News

Menlo Park: Roger Reynolds Nursery closes after 97 years

After 97 years in the same location in Menlo Park, Roger Reynolds Nursery & Carriage Stop "has closed its doors for the last time," owner Sally Halstead said Tuesday (Sept. 3).

"This has not been an easy decision," she said in a message on the Roger Reynolds website. "Despite all our efforts since the severe economic downturn of 2008 our business has been unable to adequately recover."

She thanked generations of loyal customers who supported Roger Reynolds over the years. "On behalf of my family and staff, I thank each and every one of you for being with us," she said. "Your patronage and support has been most valued and appreciated."

Located at 133 Encinal Ave. in Menlo Park, Roger Reynolds Nursery was a family-owned garden center.

Halstead is a granddaughter of the founder, Roger Reynolds, who began the business in 1919.

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According to the company history, Reynolds opened a commercial printing shop in San Francisco at the turn of the last century, but developed an allergy to printing ink and sought a new line of work that would offer plenty of fresh air.

He acquired 18 acres of land between El Camino Real and the Southern Pacific railroad tracks in Menlo Park. At that time the nursery fronted El Camino Real.

In the early years, the nursery's redwood grove was turned into a park with barbecues, picnic tables, a dance floor and a jukebox. It was rented out on the weekends to San Francisco organizations wanting "a day in the country."

To make ends meet during the Depression, Reynolds leased out some of his property. The Franciscan Forge began its business as one of his tenants. A Victorian cottage on the property, used as a guest house for the family, later became Edy's Candy Store, complete with soda fountain. That became the Carriage Stop, which sold garden gift items and houseplants.

After Reynolds died in an automobile accident in 1932, the business was run by his wife. She sold some of the land and later, part of the remaining five-acre nursery was leased to Home Savings of America.

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His step-granddaughter, Halstead, has owned the business since 1978. She said she insisted on following her grandfather's legacy to provide high quality products and services at a fair value and "maintain a meandering garden of beauty that all can enjoy."

Roger Reynolds was a nursery partner of the Elizabeth F. Gamble Garden and of Filoli, the historic country estate in Woodside, and frequently won the Almanac's Readers' Choice Award for best nursery.

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Menlo Park: Roger Reynolds Nursery closes after 97 years

Uploaded: Thu, Sep 5, 2013, 3:40 pm

After 97 years in the same location in Menlo Park, Roger Reynolds Nursery & Carriage Stop "has closed its doors for the last time," owner Sally Halstead said Tuesday (Sept. 3).

"This has not been an easy decision," she said in a message on the Roger Reynolds website. "Despite all our efforts since the severe economic downturn of 2008 our business has been unable to adequately recover."

She thanked generations of loyal customers who supported Roger Reynolds over the years. "On behalf of my family and staff, I thank each and every one of you for being with us," she said. "Your patronage and support has been most valued and appreciated."

Located at 133 Encinal Ave. in Menlo Park, Roger Reynolds Nursery was a family-owned garden center.

Halstead is a granddaughter of the founder, Roger Reynolds, who began the business in 1919.

According to the company history, Reynolds opened a commercial printing shop in San Francisco at the turn of the last century, but developed an allergy to printing ink and sought a new line of work that would offer plenty of fresh air.

He acquired 18 acres of land between El Camino Real and the Southern Pacific railroad tracks in Menlo Park. At that time the nursery fronted El Camino Real.

In the early years, the nursery's redwood grove was turned into a park with barbecues, picnic tables, a dance floor and a jukebox. It was rented out on the weekends to San Francisco organizations wanting "a day in the country."

To make ends meet during the Depression, Reynolds leased out some of his property. The Franciscan Forge began its business as one of his tenants. A Victorian cottage on the property, used as a guest house for the family, later became Edy's Candy Store, complete with soda fountain. That became the Carriage Stop, which sold garden gift items and houseplants.

After Reynolds died in an automobile accident in 1932, the business was run by his wife. She sold some of the land and later, part of the remaining five-acre nursery was leased to Home Savings of America.

His step-granddaughter, Halstead, has owned the business since 1978. She said she insisted on following her grandfather's legacy to provide high quality products and services at a fair value and "maintain a meandering garden of beauty that all can enjoy."

