‘It was a sign’

Jessica Eddy-Rowe

photo by Meredith J. Cooper

Walking into The Rustic Nest on a recent afternoon felt like entering an old friend’s house. The “shop dog,” Sully (really a “shop puppy,” as the Frenchie couldn’t be a day over five months), was naughtily stealing bits from a tumbleweed-like accent his mom, Jessica Eddy-Rowe, had just arranged inside a silver pail. Meanwhile, one of her three children did her homework behind the counter. Along one wall hangs an array of women’s clothing, which fits right in with the store’s farmhouse-style décor. In fact, most of the shop’s merchandise is décor—signs, wreaths, furniture. Having worked in the jewelry design, retail—she and her mom owned Bella’s Beads & Gifts on Mangrove for eight years—and interior design fields over the years, the Paradise native said it was just time to open her own shop. She enlisted the help of her husband, a captain in the Chico Fire Department, to build some of the fixtures, and she stocks them with a mix of upcycled items as well as locally made goods. Find The Rustic Nest at 232 Main St. or on Facebook (@therusticnestchico).

What made you decide to open a store?

I made jewelry—I was selling in 22 stores—and then my hands started kind of giving out. I loved interior design, so I started to do that for some clients, too. Some of my stores were like, “Do you want to just rent out a 10-by-10 space in here and you can just do whatever you want?” So I started having booths. Then that show Fixer Upper [on HGTV] came … and it was all about the farm style, you know, rusty and old—everything I was into. And my booths just emptied overnight, it was nuts. So my husband looked at me and said, “You know, instead of you driving all over, trying to figure out each store, why don’t you just have one store, one home base?”

How did you settle on this space?

We were down at Crepeville, having this conversation, and we parked down the block and I walked by this store and I said, “This was the first store I ever sold jewelry in. This is the old Made in Chico.” I sold jewelry at Made in Chico ever since I was 17. So, I thought, This is a sign. And I signed the papers a week later.

How do you find your merchandise?

I order some stuff wholesale, because I can’t pick everything. And then I have a group of 70-something-year-old men that I call my “pickers.” They all have farms and barns …. They’re super cute—they all come in once a week or they shoot me pictures on their phones. But then, like the other day, I had someone come in and say they have a ranch in Durham that they just bought and they have all this old stuff. They said, “Hey, do you want to come pick our farm?” And I’m like, “Yeah!”