In 1906 Andy Gossman quit his job as a school teacher in Minnesota, invested his savings in apple tree rootstock, packed a few essential possessions and headed west to follow his dream. Andy knew that the climate in Eastern Washington was similar to apple producing regions of the east coast, and he had a pretty good hunch that apple trees would flourish in the west. He was right.
Andy planted his first nursery near the confluence of the Columbia & Okanogan Rivers, and thus the company name – C&O – was born. In 1907 Andy persuaded his nephew Bert Snyder to leave Iowa and move west to join him. Andy’s pharmacology degree and Bert’s college education were a winning combination. Within a few years C&O relocated to Wenatchee, the hub of Washington’s apple industry.
Word spread quickly about the superior trees available from C&O. Andy and Bert developed a nursery catalog, and Andy applied his scientific background to the development of new varieties of apples. In 1923 Andy and Bert propagated a new variety, the Richared Delicious. Six figures of Richared Delicious trees have been grown and distributed throughout the world. In 1934 C&O received a patent for the Shotwell – a variety of Red Delicious. This was the first ‘ever’ patent granted for Red Delicious – patent #90. C & O also patented the Candoka peach (patent #51) cementing its status in the agriculture business as the third oldest nursery in the country. In 1951 the company was awarded the Wilder Medal, the highest award in horticulture, for their efforts in variety innovation.
Andy and Bert’s entrepreneurial endeavors have become a lasting legacy. Family members involved in C & O’s success include: Bert’s sons, John, Bob and Gene; third generation members Jack, Todd and Gary; and fourth generation members Shad (Jack’s son) and Ty (Todd’s son).