When Marci Wolfe was a little girl in Michigan, she loved to design clothes for her Barbie doll. As a teen she began making her own clothes, and before long she was making prom dresses for her friends.
It was no surprise when Wolfe went on to launch a successful career in design, including costumes, theatrical sets, bridal accessories, ornaments and collectible dolls, including her favorite — fairies.
Twenty-five years ago Wolfe opened a store called Tanglewood Forest in Rough and Ready. Customers were taken by the magical, childhood-fantasyland experience when they walked through the door. Hanging from the ceiling or perched on twinkling branches were tree elves, pixies, gnomes, wizards, sages, and, of course, fairies.
“The fairy and fantasy realm has always been a part of this store,” said Wolfe. “When people forget the name, they refer to us as ‘the fairy store.’”
In 1989, Tanglewood Forest relocated to downtown Grass Valley, and finally to Nevada City, where they’ve been the past 15 years.
“In January of this year we closed our doors on Broad Street, thinking we might come back every holiday season,” said Wolfe, whose annual handmade Christmas ornaments are in high demand. “We were shocked when people told us they were distraught, that Tanglewood was an institution. We kept getting calls asking where we were. Some of my customers even made me cry.”
After discussing the matter with family members — a dozen or more of whom have worked in the store over the years — the decision was made to reopen the store in the Nevada City Marketplace on South Pine Street Wednesday. An official ribbon-cutting is scheduled for Oct. 18.
With room for a studio in back, Wolfe now hopes to host workshops and special events, such as fairy birthday parties.
Wolfe’s mother, Anita Wald-Tuttle, “the elder elf,” and sister Sue Hollon, will continue to help out in the store and in the “fairy factory,” helping to make Wolfe’s intricate collectible character dolls.
“We were literally begged to come back,” said Wolfe, with a laugh. “People hugged me in the street when they heard we were reopening. I didn’t realize how much our store had meant to the community.”
Tanglewood Forest has always served as a respite from the chaos of everyday life, said Hollon.
“We keep fairy dust by the door,” she said. “The legal secretaries from the courthouse used to escape to Tanglewood for lunch because they loved the atmosphere. They just wanted to come in under the trees and relax.
“Some people just pop in for a dose of fairy dust and continue on their way. We consider all our customers part of the ‘Tanglewood family.’ I guess we’re just meant to be here.”
To contact staff writer Cory Fisher email firstname.lastname@example.org or call (530) 477-4203.
“People hugged me in the street when they heard we were reopening. I didn’t realize how much our store had meant to the community.”
— Marci wolfe,
Tanglewood Forest owner