In the '50s and '60s, your favorite restaurant, hardware store, drug
store, nursery and other oft-frequented venues were owned by people whose
names you knew.
"In those days we had more family-owned businesses," said Mary Ellen
Goddard, historian at the Costa Mesa Historical Society. "There weren't
One such personal stop was Hollister's Nursery and Florists on Harbor
Boulevard in Costa Mesa. It was owned by Albert Hollister, a local who
everyone in town seemed to know. The store went out of business about 15
A car dealership is in its place today at the intersection of Peterson
Place and Harbor Boulevard.
"They were sort of the only thing up there," Goddard said. "I went
there to buy plants and gardening supplies."
In 1979, Goddard interviewed Hollister for an oral history. She
thought he and his business fit nicely with her other local sources to
offer an accurate cross-section of the city.
According to the history, Hollister's started as a feed store
initially owned by someone else near the intersection of Harbor and
Newport boulevards where Triangle Square currently stands. Hollister set
up his nursery there, and eventually his portion of the business moved to
the 1900 block of Harbor Boulevard.
In 1965, Hollister moved again, this time to the intersection of
Peterson and Harbor.
Products sold at the nursery included vegetable plants like tomatoes
(the city was more rural than it is now) and plants that grew fruits like
citrus and avocados. Flowers included fuchsias and camillias and
Goddard's oral history also documents that indoor plants sold well.
Hollister was recorded saying that in 1979, a large change in the
nursery business was an increase in sales of interior plants because more
people were moving their gardening inside.
This led Hollister to also sell items like planters and other tools
required for container gardening and the skill of growing plants in water
without soil. Hollister provided for his patrons as the trends in
gardening and planting changed with time.
"It was a longtime business here in Costa Mesa," Goddard said.
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