Feels like Chico
Ron and Christina Linzy are hoping to make gift shopping in Chico a more genuine and intimate experience. They recently opened Bidwell Supply Co. out of a small cottage-style building surrounded by a large porch and shaded with rows of trees on south Park Avenue. The shop comes after three years of selling their Chico- and Nor Cal-themed apparel as a brand through other local stores. Alongside their own products—like shirts and bags with their popular Monkey Face and Bear Hole designs—Bidwell Supply Co. features other, mostly handmade items. Designer soaps, scented candles, specialty jewelry and more, the majority of which are sourced from North State artists and crafters, fill out the store. Ron, who also works as a graphic designer at Chico State, recently sat down with the CN&R to talk about his new store at 2155 Park Ave. Stop by to learn more, or call 566-9177.
Why did you decide to open your shop on Park Avenue?
We were looking around and just couldn’t find anything. For us this really was perfect. First of all, there’s a whole separate area of the building where we can do our production and printing, so we can have a production facility here. I can’t find that downtown. The other part is we’re in our own building. It’s all wood and there’s a big porch and you walk up and it almost feels like a home, and that’s part of our appeal.
When did you realize you wanted to go brick and mortar?
I’ve had this vision for a long time. I was having these feelings about opening a place within a year of coming out with Bidwell [Supply Co.] as a brand, and then it kind of happened over time. It wasn’t for anything financial or because of any sales that happened. It was more from the gut.
How has business been?
It’s been good. I think it’s like any other retail experience—there’s a little feast and famine. I can have a couple hours go by and no one comes and then people show up in packs [and] I wish I had another register or person to help. We’ve only been open since late August, and September is a pretty slow month everywhere, but we’ve seen October pick up.
Where do you find your suppliers?
I went and sought them out. I saw what they were posting on their social media, or I would see them at a local fair or something, and I liked what they were doing.
Looking into the future, I don’t want it to get to big. I think that’s part of the appeal here; you’re not going through thousands of items. We are expanding one room and bringing greeting cards in and it might be a holiday room, too; we’re still figuring it out. The other expansion could be the porch; there’s a lot of covered space out there. I wanna keep it small, but maybe fill in some of the gaps.