in memory of nancy long founder of Gardner Village

Gardner Village Founder, Nancy Long, Dies at 82

Nancy Long, founder of Utah's Gardner Village, died November 21, 2022 and is free from her battle with Muscular Dystrophy and complications from a stroke. She was 82. She will be remembered for a colorful life and her entrepreneurial spirit. She wasn’t your run of the mill type of woman.

Born in Barnstable, Massachusetts on January 15, 1940, she moved as a child to Utah. She attended Tooele High School, and her love of Rush Valley endured throughout her lifetime. She had 6 children by the time she was 26. With no formal education, Nancy said she attended the School of Hard Knocks and set out to build something bigger than she would have ever imagined.

In 1979, Nancy discovered and fell in love with the historic Gardner Mill in West Jordan, a flour mill built by one of Utah’s first pioneer settlers, Archibald Gardner. Despite its neglected condition, she saw its potential. Originally her vision was to restore the Mill to be a home for her six children; but plans evolved, and she decided to open a country store that sold furniture and handmade items. Transforming the old, abandoned property was not easy, but Nancy worked tirelessly to breathe new life into it, and Country Furniture and Gifts (now CF Home) opened in May of 1980. A decade later, her dream of opening a restaurant in the Mill came true with the opening of Archibald’s Restaurant in 1990. This historic flour mill and its silo were the beginnings of what Gardner Village is today.

With the help of her family and a hardworking staff, Nancy paid for a newspaper ad looking for historic buildings, which were then moved to the property. Historic homes, cabins, and even a train station were donated and renovated at the property to re-create a charming village, complete with a winding stream, brick-lined paths, and covered bridges. She went against the grain and found potential where other's didn't.

Today, Gardner Village is a unique destination that brings locals and visitors throughout the year. It features locally owned specialty shops, restaurants and event venues surrounding that historic mill, which is listed on the National Historic Register and is a Utah Historic Site.

Like the waterwheel that once powered the mill, Nancy Long’s clarity of vision continues to guide Gardner Village. The ownership has passed to a new generation, Nancy’s son, Joe Long, and daughter, Angie Gerdes, are working to continue the journey their mother began. This talented sibling duo considers it a tremendous honor to operate a local business that supports so many employees. Gardner Village has also become a place for other entrepreneurs to start their own small businesses just like Nancy. It’s a tribute to her creativity, perseverance, and devotion to hard work.

Nancy’s favorite quote was, “Don’t be afraid to go out on a limb, that’s where the fruit is.”


A Celebration of Life was held at The Gathering Place at Gardner Village in West Jordan, UT, on Sunday, January 15, 2023. Nancy leaves behind 6 children, 19 grandchildren and 18 great grandchildren. Guests were encouraged to bring photos and share memories of her. In lieu of flowers, a donation in Nancy’s name may be made to the Muscular Dystrophy Association.

To view her obituary, visit here.