SLOcal Biz: Left Field

We are so ecstatic to welcome Left Field to MoJo Row! You may know Nick Wilkinson from his reputable shop in Cambria, Grow Nursery. Well, he's moved right across the street from us, and we walked over to hear a little bit of his story, below:

How did you come to own Grow & now Left Field?
About ten years ago I was running a restaurant in San Diego, and going to school down at San Diego State. I had started out just bussing tables and by the time I was twenty-two was in the management vibe there—it was good company to work for and I liked it, but it was one of those moments where I was like “Am i gonna be comping prime ribs and working in a bar for the rest of my life, or not?” My parents lived up this way and I came to visit them—at the time my middle brother and I were talking about starting a nursery together—we decided it wasn’t going to work and he was going to do something else. But I had asked this gal at the old exotic gardens if she would sell the business and after a few months, she said yes, so we bought that. We were up there for about six years, and everything was fine and we made it—but moving down to the main drag (in downtown Cambria) was a big pickup for our business. We’ve grown a lot there. 
But being in Cambria makes you sensitive to how far you are from SLO. You don’t think of it, you think, Oh it’s just Cambria. The mast majority of our biz there is just tourists—so we’re giving it a go in SLO to see if we could connect more and do more local work. We were looking for years, and recently looking at this space—mainly because Ruby Rose is across the street and it’s nice to have someone with a similar vibe.  We both have crossover things, which is the vintage.  No matter what we wont have the same stuff, even if we have the same box or ladder, it’s still different, so it’s easy to have the crossover.  When we found out they had this roll up door, I was addicted to the building.

What got you into plants?
When I was going to SDSU I really got into plants.  It was the typical 19-year-old pad and we just got into it. I grew up with a lot of plants around me, my mom had a lot. What drew me to them is the same thing that drew people to them and made them popular—the architectural nature and they all kind of have their own personality. I started to have a pretty good collection of them and vintage pots. I probably had thirty pots with succulents in them through the 70’s.  I got my degree in Arts, so this was all self taught. Friends had a shop in Old Town San Diego and they mentored me.

Have you always been into vintage stuff?
Yeah, being just like you, we were into all kinds of vintage stuff. At the time, it was a lot of mid century modern stuff, not the rusty things. I like just about all things, I’m not really a snob about objects, if it has a story that is cool I can usually get into it. We started out as more of a nursery and then got into vintage as a way to funk up the space, they create a texture and interest for the store. I used to never want to sell stuff like that, but I've gotten to the point where there’s really not too much that’s not for sale. If we sell that big ole chest on day four, then it drives me to go out and buy more for the store—it keeps things from getting stagnant. At the end of the day, everything is for sale.

And Deer Run also has a presence here?
Leslie is a friend of mine and had a store when I was out at Exotic Gardens. When I moved into the shop by hers, behind the Garden Shed (Cambria), she just had her 70th birthday and it was getting to be too much I think for her.  Mostly it’s my gig, she’ll have her stuff here and throw her two cents in, but I’ll make all the big decisions.

Where did you get the name Left Field?
We went back and forth and we had several names, but I wanted it to be different than Grow, because the space is different. We wanted it to represent that it was going to be oddball—we had also thought of calling it Misc. but I got outvoted (laughs). I like Left Field, too: “way out in left field,”  objects that make you think, where did that come from?  That’s why we went with Unexpected Goods and Greenery as the tagline. It all came together, and I feel good about it. Having done my thing at Grow almost ten years ago, it was nice to be able to rebrand something and do it just a little bit different, so it’s fun.

Minerals or plants?
Plants forever probably. I mean, I like those mineral things a lot, too.

If you were going to be buried with a plant, which one would it be?
I told my wife when I die, I want to be cremated and for them to repot all my plants with my ashes mixed in with the soil. 

You have an adjoining space that will opening up as well?
We’re going to have a gallery place there where we’ll be showing mostly people from out of town—but we’ll have some locals mixed in. I’m trying to keep with the unexpected theme, do shows that people wouldn’t expect or do different shows that people haven’t seen a hundred times. The best locals get shows and I support those guys and I buy art from local people, but for me i’m just not interested in regurgitating the same shows. I would rather bring in something and get people inspired by some new things.

The gallery’s projected open date is February 20th—and expect Left Field’s Grand Opening the same day! Be sure and follow @leftfieldslo on Instagram, and peruse their store: open M-Sat 10-6 and Sun 11-5

Huckleberry Market

Our replacements for 1335 Walker Street are full of passion and creativity, and we are proud to see our old space move onto new and grander endeavors. Allow us to introduce you: everyone, meet Huckleberry Market.
Huckleberry Market, meet everyone.
Huckleberry Market is a space dedicated to creative & personal gatherings. Shop for supplies for a dinner party, find local professionals for events and weddings, and take creative workshops to get the skills you need to make your events extra special. The Market offers beverages and snacks for you to sit and stay a while, because we know the creative process takes time (and coffee!)

Carla and Karen, the owners, both have a passion for all things homemaking and love connecting people through intimate gatherings. They want to make a space where such events can be hosted, and help people create them on their own by providing supplies and teaching workshops. Flowers are a huge part of any event for them, they are like these temporary pieces of art right at the center on the table, and so they will be a big part of the market. They will offer floral design services for weddings, events, and local deliveries.

Grow Nursery from Cambria, CA will curate a selection of unique handmade pottery and rare plants inside the market.
Local artist Neal Breton will be working out of Huckleberry Market, making and selling his illustrations as well as hosting and planning workshops. Here is a little bit about Neal:
Mainly, I'm a painter. I have done quite a bit of illustrating since moving to SLO about 6 years ago from various parts of Southern California. In that time, I have done a poster for the SLO Downtown Association's summer concert festival, illustrated several covers and features for the New Times, and most recently I was lucky enough to illustrate a beer label for a Davis, California based beer company called Sudwerk.
My latest endeavors find me traveling quite often around the state; I have art shows this year in the Bay Area as well as Southern California. I co-founded Fiasco! Gallery with partner Jeff Claassen, which is located in Studios on the Park in Paso Robles.
Lately, my paintings explore my views of society in a contemporary neo-folk/urban style. I work in clusters of small paintings, working out ideas quickly, then moving on to another stream of thought. I usually work on several clusters at the same time as to not let any ideas stagnate.
My intentions for the space are to hang a few paintings, show a few illustrations wares, possibly pick up a few jobs doodling wedding invitations and to be a part of the handmade aesthetic.

Be ready for their open signs and doors--this month!