Roger Reynolds was a nursery partner of the Elizabeth F. Gamble Garden and of Filoli, the historic country estate in Woodside, and frequently won the Almanac's Readers' Choice Award for best nursery.

Comments

Prop-13-Helps-Small-Business
Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 5, 2013 at 4:59 pm
Prop-13-Helps-Small-Business, Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Sep 5, 2013 at 4:59 pm

If it weren't for Prop.13, these folks would have probably gone out of business a long time ago. Assuming an assessed value of $4M/acre the property taxes would be about 720,000/year, and if the value of the land in that part of Menlo Park is about the same as in Palo Alto--then it commands at least $5M/acre. At this higher assessed value, the property taxes would be about $900K per year.

Of course, without Prop.13, the actual tax rates and assessments would probably be higher than those used in the calculation above.

Sorry for these folks calling it quits--but they have been living on borrowed time.


Never more
Community Center
on Sep 5, 2013 at 5:45 pm
Never more, Community Center
on Sep 5, 2013 at 5:45 pm

All the new houses being built are on tiny lots, which is why they are three stories high
Who needs plants for landscaping anymore? Only the very wealthy with larger lots.


Ada
Midtown
on Sep 5, 2013 at 11:22 pm
Ada, Midtown
on Sep 5, 2013 at 11:22 pm

Very very sad to see it going out of business. This was one of the best nurseries on the Peninsula.


Love my Garden
Old Palo Alto
on Sep 6, 2013 at 7:58 am
Love my Garden, Old Palo Alto
on Sep 6, 2013 at 7:58 am

What a great nursery, this is really too bad. They will be missed!


Brian
Evergreen Park
on Sep 6, 2013 at 10:17 am
Brian, Evergreen Park
on Sep 6, 2013 at 10:17 am

Thanks you to the Proprietors. You were my go to nursery. I will miss you. Many plants I purchased will live on.


Susan
Barron Park
on Sep 6, 2013 at 10:40 am
Susan, Barron Park
on Sep 6, 2013 at 10:40 am

How sad. It was such a beautiful nursery. I'll miss shopping there!


me
Palo Verde
on Sep 6, 2013 at 10:44 am
me, Palo Verde
on Sep 6, 2013 at 10:44 am

Farewell Fair Friend


blatt
Menlo Park
on Sep 6, 2013 at 10:52 am
blatt, Menlo Park
on Sep 6, 2013 at 10:52 am

Wonder what they'll do with the property? Maybe add another stop for the Caltrain--huh! How 'bout Kirk's taking over the carraige shop to sell hamburgers?


Elizabeth
Midtown
on Sep 6, 2013 at 11:02 am
Elizabeth, Midtown
on Sep 6, 2013 at 11:02 am

This news really saddens me, but I'm not surprised. The elements that it made it special and enticed me even as I moved further south into the south end of Palo Alto just haven't been there the past few years.

The really knowledgeable people left and those who remained seemed to know little about plants.

The really fabulous and special varieties of plants (thinking of fuchsias in the moment) have not been available, and what was available was pretty much what I could pick up at Summer Winds a few blocks away.

I'm really sorry to see it go, but I think we really lost it several years ago.


Midtown guy
Midtown
on Sep 6, 2013 at 11:20 am
Midtown guy, Midtown
on Sep 6, 2013 at 11:20 am

I have an unused gift certificate from Reynolds. Any
Word on what they will do to honor it before closing shop?


stretch
another community
on Sep 6, 2013 at 11:36 am
stretch, another community
on Sep 6, 2013 at 11:36 am

And I have two Varsity dollars and a free game of miniature golf on Marsh Rd. I'm sorry Reynold's Nursery is closing.


