Drought not drying up La Verne’s Coiner Nursery

Sally Coiner reminisces about working at Coiner Nursery. As a young girl she earned 2 cents an hour to water plants. Coiner remembers her father potting plants using a can opener to poke holes in old tin cans. Sally Coiner is the daughter of James Coiner who established the nursery in 1960. The nursery is one of many local businesses that have been affected by the California drought. / photo by Sonora Hernandez
Sally Coiner reminisces about working at Coiner Nursery. As a young girl she earned 2 cents an hour to water plants. Coiner remembers her father potting plants using a can opener to poke holes in old tin cans. Sally Coiner is the daughter of James Coiner who established the nursery in 1960. The nursery is one of many local businesses that have been affected by the California drought. / photo by Sonora Hernandez

Alyssa Navarro
Staff Writer

The drought has forced Californians to conserve water, which has affected local businesses, especially the Coiner Nursery in La Verne, which is surviving by selling more succulents.

California’s state of emergency has taken a toll on the nursery, which has been forced to conserve more water and pay higher prices for it.

“With the water shortage and drought people don’t want to plant anything to add to their water bill,” the store’s bookkeeper Annette Conzo said.

To compensate, the nursery has been selling more drought tolerant plants and fruit bearing trees. James W. Coiner is the founder and owner of Coiner Nursery, which is an independent grower and wholesale distributor.

Coiner started the nursery in 1960 after he was fired from a previous nursery job.

Instead of giving up and finding a new career path, he followed his passion for growing and selling plants and started his own company. He initially opened the nursery in Covina, buying bare roses and packaging and selling them to different buyers.

What started off as a small business for growing and selling flowers to individuals turned into a premier full service wholesale nursery. Meeting the needs of the independent garden center as well as the largest retailers, Coiner fulfills orders for various nursery operations.

“We are a very broad based nursery in that we grow a lot of different products,” Coiner said.

Their growing fields span 500 acres of land, with growing grounds in La Verne, La Puente and Wasco, California. They specialize in bare root, bush, patio and tree roses, bare root fruit and shade trees, as well as roses, fruit trees and shade trees in containers.

“It’s family owned and operated and we grow all our own plants right here in California,” Conzo said.

Coiner Nursery prides itself on its knowledgeable and family friendly staff along with its high level of service.

The nursery prides itself on its commitment to fulfill orders and distribute quality California-grown plants.

Sally Coiner works under her father as an office assistant for the nursery. She has seen the business in its high and low points.

“Right now in this economy, other companies going bankrupt has affected our business quite a bit,” Sally Coiner said. “It’s the smaller businesses that we deal with that go bankrupt and owe us a lot of money that put a real strain on our business.”

However, the company remains optimistic about the business’ future.

“We just pray a lot and hope it gets better,” she said.

Alyssa Navarro can be reached at alyssa.navarro@laverne.edu.

Sonora Hernandez

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