Business & Real Estate

Green Acres to open fourth nursery in Elk Grove

Green Acres Nursery & Supply is planting roots in Elk Grove with plans to open a new location in 2015.

The planned 27,500-square-foot garden center will be the fourth for the local retail nursery business, joining locations in Folsom, Roseville and Sacramento. The Elk Grove store will be near Highway 99 and the Bond Road offramp at 9260 E. Stockton Blvd., and it is expected to open in February.

The store also will include a 13,800-square-foot greenhouse and another 25,500-square-foot open-air structure. It will carry outdoor furniture, an offering that Green Acres now sells only at its Folsom store.

Gill said Green Acres will have 50 employees and another 50 seasonal workers.

It also will be the first Green Acres location to be built from the ground up, spokeswoman Ashley Gill said.

“This will be a new prototype store for Green Acres,” Gill said Wednesday night outside the Elk Grove City Council chambers after city leaders formally approved the project. The project sailed through Elk Grove’s planning commission in late February on its way to City Council approval Wednesday.

The nursery’s modus operandi had been to convert existing retail space into garden centers. Green Acres created its Folsom location out of a former Circuit City. In Sacramento, it took over what once was Matsuda’s on Jackson and Florin-Perkins roads.

Green Acres “had always taken over from an existing retail store or garden center,” said architect Stephen Guest, principal of RMW Architecture & Interiors. The Elk Grove store will be a “formal concept of what their ideal store will look like.”

“That they’ve secured the junction of Highway 99 and Laguna (Boulevard) is excellent,” said local gardening expert and radio personality Fred Hoffman. “There’s been a crying need for a full-service nursery in the area.”

The Green Acres expansion comes 15 months after local institution Capital Nursery closed its last two locations in Elk Grove and Citrus Heights in December 2012. The shuttering of Capital’s longtime location on Elk Grove Boulevard hit home gardeners hard, with many growing up with Capital as the community’s nursery.

“We always called it the Elk Grove nursery,” said customer Justin Astin in 2012 during Capital Nursery’s final days. “It’s been the only nursery since I was a kid.”

Over time, Capital Nursery lost ground to home improvement stores Home Depot, Lowe’s and Orchard Supply Hardware. The housing collapse also wiped out demand for new landscaping that Capital had provided, while retailers from Rite Aid to Raley’s began to add annuals to their stores’ mix.

Filling the Capital Nursery vacuum was a part of Green Acres’ plan, but Gill said her nursery’s south county customers have asked for several years about a possible move to Elk Grove.

“We’d had a lot of feedback on social media for about four years,” she said. “We looked in Elk Grove for several different sites.”

Among them was Capital Nursery’s 15 acres before Green Acres reached a deal on the East Stockton Boulevard site, land owned by Frontier Communications.

The nearly 7-acre, undeveloped parcel at 9260 E. Stockton Blvd. sits in a busy Bond Road-Laguna Boulevard corridor that includes the Elk Grove Marketplace and the Laguna Gateway shopping center. The latter is home to Home Depot, the main competitor for independent nurseries like Green Acres and its smaller brethren.

“All are competing with the box stores,” Hoffman said.

“The great challenge in front of them is across the freeway in Home Depot,” he added. “But there are Home Depots in Roseville and Folsom,” where Green Acres also has locations. “They know how to compete in this area.”

“(Independents) can’t compete on price, but they can compete on selection, quality and education,” Hoffman added. “All gardening is local. Gardeners will gravitate to a place that will serve local gardeners.”