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German Garden Gnome-Maker To Retire; 145-Year-Old Company Seeks Successor

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German Garden Gnome-Maker To Retire; 145-Year-Old Company Seeks Successor

Griebel, one of Germany’s last-surviving gnome makers, is reportedly looking for new leadership as its owner prepares to retire.

What Happened

The 145-year-old business makes iconic gnome statues that call gardens worldwide their home. Based in the village of Graefenroda in the former East Germany,  the company employed 60 people before the fall of the Berlin Wall, according to Reuters last month. 

Only three employees work there now. 

"Either I carry on until I am over 100 years old, that would certainly still be fun, or the garden gnomes reproduce," owner Reinhard Griebel told Reuters Television. "The third possibility is to find a successor and we are searching." 

Why It's Important

Graefenroda the birthplace of the garden gnome, Griebel said.

He has little hope that the business will continue once he retires; East Germany has suffered an exodus of people since German reunification.

Without a successor, the company, which has produced over 500 gnome characters, will have to shut down.

The gnomes grew in popularity in the late 19th century and have enjoyed an ebb and flow of popularity ever since.

What's Next

The company has scaled back and reverted to producing only the classic gnome figures that are still in demand from customers, including the familiar white-bearded gnomes with red hats, according to Reuters. 

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