Ceres business aims to be one-stop landscaping shop

The nursery at California Landscape Supply is pictured in Ceres, Calif.
The nursery at California Landscape Supply is pictured in Ceres, Calif. Nick Thornberry

Brothers Ryan and Nick Thornberry wanted to make their mark when they joined the family business, recycling concrete and asphalt.

They’ve done that and then some, expanding the Ceres business to include pavers, landscape products, soil, rock and more. The newest addition to California Landscape Supply is a full-service nursery, set to have a grand opening Saturday.

“Our goal is to be a one-stop shop for anything landscape,” Nick Thornberry said. Their customer base ranges from home gardeners to professional contractors.

I went out to visit the Morgan Road property – where one of the first things I noticed, aside from the variety of materials and plants on display, was that everyone who works there seems to be accompanied by a furry friend.

“We’re a very dog-friendly place,” Ryan Thornberry said.

The dogs, however, aren’t much help with guidance on what to plant where and when. That’s where Pam Speed comes in. Speed – she has a dog, too – has an extensive background and education in growing things, which is not the Thornberrys’ specialty.

“I love all the plants,” Speed said, pointing out annuals, perennials, shrubs, trees, vines, succulents, herbs and citrus trees.

With the drought that’s been plaguing the Northern San Joaquin Valley for the past several years, water use is always in mind. California Landscape Supply also sells artificial turf. But Speed said lush landscaping doesn’t necessarily take a lot of water – just smart use of it.

She pointed out a ground cover that uses 60 percent less water than grass, and grows quickly.

The other major change in the past few years is the dawn of smartphones, a handy tool in helping guide customers. “People will take photos on their phones and bring them,” Speed said.

One of her favorite trees to recommend to people? Citrus. “They’re evergreen, you get beautiful, fragrant blossoms, and you get something to eat,” she said. “It’s win-win-win.”

Elsewhere around the Business Beat:

It’s been a rough few years for department stores. You may have read last week that Macy’s plans to close 100 of its stores next year. That’s nearly 14 percent of Macy’s stores nationwide.

The retailer, which has been struggling in competition with discount stores such as Ross and T.J. Maxx and “fast fashion” like H&M, is focusing its efforts on online sales.

However, Modesto Macy’s fans don’t need to worry. The brick-and-mortar store at Vintage Faire Mall isn’t going anywhere, Annie Amies, mall marketing manager, said. Macy’s has been a mainstay at the shopping enter since it opened. Several years ago, it expanded into a second location, where it houses its men’s and home departments.

In fact, the Modesto Macy’s is one of the top performers in the company, Amies said. “They’re here to stay.”

And finally, the Hudson Modesto Post Office will host a small-business educational event focused on international shipping and mailing this week.

The workshop, held in conjunction with the White House’s Made in Rural America Export and Investment initiative, will be Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the post office, 2300 Sylvan Ave.

“Made in Rural America is intended to bring together federal resources to help rural businesses access new customers and markets abroad and take advantage of international trade assistance,” according to a news release.

“This cooperative interagency program allows for the USPS to lend our online tools, supplies and international shipping expertise to help rural businesses reach new customers and markets abroad, while supporting economic growth and jobs here in the United States,” the news release said.