Daily CSR
Daily CSR

Daily CSR
Daily news about corporate social responsibility, ethics and sustainability

Maravilla Gardens: Navigating Family Business Dynamics, U.S. Bank Partnership, and Covid-19 Impact


Maravilla Gardens: Navigating Family Business Dynamics, U.S. Bank Partnership, and Covid-19 Impact
For over a decade, Jen Loller and her mother, Jo Maravilla, have successfully managed an outdoor wedding venue business together while navigating the intricacies of a multi-generational family dynamic.
Describing the experience of working with her mother, Loller emphasizes the intertwining of their business and personal lives. They don't just share a workplace; they share a familial bond, offering each other emotional support. Loller's two sons grew up alongside her as she helped oversee Maravilla Gardens in Camarillo, California, painting a picture of a cohesive unit where both business and personal matters are seamlessly blended.
The origins of Maravilla Gardens trace back to Loller's earliest memories. At the age of four, her parents, Jo and Tony Maravilla, transformed a lemon orchard in Ventura County into a thriving nursery and landscaping contracting business, all while building their family home on the same property.
Facing financial challenges during the early 2000s recession, Loller's parents sought to diversify their operations by incorporating a wedding venue into the picturesque surroundings. Tony Maravilla, with his expertise in landscaping, meticulously designed the venue grounds, while Jo Maravilla, drawing from her extensive gardening experience, contributed significantly to the project. Alongside managing the nursery, Jo also handled administrative tasks for all three businesses.
While residing in Sacramento and raising her young family, Loller remained closely connected with her parents. Leveraging her background in studio art, she played a pivotal role in enhancing the business, particularly by developing a website that showcased the venue's scenic beauty, leading to a surge in ceremonies hosted annually. Eventually, the decision was made to focus exclusively on weddings at the six-acre property. In 2010, Loller and her family relocated to Camarillo to jointly manage the business with her mother, where they now reside in the family home overlooking the reception area.

“When people visit, they always comment on how the site has such an amazing flow – from the cocktail and reception areas the views overlook agricultural land that can’t be developed” because the base of the valley is a flood plain, she said.

Maravilla Gardens first partnered with U.S. Bank 15 years ago through its predecessor, Union Bank. Over time, the garden venue has relied on the bank for financing, including securing a Small Business Administration loan, as noted by Priscilla Valles, a small business specialist at U.S. Bank.
Valles expressed her gratitude for the trust placed in her as an advisor dedicated to supporting Maravilla Gardens' family legacy business for the long term.
Jen Loller, who co-manages Maravilla Gardens with her mother, Jo Maravilla, reflects on the unique experience of running a business with one's own parent. She highlights the deep intertwining of their business and personal lives, emphasizing their familial connection and mutual emotional support.
Camarillo's picturesque setting, characterized by year-round sunshine and mountain vistas, has transformed it into a sought-after destination for outdoor weddings in recent years. Despite being competitors on paper, the eight permitted venues in the area have united to promote the region collectively. This camaraderie proved invaluable during the challenging months of event cancellations due to Covid-19, offering both practical assistance and emotional solidarity.
For Maravilla Gardens, the pandemic-induced shutdown posed a significant challenge, particularly due to the constant upkeep required for its lavish landscaping. Despite being unable to host events, the gardens demanded ongoing maintenance.
The abrupt onset of the pandemic disrupted plans for the 2020 wedding season, with 58 weddings scheduled to take place within weeks. Loller recounts the influx of anxious couples, grappling with the loss of control over their wedding plans and seeking support during a tumultuous time. As she assisted couples in rescheduling their weddings, Loller found herself stepping into the role of a de facto wedding therapist, offering empathy and guidance through the process.
As the wedding industry gradually adapts to a new normal, Jo Maravilla and her daughter are looking ahead. Despite celebrating her 83rd birthday in April, Jo remains actively involved in the business while also contemplating her eventual retirement.
“This property was previously owned by a member of the Camarillo family. It is now our family legacy, and the business is a big part of what my parents have built to pass on,” said Loller.

“Running a business that makes amazingly beautiful celebrations possible for so many couples is an honor. Over the years couples have returned for anniversary, family, and maternity photo shoots. It is a wonderful purpose to create a setting where beautiful moments happen on very important days. It doesn’t get much better than that.”