Our History

Shaner Avenue Nursery

Three generations of landscape &
nursery experience.

Nursery Hours: Monday-Friday 9 am-6 pm
Saturday 9 am - 5 pm

We are now open for walk-ins

Pre-order for curbside pick up
Monday-Thursday 9 am-6 pm
Orders placed after 3 pm Monday through Wednesday
will be available for pick up by 9 am the following day.
Orders placed on Thursday will be ready for pick up on Monday.

Shaner-Avenue-Nursery-History-19

Our History

Shaner Avenue Nursery

Three generations of landscape & nursery experience.

Nursery Hours: Monday-Saturday 9 am-6 pm
We are now open for walk-ins

Pre-order for curbside pick up
Monday-Thursday 9 am-6 pm
Orders placed on Thursday will be ready for pick up on Monday.
Please call or email us with orders.

At this time, our online store is for pick up only.

Please call if you would like a delivery estimate and to schedule products to be delivered.
Orders placed after 3:00 pm on Thursday will be available to pick up on Monday morning.

As a teenager in the early 1960’s with a love for being outside and among the trees, it only made sense that you would find a summer job pruning Christmas trees at a local nursery.  That’s exactly what the founder, Ivan Opperman, of Shaner Avenue Nursery did. He went on to attend Michigan State University and earned his Bachelor of Science in Forestry.  Ivan spent his summers in college working for the United States Forest Service in Oregon and, after graduation, worked for the Kentucky division of Forestry.  It was during this time that the Vietnam War was ramping up and draft notices were going out.  To avoid being drafted into a low seniority position, Ivan joined the United States Marine Corps.  In September of 1968 he entered Officer Candidate School and proudly served our country for the next three years.

After leaving the service in 1971, Ivan and his wife, Janis, found their way back to their Michigan roots and established their home near Shaner Avenue and M-57. At this time, there were no positions available with the United States Forest Service in Michigan, so Ivan went to work as a loan officer for the Federal Land Bank (now Greenstone Farm Credit Services). His passion for trees never waned, and in 1973 he started a hobby nursery. Ivan purchased lining out stock of yews, arborvitae, and juniper to grow on their property. In 1974 he built a small greenhouse where he propagated about 3,000 evergreen cuttings and, just 1 year later, built a larger greenhouse for propagating about 25,000 cuttings – Shaner Avenue Nursery was born. By 1980 Ivan had had enough of office politics and, with the love and support of his wife, went full time with his passion.

With two young daughters, Kristin and Kara, to care for, Ivan also became a stay at home dad of sorts. Since Kara wasn’t of school age yet, Ivan would bundle her up for her afternoon nap in the back of his truck while he planted, dug, pruned or did whatever necessary to get his business established. The girls loved keeping dad company on his tractor or delivering and picking up nursery stock.  It was truly a family business!

Shaner Avenue Nursery was strictly wholesale in its early years serving markets in New York, Tennessee, Indiana, Chicago, and Michigan. In 1984, the building that is now the retail sales building and office was built and Ivan established this location as Shaner Avenue Nursery & Farm Market. The family of four would visit local farms to pick/harvest the produce they would be selling at the store. The retail sales of nursery stock showed a steady increase and in 1988, with the produce cooler needing to be replaced, Ivan ceased the farm market side of the business.

It was about this time that Kristin and Kara were promoted to co-managers of weed control (they were thrilled) and they decided (quite emphatically) that horticulture would not be in their future. Maturity (and the inability to imagine working inside) has a way of changing your outlook and both girls ended up earning their Bachelor of Science in Horticulture from Michigan State University – Kristin in 1996 and Kara in 1999 – solidifying Shaner Avenue Nursery as a family business.

The third generation has now found its way into nursery work and are slowly working their way up the ladder from weed management to potting specialist. So far, it appears their attitude towards a career in horticulture strongly reflects their moms at that same age. Time will tell though… Even when they’re not working, they’re a fixture around the nursery – visiting mom, going for tractor rides with grandpa, and delivering snacks and smiles to the employees and customers.  Nursery life can be insane – especially in the spring – and the ability to sneak in those special moments during the workday is priceless!

