A History of Clavey’s Nursery

CLAVEY’S NURSERY was started in rural Illinois in 1889 by F. D. Clavey. F. D. Clavey is credited with the development and patent of Clavey’s Dwarf Honeysuckle.

Elmer Clavey, one of F. D. Clavey’s four sons, purchased the rights to the family name and formed his own nursery in Mundelein in 1938 under the name of Elmer Clavey, Inc.

In 1958 Elmer turned his business over to one of his sons, Gordon Clavey. Gordon continued the nursery operation in Mundelein until purchasing 185 acres near Woodstock, Illinois, in 1970. At this time Gordon changed the name to Clavey’s Woodstock Nursery Inc. To help make the move a successful one, Gordon made two key employees, Donald Stibbe and George Kopsell, partners.

In 1974 Gordon purchased 200 acres five miles north of the Woodstock location, and moved the nursery to what is now the present site of Clavey’s Nursery.

In 1987 Donald Stibbe retired and sold his share of the nursery to George and Gordon. In 1989 George Kopsell became the sole owner of the nursery when Gordon Clavey retired, selling all remaining shares of stock and property to George.

In 1993 George sold the nursery to Kurt Beystehner, a licensed landscape architect, and John Suydam, the previous three year manager of the nursery under George. The name of the nursery was changed to Clavey’s Nursery Inc., and in 1994 Kurt bought John’s share of the nursery and became the sole owner.
Currently the nursery is run by Kurt and his wife Karen.

During the years that have past since 1993, Clavey’s has made many changes and has placed greater emphasis on producing only premium quality plant materials. Numerous new varieties have been lined out and will become available over the course of the next few years.

The nursery has developed a propagation division to allow an even greater control of quality lining out stock.

In the spring of 1995 distributorship for UNILOCK Paver And Wall Products were added to the list of items that the nursery sells.

In the spring of 1997 we started our first container division for shrub materials.

In 1998 and 1999 we added an additional 73 acres to our production size to bring the current acreage in production up to 288.

In the summer of 2003 we again expanded to 361 acres with the purchase of an additional 91 acres.

We look forward to working with all our customers, old and new, in the coming years. Feel free to call for a tour of the nursery. Through the evolution of Clavey’s Nursery, Inc., we are allowed to give the best selections of plant materials along with service to all our customers.


6223 Alden Road Harvard, IL 60033 – Phone: 815.943.7778 – Fax: 815.943.7785 – Email: info@claveys.com

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