Jack
Menlo Park
on Sep 6, 2013 at 1:21 pm
Jack, Menlo Park
on Sep 6, 2013 at 1:21 pm

Good one, Stretch. I know this is about Roger R. but I miss that mini golf on Marsh Road. Used to be a tradition to have some golf fun out there before telling the kids hanging around the place for shake downs to get lost! ;)


Chrisc
College Terrace
on Sep 6, 2013 at 2:24 pm
Chrisc, College Terrace
on Sep 6, 2013 at 2:24 pm

The idea about a new home for Kirk's is not bad. Kirk's will need a new home after being put out of business by the new shi-shi hamburger joint T&C has welcomed next door. So sad that Roger Reynolds is yet another longstanding, family-run business soon to be a footnote in Peninsula history.


old news
Community Center
on Sep 6, 2013 at 6:08 pm
old news, Community Center
on Sep 6, 2013 at 6:08 pm

According to Roger Reynolds website, they closed as of Sep 3 and the PA weekly reports this on sep 5?


anonymous
Crescent Park
on Sep 7, 2013 at 8:17 am
anonymous, Crescent Park
on Sep 7, 2013 at 8:17 am

Roger Reynolds Nursery did not announce their closing until the day they closed. I found out because I received their monthly email newsletter on Sept. 3, saying they had closed. They weren't open Labor Day, Sept. 3.

Hope their redwood grove will remain.


Emily
another community
on Sep 7, 2013 at 2:44 pm
Emily, another community
on Sep 7, 2013 at 2:44 pm

I am very sad to hear this. They had beautiful, healthy plants, and the prices weren't outrageous like at Yamagami's. I live in San Jose and used to make the trek to Menlo Park to enjoy Roger Reynolds nursery, spending hours and hours there. Another favorite nursery gone! Soon we will only be able to buy plants at Home Depot and Lowes, were the plants are cheap but often not healthy, and you have a very limited selection. I won't be finding an indigofera kirilowii at those places!
Thank you, Roger Reynolds Nursery, for many enjoyable days spent at your beautiful nursery.


coooper
another community
on Sep 9, 2013 at 12:10 am
coooper, another community
on Sep 9, 2013 at 12:10 am

What will happen to their beautiful bird, Mango?


Charlotte
Menlo Park
on Sep 9, 2013 at 11:47 am
Charlotte, Menlo Park
on Sep 9, 2013 at 11:47 am

Oh how terrible! Roger Reynolds was the best nursery in the area -- so helpful, so knowledgeable. I learned to garden there. You will be missed!


Chris
Menlo Park
on Sep 9, 2013 at 2:21 pm
Chris, Menlo Park
on Sep 9, 2013 at 2:21 pm

Thank you, Roger Reynolds, for being so awesome for so many years. You will be missed.


schoolteacher
Old Palo Alto
on Sep 23, 2013 at 2:30 pm
schoolteacher, Old Palo Alto
on Sep 23, 2013 at 2:30 pm

What about unused gift certificates? Sorry to see them close but would have liked some warning.


Sunnyvale Resident
another community
on Oct 3, 2013 at 2:07 am
Sunnyvale Resident, another community
on Oct 3, 2013 at 2:07 am

What a shock! Roger Reynolds was always the Go-To place for my parents for their every garden need. That's how I found out about their closing now: I'm looking for beautiful camellias for my own garden and remembered where Mom and Dad always bought theirs. I remember going there with them. And we used to eat Sunday ice cream together at Edy's; I remember this vividly! (For me, it was always Lemon Chiffon. Does anyone else out there remember this?) I will miss you, Roger Reynolds! Your beauty will live on in the plants my family bought from you. Congratulations on 97 unbelievable, unheard-of years! With Love.


San Carlos Resident
another community
on Oct 10, 2013 at 10:22 am
San Carlos Resident, another community
on Oct 10, 2013 at 10:22 am

I am so sorry to see this nursery go! It was my go-to location for discovering and procuring high-quality plants. The employees were all nice people, and there was a lot of gardening expertise amongst them. It was the most pleasing nursery I know to walk through. I sincerely hope all the good people find new positions at nice places close to where they live. I will miss the lovely place, but I too have many plants from RR thriving in my garden now. This place was a business with real character. With great regret and many thanks for years of wonderful service to this gardener.


Jeff Owen Artworks
Menlo Park
on Feb 10, 2014 at 9:38 am
Jeff Owen Artworks, Menlo Park
on Feb 10, 2014 at 9:38 am

Wondering if anyone has been able to contact anyone from the nursery. They had 4 of my sculptures at the nursery, for sale, and did not tell me that they were shutting down. I found out about 2 weeks too late and when I went to the nursery my sculptures were gone. I left a note on the door but no one has contacted me. If anyone knows what happened to my sculptures, please let me know. Thank you. Jeff Owen


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