As far back as 1873 there was an Ames Nursery. At that time the business was owned by Samuel S. Paxton and was located in section 2 of Washington Township. The Ames Nursery of later years was started in 1940 by Bill Coupanger as a branch of Elmore Nurseries of Elmore, Minnesota. It was located on leased land in the one hundred block of South Duff Avenue.
Lloyd Cafferty’s first experience with Ames Nursery was in 1942. He managed the nursery for a three-month period before entering the Army in the fall of 1942. Lloyd made an unsuccessful effort to buy the nursery from Bill Coupanger in the fall of 1945.
Unable to do so, he worked as field foreman at Jan De Graff’s Oregon Bulb Farm in Gresham, Oregon. On December 3, 1946, Lloyd moved back to Ames and finally was able to purchase the Ames Nursery. This included the nursery stock on hand and a 16 x 24’ insulated warehouse of cottonwood construction. After the first full year of successful business, the June floods that devastated the area in 1948 also damaged the nursery. This compelled Lloyd to look for another, more suitable location during the summer and fall. In October he finally decided to purchase a twelve-acre site three miles south of Ames on Highway 69. The warehouse was moved from the old location to the new site in December of that year. His family soon moved in and the warehouse served as a home, office and storage building for the business. This nursery would be operated by Caffertys for the next 57 years.
After graduating in Nursery Management at Kirkwood Junior College, Phil Cafferty joined the firm full time in 1969. His titles changed from Landscape Foreman to Assistant Manager to the position of Managing Vice President
Ames Nursery prospered and expanded since the move in 1948. Phil and Sue purchased an additional 34 acres in 1985, bringing the total acreage to 46 acres. This expansion led to new products and services, including U-pick strawberries, sod, and choose and cut Christmas trees. Sales volume increased to over $350,000 per year. During the calendar year as many as twenty-five workers were employed to service clients and help maintain the nursery. Ames Nursery developed a reputation to be proud of. Phil decided to sell the business in the fall of 2005 in order to travel. Throughout the 57 years the Ames Nursery was part of Cafferty’s it stood for the finest quality and workmanship of the nursery industry.