If a buyer doesn’t appear soon, the oldest plant nursery in Salem may be gone forever.
13th St Nursery has been selling plants since 1920. Current owners, Karen and Glenn Maki have placed the business up for sale – but without a buyer committed to continuing the tradition, the future is uncertain.
Karen Maki was drawn to the property, located at 13th St. SE and Wilbur St. SE, she says, because “we wanted to be our own boss as well as spend more time outdoors.”
She was aware of 13th St Nursery’s history from the first. “In 2000, when we bought the nursery,” she recalls, “one of our regular customers was a 98-year old lady who remembered shopping there in 1925. She told us once that it hadn’t really changed much in 75 years.”
In Salem, a city with several “big box” venues that happen to sell plants, 13th St Nursery has been a unique oasis for plant lovers – some of whom who come for hundreds of miles.
“I have never bought a bad plant from this place,” says Frances Davis, who drives from Washington State past more well-known Portland Nurseries and Al’s to reach 13th St. “And I love the selection.”
Maki says the value of an independent, locally owned nursery for her and her husband, Glenn, to Salem is “more diverse product selection and personal service.” When she first saw the property she, “loved the history [of it] and the feel of an oasis in an industrial area.”
Last year, the Makis decided it was time to sell. Inventory has been reduced in pottery and yard art, but there is still a large inventory of fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides that need to find new homes. And, the business is for sale.
The Makis are hoping that the property can remain a nursery, though that is far from certain. “Our customers say they enjoy our proximity to their neighborhoods,” Maki says, “as well as the neighborly feel of our place. They think our plant selection is broad and they appreciate that. It has been a pleasure doing business in this beautiful city.”