Gallery 'Nothing But Love' follows its mantra four years after the Camp Fire
Located along Skyway, on the drive up to Paradise, you'll stumble upon a quaint and charming store tucked along a side street where the buildings survived the 2018 Camp Fire.
Nothing But Love isn't just a gift shopper's dream but also a tribute to local artists and creators.
The store was opened by owner Iris Natividad, a Paradise resident since 1999, who was forced towards new beginnings when she relocated to Chico after the Camp Fire.
"I'm trying to move back here. At least I've left the store in Paradise, so I think that's a start for me," Natividad said. "It's been harder to come back, to find a place, so we'll see, time will tell what will happen, but I'll be back."
The storefront is shaped like a barn, but you won't find any cattle or troughs nearby; instead, draped along the outside is a stunning mural by Shane Grammer, who painted the series of murals to honor the victims of the 2018 Camp Fire.
Natividad has poured her heart and soul into the shop. The walls are decked out in an array of hand-crafted works from various artists. There's not an inch left of that store that isn't showcasing artists' work.
From art to poetry, to leather goods and homemade candy, she hopes the community takes their mementos as beacons of hope that will remind them of their Paradise roots.
Natividad's admiration for the arts runs deep. She worked with the Paradise Arts Center and was a vendor at Treasures from Paradise before the Camp Fire. She said the artists in her community inspired her to create the space.
"I feel like I have a purpose. I need to bring healing back to the people that come to Paradise," Natividad said. "Whether they're residents from before, or new residents or people rebuilding, they can have something that says Paradise, and it will heal me, and it will heal them."
The shop receives photos and letters from customers who are former Paradise residents who moved out of state. They share their stories and their yearning for the place they once called home.
"Especially right now during the time of the Camp Fire, we'll get a lot of people, and we get a lot of stories, and it's tough sometimes when you hear a lot of stories," she said. "But you get to feel some joy from people as well, and that's important."
Recently she was inspired by a visit from a former Paradise resident who is now a Floridian.
"All she wanted was that one sticker she could bring back to Florida," Natividad said. "And she said, 'I don't live here anymore, but this is my home. I may live in Florida, but Paradise has always been, will always be my home.'"
As for the name of the store? It holds more weight.
"I lost a loved one in the fire, and the store is named ‘Nothing But Love’ because of my boyfriend Andrew, that was his mantra," Natividad said. "Every time somebody said goodbye, that's what he said. So it's a tribute to him."
Andrew Downer died in the Camp Fire. Although her partner of nearly three decades is no longer with her, Natividad said she still feels his presence.
"The other month, we had a beer can in the courtyard, it was a crushed beer can, and one of the ladies said to me, one of the ladies that works with me, 'I can't believe that somebody threw up beer can in the courtyard.'" she said.
Natividad said she believed it was Andrew letting her know he was there. She said she hopes the store — and being in the community — will help her heal from loss.
"I think it's important to come back, rebuild, show people that we're resilient, that we're thriving, the community is thriving." She said. "We're just not (not just) survivors. We're thrivers. We're here. And it is amazing how much community support I have. It's just absolutely amazing. I am so grateful for that."