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.