Paradise to Red Bluff, finding home again

Paradise to Red Bluff, finding home again Main Photo

29 May 2019

Local Life and Business, Blog

The Camp Fire was the deadliest and most destructive wildfire in California history to date, the deadliest wildfire in the United States since 1918, and is the sixth-deadliest U.S. wildfire overall. It was the world's costliest natural disaster in 2018.

These are the stories of Paradise residents and business owners who found home again in Red Bluff, California after the Camp Fire.

Meet Jennifer Jurgenson and her team at Colours of Paradise.

Colours started as a nail salon in Paradise before Jennifer bought the business and added a four-station hair salon. As a single mom, she worked three jobs to carry the loans and buy the business after learning the owner wanted to retire.

Jennifer grew up in Paradise from the age of five. “I’m not a city girl. I loved the rural town of Paradise and prefer to be outdoors, camping or on the river.” She loves walking into her coffee shop where the barista knows her name. This is what Paradise was for her, it was home.

After the fire, relocating to Red Bluff was considered since Jennifer’s husband played in baseball tournaments here and they were familiar with the area. What ultimately solidified the decision to stay in Red Bluff was when she walked into a restaurant and saw a group of ladies and a group of men eating and chatting and she could tell that this was their meeting place, to catch up and enjoy the company of friends. It reminded her of the hometown feel of Paradise they had lost.

She decided to start small, working with clients from home until she found out that all four of the girls from her salon in Paradise had found home in Red Bluff. She knew she wanted to team back together and on the way to dinner one night passed a building with a “For Lease” sign in the window. She stopped immediately to look, called and later was given the lease. She brought back all four girls and Colours of Paradise was open shortly after.

Jennifer still misses Paradise but she is loving her new home in Red Bluff and loves the vibe downtown. Life after the fire is starting to calm down and get back to normal somewhat but things still are hard. “We wanted to go to the lake for Mother’s Day and realized we had to replace everything before we could leave. Bathing suits, towels, water toys, everything is gone. We didn’t even think about having to eventually replace these types of things.”

Jennifer believes in the importance of community service which showed through projects and programs the salon participated with in Paradise. The family resource center, working with girls in groups homes, and helping with school supplies for underprivileged children were just a few of the efforts of Jennifer’s team landing them an award for their service from the Paradise City Council. She is eager to continue this dedication to service in the Red Bluff community once things settle down a bit from the store’s launch. She stated, “The Red Bluff community has already been so supportive of us, from residents coming into get services to neighboring businesses helping with odds and ends things day to day.”

Jennifer and Caitlin are both Cosmetologists, Candance and Megan specialize in hair services and Lisa is the Nail Technician. Stop into the shop at 744 Main Street and check out the renovations to the new beautiful salon in Downtown Red Bluff.

Follow them on Facebook and check out their array of services from manicures, pedicures, and hair to permanent make-up and tanning!

Meet Amanda Blankenship, a new Red Bluff resident and local real estate agent.

She lived in Paradise for seven years until the Camp Fire hit. Amanda actually grew up in Red Bluff and coming back was something she had pondered even prior to the fire. She knew she wanted to raise her children, ages 11 and 14, in a small town. “The kids have definitely have it worse right now. Paradise is all they knew, where they played football and where their friends were. They were uprooted, everything has changed for them.” Amanda felt that Red Bluff was the closest to feeling like home they would find so she decided to move her family here. “The feeling of your town being gone is a different kind of sadness, the town is just gone.”

Since Amanda still had ties to Red Bluff from growing up here, she has made efforts to help other Paradise residents who have moved to Red Bluff feel more at home and comfortable. She started Red Bluff Camp Fire Connections on Facebook in an attempt to connect the new Red Bluff residents to other locals and resources for support. Introductions to a new community can be hard for new residents and she hopes they will all be able to meet new people, get the resources they need and connect with other Paradise residents who have moved to Red Bluff.

As a real estate agent covering the Red Bluff area, Amanda takes pride in her ability to build relationships and says that trust from her clients is crucial in her business. “Purchasing a home is a huge decision in someone's life and I’m honored to be a part of it.”

Meet Kristen Van Natta, owner of The Coop Boutique.

The Coop is a community service, eco-friendly driven natural bath company. Kristen has been making bath and body products for ten years and started making all natural products because of her daughter’s skin allergies. In 2016, Kristen and her two daughters moved to Paradise from Florida to be closer to her now husband, who is from the area. Kristen continued crafting bath and body products in Paradise as a way for her and her daughters to give back to the community and provide an all-natural product for those who needed it. From craft shows to vending at special events, Kristen taught her girls life skills and the importance of giving back to the community through community service and donations. On June 25, 2018, Kristen was able to open her shop in Paradise. The family’s love of giving back to the community didn’t stop there. Kristen started Fright Night on the Ridge, a Halloween event to benefit non-profit organizations, hosted car washes for youth, often donated products and baskets for silent auctions and more.

When the Camp Fire struck everything was gone. Kristen was forced to move her family to a new area. They found property in Los Molinos where they could stay temporarily until they found a permanent home. Kristen considered permanently closing the business until one day while having lunch in downtown Red Bluff, she saw a building for lease across the street. She knew that was her answer, they already loved the Tehama County area and seeing the empty build solidified the choice to stay and look for property in Red Bluff. She acquired the building and began efforts to restart the business. The new Red Bluff store is larger than the previous one and the family was rushing to get products on the floor, fill space and add new elements. With all of their products whether it’s made by them or not the focus is made in USA and eco-friendly. The new store also has a commercial kitchen so they are able to make all products in house. While they have opened their doors the official Grand Re-Opening in the new Red Bluff store will be on June 25, 2019, on the one-year anniversary of opening in Paradise.

Her Build-A-Bath wall is new and becoming very popular. Customers can head over to the sugar scrub bar to test and pick a fragrance, then continue to the wall to grab a wooden box, pick three products, and add the finishing touches at the wrapping station. They have a spice cabinet where customers can buy ingredients to make their own products. If you don’t know how, don't worry! They plan to offer classes and host birthday parties, bridal showers and girls night out events. Customers will also soon see additions to the store such as a shower gel and body lotion refill station. Eventually, Kristen would love to open more locations, her daughters enjoy the business and would like her own store someday.

Kristen said she didn’t know anything about Red Bluff when she decided to move her business here, “I fell into a great situation with supportive neighboring businesses and a chance to be a part of a wonderful downtown collaboration.”

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