Six generations of Hillenmeyers share appreciation for family, community and changing with the times.
Stephen Hillenmeyer Landscape Services is celebrating its 175th anniversary in Central Kentucky this year. The family-owned business started in Lexington with a shipment of fruit trees from France in the spring of 1841. Today, Hillenmeyer is a bustling residential, commercial and equine lawn maintenance company focused on the future.
Stephen Hillenmeyer, the current and fifth-generation owner and youngest of nine siblings, has been involved with the family business most of his life. Stephen, along with his two brothers, Louis III and Chris, purchased the company from their uncle, Bob Hillenmeyer, in 1985. As of 2016, Hillenmeyer is the second oldest company in Lexington and the second oldest nursery in the country.
“We’ve always been willing to change with the times and that’s been a big part of our success,” said Stephen Hillenmeyer. “We are fortunate to be a part of a family that has shown great respect for one another and a willingness to compromise.”
About one-third of family-owned businesses enter the second-generation; 12 percent make it to the third generation; and just 3 percent survive into the fourth generation, according to Family Business Institute.