THE SHORT STORY
As many small businesses have, Nature Gallery sprang from a hobby shared by Norma Tager, and her daughter Carol Garsten. They were both ardent lovers and collectors of rocks, minerals and crystals. So, when their collection grew too big for private display Norma and Carol opened their first shop in San Luis Obispo in 1987.
The store relocated to Palo Alto in 1994, where Carol has made her home. Sadly, Norma passed away in 1996 leaving Carol as sole proprietor of the Gallery. Over the subsequent years the Nature Gallery has hosted many special events, and Carol has contributed to many community events and charitable foundations. In February of 2012 Carol made the bold move to downtown Los Altos. In the Nature Gallery’s newest location there is much more space for larger more dramatic pieces of natural art for the home, as well as the beautiful jewelry and specimens Carol has always carefully handpicked. Norma would be proud!
THE FULL STORY
Nature Gallery is a story of a hobby that turned into a business. Neither my mother nor I had degrees in geology….but we did love rocks and crystals. After a bout with cancer my mom (Norma) moved to San Luis Obispo to get out of the Los Angeles rat race. She looked for a crystal for her new house near Cal Poly University and found there was not a single store in town that carried crystals. She was dismayed…and told her friend Marcia she couldn’t believe she moved to a town where you couldn’t even find a crystal! Her friend said, ‘Well…you’ll have to meet Ron, he’s the guy in town to talk to about that stuff”. Norma met Ron and told him the story of not being able to find a crystal, and Ron said mysteriously, “Norma, you are going to open a Crystal store in San Luis Obispo.” Norma thought this was ridiculous since she had no money for stock, and besides there were no stores available for rent at the time. Ron insisted that she go back to check it out further. Norma went back to San Luis Obispo and went directly to the prime real estate office in San Luis, across from the Mission Plaza. She explained that she knew there were no stores available for rent, but if anyone heard of something she would like to be contacted. The man in the office said “My name is Tom Coull and I own this real estate office and this building for that matter, and I’m just about to kick out Terrible Bob’s Earrings a few doors away. I was talking with someone who wanted to lease it for a childrens’ clothing store….what did you say you wanted to do? Crystals? That sounds great.” Norma’s new friend Ron consigned merchandise and jewelry for the store and taught us everything that he knew. Before long there was enough extra money to go out and buy our own goods. The gallery would never have gotten off the ground if not for Marcia and Ron (to both of whom we are forever grateful!)
We look forward to many more wonderful years.