You would be hard-pressed to find a business more dedicated to honoring its name than Heavens, Oakhurst’s newest gift shop and art gallery.
The store located along Highway 41 in Oakhurst is filled with paintings and home decor influenced by planets and stars. Some of the work is direct in its references to celestial bodies, others are more abstract and subtle.
There’s even space reserved for some humor, as well, with one of the works parodying Vincent Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” by adding in a UFO.
The films and books in the store are also connected to space in some way. A separate darkroom houses lamps, some of which are shaped to look like planets.
Owner Amir Sade has done his best to make sure his store is consistent in its theme.
“Everything has a unity. Everything is planetary. Everything is sphere,” he said.
The 60-year-old owner places a lot of focus on the store’s atmosphere, wanting to communicate a sense of harmony and togetherness. The store opened on Sept. 15. He said the store’s ambiance is what keeps people around.
Even the store’s music plays into Sade’s ideal atmosphere, which varies between classical and ambient.
“The feel is harmonious, universal beauty, nothing ugly, or violent, or sexual. Everything blends into the beautiful and harmonious ambiance,” Sade said.
Sade has been captivated by the workings of outer space since he studied astronomy 20 years ago at Fresno City College and Fresno State. He remembers that time fondly and can’t help but laugh when he reminisces about asking one of his instructors about aliens.
“It was my passion to do astronomy and space. I studied a lot of books and stuff and everything came along little by little,” he said.
Heavens proved to be an effective outlet for Sade’s passion. The owner even designs some of the artwork in the store himself. So he hopes the Oakhurst location will be more sustainable than its previous two.
He opened a Heavens location in the Sierra Vista Mall in 2008, which closed in 2013. He then tried again in 2016, this time with a location in the Fashion Fair mall that was closed not long after so he could move the business to Oakhurst.
Sade, a Coarsegold resident for the past 24 years, is optimistic about the store’s future and said the community has been very supportive in the store’s first few weeks.
“People are really impressed. They are coming and they don’t expect anything like this in Oakhurst,” he said. “They are happy there is something like this in the mountains.”
Sade said this location will be his final attempt at keeping Heavens open and he will reassess the business in a year to see if the store has enough appeal to keep it open.