Biz Buzz: Natural food store expands its facilities

A Templeton-based natural foods store and nursery is adding a second location in Atascadero and at the same time expanding to a larger location in Templeton.

Nature’s Touch Nursery and Harvest, owned and operated by Melanie Blankenship at 140 Seventh St. in Templeton for eight years, sells items such as grass-fed beef and fresh juices.

All products are grown or produced within California and are certified organic and naturally grown. Blankenship requires a soil analysis from all producers to guarantee that she only sells products of sustainable practices, she said.

The business is expanding from its small 396-square-foot location to a space of 1,300 square feet at 225 South Main St. in Templeton sometime in the coming weeks.

Blankenship said she is waiting for final approval from the county on various environmental regulations before the move can be made.

The Atascadero location, expected to open Dec. 1, will be at 5835 Traffic Way. The store will offer the same selections as the Templeton store.

Blankenship said her customers are typically “people who want to know where their food originates and support something local.”

Nature’s Touch Nursery and Harvest evolved out of Blankenship’s own farming and commercial experience. Formerly the manager of Sycamore Herb Farms, she decided to launch her own wholesale nursery, growing organic heirloom plants for farms.

Eventually, she began selling her own fruits, vegetables and herbs at farmers markets.

“The demand for such quality foods and product will continue to grow as long as I stick to my guns and only offer quality products,” said Blankenship. “Local food is the way that San Luis Obispo County needs to go.”

— AnnMarie Cornejo

AG florist to mark 25th anniversary

The Grand Bouquet Florist, at 1355 East Grand Ave. in Arroyo Grande, is celebrating 25 years of business this month.

Tina McLane, 51, of Arroyo Grande has owned and operated the shop since its inception. With the recent closures of Five Cities Florists and Arroyo Grande Flower Shop, the Grand Bouquet Florist is the last flower shop in the city.

“We’re definitely busy,” said McLane, who is looking to expand her staff in response to added demand this holiday season. The shop has five employees, and all its flowers are obtained from vendors in San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara counties.

— Julia Hickey