Heidrich’s Colorado Tree Farm Nursery
7440 Templeton Gap Road
Colorado Springs, CO 80923
Phone: 719-598-TREE (8733)
Interview with Levi Heidrich, Managing Partner
What is your company’s history?
My family has been in business for nearly 50 years in Colorado and four generations have been involved. Colorado Tree Farm (CTF) started out as Cattle, Trees, and Firewood and as my parents collected larger numbers of native trees and other nursery stock, the company changed its name to Colorado Tree Farm, a wholesale nursery. The retail branch was opened in 1988, sold in the 1990s and started up again in 1999. I belong to the third generation, but it was my parents who started the company. My grandparents would seasonally visit from Kansas to join the business and work the seasonal retail operation. The fourth generation is just getting into the business, as my kids, nieces and nephews become old enough to work.
Both the wholesale and retail nurseries were restructured in 2008 and became Heidrich’s Colorado Tree Farm Nursery LLC. My siblings, Joel and Katie, my dad and myself are currently co-owners of the company.
What markets do you serve?
We currently are both a retail and re-wholesale nursery selling to the general public, landscape contractors, municipalities, schools, homebuilders and more. We sell mostly trees, shrubs, perennials and ornamental grasses. We don’t grow all our plants but we make sure they will grow here. We mostly serve Colorado Springs and El Paso County. Occasionally we will still collect a few local Ponderosa as well.
What changes and trends are you seeing in the marketplace?
Inflation has been a big challenge but it may be stabilizing. Food and fuel prices impact homeowners’ disposable income. We have higher labor costs and we have had to increase prices. So far, demand doesn’t seem to be impacted by higher prices. We also noticed that during the COVID years, customers were less picky, but now, in 2023, customers want what they want. Finding conifers may be challenging since a longtime grower is retiring and the supply side is generally tight. It takes 7-8 years to grow a crop. We are still finding them right now, but we have gotten pretty low on conifers the last few summers.
Like other businesses, we have seen the home market slowing, interest rates going up, and less speculation from builders. These factors may cause demand to drop. At Heidrich’s, we have noticed since 2020 that we have fewer sales transactions but the spend per transaction has been higher.
Water use has a huge impact on the industry, including river rights – how developments will supply their customers. The industry is still moving to drought tolerant plants, which is an enormous benefit to water savings. Heidrich’s has commercial wells, which means we can sustain our business at its current size. Water education is very important, but it’s tricky at the wholesale and nursery level. Landscape companies are the ones that have a bigger impact on educating customers.
What do you enjoy most about being a CNGA member?
My dad joined CNA in the 1980s for education and a sense of community. We have been members ever since. CNGA is great resource. I was on the board for four years. There are many good people committed to the industry and though they may be ‘competitors,’ there is a lot of open collaboration. And, we band together to support issues that affect us all, such as legislative issues. There is enough business for everyone and we are in it together.