Wednesday May 12 2021
It's our 41st year in business! While the big 4-1 isn't your typical milestone, it feels extra significant, as it seems to be a year focused on connection. If there’s one thing we’ve learned these past four decades, it’s that business is about so much more than profit margins and inventory. The people who come through the doors of our locally-owned shops, restaurants and event venues are the real reasons we continue to love what we do!
Our focus is on community, and our history is rooted in stories. We love when you take time to share your love of The Village with us and why it holds a special place in your heart. We recently heard stories from a few friends who feel connected to Gardner Village AND with our Gardner family roots. After all, Gardner Village prides itself on preserving stories that stretch well beyond our 41 years. It’s why we have plaques on many of our historic storefronts, explaining what the buildings were in their former lives. This began with the Gardner Mill, which is listed on the National Historic Register, and built by early Utah pioneer Archibald Gardner.
Joe Long and Angie Gerdes, seen here, grew up with Gardner Village. Their mom, Nancy Long, purchased the property when they were just kids in 1979. Today, they're co-owners of the business and continue the legacy their mother started.
Meet Today’s Gardners
We were delighted when Janet, who is 90 years young, reached out to share her connection to Archibald Gardner, the early pioneer who built our flour mill in 1853.
“My family’s pioneer heritage runs deep. Robert Gardner Jr., Archibald Gardner’s brother, was my great great grandfather. My great great grandmother was Mary Ann Carr Gardner, Robert’s third wife. Two summers ago, Robert’s historic home in Millcreek was restored, complete with a celebration by our community and Gardner descendants. It means so much to me that the state of Utah goes to such lengths to preserve our history. I feel the same way about Gardner Village and the mill. I can’t help but feel pride when I visit and see it continuing to serve our community to this day.”
image credit: Shelley Gardner Howell
FUN FACT: The garage on Robert Gardner's former home, seen here, was made using wood from Archibald Gardner's home, which was located across the street.
FUN FACT: Robert Gardner's home is actually the oldest standing home in Utah.
image credit: Shelley Gardner Howell
Shelley and Janet have never met, but they’re actually cousins. How neat is that?! Like Janet, Shelley is related to Robert Gardner. He’s also her great great grandfather. In preparing for this project, we introduced Shelley and Janet for the first time. We love that it’s another way The Village fosters connection!
The photos below show Shelley on her first visit to Gardner Village in the '80s and posing in the same fashion again today (complete with the original pic in her hand!).
“I was 18 when I first visited Gardner Village. My dad loves history and was so proud as he walked us around and shared the various landmarks with us and how they related to our family’s story and history. It fills me with joy to see the mill still being used today. Seeing history and touching it and knowing the stories that go with it… It’s all just beautiful. The Gardner Village owners could have torn this place down when they purchased it all those years ago. Instead, they’ve tastefully turned it into a wonderful place to be. As an interior designer and real estate professional, I’ve come to the various Gardner Village stores for years. They make my job easy. No matter what style I’m working on, they have timeless and unique pieces that stand out and make my clients happy. Those who work here treat me like family, and it’s not because I have Gardner in my name. They really care and it shows in the way they interact with everyone.”
THE CONNECTIONS CONTINUE
MEET JOHN & JANELLE
While this cute couple now calls Nebraska home, they still feel at home whenever they visit Utah and stop by The Village. They’ve been shopping here since we very first opened back in 1980. Nancy Long, our original owner (and mother of our current co-owners), clearly made an impression on them that stuck with them over the years!
“This photo was taken 41 years ago, just as Country Furntire was opening. We shopped at the store and got to know Nancy Long well. I’ll never forget one day when we were checking out and she suddenly placed a binder in front of us and asked us to add our names, phone number, and address. She said it was a guest list she was creating of special customers she wanted to include in future events. We were honored to be asked and have been loyal customers ever since. Coming here holds a special spot in our hearts and always will.”
We just love being a part of these memories and connections! Thanks so much to all who've shared part of your brilliant story with us as part of our 41-year celebration. As we continue to celebrate, we hope to hear more of your Village stories. How are we a part of your traditions and memories and possibly even your family history? If you feel inclined to share, please feel free to send an email through the Contact Us link on our website or make a social media post and tag us. Your words and experiences warm our hearts and make this birthday milestone all the more meaningful. Thank you!