Avantgarden to bloom at second Downtown location

By: Gloria Young, Journal Staff Writer
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For nearly 11 years, Avantgarden has sold plants, decorative housewares and unique gift items at the corner of High Street and Lincoln Way in Downtown Auburn. Now owner Kim Wright is expanding to the former Quiet Path store on Lincoln Way. “The reason I’m doing this is because we have a lot more than just plants and pots,” she said. “From the outside of the shop, that’s all you see. People who are not gardeners may never walk in. People will come in and say all the time, ‘I didn’t know you had all this here.’” Wright describes the store as “nature inspired. “ “Whether it is jewelry or dishes or anything, it has some sort of nature theme — it might be floral or birds, or it might be outdoor dining — something to do with the outdoors,” she said. Avantgarden’s outdoor display area specializes in container garden items. “We don’t have shrubs and trees,” Wright said. “We have perennials, annuals, succulents, indoor plants and air plants. (Air plants don’t need soil, just water and light,” she explained.) Although they’re on different streets and elevations, the two stores are connected by a stairway in the back. Each elevation will continue to have its own entrance and the stairs won’t be opened to customers for safety reasons. The expansion is something Wright has been contemplating for a while. “(I thought), if that space became available, I’d look at it,” she said. “It will give us windows on Lincoln Way.” She’ll be adding a few more items, but mostly it offers more room to really showcase her inventory. The Lincoln Way portion will be devoted to home décor, women’s accessories, linens, tableware and jewelry, she said. The upstairs shop has a completely new look. “It’s very open and light and bright,” Wright said. “Instead of carpet, there’s a laminate floor.” It also gives her and her staff more space to create wreaths, silk arrangements and custom plantings for customers. The High Street portion won’t see much of a change. For Wright, the success of the store has exceeded her expectations “It has been well received from the beginning,” she said. “A lot of people like that I try to get unique things. They find different things. Over the years, I get people from out of town — the Bay Area — who stop on the way to Tahoe. We don’t have the things that the box stores and chains have. We buy things from artists across the whole country.” Longtime customer Ashley Hashagen is looking forward to the expansion. “The year we moved up from Davis to Auburn, that was the year she opened the shop,” Hashagen said. “I’ve always been into design professionally and personally. Her shop has always been very inviting and inspiring to me as a part-time designer and lover of the home. I’ve been very grateful to have that venue to go to again and again. She has such an eye for design and her (staff) is always so friendly.” Target date for opening the Lincoln Way portion is April 23, although Wright may have a soft opening a few days earlier, she said. For now, she’s holding off on planning a grand opening celebration. Wright is a landscape architect by profession but owning her own retail business is “something I’ve always wanted to do” she said. Reach Gloria Young at ------------ Avantgarden 1085 High St. and 890 Lincoln Way, Downtown Auburn Phone: (530) 888-1510 Hours: Monday-Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. (Lincoln Way), 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (High Street) 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday (both stores) On the web