Capitol Nursery in Sacramento will be closing it's original retail outlet on Freeport Blvd. this Labor Day. According to The Sacramento Bee, "The chain's longtime owner, Chuck Armstrong, whose father and uncle founded the company in 1936, will retire at the end of August." Capitol Nursery has two other locations which will remain open.Over 40 part and full time employees will lose their jobs. Capitol Nurseries problems can be traced to a couple of obvious reasons. As Farmer Fred Hoffman said in The Bee Article, "It's the economy,...with the foreclosures, all those empty homes don't need landscaping." Also important, when gardening changed Capitol didn't change with it. According to owner Chuck Armstrong, "the closure of his flagship location indicates a disappointing culture change. Gardening no longer holds the old-fashioned allure that it did in the past. He said, "Years ago, on just about any block on a spring day, you would see dozens of people out in their yards, gardening. You just don't see that anymore."
This is why I feel staying small and nimble is the best bet for garden centers at this time. The changes come faster and faster these days, and large operations like Capitol have a difficult time turning the ship of commerce when necessary. When we went from selling mostly ornamental plants to selling vegetables there we're just too many gardening places still in business for the need. According to The Bee, "Since the start of the recession, nurseries around the country – including a half-dozen in the Sacramento region – have closed." There are plenty more to come.
What many people don't see are the suppliers who get hurt when this happens. Klupenger's Nursery, which has been supplying garden centers for 60 years just announced the closure of their Aurora, Oregon business. Between Capitol and Klupenger's there is 100 years of nursery experience being lost. While it's easy to say this or that is the reason these places are closing, it's a shame to see so many good nursery people out of work. Best of luck to them all.
I received this press release from Capitol Nursery after this post was written. Thanks to Keith Miner for forwarding this to me.
"Capital Nursery Freeport is Relocating All Operations to Elk Grove and Citrus Heights Stores. After 76 years, the Freeport Boulevard store is closing. The Elk Grove and Citrus Heights stores are under new management.
Capital Nursery, Northern California's premier choice for plants, landscape products, and garden services for more than three generations, is relocating its Freeport Boulevard operations to its Elk Grove and Citrus Heights stores at the end of this month. Under new management, the Elk Grove and Citrus Heights locations are ready to reclaim their long-held position as the number one trusted retail nursery in Northern California.
The Raley's supermarket chain, which for years has been interested in purchasing the nursery's Freeport property, recently made an offer that Capital Nursery could not turn down. A store closing sale will commence this weekend, offering a great opportunity for customers to stock up on gardening and landscaping needs. With the consolidation of operations into two locations, Capital Nursery is positioning itself to vigorously reestablish itself in the market, reconnect with longtime loyal customers, expand its customer base, and recreate the special quality garden center environment that Sacramento families have enjoyed visiting for decades.
About Capital Nursery
Founded in 1936 by the Armstrong brothers, Eugene and Charles, family-owned Capital Nursery has served multiple generations of Sacramento gardeners and homeowners. For decades, it had been the preeminent nursery in Northern California—with a reputation for the finest plant material and quality landscaping."