Hayes Nursery, longtime local business, to close

November 29, 2011

By Warren Kagarise

The entrance to Hayes Nursery below Tiger Mountain was recently renovated. By Greg Farrar

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 wkagarise@isspress.com. Comment at www.issaquahpress.com.

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7 Responses to “Hayes Nursery, longtime local business, to close”

  1. bryan on November 30th, 2011 4:21 pm

    this is very sad news indeed. we go nearly weekly during the summer months to pick our various shrubs and other plants for our garden – the selection is better, the stocks heartier and the service more friendly than the big box stores in town. a sad sign of the times. we will miss you!

  2. Trish Fernstrom on February 6th, 2012 4:04 pm

    I just went by to get some plants and saw the closed sign. Went home and checked the website to see if it was just for the season. Sad to see that its permanent:(

  3. L.M. on February 12th, 2012 9:53 am

    I am so disappointed to see that they’ve closed. They were my favorite nursery. We lost several trees and shrubs in the ice storm, and were planning on buying them from Hayes since they always had such nice quality plants. I don’t know anyone who didn’t lose plants in the storm. Too bad they couldn’t have stayed open another season. With the numerous plant losses I’m predicting a booming year for plant sales.

  4. Carla Jarman on February 15th, 2012 7:08 pm

    So sorry to see you close. You were definitely my go-to nursery for many of my plants, pond needs, & all 35+ of my roses.

  5. cathy on February 20th, 2012 10:24 pm

    I’m so surprised and saddened by the news. It seems like many of would’ve focused all of our purchases on Hayes if we’d have know things weren’t doing well there, instead of buying from a number of nurseries.

  6. Jan on April 10th, 2012 12:10 pm

    I am so sad. I just found this nursery two years ago and didn’t realize until early April when I went to shop for plants to replace some I had lost in the ice storm, that it was going to close. This was easily the best nursery I have ever encountered. They had tons to chose from and things I had never seen in other nurseries. The staff was always sooooo helpful. I guess I’ll manage but it sure won’t be as great of an experience or nearly as fun. Hope all goes well for the Hayes family.

  7. Kathy on August 20th, 2012 8:23 am

    Very sorry to lose Hayes Nursery; it was definitely the go-to spot for ‘sage advice’. What’s Clare up to, and is there any chance she’ll be back in the business?

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