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Longtime north Bellingham business to close after 68 years

Longtime Bellingham garden center closing

After 68 years in business, deWilde's Nurseries on Northwest Avenue in Bellingham, Wash., will close late summer 2019. Owners Margaret and Larry Rudy are retiring.
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After 68 years in business, deWilde's Nurseries on Northwest Avenue in Bellingham, Wash., will close late summer 2019. Owners Margaret and Larry Rudy are retiring.

A longtime Bellingham business known for helping Whatcom County gardens stay beautiful is beginning a closing sale as the owners get ready to retire.

Margaret and Larry Rudy announced that deWilde’s Nurseries at 3410 Northwest Ave. will close later this summer after 68 years in business. Margaret Rudy said it was a very tough decision, but that age is telling them to slow down.

“It is very hard to let go; this has been a great place for us,” she said in a telephone interview.

The nursery on Northwest Avenue got its start in 1951 when Margaret Rudy’s father Emil deWilde moved to Bellingham and opened a garden center, according to a news release. That eventually grew into a retail store that offered landscaping services.

DeWilde passed the retail business to his daughter and her husband Larry Rudy in 1985.

Since then Margaret Rudy has handled the retail store while Larry Rudy ran the landscaping portion until he stepped away from the business a few years ago. They have made the decision to officially retire together this summer to spend more time with family.

They own the Birchwood neighborhood property but haven’t decided what will happen with it.

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After 68 years in business, deWilde’s Nurseries on Northwest Avenue in Bellingham will close in late summer. Owners Margaret and Larry Rudy are retiring. Dave Gallagher The Bellingham Herald

Looking back, Margaret Rudy said what she’ll remember most is the years of helping customers with landscaping questions. When she first started people would bring in Polaroid pictures of their yard; these days she looks at digital pictures on phones.

One other big change over the years was how residential living has changed in this area. When Margaret Rudy was running the store in the 1980s, most customers were planting in yards with individual homes. These days many of her customers are in apartments and condominiums, so her sales of indoor plants have grown.

The closing sale will begin on June 20 with 30% off a variety of items, including plants, pottery and fertilizer. The sale ends on Aug. 31. Gift cards/store credit are good until that time.

While the nursery on Northwest Avenue is closing, the wholesale growing division near Lynden will continue to be owned and operated by Margaret Rudy’s brother Ed deWilde and his family.

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Dave Gallagher has covered the Whatcom County business community since 1998. Retail, real estate, jobs and port redevelopment are among the topics he covers.
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