and serving in the Army for three years. He assumed management of the company in 1947. He was joined in 1954 by his brother, John M. Nielsen who had then graduated from Auburn University and served in the Army.
The brothers expanded both the facilities and the production line of Knud Nielsen Company. They began purchasing new raw materials from abroad. With the demise of the Railway Express, perishable greens were discontinued, and the total effort of the company was devoted to dried flowers and materials.
Knud Nielsen Company is now the largest company in the world devoted exclusively to dried flowers and materials. Management philosophy at Knud Nielsen Company is to be the expert in one field and to produce the best products possible for the floral industry.