Hayes Nursery, longtime local business, to close
November 29, 2011
By Warren Kagarise
Hayes Nursery, a destination for springtime shrubs and sage gardening advice, plans to close by late December, after rain-sodden summers and a feeble economy hurt the longtime local business.
Clare and Larry Hayes opened the nursery along Issaquah-Hobart Road Southeast in time for Mother’s Day 1987 and expanded the business throughout the decades.
The economic downturn plus soggy springs and summers in recent years caused the business to falter.
“We’ve had, like all small businesses, a struggle with the economy, but I think the thing that really has damaged nurseries the worst is the record rainfall two years in a row,” Clare Hayes said Nov. 28. “If people can’t have success with their flowers outside by the end of June, they just give up.”
In another setback to the nursery, Larry Hayes died in July 2008.
“I did not see that it was viable to continue trying to make it work,” Clare Hayes said.
The business supports five full-time employees and up to 15 seasonal employees during spring and summer.
The nursery represented the manifestation of a lifelong dream for the Hayeses.
“It started with a pump house in the center of a cleared field of blackberries,” Clare Hayes said, and then added buildings and offerings to accommodate increased customer demand.
Hayes Nursery owns the land and the building, although Clare Hayes said she does not yet have plans for the site.
The nursery announced the closure Nov. 25, and the email announcement to 500 loyal customers attracted shoppers for a last chance to browse essential items for the garden and some hardy plants. Many displays sported going-out-of-business sale signs.
The glum mood inside the store contrasted against the cheerful Christmas ornaments perched on trees throughout the nursery.
“I’m going to miss the customers,” 18-year employee Judith Lucotch said as shoppers milled about on Black Friday.
In the past 24 years, Hayes Nursery turned into a go-to source for gardening information for many customers.
“They’re sad that they won’t have accessible to them the marvelous help that we have — we have people that have been here 23 years,” Clare Hayes said. “They got to be friends with many of the staff and feel comfortable with the experts that we have here.”
Warren Kagarise: 392-6434, ext. 234, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.