It’s Only Natural

Photography by Create + Gather

A fetching shop in Sacramento celebrates the outdoors with plants, art and more.

WHEN AUSTIN McMANUS AND MEL ELIGON moved to Sacramento after stints in New York City and Los Angeles, the couple sought to establish a business that merged their creative talents (he had curated art shows and worked as photography director at the art and culture magazine Juxtapoz; she had experience as a fashion stylist) with their passion for environmentalism and the great outdoors. Their answer: Public Land, a spiffy specialty plant and home goods store in Sacramento’s Curtis Park neighborhood.


“What we sell here is really a culmination of a lot of traveling and a lot of exposure to different cultures and landscapes,” says McManus. “We’ve zigzagged across this country multiple times in our car and spent a lot of time in national parks, national monuments and BLM lands. That’s kind of where the name of the store came from.”

Mel Eligon and Austin McManus

The plants at Public Land are primarily cacti—some commonplace, some rare, all of them expertly potted and ready to take home. McManus, who inherited his green thumb from his orchid-growing mother, says the decision to sell cactus was easy. “We’ve spent a lot of time in forests and along the coast, but I’ve always had a natural attraction to the desert.” The couple takes road trips to procure obscure cactus specimens from private collectors.


Beyond plants, Public Land sells woven rugs, pillows, baskets, natural soaps, ceramic mugs, bowls, vases and plant-related books and greeting cards. “Everything we carry we’ve seen at certain places over time,” says McManus, who also curates monthly exhibits in the back-room gallery, often featuring artists from the Bay Area or Los Angeles. “The whole idea was to have a store that celebrates the natural world and promote environmentalism through different mediums to get people excited about nature.”

2598 21st St.

Public Land

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