Women of First Street
As Pictured: Kris Ruffino, Tay & Grace; Elena Brewington, C’est La Paire; Susan Melendez, The Bennington Napa Valley; Mikayla Norwick, Copperfield’s; Allison Hallum, Eiko’s and Napa Noodles; Jo Van Meensel, Macbella; Chelsea Cortese, I-Elle; Adriana Vargas, Visit Napa Valley; Anne Nanej, State and First; Ramona Gulbransen, State & First; Lulu Hartunian, Napastäk; Alexis Macias, Honey Whiskey; Zoe Hankins, Mayacamas Downtown; Jennifer Nagano, Cupcake; Alyssa Piombo, Riza Plants; Becky Anderson, Miyamo; Haley Shackford, Habituate; Emma Jeffries, Kalifornia Jeans Bar; Madison Manasse, Kalifornia Jean Bar; Chandler Manasse, Milo & Friends; Amanda Luippold, State & First
By Craig Smith
Photos by Sarah Anne Risk
What do these super achievers have in common?
All are women, and all own or manage shops in First Street Napa.
One has been in real estate for 36 years, and leads a team that sells an average of 300 Napa homes a year. Four others pour excellent, award winning Napa wines, and another serves over 2,000 Japanese and Asian style meals a week. One can get you in the best shape of your life, even after all that wine and food. Ten can outfit Napa women and children for just about any occasion, including fully accessorizing with shoes, handbags and jewelry. Two have anything you need for a unique gift, and one has houseplants for every room in your home. Another has the best food your dog (or cat) will ever eat. And still another welcomes over 130,000 visitors a year to the Napa Valley.
What do these super achievers have in common? All are women, and all own or manage shops in First Street Napa.
If you haven’t been to First Street Napa lately, you may not know that the place is quickly filling up with new tenants, including ten new women-owned businesses opening in just the past couple of months. Some are veterans in their field, others are newcomers to retail, and all are passionate, savvy and ready to provide the very best in their area of expertise.
Let’s meet five of them.
Napa Native Piombo went to college in Oahu, and spent a lot of time studying in different coffee shops. She noticed that she always felt better after being in one particular shop: more clear headed, relaxed and refreshed. That became her favorite of the bunch, also because it was full of beautiful, tropical plants. One day, a light bulb went off, “I realized it had to be the plants that were having such a beneficial effect,” said Piombo. She immediately immersed herself in the study of house plants – their medicinal benefits, ability to relieve stress and their sheer beauty.
It all led to an epiphany: Piombo decided that plants would become her life and livelihood.
After graduation, instead of using her business-marketing degree in a way her family and friends might have expected, Piombo was interested in and applied for only one job – working at local Mid-City nursery. She loved being surrounded by plant nerds, and would trail the senior employees and owners all day, asking nonstop questions about botany and horticulture. After two years, Piombo was ready to open her own business.
Riza Plants (Riza is Greek for “roots”) officially opened October 16th. Piombo offers advice and care, re-potting services and a design program to make sure your plants match each room of your house and the lighting. At the top of the list – she’ll make sure you are comfortable with the care required for any plant you want to purchase.
Rizaplants.com. The shop is open Tuesday through Saturday.
Anderson has wanted to be in retail as long as she can remember. But after college graduation, she settled into the more practical world marketing. When her mom, who always had a flair for fashion, passed away at an early age, Anderson looked at her own life, and decided it was time to open that store. Never mind that she was eight and a half months pregnant with her first child. Her aunt, who owns a boutique in Long Beach, is her mentor, and promised advice and encouragement.
Miyamo is celebrating sixteen years in business this month, “The same age as my son Riley,” she offered, and she loves it. Her formula for success is simple, “Try and be unique and offer amazing customer service.” She satisfies the first part of that carrying lines like Free People, Joe’s Jeans and Z Supply. The second part she delivers with a very easy-to-navigate website, and the promise of free, same-day delivery for folks in Napa. “We believe in selling with a purpose and a smile.”
Miyamoboutique.com. The shop is open daily.
Napa’s “rhythm riding indoor cycle studio,” as owner Brittany Carducci describes her business, opened late last year. CYCLESOCIETY offers the best bikes available in the indoor cycling world and the workout environment evokes a positive emotional response from participants. “People leave here inspired,” said Carducci. They were off to a great start.
And then COVID hit, and gyms were shuttered.
In a weird way, that may have been good for CYCLESOCIETY. Carducci quickly reorganized her classes and took them outside. They are located in First Street Napa between Kohl’s and Compline, which offers privacy and plenty of room to spread out. “It’s safe outside. People are craving community, and we’ve become a beacon of normalcy,” said Carducci. “There’s room between bikes to drop masks once the classes start, and you can see people’s faces. We’ve gained a lot of clients from other closed gyms who like what we do.” Cooler weather isn’t a deterrent to a good workout. “If people where a sweatshirt, they usually loose it by the first song.” Morning classes at 6:15, 8:00 and 9:15 am. Evenings at 5:30 and 6:45 pm.
Cycle-society.com. Reserve a bike.
In her early twenties, Shackford sent herself a “goal” email, stating her intention to get into retail. Instead, she became a banker, handling business finance. While she respected the people she worked for, it was just a job.
A friend, long familiar with Shackford ‘s creative and fashionable side, asked her to stage four houses that she was building. Shackford agreed, and loved it. When her daughter was born, she knew it was time for a change, and opened an interior design business, “House a Home,” which she’s been running for seven years. Since starting, clients constantly ask her where they can get her products. Remembering that email from her twenties, Shackford know the time was right to open a store.
