What’s not to love about a nursery named SummerWinds, evoking memories of hot summer days as a kid when you were dying for a gentle breeze and a fresh-squeezed lemonade? And you can only love it all the more when a SummerWinds Nursery blows right into your own backyard.
“I’m excited. It’s so convenient. I didn’t think it would be so large,” says Santa Claran Phyllis Barker at the grand opening March 17 of the 1.3-acre SummerWinds Nursery, 2931 El Camino Real, Santa Clara, (408) 423-8445. “I was just going to scout things out today, and this plant hopped into my hand,” she says, holding a purple-flowered Campanula in a small pot.
“We are swelling with pride to be here. It’s not every day there’s an independent garden center that opens up,” says Summer Winds President & CEO Frank Benzing, in town from the company’s Boise, Idaho, headquarters.
“We don’t just “happen” to be in Santa Clara. We started looking here three years ago. This is an underserved market for local garden centers,” says Benzing. “We’re looking forward to a bright gardening future and welcome the entire community to our garden.”
And a bountiful garden it is, including many plants from local growers. “They have beautiful stuff. I’ll be a frequent visitor now that they’re close by,” says Santa Claran Judy Busch, pushing a cart loaded with flowering plants. “My apartment has a small deck, but I do what I can with it.”
Seventeen employees, including 10 part-timers just hired through Craigslist, will be on hand to help Santa Clarans “do what they can” with their gardens. “I hired friendly people,” store manager Mike Dutcher emphasizes. “We represent quality and customer service.” The nursery has a plant success guarantee and a gardener’s rewards club. It even delivers.
A new business is more than a shopping convenience. It impacts the City financially and enhances its image.
“Adding a business such as Summer Winds Nursery to our City brings more shoppers to our area that will purchase items, thereby increasing tax revenues to the City. It also brings new jobs and spending from these workers. Lastly, it improves the overall appeal and look of El Camino Real due to the upgrades and construction that were done to the original building,” says Steve Van Dorn, President & CEO, Santa Clara Chamber of Commerce and Convention-Visitors Bureau. Van Dorn was present along with Mayor Jamie Matthews for the 10 a.m. ribbon cutting ceremony.
A new business can also enrich community life. “I’m excited to be part of the Santa Clara community, and I’d love to get the nursery involved with the schools,” says Dutcher, who has already demonstrated potting at the Senior Center. He plans to host guest gardening specialists throughout the year.
The SummerWinds Nursery in Santa Clara, west of Kiely/Bowers Avenue, is the seventh in California, all in Silicon Valley. An eighth, the Green Thumb, is an independent nursery in Los Gatos. SummerWinds Garden Centers, Inc., took over the former Woolworth Garden Centers in 1998, changing the name to SummerWinds Nursery in 2002.
“We knew we wanted to be in Santa Clara; it’s very Willow Glen-like, with established neighborhoods,” says Bryan Appleby, Information technologist and corporate trainer for SummerWinds Nursery.
“I’m so happy they’re here!” says Santa Claran Barbara Shaw. The community, it would seem, is already in love with SummerWinds Nursery. And vice-versa. The nursery is open every day, 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Online information: www.summerwindsca.com.