Scoop: Foothills Event Center plans sale to Ag Natural in GV

The landmark Foothills Event Center in Grass Valley is being sold to the owner of Ag Natural, a thriving business across the street that sells organic garden and hydroponic supplies, greenhouse products and other ag-related items, Sierra Foothills Report has learned.

Mardie Caldwell of the Foothills Event Center — a popular and elegant gathering space for weddings, fundraisers and other local events beside Hwy. 49 — and Roy Harris, who owns Ag Natural and Grass Valley Hydrogarden, both confirmed the planned sale to me this afternoon. The deal is in escrow, and it expected to close in July.

“We’re expanding — we’re overgrown,” Ag Natural founder and owner Roy Harris said. Ag Natural is located across the street from the Foothills Event Center on Idaho-Maryland Road.

“If it has roots and it has flowers, you can grow it with my products,” he said, emphasizing, “I’m not a cannabis business; I’m a garden supply business.”

“It’s going to be a soft, gradual opening,” Harris said and will gradually become “one big shopping center.” As a result, the businesses workforce might grow from 15-20 to up to 30 workers, he said.

For her part, Caldwell circulated this statement to clients about the sale:

“It is with some sorrow that I share with you that I will be selling The Foothills Event Center to new owners.  They are also Nevada County residents; however they will not be operating it as an event venue.

“When I purchased the building in 2013, it was a true labor of love to rehabilitate it and offer it to the community as a gathering place.  I have been honored to be a part of so many celebrations over the past eight years.  Your weddings and celebrations of life, fundraisers and parties, concerts and seminars, reunions and faith celebrations.  Every one of them has been unique and it has been amazing to be a part of each one.

“2020 looked to set the stage for our best year yet! We were booked solid in January and February and had four weddings in March!  We were looking to hire more staff because of your events.

“Then Covid-19 came along.

“We made it through a year and a half of no events. During that time, we offered our space to the hospital if overflow hospital space were needed, to the county as a testing or vaccine site, and to all first responders to be of any service to our community.  Unfortunately, we were not offered the opportunity to bid on the Covid testing or vaccines, nor were we selected for the Nevada County Anchor Grants that were awarded to the other large venues in the county.  We applied to various other county and state grants four times to no avail.”

Mardie concluded: “The blessing of 2020 is that we completed work at Rough & Ready Vineyards, an outdoor wedding venue just 10 minutes from downtown Grass Valley. Many of our Foothills brides are choosing to move their indoor wedding to our beautiful outdoor venue.

“Our staff is currently contacting our booked clients and closing out their future events.  While it is farewell to The Foothills Event Center, I’m happy for the memories that have been created here and hope to see you at an event or paint class this summer, before we close up shop.”

A local trend?

The site once was a car dealership called Weaver Auto Center — just as Hometown Hydroponics on 800 South Auburn St. off Hwy. 49 once was a Ford dealership. Hometown Hydroponics relocated to the Ford space from its much smaller previous location on Clydesdale Court — near the former offices of the Idaho-Maryland Mining Corp., another business that has been long proposed for our town.

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for 12 years, and he was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News for eight years, among other positions. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing, swimming, and trout fishing in the Sierra.

One thought on “Scoop: Foothills Event Center plans sale to Ag Natural in GV”

  1. We saw Rodney Crowell play the Events Center. A great venue, just the right size. Every seat was up close it seemed. That I will miss-

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