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  The History of West Covina Nurseries  

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Dick and Ann Zylstra founded the nursery on only three acres in West Covina in 1968. With the addition of the second generation of Zylstras, there has been continued expansion, and the nursery has grown into a well established family business.

In 1971, a second growing yard in San Gabriel was added to the original three acres in West Covina. In 1980, ten acres were acquired on Wheeler Avenue in La Verne. The West Covina location was closed in April of 1990, and the office was relocated to the Wheeler Avenue growing yard. Also at this time, an additional five acres were added at Amherst Avenue in La Verne. Dick and Ann’s eldest son, Dave, oversees the growing yards in the Los Angeles area and also coordinates sales through the La Verne office.

Dick and Ann moved to Santa Barbara in 1981, where a new opportunity for growth was found. In April, 1984, a two acre growing yard in Arroyo Grande was acquired where Diane, Dick and Ann’s daughter, manages the propagation department. This yard, which was enlarged to three acres in 1991, specializes in plant propagation and the production of phormiums and drought tolerant plants.

In April 1987, the youngest son, Doug, began to manage the Santa Barbara operation. Santa Barbara is an integral hub in the movement of plants from the southern yards to the northern yard, and has thirty acres of plant production dedicated to serving landscaping needs.

Beginning in 1989, Kent Barbieri assumed the position of outside sales manager. Through his dedication and experience, Kent has become invaluable to the nursery.
Mark Barrios joined West Covina Nurseries in July 2003. Mark helps with the inside sales and with coordination of production in the five yards in Los Angeles County. Mark’s friendly manner and experience in the nursery industry are wonderful assets.

2006 brought more changes, as the nursery added 31 acres of land in Riverside.  A third generation of Zylstras entered the business in January 2007 when Dave’s eldest son, Ryan, joined the family business and began working in the La Verne office.  Ryan is involved with operations at all of West Covina Nurseries’ southern locations.

In December of 2012 Corrine Swan joined her mother Diane working at the Arroyo Grande location. She manages the yard and sales at this location and has become a member of the team that our customers trust and love.

April 2013 brought big changes to the nursery. After 23 years we moved our southern office offsite and closed down the Wheeler location. The yard at Bracket Airport became our main loading yard and an office space was rented about a mile away on Wright Ave in La Verne. While this brought some challenges, we have adapted and office staff has enjoyed the opportunity to work in a traditional office building.

Through this combined effort, West Covina Nurseries has grown to 100 acres. The advantage of having locations in different climates helps us to offer a wide variety of plant material to the nursery and landscape industries. We have added over 100 items to our catalog this year and we are very excited to help fill our customer’s orders with these great plant additions.

 

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