Tom Courtright, owner of Orchard Nursery in Lafayette, Calif., received the prestigious Jack Schneider Award for a lifetime of achievement in garden retail from Garden Centers of America during the IGC Show last week in Chicago.
Courtright was raised in the nursery industry, as his father owned a garden center in Berkeley, and continued in it after studying horticulture at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo. Throughout his career, Courtright has been heavily involved in local and national industry organizations, including the California Association of Nurseries & Garden Centers, the American Nursery & Landscape Association and the International Garden Centre Association, among others.
The award is particularly meaningful because its namesake – Jack Schneider – was the founder of Orchard Nursery and sold the operation to a young Tom Courtright in 1972.
“Tom receiving the Jack Schneider Award is a great tribute to the work he’s done throughout the garden center industry in this country and internationally,” said GCA president David Williams. “It is well deserved and I am proud to be a part of the presentation.”
Orchard Nursery has long been thought of as one of the first destination garden centers in the country. With sales around $8 million on 5 acres of property in an upscale community, the garden center is a model from which others can take note. But Courtright isn’t just focused on the green industry and his retail operation – he also is active in his local community as a member of Rotary and the Chamber of Commerce. He was named Lafayette Citizen Of The Year in 1989, and Lafayette Business Person Of The Year in 2009. His wife, Jacquie Williams-Courtright, owns Alden Lane Nursery, which is a mere 30 miles from Orchard Nursery.