Candace Gonsalves and her husband, Matt, started Rustic Metal Designs back in 2010, because they wanted to create unique custom metal pieces for family and friends and it grew into a full-time family business. Gonsalves is also part owner of Farm House in downtown Turlock. She and Matt were married on Cinco de Mayo five years ago and they have two beautiful kids, Mattie (4) and Gavin (2).
Q. What inspired you to open a business in downtown Turlock?
A. I have dreamed of having my own storefront forever. After high school, I really wanted to open a flower shop called Patti's Petals in memory of my mother who was an avid gardener. She always delivered the most beautiful bouquets from her garden to brighten her friends’ days. I worked for Le Fleur while it was downtown and while I loved Dana and enjoyed the work I realized that the flower industry wasn't for me, but I always knew customer service was where my passion was. When my husband and I started Rustic Metal Designs it became a new goal of mine to have a gift shop. His mom, Sandi Gonsalves, had a gift shop called Ludlow that was downtown several years ago so luckily, he understood the hard work and dedication it was going to take to make it a reality.
Q. Farm House is known for its unique, rustic pieces — what drew you to this style?
A. I actually grew up on a dairy and my parents loved collecting antiques, but I never appreciated it while I was younger. It was my partner Kim's idea to call the store Farm House. We wanted to create something new and different to downtown and at the same time we wanted to celebrate and pay tribute to our community’s heritage. My personal style incorporates the rustic look, but with a modern touch. I'm really loving the galvanized with gold or copper accents right now. My partners Kim and Caley each have a different take on rustic style, which helps make Farm House so diverse and unique.
Q. What is your favorite part about running a downtown shop?
A. My favorite part is getting to know our community who has become extended family to me. There is nothing more exciting to me then when someone comes in looking for a special gift and we are able to provide that for them. It's very important to us to have something for everyone at any budget. I especially love when someone has received something handmade by Matt and couldn't be happier by it. I know the amount of love and thought that goes into each and every one of his designs, so it's extremely special to know when his handcrafted pieces have found a happy home.
Q. What is the Downtown Turlock Merchant Alliance, and how has it contributed to the success of downtown Turlock?
A. The Downtown Turlock Merchant Alliance is a group that I helped formed alongside Hillary Smith of LaMo and Leroy Walker of Bistro 234. We invite all downtown business owners to come together, introduce themselves and their business, offer help when needed and hopefully uplift and inspire always. It has helped downtown succeed because I'm a true believer that we are stronger together. The DTMA provides a united voice for those businesses who wish to participate.
Q. What is your favorite thing to do in Turlock for fun?
A. By far it is going to RAM Farms pumpkin patch and ice skating rink during the holidays! We had my son’s first birthday party there and ever since it's the only thing my kids want to do. They love Farmer Ron and Farmer Karen and the whole family has so much fun there.
Q. What is the last book or TV show that captivated you?
A. “Scandal.” I came in late to the game just finding the show this past year but I caught up quick! Embarrassingly, I think I didn't sleep at least a night or two because I was so stuck on what would happen next.
Q. What is one thing people would be surprised to learn about you?
A. I moved to Modesto right out of high school. Getting a waitressing job at Bistro 234 is what moved me back to Turlock. I loved working for Leroy and Jennifer and did so up until I got married in 2012. Since moving back I have been a part of the downtown community as either an employee, vendor or shop owner.