Saturday Sep 20 2008
Eisley Nursery celebrates 75 years
By: Bruce Warren Journal Staff Writer
Customers praise service, products
There’s a reason why Eisley Nursery on Nevada Street has been successful in Auburn for 75 years. Comments from customers at Saturday’s 75th anniversary celebration reveal the family business secrets. Many echoed similar remarks regarding employee service and product knowledge. “They always have what I’m looking for,” said John Kidd of Auburn. “Everybody here is incredibly knowledgeable. Each person who works here knows what’s going on.” Kidd and his wife Doreen meandered across some of the 13 acres Saturday with a cart full of pansies and marigolds that they selected. “I like the atmosphere and the huge selection and the fact that it’s in the same spot,” Doreen Kidd said. “We moved away and come back and it’s still here. It’s nice to see a family owned and operated business.” Lila Eisley started the nursery in 1933 and around 1951 her sons Earle and Harvey Eisley managed the business until Harvey retired in 1978. That’s when the Earle Eisley family took over. Around 1995, Earlene Eisley-Freeman took on duties as retail shop manager. “If it wasn’t for our customers, we wouldn’t be here,” Eisley-Freeman said. “That’s what has made us survive for 75 years.” The future of the business could be in the hands of Earle Eisley’s two grandsons and two granddaughters who working in various capacities. Hank Eisley is the plant transportation manager in charge of bringing in the plants for retail sale, while Clifford Eisley supervises the soil-mixing crew. Granddaughter Phoebe Freeman works as a cashier in the retail shop, while granddaughter April Flohr-Messerral takes charge of wholesale plant purchases. With fall-like weather here, it’s a great time to be planting trees. “Now’s the best time to plant trees and shrubs,” Eisley-Freeman said. “The ground temperatures are still warm so the roots get established.” When it comes to flowers, Eisley’s is currently selling many pansies, chrysanthemums, snapdragons, calendulas, violas and bulbs. When it comes to food producing plants, Pat Thomson drove up from Lincoln just to get some small flats of broccoli and lettuce. “They always have good quality and they usually have a very good selection,” Thomson said. Folks stood in line for the gift shop cashiers Saturday, and Auburnite Robin Silski waited her turn to pay for a jade plant, some fountain grass, daisies and other flowers. “I like the advice they give, the variety, the popcorn and they’re very friendly,” Silski said. The Eisley’s offer free popcorn to their customers from a self-serve machine in the gift shop. Other regular customers are Bob and Janice Fera of Foresthill. When they moved here from southern California with their family, they were clueless about what to grow and when, but found the Eisley Nursery to be a storehouse of information. “They have so much local knowledge about growing plants,” Janice Fera said. “They were very helpful in getting us started. They are super knowledgeable about growing tomatoes.” On Saturday, friends of the Eisley family served free hamburgers and hot dogs and the Golden Age of Song, Auburn Concert Band Brass Quintet, the Rasberry Jam Band and the Rubber Chicken Flute Quartet gave free concerts.