SPRINGFIELD, Mo.– It’s not every day a company celebrates its 100th birthday.

When Wickman’s began, Warren G. Harding was the President, the Canton Bulldogs were atop the NFL and the Oscars weren’t an award yet.

Today, owner Chris Kristek says the garden village hasn’t changed much from what it was a century ago.

“(The) first purpose was to produce vegetable crops and flowers for local community.” Kristek says. “Actually, it was for celery production. Grew the celery here, marketed it right off the ground.”

Kristek has been associated with Wickman’s in some way for almost 40 years.

“My father went to work for Gus Wickman in 1959. I went to work for my father here in 1983. I’ve been here pretty much ever since.” Kristek says.

Wickman’s endured the Great Depression as well as World War II. Kristek says the company has faced adversity but continued throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Going through the COVID situation you know, we would have our customers here every morning wanting to buy vegetable crops and everything.” Kristek said.

Fred Wickman, whose father Gus, sold the business to the Kristek family in the 70s, now lives in Kansas City. He made the to Springfield for this and wasn’t going to miss it for the world.

“This is huge.” Wickman said. “This is the result of three families here in the Ozarks who were dedicated to serving the people who live in the Ozarks, making sure they had good stuff to grow lovely flowers, vegetables to plant, landscaping, all of that.”

Wickman grew up in the home that sits on the property and says living right next a garden had its benefits.

“I always had work whenever I wanted it and sometimes when I didn’t want it,” Wickman said.

“I had work and it was fun to grow up here. And when I was living here, we had about ten acres and we had the greenhouses. We had 40,000 square feet of glass with plants and all sorts of things inside.”

Lastly, Wickman believes in the longevity of Wickman’s Garden Village.

“I’m just really thankful to have been a part of it, a small part of it,” Wickman said.

“I just want to I want to compliment the Kristek family for doing such a wonderful job with a business that my dad so loved.”