Business & Real Estate

New arrival: Nature Gallery finds a home in Los Altos

Photo By: Elliott Burr/Town Crier
Photo Elliott Burr/Town Crier Carol Gartsen, owner of Palo Alto’s Nature Gallery, plans to relocate her vast collection of geodes, minerals and fossils to downtown Los Altos next month.

After 17 years at Palo Alto’s Town & Country Village, Nature Gallery owner Carol Garsten is bringing her collection of minerals, fossils and jewelry to Los Altos.

Faced with an expiring lease and the possibility of her rent doubling, Garsten said she plans to close her Palo Alto shop Jan. 26 and reopen at 296 State St. Feb. 10.

Garsten told the Town Crier a key factor in her decision to move to the corner of State and Second streets was the positive energy she felt in the downtown area. Calling downtown Los Altos “a place that’s on the upswing,” Garsten said it was a case of going to the right place at the right time.

“I really want to be a part of something that’s positively changing, where it feels like there’s a positive energy,” said Garsten, who is planning a grand opening. “There are good things happening (in Los Altos).”

Garsten noted that her new store is more than double the size of the Palo Alto location, which is approximately 460 square feet.

Although her corner store at Town & Country Village was cozy, she said, it felt cramped at times and limited the type of merchandise and services she could offer.

To that end, Garsten said she’s considering a number of ideas to introduce customers to her new store.

Among them, she said, would be to offer space to small groups interested in hosting fundraisers, private corporate events or birthday parties. Other possibilities, she added, may include offering additional larger items such as petrified wood sinks and larger pieces of natural art.

“It’s like a museum, but you can buy things,” Garsten said.

In addition, there may be a section in the store specifically geared toward children interested in collecting rocks and fossils.

Garsten intends to continue another passion upon her arrival in Los Altos – visiting local schools to teach children about fossils.

“I’m not a parent, but I love kids and I really connect with them,” she said. “I always want it to be where people feel comfortable bringing their kids into the Gallery. I just never wanted be one of those stores where it’s like, ‘Don’t touch anything.’”

Garsten looks forward to collaborating with other merchants in town. She hopes to engage her business neighbors soon and create mutually beneficial cross-promotions.

“I definitely want to work with people and help other merchants (in downtown Los Altos) work together,” she said. “It’s about combined energy. I’m a big promoter.”

Although excited about her new location, Garsten said she would continue to treasure countless fond memories of her 17 years at Town & Country Village.

“It’s a little bittersweet,” she said. “I loved being in Palo Alto, and I’m very involved in the community in so many different ways. But change is good and it’s exciting.”

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