Some retail outlets are so unusual and successful they become tourist attractions. Wall Drug in South Dakota comes immediately to mind. But one is much closer to us: Pottery Express and Bamboo Farm in Punta Gorda, Florida. As the name says, they sell pottery and bamboo, but you have to see it to believe it.
It is actually about ten and a half miles south of downtown Punta Gorda because it started out as a farm. On a recent visit to find an herb container for our lanai, I met Gustavo who hails from El Salvador. He told me he and his business partner Debbie started the bamboo farm on seven acres of scrub land shortly after Hurricane Charlie passed through the area in 2004. They soon expanded into “all things landscaping,” and now Charlotte County promotes the business as a “destination” to visit.
Five of the seven acres are open to the public. They have over sixty thousand pieces of pottery on display and twenty-seven varieties of bamboo.
The pottery comes primarily from Columbia, Mexico, Spain and Vietnam. They also sell furniture from Indonesia.
One picks up landscaping ideas just walking around the property. There are several small gardens, one with a large water feature. There are large warehouses with pottery for both indoor and outdoor use. Stacks and stacks of pottery, statuary and fountains are found throughout the five acres
I recall fighting to keep bamboo taking over our lawn and our neighbor’s when we lived in Washington. Pottery Express says their bamboos are “non-invasive varieties of tropical clumping bamboo.”
Alie enjoys pottery. We own small pots collected around the world, so it is hard to keep her away from their fine art pieces. However, for now she settled for a few inexpensive Mexican Talavera items, vibrant ornamental pieces made in the tradition of sixteenth century Spain.
The farm is an interesting place just to visit. But if you do wish to buy, the staff are extremely helpful, and signs explain the best uses of their products. They even have golf carts to take you around and to bring heavy items back to your car.
Click on photos to enlarge.
For directions and more information, visit potteryexpress.com.