Wednesday, May 27, 2015

A Look Back: Gardner Village History (part 2 of 2)

Welcome back! Glad to see you’re still on this two-part adventure back in time. Together, we’ve seen how an old grist mill was transformed into the hub of what is now Gardner Village, a quaint shopping and dining destination. Now, let’s take a look at how the rest of The Village came to be. Our time machine is set. Let’s go!

The Village Assembles  
Wanting to expand the area surrounding the mill, Nancy Long, the mill’s owner, placed this simple ad in the newspaper, asking for building donations from the surrounding Utah community.  

The response was great, and Nancy, her family, and their hard-working employees set to work relocating the buildings to The Village property.

Recognize this home?

 Yep, it’s now Posh Peddler. 

How about this cute number?

If you said Spoiled Rotten, you're almost right. This was the home of Spoiled Rotten for quite some time. 

But they've just recently moved into their new space one building over from their former home. You'll have to stop by and see their new digs sometime soon. This is proof that Gardner Village is always moving, growing and evolving. 

This one is a bit easier to guess. 

The answer: The Bead Farm!

Now for a harder one. See the big building in the approximate center of this image? It was once the grain storage building for the mill. It's now the home of... 

...Pine Needles! 

Homes weren’t the only buildings donated. Can you believe an actual train station was also on the list of buildings that made the move. This sweet building is now the home of an even sweeter treat—chocolate! It’s the Chocolate Covered Wagon!

Yes, it was quite the process moving these beauties in, but well worth it. They make for an eclectic grouping of stores offering lots of personality and fun to any shopping experience. 

On the Wall
Want to know more about the various buildings on property? You’re in luck! Just about every building has a plaque outlining the history of the building. These quick and informative reads offer awesome stories to tell! 

A River Runs Through It
The waterway running down the center of The Village is almost like the heart of the land, as it works to connect everything together. It didn’t always look as charming as it does now, with its covered bridge and flower-lined banks. Nope. That was another detailed touch added as The Village came to be. 

As you can see from this arial view, The Village has grown a great deal in its 35 years. 
We can't wait to see where it goes from here. With plans for a hotel, a convention center, additional outdoor dining, and more, the next 35 years are sure to bring about many more exciting changes. And we can't wait to spend those years with you. 

Thanks for your patronage over the years. It's because of you we're able to celebrate our growth today. 

Megan Hoeppner

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

A Look Back: Gardner Village History (part 1 of 2)

Stepping onto the grounds at Gardner Village is like taking a step back in time. Oh, sure, the accommodations are modern enough—trendy, fashionable clothes; hip and original home decor items; and more!—but the atmosphere is most definitely one of the past. So it’s no wonder this hot spot for shopping and dining has landed itself on the National Register of Historic Places. 

In honor of this, Gardner Village’s 35th year in business, we’re going to take a little trip back. Consider this your time machine. Buckle up! Let’s take a ride and see how this cute shopping district came to be. 

The original mill, built by Archibald Gardner in 1877, still stands on the Gardner Village grounds today. However, instead of functioning as a grist mill, it’s now the home of CF Home and Archibald’s Restaurant.

Fun Fact: Nancy Long purchased the property in 1979 with the idea of turning it into a house, but her retail and entrepreneurial experience soon shifted her vision to a more public establishment and Country Furniture & Gifts (now CF Home) was born in 1980. Archibald’s Restaurant opened ten years later and both businesses remain active contributors to Utah’s economy today. 

Nancy and her family certainly had their work cut out for them as they transformed this old, abandoned property. One thing they discovered was an unusual amount of bees. Bees! Everywhere! Wanting to get to the root of this sticky situation, they actually pulled back one of the walls and discovered a full beehive, and massive amounts of honey. Talk about a sweet beginning! 

Wanting to keep aspects of the mill's history in tact as they breathed new life into the building, they intentionally left aspects of the mill in place. For a firsthand trip back in time, walk through what is now CF Home and Archibald's Restaurant to see some of these amazing artifacts. 

A Family Affair
Here is a shot of Nancy with her son Joe, who is now one of the owners of the business. 

Keeping this a family affair, Joe now has his sister, Angie Gerdes, by his side. Together, they maintain their mother’s vision while adding their own ideas along with a talented staff of people, all to see that Gardner Village continues to grow and thrive.  

Join me next week, as we see how Nancy and the rest of the Long family worked to develop their property into what is Gardner Village as we know it today. From transplanting historic buildings to creating a unified space, we'll see how they worked some serious magic to make The Village one of the most popular and unique retail and dining destinations in the state!

Megan Hoeppner

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Getting to Know the Faces Behind Gardner Village

Gardner Village is a wonderful, eclectic group of shops, restaurants and other venues. It takes someone with great vision, or, in this case, two someones, to coordinate such a facility and turn long-standing family ideas and dreams into such a charming and active reality. In honor of Gardner Village's 35th birthday this month, I was delighted to interview this special twosome and get to know more about the history of The Village, as well as get the scoop on the many exciting things to come. It is my pleasure to share that interview with you. 

Introducing Joe Long and Angie Gerdes, a lovely brother/sister duo and owners of Gardner Village! 

1. Today, Gardner Village is such a special place to shop, dine, dance and more. Was this your mother's vision all along when she purchased the property and opened her furniture store in May of 1980? Did she ever dream it would grow to become an entire village?

A. Before Country Furniture (now CF Home) ever opened in 1980, our mom had a signed painting that said, "A Gardner Mill Historic Site Restoration—Offices, Shops, Restaurant—Office in Rear." So she really did envision a larger complex even though The Village today has evolved a lot from the original dream. 

