For more than three decades, homeowners, gardeners and landscapers have turned to Loma Vista Nursery for trees and shrubs, annuals and perennials.
But owners Norm and Debbie Van Ginkel are closing the nursery at month’s end to make way for a 192-unit condominium project.
“You need land for a nursery business and there really isn’t anything available now,” Norm Van Ginkel said about leasing another spot. “This is Orange County.”
The Van Ginkels will be moving to their Fallbrook ranch in San Diego County where they will care for about 4,000 avocado trees. They plan to sell their organic avocados to an Azusa packer. One of the chains the produce company distributes to is Bristol Farms, which will have a store opening in Yorba Linda’s Town Center.
“Farmers never retire,” Debbie Van Ginkel said with a laugh.
Norm Van Ginkel was raised on an avocado ranch. He graduated from Cal Poly Pomona with a horticulture degree and spent several years in the landscaping business – often visiting a nursery on Bastanchury Road in Fullerton. One day, he and a friend asked the owner if he would sell the business and they bought it in January 1983.
Four years later, Debbie who owned an indoor plant shop, walked into the nursery and the couple fell in love over plants.
“He gave me a private tour and I fell in love with him,” Debbie Van Ginkel said, adding the two have a lot in common and her family history includes farmers in Kansas.
“That was the good old days,” Norm Van Ginkel said.
People were buying lots of plant material for their new homes and there wasn’t a lot of competition yet from big box stores, he said. “It was kind of the booming nursery years business back then.”
In 1994, Loma Vista Nursery relocated to Bastanchury Road near Lakeview Avenue in Yorba Linda — moved out of its Fullerton lease by plans for a housing project.
Norm Van Ginkel said the last decade has not been easy. He’s had to reduce his workforce from 60 to 14.