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Meet your merchant: Wildflower Nursery transforms a bland Penn Valley intersection into a community hub

Wildflower Nursery Garden and Gift Shoppe

10493 Spenceville Road, Penn Valley


Hours: 9 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Mon. through Sat.; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sundays

Facebook: Wildflower Nursery Garden and Gift Shoppe

What was once little more than a one-acre patch of dirt at a main intersection in Penn Valley has literally come into full bloom since the Wildflower Nursery, Garden and Gift Shoppe opened its doors on Mother’s Day of 2017.

Since then, that one acre has transformed into a full “destination” nursery boasting thousands of plants, seeds, gardening accessories, an inviting patio and an expansive gift shop.

Owners Scott and Rory Gutierrez, who also own Penn Valley True Value hardware store next door, had a vision of creating a community hub with the lot, which was owned by Rory’s mother. Inspired by the High-Hand Nursery and Cafe in Loomis, the couple wanted to combine an event space with a meandering, artfully landscaped yard, large nursery, patio and spacious showroom floor.

“Our goal wasn’t to compete with existing businesses nearby,” said Scott Gutierrez. “We wanted to complement their inventory in addition to creating a community environment where we host special events or invite people to simply relax, unwind and connect with friends.”

Community members say the venture has exceeded every expectation. With the help of manager Feona Nowak, Wildflower Nursery now has quarterly community events and regular creative workshops, such as “Paint Night” on Sundays and the upcoming “Chunky Blanket Making” class on Oct. 19. A “Wine at Wildflower” open house took place on Saturday — and don’t even get Nowak started on Christmas.

“Christmas is huge,” she said. “When the holiday season comes, everything in the store is 100% Christmas. We have five decorated trees in the store. Hundreds of people show up for the open house.”

Outside in the meticulously maintained and landscaped nursery are thousands of plants to choose from, many of which are deer resistant because, as Nowak says with a laugh, “In Lake Wildwood, the deer are caged,” referring to the gated community.

The shop inside has become a go-to place for gifts, cards and home décor, which includes a unique selection of affordable goodies, including an assortment of items made by local vendors such as Jodi B’s custom, fun furniture.

Nowak is quick to give credit to co-worker Stacy Hereford, who owned the Grass Valley store Heart and Home for 14 years with her husband Mark. In addition to sharing her business acumen, Hereford helps with classes and inventory choices — not to mention her watercolor greeting cards. Mark, who was known for his birdhouses at their former store, still makes them for Wildflower Nursery.

“I love connecting with my old customers from Heart and Home,” said Hereford. “But we’ve also created something new and different here.”

Because of its Penn Valley location, which is not a central tourist destination, Nowak says it’s even more important to keep inventory fresh, as their advertising is largely word of mouth.

“But the part I love is our connection to the community,” she said. “This place has become a hub — a place where people can connect with each other and enjoy the surroundings. The one-on-one connection is the best part.”

To contact Staff Writer Cory Fisher, email her at Cory@theunion.com.

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