2. The "village" aspect didn't happen on its own. You sought out and saved buildings throughout Utah, by having them transplanted to Gardner Village. What a cool treasure hunt that must have been! And what a rewarding task to complete in preserving more of our state's history! How did you get the idea to create a village in this way, and how did you go about finding and moving buildings? 

A. When Archibald Gardner originally built the mill, it was a huge draw to the area. Many other businesses surrounded the mill, including a blacksmith's shop, the first general store south of SLC, and a mattress and broom factory. The development of the village seemed natural. Our mom and dad had been in the house-moving business years before this, so this was familiar for our mom. She just put a small ad in the newspaper that read, "Old buildings and barns wanted for historic craftsman village." People would call who wanted to preserve a family home that would have otherwise been torn down. Our mom paid to have the homes moved and put in new foundations, and then the renovations would begin. 

The original newspaper ad now hangs in the Gardner Village offices. 

3. Your mother always dreamed of adding a restaurant to the property, and Archibald's opened its doors in 1990. A special dining experience, this restaurant offers a unique and delicious menu. How did you go about deciding what type of food to serve? Are any of the dishes on the menu tied to your mother?

A. The restaurant was really a passion of our mom's husband, Chris Christenson. They were both foodies and loved to cook and eat. The home-cooking feel felt natural to the overall setting. They hired a chef who got everything started. A few of the dishes we started with are still on the menu today. Pot roast and pan drippin' gravy, 7 bean soup made daily, homemade carrot cake, fish and chips, and ginger chicken salad, to name a few. 

4. Gardner Village never seems to slow down. You're constantly adding new stores and outdoor attractions for the Utah community (and guests beyond Utah) to enjoy. What plans do you have for the future of Gardner Village?

A. We're currently remodeling and rebranding the Naborhood Bakery. We also have a two-phase plan to expand CF Home and Archibald's Restaurant. Phase One will start in the next 30 days and consist of an addition on the west side of CF Home to expand the retail area and improve the receiving and overall circulation of the store. Phase Two will take place in the spring of 2016, creating an outdoor patio for Archibald's, which we will call the Mill Plaza, as it will expand the area around our existing waterwheel. This phase will also include additional indoor seating and banquet space in the basement of the 138-year-old mill. Longer term, we're working to expand to the west by adding a 25,000-square-foot convention facility, connected to 7,000 square feet of retail and a 125-room hotel. These additions will complete the buildout for The Village. 

This inspiration piece sits inside the Gardner Village offices as an idea for the future Village hotel. Very cool! 

5. The Village has remained a family affair, with the two of you running things for your mother now. Do you see Gardner Village staying in the family?

A. While our mom owned the business, there were five children, her husband, and a brother-in-law involved. Then we (Joe and Angie) bought The Village in 2002 and it edited down to just the two of us. Today, we have a sister who runs CF Home, a niece who manages The Village Quilt Shop, and Angie's son and daughter also work here. Plus, we have many employees who have worked for us for as long as 20 years. We love the family aspect of the business and think it's part of the reason all involved share in our feelings of ownership and pride. 

Just another day at work for Angie and her son. 

Thank you for making us feel like a special part of your family by so warmly opening your doors to the community. So many have made traditions out of trips to Gardner Village, from paying the witches annual visits in October to enjoying delicious meals and unique shopping all year through. On this, your 35th birthday, I'm sure our online community joins me in wishing you a very happy celebration while also offering a sincere thank you for all you do to support our community and our fun! 

Megan Hoeppner 

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Small shops. BIG birthday giveaways!

Gardner Village is celebrating 35 years in business! Isn’t it wonderful to see a local business going strong after so many years? Thanks for your awesome support, which makes this celebration possible. 

In honor of this special milestone, we’re going to make our May posts all about The Village, including a look back in time, interviews with the local Utah owners; and, of course, information on giveaways. After all, what’s a party without party favors?

Grand Giveaway #1
We at Gardner Village couldn’t be more excited about this one. Courtesy of KUTV 2 and their Fresh Living show, we’re giving away tickets to The Ellen DeGeneres Show. Always a party, this show entertains every afternoon on Channel 2, and now you can enjoy it live and in person!

How to Enter: Visit Down to Earth or Archibald’s Restaurant between now and May 16th to enter. Simply fill out this little slip of paper, give it a lucky pinch, and drop it in the slot. The lucky winner will be announced on KUTV 2‘s Fresh Living on Wednesday, May 20. 

What you Win: A trip for two to California to be in Ellen’s audience! 

Grand Giveaway #2
Wanting to spread the love out even more, we also have $35 gift certificates being given away in the Gardner Village shops. Simply visit our shops throughout the month of May for your chance to win. 

Grand Giveaway #3
Everybody’s a winner at Archibald’s Restaurant, where we’re giving away a free scoop of delicious ice cream with every dessert purchase. Sweet! 

Happy 35th!
Yes, there’s something for everybody at Gardner Village this month, from shopping sprees and free sweets to a grand getaway for two. Come on by and join us for the party. While you’re at it, please join me in wishing Gardner Village a very happy birthday. Each of the many shop owners, their amazing staff members, the family who owns The Village, and the rest of the staff it takes to make a Village read our posts each week, and I know they’d love hearing from you! Please give us a shout out here on our blog, on our Google page or Facebook.

Happy birthday, friends! Thanks for all you do! 

Megan Hoeppner

P.S. Thank you to all who entered our Mother's Day Brunch Buffet giveaway. We're delighted to welcome GabbyC and a guest to our May 10th celebration. 

"I would love to win this for my mom. She inspires me to be the best that I can be and reach for my dreams. She works so hard an deserves a treat." --GabbyC

Congratulations, GabbyC! Please e-mail us at for details on claiming your prize.