In the late 1890’s Michael Leider, Sr. emigrated from Luxembourg to begin a family tradition. He began growing fresh vegetables on the north side of Chicago, then, after moving to Evanston in the early 1900’s he started growing potted flowers and plants. The business was expanded and continued by his son, Michael Martin Leider In the 1930’s. By 1965, Michael Martin moved the company’s operations to Lake County and built the first completely new, ultramodern greenhouses in the Midwest. Two of Michael Martin’s sons, Jim and Gerry entered the business in the early 1960’s, as the third generation management team they began a significant development of the business by expanding its operations to retailing and commercial divisions. During the early 1970’s the business expanded geographically into several states and continually invested in automation of its greenhouses and nursery production facilities. Today, the fourth generation of Leider family members, Mark, Mary, and Meg heads up the management team of the Leider Greenhouses facility.
As the cities started expanding in the 1960’s and began building contemporary glass and steel structures, the Leiders recognized the need for interior plants to soften this modern architecture. The opportunity enabled the company to pioneer a completely innovative concept in the horticultural industry: “Interior Landscape”. In 1963 a new company, known as Tropical Plant Rentals, Inc. was formed to provide quality plants and professional care in interior spaces. Tropical Plant Rentals, Inc. grew to become the largest interiorscaper in the United States with divisions in a dozen major cities.
In October 1988, Tropical Plant Rentals, Inc. and its related company, Primescape, and MPS-USA were sold to Rentokil, an international service company based in the United Kingdom. This company has its headquarters in Riverwoods, Illinois and operates in multiple locations. In 2003 Rentokil renamed its plant division Initial Tropical Plants. Leider Greenhouses continues to sell to Initial as well as other interiorscapers.
At one time the company operated 30 retail locations. In 1998 we closed our last retail location; BONFLEUR an upscale retail flower shop was located in Water Tower Place on North Michigan Avenue. A decision to close the store was made to concentrate on our efforts on the core production business. The Aptakisic Road greenhouse complex is situated on an 18-acre site with a total ground area covered of approximately 10 acres. The first greenhouses were constructed in 1965 with continual expansion and improvement to its present day site. In approximately 1985, the greenhouse underwent a massive renovation and installed the moveable Dutch tray system. This system included the installation of a sub irrigation growing system. To be more environmentally friendly, all water and fertilizer is re-circulated within the property. Spacing robots and automated cold storage cooler were also installed. Due to the improvement in automation, our labor force became more productive, enabling the company to produce more plants with less labor cost. The system has allowed the company to run as one of the most efficient in the industry.
Leider Greenhouses’ primary goal is to produce and deliver consistently the highest quality plants and meet the needs of our customers every day. We would like the family tradition to continue growing for at least another four generations!