Business as (un)usual: Topanga Nursery

Monserrat Solis, Assistant Culture Editor

Topanga Nursery sits on busy Topanga Canyon Boulevard, where a hiring sign is sitting against the window. Unlike other businesses, the nursery is fortunate to have a boom in sales during the pandemic.

Danny and Robin Finkelstein have owned the property since 2016 and co-own The Valley Hive with Keith Roberts. They didn’t expect the influx of business.

Danny Finkelstein, owner of Topanga Nursery, said the nursery has seen an increase in customers since the stay-at-home order was mandated in Los Angeles County. (Yi Yu)

What would have been their third growing season turned into people clambering for any food they could grow themselves, Danny Finkelstein said.

People flocked to the nursery when Los Angeles’s stay-at-home order was mandated, looking for fruit trees, herbs, seeds, starters and then indoor plants. In the beginning, just like the grocery stores with paper goods and water shortages, Topanga Nursery found themselves in a seeds and starters shortage.

The demand quieted down after a while — until the demand for indoor plants started.

People looking for tall fiddle leaf figs, flowing neon pothos and rosy pink lady valentines found themselves inside the nursery’s jungle-like indoor plant room.

“We feel very blessed and fortunate because I know how many businesses are in the opposite condition and I feel terrible about that,” Danny Finkelstein said.

Since the nursery was deemed essential, they found themselves working every day and working harder than before to meet the growing demands.

Danny Finkelstein made sure his employees were comfortable and able to keep working. Some workers decided to resign for work out of precaution, and the Finkelsteins said they understood why.

Danny and Robin Finkelstein took precautions as they interact with the public frequently. The duo followed the guidelines that the L.A. County required: all employees have to wear masks, stickers and signs are used to mandate a 6-foot distance, and counters and high contact surfaces are sanitized.

“It was really a challenge. It was one that we embraced and welcomed,” Danny Finkelstein said.