Sloat Garden Center is a premier garden center in Northern California. We offer a wide selection of fresh plants, high-quality garden tools, soils, pottery and garden expertise by our knowledgeable nursery professionals. Our mission: Great plants and great advice to help them grow!
Sloat Garden Center started in 1958 as part of G.E.T. Department Store. The first store, which was only seven thousand square feet, was located at the corner of 34th Avenue and Sloat Boulevard in San Francisco.
In 1968 the store moved to a larger location and the name was changed to Sloat Garden Center. Always independently owned, over the past five decades Sloat Garden Center has grown to become the Bay Area’s largest independent garden center with 13 stores serving San Francisco, Marin, and Contra Costa counties.
Helping the Bay Area garden since 1958
Sloat Garden Center started in 1958 in the Sunset district of San Francisco. Dave Geller, the original owner, ran the business out of an old building at the corner of 45th Avenue and Sloat Boulevard. Geller wasn’t sure what to do with his building, so he thought he’d try a plant nursery.
He turned the garage into a sales area and the backyard into a garden center (at the time the property was shared with a gas station). Sloat Garden Center soon became a discount nursery under the umbrella of San Francisco’s discount department store, GET, in which Geller was a tenant.
In 1962, current owner Dave Straus (pictured at right) came to work at Sloat as a 14-year old kid, unloading 40-pound bags of manure for a Washington’s Birthday sale. He was soon loading cars, unloading trucks, sweeping, cleaning, watering, working in customer service and eventually he became a manager. By the time Straus was 21, he was traveling to southeast Asia and making pottery connections for a local import company. When he was 23 he returned to Sloat to work full time…. and he never left.
In 1968 Dave Straus bought into the company as a minor partner and over time bought out Dave Geller. Additional locations were opened beginning in 1973. In 1985, Vice President and part owner Ted Warshauer joined the team.
In 1993, Straus made the decision to focus on the highest quality plant materials and garden products. “What we sell enables us to offer a guarantee of satisfaction that is second to none,” explains Dave Straus. “And we have never waivered from that decision.”
Sloat Garden Center has become the largest independent pottery importer in the U.S., with strong ties to many other independent garden chains that purchase their pottery through Sloat. Looking back on almost five decades in the garden center business, Dave reflects. “Obviously I love plants and gardening, but over the years, the pottery part is what I’ve enjoyed the most,” he explains. “It gave me the opportunity to travel, design product, pick new glaze colors and work with many different factories in many different countries. Bringing this beautiful pottery to our customers is a joy in itself.”
Sloat Garden Center has been a proponent of IPM (Integrated Pest Management) and the recommendation of less toxic pest controls in the home garden landscape since the late 1980s. We have partnered with Our Water Our World, an organization that helps educate the public regarding toxic runoff into our streams, bays, and ocean, since 1997. We have eliminated unsafe chemicals such as dursban, endosulfan, and diazinon before the law dictated we do so. Metaldehyde slug and snail baits have been off our shelves for at least a decade. The majority of the remedies we sell can be used in organic gardens. There has been mounting evidence that neonicotinoids, most notably imidacloprid, have adverse effects on our environment. These include honey bee colony collapse disorder and a loss of birds due to a reduction in insect populations.
What We Are Doing
In August 2013, we made the decision to sell through and discontinue our remaining stock of systemic garden pesticides.
Our plant vendors were contacted and polled regarding their use of neonicotinoids. We are pleased that most all of our local growers either do not use them or have reduced their use to ornamental crops that are not considered “pollinator” plants. Those growers that use neonicotinoids were told that our buying decisions would be influenced by their practices.
We have offered a wide variety of Certified Organic vegetables, seeds, and flowers for over 20 years.
The premises of Sloat Garden Center are rarely treated or sprayed with any insecticide, fungicide, or herbicide whether considered organic or not.
Our preferred perennial grower labels their plants. “Bee Friendly- We do not spray neonicotinoids”
We provide ongoing product knowledge and updated information to our teams and support them in their desire to offer safer solutions to our customers.
We encourage the proper use and disposal of chemicals and fertilizers.