How it All Began: Celebrating 50 Years

We sat down with OC Succulents’ very own Chris Stansbury to learn more about how OC Succulents came to be in advance of their 50th anniversary. They are so delighted to be celebrating this huge milestone and looking forward to new local locations of your favorite garden centers! Let’s get into it.

Q: What is your role at OC Succulents and what makes you passionate about this industry?

A: I am the Director of Operations for OC Succulents, and our wholesale division California Greenhouses. I’m passionate about house plants, cactus, and succulents, because I grew up in them, have always been around them, and they’re just something I know and love. I always took plants for granted growing up, but I see now how much joy they can bring to both people and spaces. I’d much much much rather be working in the garden center all day than in the office!

Q: Tell us a bit about OC Succulents. How did it all begin?

A: OC Succulents began with my parents, Mark and Carol Stansbury, who began their business by selling indoor plants locally here in Orange County out of the back of their van in 1973.

Long story short, due to Mark and Carols hard work, their business grew and they were able to open their first wholesale location, which ultimately expanded and became OC Succulents, and five separate locations. Now, we offer wholesale and local retail customers the finest house plants, cactus, and succulents.

Q: Where was OC Succulents’ first location?

A: Mark and Carol Stansbury opened their first location in 1980 in Newport Beach. A few years later, they opened a local San Diego location. The original location in Newport Beach was ultimately too small and was moved to Irvine, where it’s remained for over 20 years (and the San Diego location has remained the same for over 30!)

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Q: How many other locations are there? What are the main differences between your locations?

A: OC Succulents has four sales locations: Irvine, Torrance, Cardiff, and Whittier. As I mentioned, Irvine is the oldest and largest and carries everything—from indoor tropicals to succulents, agave, cacti, and more. Torrance has a smaller inventory than Irvine but is still open to the public and carries pretty much everything you’d need to complete a project, same as Whittier, our newest location. Finally, Cardiff is our wholesale only location and is the location to suggest to your designer, because that’s where we keep the large specimen-sized plants.

Q: Sounds like every location has something to offer! Tell us a bit more about your newest location. What can we expect to see and what makes it unique?

A: We’re really excited about our newest location in Whittier. We acquired it in December of 2022, are still working to retrofit, restock, and make it everything you know and love about our other OC Succulent locations. And, most importantly to me, the staff is incredible and knowledgeable. You can go in and ask their advice or guidance on all things houseplants, cactus, or succulents and they’ll be there to help you out. 

Q: What makes OC Succulents stand out from other nurseries in Orange County?

A: The sheer quantity, variety, and quality of our product. We carry the largest selection of cactus, succulents, or house plants in Los Angeles, or Orange County, and our staff is knowledgeable about each and every plant we carry. Once you visit one of our locations, you won’t need to shop anywhere else.

Q: Personally, what drives you to provide these products and services? What are you proudest of?

A: Legacy. My parents built this business, and this company, and it’s my responsibility to shepard it, and grow into the future. In reality, we have not changed much about the company over the years we’ve been in business. We’re doing the same things that we used to do in the 70’s. Which was, really good people, working great processes, and selling beautiful plants. I’m the proudest of our team. I push them hard, and they work hard. We are constantly striving to get better, and constantly achieving that goal.

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Q: Tell us a little bit about the people who work for OC Succulents and their experience and expertise.

A: I have a lot of respect for our team. Not only are they known for their expertise and personalities, but they have some serious hustle. Our wholesale division can sell a lot of plants, and no one here is standing around watching the flowers grow! Further, we specialize, and are experts on houseplants and succulents. We might not know everything about trees and shrubs, but we are darn good at houseplants and succulents. People come to us because they know that.

Q: What can your customers expect when shopping with OC Succulents? How can they make the most out of their shopping experience?

A: Our experienced and educated team, superior selection, and sheer quantity of succulents and house plants make the OC shopping experience special. Customers can expect to be wowed by our unique plants and by the level of customer service they receive. 

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