The moniker ‘family business’ doesn’t just refer to the fact that the owners are family members. Every employee, every customer – past and present – is a member of this family. They are critical to the success of this business and the joy gained from working here would be minimal if not for the relationships forged here. If you’ve shopped here before, come back to visit – we miss you! If you’ve never shopped here before, come introduce yourself to the rest of the family! Just a warning though, the Shaner Avenue Nursery family tree is full of nuts!

As a teenager in the early 1960’s with a love for being outside and among the trees, it only made sense that you would find a summer job pruning Christmas trees at a local nursery.  That’s exactly what the founder, Ivan Opperman, of Shaner Avenue Nursery did. He went on to attend Michigan State University and earned his Bachelor of Science in Forestry.  Ivan spent his summers in college working for the United States Forest Service in Oregon and, after graduation, worked for the Kentucky division of Forestry.  It was during this time that the Vietnam War was ramping up and draft notices were going out.  To avoid being drafted into a low seniority position, Ivan joined the United States Marine Corps.  In September of 1968 he entered Officer Candidate School and proudly served our country for the next three years.

After leaving the service in 1971, Ivan and his wife, Janis, found their way back to their Michigan roots and established their home near Shaner Avenue and M-57. At this time, there were no positions available with the United States Forest Service in Michigan, so Ivan went to work as a loan officer for the Federal Land Bank (now Greenstone Farm Credit Services). His passion for trees never waned, and in 1973 he started a hobby nursery. Ivan purchased lining out stock of yews, arborvitae, and juniper to grow on their property. In 1974 he built a small greenhouse where he propagated about 3,000 evergreen cuttings and, just 1 year later, built a larger greenhouse for propagating about 25,000 cuttings – Shaner Avenue Nursery was born. By 1980 Ivan had had enough of office politics and, with the love and support of his wife, went full time with his passion.

With two young daughters, Kristin and Kara, to care for, Ivan also became a stay at home dad of sorts. Since Kara wasn’t of school-age yet, Ivan would bundle her up for her afternoon nap in the back of his truck while he planted, dug, pruned or did whatever necessary to get his business established. The girls loved keeping dad company on his tractor or delivering and picking up nursery stock.  It was truly a family business!

Shaner Avenue Nursery was strictly wholesale in its early years serving markets in New York, Tennessee, Indiana, Chicago, and Michigan. In 1984, the building that is now the retail sales building and office was built and Ivan established this location as Shaner Avenue Nursery & Farm Market. The family of four would visit local farms to pick/harvest the produce they would be selling at the store. The retail sales of nursery stock showed a steady increase and in 1988, with the produce cooler needing to be replaced, Ivan ceased the farm market side of the business.

It was about this time that Kristin and Kara were promoted to co-managers of weed control (they were thrilled) and they decided (quite emphatically) that horticulture would not be in their future. Maturity (and the inability to imagine working inside) has a way of changing your outlook and both girls ended up earning their Bachelor of Science in Horticulture from Michigan State University – Kristin in 1996 and Kara in 1999 – solidifying Shaner Avenue Nursery as a family business.

The third generation has now found its way into nursery work and are slowly working their way up the ladder from weed management to potting specialist. So far, it appears their attitude towards a career in horticulture strongly reflects their moms at that same age. Time will tell though… Even when they’re not working, they’re a fixture around the nursery – visiting mom, going for tractor rides with grandpa, and delivering snacks and smiles to the employees and customers.  Nursery life can be insane – especially in the spring – and the ability to sneak in those special moments during the workday is priceless!

The moniker ‘family business’ doesn’t just refer to the fact that the owners are family members. Every employee, every customer – past and present – is a member of this family. They are critical to the success of this business and the joy gained from working here would be minimal if not for the relationships forged here. If you’ve shopped here before, come back to visit – we miss you! If you’ve never shopped here before, come introduce yourself to the rest of the family! Just a warning though, the Shaner Avenue Nursery family tree is full of nuts!

Address

11565 Shaner Ave. NE
Rockford, MI 49341

Hours

Monday-Friday 9 am - 6 pm
Saturday 9 am - 5 pm

We are now open for walk-ins
Pre-order for curbside pick up
Monday-Thursday 9 am-6 pm
Orders placed on Thursday will be ready for pick up on Monday.

Please call or email us with orders.

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