“Between being a wife, mother and business owner, I was only working twenty-seven hours a day, so why not?” she said with a laugh. Habituate is a “carefully curated brand of house wares and clothing that style your life,” Shackford said. “Need a gift, want to furnish a room or buy an outfit? That’s what Habituate is.” Shackford herself is very stylish, always looking comfortable and relaxed. It’s a look many women like and find at Habituate, whose customers are from eighteen to sixty.
Shophabituate.com. Open Wednesday through Sunday.
Kris Ruffino Tay & Grace
Ruffino opened Tay & Grace, named after her daughter and grandmother, in Yountville, seventeen years ago. She was very successful there, but lives in Napa, and said she, “Felt like getting back in the community where I grew up.” In August, Tay & Grace relocated to First Street Napa.
Her background is sales and marketing, and she spent years at hotels and wineries. One day she took a look at her boss. “I asked myself why I was making this man so much money for him? If I have the skills, why not use them for myself?”
Ruffino has created a relaxed and intimate shopping space, or one in which to just visit. “Lots of people stop in just to say hi,” she said. “We aren’t pretentious. We love clothes and people.” Clothes from Tay & Grace are “fun, relaxed, and wearable. They won’t just hang in your closet.”
Tayandgrace.com. Open daily.
Not sure if women rule? Visit First Street Napa, where twenty women are shaping the way business and pleasure is done. You won’t be disappointed.
The Bennington Napa Valley
Created to cultivate and showcase Napa talent, featuring wonderful Napa Valley companies that many locals don’t know about. These are all local companies- Rancho Gordo, Napa honey, Napa Nuts, Sweet blossoms soap, Atlas Peak olive oil, etc. Our mission is to add value to downtown for locals and tourists.
C’est La Paire Shoe Boutique
We can dress the foot of any woman for any occasion. From the everyday to the very special day, we have your shoe style need covered. “Your Journey Begins with the Perfect Pair” and you will find that pair at our boutique! We look forward to seeing soon.
Our staff has a genuine love and respect for female voices, sharing their words, stories, and ideas to inspire the future generations of tomorrow, with a commitment to creating community together. We are proud to be a member of the Napa community for more than 30 years and excited to invite everyone to our beautiful new downtown location. From author events to book clubs and book fairs, Copperfield’s is committed to literature, education, and community.”
Owned by the Zaslove family and managed by their daughter Allison Hallum, Eiko’s delivers Modern Japanese Cuisine to locals and visitors daily. With a beautiful patio, lively bar and intimate seating in their dining room Eiko’s is not just great Sushi. Allison and her family believe the restaurant should cater to the consumer with rock and roll on the radio, sports on the TV’s, and raw and cooked Japanese cuisine. “We think everyone can find something to love at Eiko’s.” says Hallum. Voted the Best Sushi in Napa it’s no wonder Eiko’s has been a favorite in downtown Napa for almost a decade!
Our customers can expect a truly unique shopping experience. We have an incredibly well educated staff on style, fit, fabric and color. Our customers get one-on-one attention from the moment they walk through the door. We believe in customer service and strive to make your shopping experience truly special by providing a beautiful environment to shop in.
Napastäk Napa Valley
Founder Lusine Hartunian loves being in the kitchen where she’s most creative and goes by the saying “In every recipe, the main ingredient is the chef”. Napastäk, a Napa Valley lifestyle brand is a gourmet boutique and a food lover’s paradise. The shop is complete with locally produced Napastäk line of food products such as flavored vinegars, olive oils, jams and much more. Napastäk also offers tastings of their very own produced Napa Valley wines and their own coffee and tea line.
One of the unique and coolest offerings in the Napa Valley. A boutique for women’s fashion, beauty, lifestyle, and home decor in effortless style and quality. Today’s women are yearning for something original and unique. They want higher quality, style, something new and different. Macbella gives that to them by curating the top quality products at affordable prices, bringing something exclusive and authentic to Napa Valley that everyone can access. To spice up your shopping, Macbella offers a unique Complimentary Napa Valley Experience for every lady who wants to discover more.
The Napa Valley Welcome Center
We are an expert resource for anyone planning to explore or vacation in the Napa Valley. The center is staffed by a passionate team of ambassador concierges who are prepared to share insider tips on everything from best happy hours to hidden hiking spots throughout the Napa Valley, as well as assistance with custom itineraries. Complimentary maps, guides, brochures and special offers, such as two-for-one tasting coupons, are available, along with The Mercantile, a retail area featuring Napa Valley branded and locally made products.
State & First
Exquisitely curated for the Napa Valley lifestyle. Showcasing women’s & men’s fashion, we also carry unique home accessories. From international brands to local designers, we offer a wide range of beautifully selected merchandise for all ages. We enjoy creating an inviting and attentive experience for our clients. Stop in, we’d love to meet you!
Honey Whiskey Boutique
This stylish and diverse boutique has a variety of options for each woman’s unique fit. Honey Whiskey offers everything from dreamy bohemian clothing to edgy showstopper one of a kind pieces! We offer sizes from petite to a specific collection for plus-sized women. Young small-business owner, Alexis Macias, is committed to offering her customers stunning items and unmatched service both online and in-store. “We strive to ensure all customers feel welcomed and comfortable in this ideal location in the beautiful Napa Valley. “