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Marlow Anderson, the founder of Andy's Professional Landscaping, may be retired, but he is always present. His daughter Amy Gehrke, the current owner, takes care to run the business with the same hands-on attention to detail and dedication to customer service as her father always did. "It didn't matter how big or small the job was," Amy says. "It didn't matter if you were a condominium association coming in to sign a maintenance contract or a residential customer who just wanted advice on a weed. My dad would always treat everyone the same. He would take the time to sit down and talk to you until he understood what your issue was and how to help you. He always went the extra mile."Amy remembers how her father would always come home from work so soaked in sweat and mud that he would change his clothes in the garage before he came into the house, and how he would sometimes snatch a brief nap on the floor of his office to rest up in between jobs. "He wasn't the kind of owner who let his employees do all of the work so he wouldn't have to get dirty," she explains. "He was a hands-on kind of guy. He would go out there and work right alongside them, teaching them how to do it as he went along."Even ageing didn't keep her father from giving his personal attention to a job, according to Amy. "He would take a golf cart out onto a property so he could check the sprinkler system himself and talk to the homeowners." The whole Anderson family has an innate talent at horticulture. Marlow grew up on his parents' Minnesota farm, then went on to get a degree in agriculture from the University of Nebraska. Landscaping and horticulture are his hobby. Then in 1983 his hobby turned into the start of Andy's, now located in the Rockford area with his family, he started Andy's Professional Landscaping to provide his children with summer work. The business was named after Marlow's mother Alice, whose nickname was "Andy."Andy's Professional Landscaping's earliest contracts were mostly lawncare-related. It gradually expanded into landscape maintenance; irrigation; and finally hardscaping, including patios, walkways, retaining walls, and outdoor kitchens. Andy's Professional Landscaping now services approximately 7,500 customers in the northern Illinois area, mostly condominium associations, and commercial properties, but also a loyal following of residential customers.Andy's has a thriving retail and wholesale division, which sells bulk mulch, decorative boulders & rocks, plants, perennials, annuals, and trees to both do-it-yourselfers and other professional landscape contractors.Amy herself started working for the business at the age of 12, mowing lawns and shoveling snow alongside her father and brothers. She purchased Andy's from her father in 2013, moving her family back to Rockford from Colorado in the process. "It's been a pleasure and an honor to work with my dad; I've learned so much from him," she says. "He's still my go-to person for anything having to do with landscaping."

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