Growing Love: Guillermo Venegas de Leon of Starfire Direct

Guillermo Venegas de Leon has been blessed with a green thumb. For most of his life—as a young boy in his native Mexico, now as a father of two young boys in Southern California—Guillermo has had the “touch” to make things grow. From vividly colored Camelia roses and mouthwatering fruits to a successful career and beautiful family, Guillermo has nurtured a life full of abundance.

In his role as the Warehouse Manager for Starfire Direct, he approaches his work with pride and tenacity. With a bustling warehouse—full of hefty fire pits and fireplace burners and logs—the safety of his team is always at the forefront of his mind. Like the conductor of a harmonious orchestra, Guillermo manages to keep the many moving parts working together to get Starfire’s products shipped out quickly. In the four years Guillermo has been with the company, he has developed many wonderful and lasting friendships with his team—as they have stuck together through thick and thin. “I am proud to belong to an organization that feels like family,” Guillermo continues, “I love the fact that we have never given up during tough times, which has led us to the success we have now. Where there is a will, there is a way!”

Born in Mexico, Guillermo transferred to an American high school as a teenager—where he learned English as a second language to his native Spanish. In the late 1990’s, Guillermo met his lovely wife, Alicia, and they were married in December of 2000. Now, at his beautiful home in the Temecula Valley, Guillermo’s takes on his most important role—that of father to his two sons, 17-year-old Carlos and 14-year-old Emi.

From left to right: Guillermo and sons Carlos and Emi enjoying an evening in their lush backyard, Guillermo on a hike while visiting Lorento, Mexico, and Guillermo's gas fire pit burning on a beautiful pre-sunset evening.

Guillermo sets the scene for his perfect Saturday: The smell of a perfectly smoked rack of ribs wafts up from the grill. Icy cold beer in hand, Guillermo tends to the meat as he watches his sons play soccer together in their lush backyard. Perfectly lit by the setting sun and strategically placed ambient lighting, a fire blazes in the fire pit—adding a warm glow to the scene. Taking it all in, surrounded by the beautiful sights and smells of his garden, Guillermo contemplates the key to it all: patience. He knows that patience is required to produce the juiciest, most flavorful rack of ribs—cooked to the perfect temperature. It takes patience to grow a garden as picturesque and abundant as his. It also takes patience to raise a family.

As Guillermo and Alicia celebrated their 20th wedding anniversary last December, Guillermo looks back on their time spent together and the beautiful family they have cultivated. The key to their success? Priorities. “We never give up on each other. We value aptitudes and virtues, and also learn to accept flaws,” Guillermo muses.

While Guillermo’s love for gardening started as a young kid in Mexico—growing simple things such as corn and green beans—his passion for horticulture has grown over the years. From his favorite flower, uniquely colored Camelia roses, to garlic and all kinds of chili peppers, Guillermo uses his garden as an artist uses a blank canvas. He grows juicy peaches, nectarines, and apricots, crisp Fuji and Granny Smith apples, decadent figs, navel oranges, and mandarins, lemons, limes, pomegranates, table grapes, and even edible cactus. But with this cornucopia of flora, Guillermo next has his sights set on fauna. “My next project,” he divulges, “is to add a few chickens to my yard. I would love to have fresh eggs every day.”

As Guillermo’s life blooms around him, he works hard every day so he can take the time to sit back and watch it grow. For every gardener knows the healing power of a quiet moment in your garden with your hands in the dirt—sowing and reaping the fruits of your labor.

Main Image: Guillermo and sons Carlos and Emi during a trip to Mammoth, California.


Katrina McBreen