High Profile: Jude Lanfranco
Jude Lanfranco came in with a big bang on New Year’s Day, 1954, to her parents, Dolores and Harold Landon. This Capricorn baby knew exactly what she wanted to get out of life from early on, making goals she has worked tirelessly to attain. If you know Jude Lanfranco, owner/designer of Jude’s Fantasy Land in Northwest Fresno, you know there is definitely something special about her. She is fun, believes in big ideas and is extremely creative.
Jude met her future husband, Eddie Lanfranco, when her brother invited her to make her famous potato salad and go hang gliding with him and a friend (Eddie), and the rest is history. Jude and Eddie Lanfranco married in 1975 and together raised three children. For many years, Jude was a busy mom, raising her children, cooking, going to soccer, football and baseball games, master gardening and all the while, enjoying the holidays with her family and friends. Today, their son, Brad, is a politically-active professional who owns “It’s a Grind,” a coffee shop in Castaic, California, their daughter, Angelia, is a pediatric nurse/photographer and their son, Anthony, is a pulmonologist.
Since childhood, Jude has had a love for Christmas and the warm feelings this time of year brings. As an adult, she discovered a passion for design and décor, which is evident in every space she inhabits.
When it comes to the holidays, Jude makes sure that you can feel the warmth of fall and the spirit of Christmas in every room in the house. While living in their custom home in Shaver Lake, Jude was often referred to as “Mrs. Claus,” and for good reason. From decorating the town to hosting formal gatherings and casual get-togethers, Jude always paid special attention to every detail: wreaths on every door, beautiful place settings and coordinating serving pieces, fingertip towels, gifts wrapped in gorgeous paper and exquisite bows, and the aroma of smelling soaps in the powder rooms.
Jude brought her talents and passions with her when she and Eddie moved back to Fresno to care for her mother. She opened Jude’s Fantasy Land in August of 2012 at West and Bullard Avenue in Fresno’s Pavilion West Shopping Center, where her trademark attention to detail and ability to create warm, welcoming spaces make this store so unique.
Her inspiration? She loves bringing joy into others’ lives and smiles to their faces. She also says she admires the late Walt Disney, who inspired her philosophy that, “if you can dream it, you can do it.” It was after years of dreaming and some major encouragement from Eddie and her dearest friend for over 30 years, Maggie Kanawyer, that Jude opened the store. “Stop talking and start doing,” they both said, and that’s exactly what she did.
Jude hasn’t stopped dreaming, either. What started out as Fantasy Land has grown into a fine gift, home décor and design store for all seasons and all occasions. The store has recently expanded, adding 2,000 square feet into the neighboring space, which will create even more room for a growing custom floral design center, a bridal department, unique home décor, decorating and design assistance, event planning and one-of-a-kind fine gifts.
When you enter Jude’s Fantasy Land, you walk into another world where you will always be greeted with a warm welcome and a smiling face. Jude and her staff will help you with whatever your needs are. Whether it’s selecting that perfect something for a special occasion, choosing a unique gift or even finding something to splurge on for yourself, she will have it for you! Stay awhile, have a cup of coffee, visit, indulge in a fresh-baked cookie and take it all in.
Currently Jude’s biggest supporter, Eddie, works at B&L Mechanical, a design, building and mechanical business. Both Jude and Eddie have been very involved in the community through organizations such as Hinds Hospice, St. Agnes Medical Center, Fresno Rescue Mission and
Terry’s House at Community Regional Medical Center, just to name a few.
When Jude isn’t creating magic at the store, you can find her working out five days a week at Synergy or traveling somewhere along the coast or to Mexico with Eddie, indulging in delectable foods and divine desserts. After all, life is not just about moderation and balance, but also about giving people the “wow factor” she is so well-known for.
Features Editor Ann T. Sullivan Whitehurst
Photographer Angelia Jansen