The Gifted Gardener will close its doors for good on July 31 after 28 years in midtown Sacramento, owner David Kwong told me last week.
“I’m looking forward to retirement. I’m 66,” Kwong said. “I did some calculating. I sing with the Sacramento Gay Men’s Chorus. I’m a founding member. We go on singing trips out of town…every four years, but outside those vacations, I’ve only taken seven vacations in 28 years. I used to travel a lot, and I loved it, so I’m looking forward to the opportunity to travel again.”
Kwong said he will begin his going-out-of-business sales with a 20 percent discount on April 1, and he’ll increase the discount monthly until July, when everything will be marked down by 50 percent or more. He urged all customers with gift receipts to come in and use them, as he will not be able to honor them after the business closes.
Longtime customers know that Kwong’s sister-in-law, Taffetta Lassen, and her son, Xian (pronounced Zion) Kwong, have also worked at the store over the last 14 years.
The Gifted Gardener has not always been at its current location. Kwong started out with just 550 square feet on J Street near See’s Candies. He recalled feeling completely cramped at that site within six months, but he kept the store there for about a year and a half before expanding to 1100 square feet closer to J and 21st Street.
“I’m an avid gardener,” Kwong said. “I used to work for a bank....I wanted to do something for myself. I started this business because I couldn’t find gardening items here in Sacramento that I wanted to buy. I had to go out of town to buy what I wanted. I thought, ‘Sacramento’s way too big a community for me to have to go out of town.’”
When Kwong moved into 1730 J St. about 15 years ago, he leased 2700 square feet. His front door was actually on J Street. Today, however, customers enter around the corner on 18th Street. Kwong downsized into half the space a few years ago, after a new landlord doubled the rent. Icing on the Cupcake now leases the front half of the store, Suite A.
“At our old store,” he said, “all our shelves were much lower, and we had a display. Since moving into the back, we’ve increased the height of all our shelving, and we’ve kept 85 percent of our product in half the size. My customers were happy I didn’t lose all that much product.”