Our Garden Center Staff
Jack Degraw – Owner and Director of Nursery Services
I was born and spent my early childhood in northern New Jersey. I graduated from Independence High School in 1999 and founded TLC Groundskeeping. My background is in lawn and landscape maintenance, having a firm understanding of how your lawn and landscape is maintained pays great dividends on how well they perform and how long your investment will last. I am a certified applicator with the states of Kansas and Oklahoma, holding certifications in turf and ornamental pest control and industrial and right-of-way weed control. If you have concerns about turf, irrigation or weed control, I’m your guy.
Fred Schultz – Owner and Director of Lawn Mowing Operations and Industrial Services
I have had an extensive career in retail and service based business. I was managing a local grocery store at the age of 19 and worked for a large soft drink distributor for ten years. As a way to earn supplemental income for my family, my son Beau and I started mowing lawns after school and on weekends. In 2002 I bought out a local contractor and in 2003, Jack and I joined our two ventures and formed TLC Groundskeeping, LLC. I am is responsible for all mowing operations and logistics and is vital in our bare ground vegetation management services. I oversee 6 mowing crews while having my own route which includes, mowing, brush hogging and just about anything else that TLC needs to get done to meet customers needs. Although many of my golfing buddies don’t see me much, my commitment to my customer’s needs is second to none.
Twila Brooks Hawthorne – Store Manager & Landscape Consultant
I was born in Kansas and have lived here most of my life. A lifelong tree hugger, I began my career in the floral industry. I graduated from Johnson County Community College and earned a Floral Design Certification from the Kansas School of Floral design in Lawrence. I moved to Independence in 1986 and continued my education at ICC with an Associates degree in Science. After almost thirty years in the floral industry as a floral designer, I began working at Independence Nursery and Garden Center, using both my experience with flowers and my education in botany to pursue a second career in Landscape Design. The garden center has allowed me to learn and work with industry greats and exposed me to the best gardening people in the state. I have obtained a Certification in Pest Control from the State of Kansas. Learning to present landscape design with the aid of industry software is my current interest and I am looking forward to completing the Kansas State Arborist Certification Program.
Namon Hawthorne – Business Office Manager
I came to TLC 5 years ago. Twila and I are husband and wife (don’t worry, we work out of separate locations!). I am is a Southeast Kansas native from Caney, Kansas. I spent four years in the US Navy as a records keeper and ship store operator and have a very successful career in grocery store management winning several awards for customer service. My responsibilities include accounts receivable and payable, human resources, and payroll. I keep the gas in the tank so we can keep going! I am very customer friendly and eager to answer any billing or paperwork issues that may arise from our activities.