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When a German immigrant tried to make ends meet during the Great Depression, he had little idea that his humble venture would one day become a multi-million dollar family business.

David August (D.A.) Hoerr began delivering coal with his truck in 1926 to help Peoria residents heat their homes for the winter. To supplement his income during the warmer months, he began delivering topsoil, doing landscaping work, and eventually growing plants and trees to sell. For 13 years he operated a nursery business from his family home on Big Hollow Road, now the site of Bob Evans Restaurant. By 1945, D.A. dropped the trucking business and devoted his time to landscaping and growing sod.

In 1950, the first Garden Center was built across the street from the family’s house on War Memorial Drive, on the land now occupied by Steak & Shake. In 1958, D.A. Hoerr incorporated with three of his sons, Jim, John and Rudy to form D.A. Hoerr & Sons, Inc.

In 1966, D.A. acquired a piece of land on the edge of town along Route 91. The property was converted from a farm to a plant nursery. Construction began on a retail store, new greenhouses and production facilities, and opened to the public in 1974.

Now known as Hoerr Nursery, the company manages about 400 acres in the Peoria area for the production of trees, plants and sod. The family business is now run by the third generation of Hoerrs, and has grown to include a staff of landscape architects, horticulturalists, certified arborists, master gardeners, and nursery professionals.

The Hoerr family can look back and be proud of the business they built over the years. But all pay tribute to the hard work of D.A. Hoerr that paved the way for future success.