Sebastopol businesses owners say local support is everything

Storia Home owner shares inclusive mission for business, products|

Keeping their heads above water through recent storms and the ongoing pandemic, Sebastopol businesses are surviving and thriving, due to steady support from locals. Some of the entrepreneurs launched their shops and eateries right in the thick of it, including Blue Ridge Kitchen in 2020, Bubbles Boba & Gifts in 2022, and Psychic Pie 2022, all near downtown.

“We are thrilled to be headed to our one year anniversary. Since opening our little boba shop, we have had a tremendous outpouring of love and support from our local customers,” said Michelle Feileacan, co-founder of Bubbles Boba & Gifts. “Since the beginning, we have donated to Sebastopol’s nonprofits and schools, all on behalf of Sebastopol and lifting each other up.”

Across the street from Bubbles Boba & Gifts on Gravenstein Highway, the owner of Storia Home, Gina Gutierrez, said, “opening in late 2021 was a risk, but my design business was outgrowing my home, and I always wanted to expand into a retail store, so I made the jump.”

Based on her experience as an interior designer who specializes in fine, artisan-created furnishings and gifts, Gutierrez tells a story with the goods that she sells. She said 70% of the business’ inventory is from women-owned companies, BIPOC and the LGBTQ+ businesses.

“As a Latina, it’s important to me to discover for my customers the most wonderful things that artists and makers design and hand-make, using natural or recycled materials,” she said. “Also, as part of our mission for Storia (Home), our employees and our vendors are of all genders, races, sexual orientations, national origins, faiths, ages and abilities.”

Among Storia Home’s popular items this winter are the soft throws from Ecuador, along with locally-produced and subtly-scented candles, plus wrought iron candle sconces, all set the scene for cold-weather comfort. The business also sells kitchen tools and culinary gifts like acacia wood charcuterie boards and hand-thrown tableware by Julia Lempe, a ceramicist from Occidental. There are speckled earth-toned tea cups and mugs, stoneware serving pieces and ramen bowls for sale from Sara Kersten Studio in Oakland.

Nearly every one-of-kind table and chair in the shop is available to purchase. Currently, a low-slung mango wood armchair and an ash wood sideboard display hand-loomed throws and pillows ready for customers to take home.

There are vegan, cruelty-free bath and body products in the shop that made from Nopal cactus by the Latina-owned company, Nopelara.

There’s also a line of organic teas made with healing herbs comes from Aesthete Tea at the shop. Aesthete Tea a woman-owned and QBIPOC (queer, Black, Indigenous and people of color) brand based in Oregon.

Storia Home’s founder also runs Gina Rachelle Design, where Gutierrez integrates her signature style focusing on sustainable and low-waste materials into finishing homes for clients throughout Northern California.

Storia Home: The home goods store is full of a curate collection of decor, art, textiles, books and furniture. Location: 961 Gravenstein Hwy S., suite 130. More information: 415-501-0024, Hours: 11:30 a.m.- 6 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday.

Other Sebastopol businesses to support

Through rainstorms, economic downturn and the global pandemic, Sebastopol’s resilient shopkeepers, artists and restaurateurs are still standing strong. Here is just a sampling of businesses to explore.

Blue Ridge Kitchen: Located in the Barlow, Blue Ridge Kitchen is a farmhouse style wood grill and cocktail bar with menu items designed for family style sharing. Location: 6770 McKinley St., Suite 150, Sebastopol. Mor information: 707-222-5040, Hours: 11:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday-Saturday.

Bubbles Boba & Gifts: Here, customers will find a wide selection of boba milk teas, fruit teas, along with blended drinks, hot teas and mochi donuts. Also for sale in the shop are items from local makers and artists, unique imports and small makers. They offer have cards, gift bags and gift certificates. Location: 954 Gravenstein Hwy S. More information: 707-861-9414, Hours: 11 a.m.-6 p.m. daily.

Buddlies! Fun Clothing for Her: The local store sells clothes, jewelry and accessories. Location: 415 S. Main St. More information: 707-823-1353. Hours: 11 a.m.-6p.m. Thursday-Saturday.

Crooked Goat Brewing: The small craft brewery focuses on freshness and variety. They offer a handful of core beers with plenty on taps that are constantly changing. The brewery has a second loction in Petaluma. Location: 120 Morris St., suite 120. More information: 707-827-3893, Hours: 11:30a a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday-Wednesday, 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Thursday, 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Dickenson Glass Studio: Dickinson Glass is a handcrafted glass line by local glass artist and designer, Michael Dickinson. With each glass made by hand from his studio and showroom where he uses traditional venetian techniques.. Location: 6770 McKinley St., Suite 120, More information: 707-690-4136, Hours: noon-5 p.m. Thursday-Sunday.

Gravenstein Grill: Chef Bob Simontacchi's crafts dishes that use local produce, meat and seafood through partnerships with with local farms and ranches. The menu also includes local wines, cocktails and micro-brews. The restaurant has a large patio, spacious bar and offers brunch. Location: 8050 Bodega Ave. More information: 707-634-6142, Hours: 11:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday.

Martha's Old Mexico Restaurant: The eatery specializes in carnitas and tamales served in a homey, sit-down dining room. Location: 305 N Main St. More information: 707- 823-4458, Hours: 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. and 5-9 p.m. Wednesday-Monday

Psychic Pie: The small, family owned business brings pizza, cooking, sustainable practices and community to customers. They use non-traditional toppings and pizza flavor that represents, the seasons, the Californian vibe and intention. Location: 980 Gravenstein Hwy S. More information: 707-827-6032, Hours: 11:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Thursday-Sunday.

Retrospect: The vintage mid-century furniture and design shop sells items from the 1950's through the 1960's. They also sell art. Location: 104 Petaluma Ave. More information: 707-291-7058, Hours: 11 a.m.- 5 p.m. Wednesday-Monday.

Thai Pot Thai Cuisine: This award-winning restaurant serves authentic and savory Thai dishes that are 100% free of MSG. They also have a location in Santa Rosa. Location: 6961 Sebastopol Ave. More information: 707-829-8889, Hours: 9-12 a.m. daily.

Sebastopol Bike Center: Located on the popular Joe Rodota/ West County riding and biking trails, the spot rents and sells cruisers, hybrids and specializes in high performance bike rentals. They also sell gear, snacks, offer repairs and service. Riders can fill water bottles and pump up tires here, too. Location: 6731 Sebastopol Ave. More information: 707-829-2688, Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily.

Sonoma Chocolatiers: The chocolate and tea shop has been a Fine Chocolate Industry Association Member since 2008. They offer reservation-only special chocolate tasting for $20 a person. The chocolate selection includes Zinfandel Peanut Brittle, Toffee Rapture, Almond Clusters and Organic Sonoma Bars. Special collections sets range from $16.25-$69.95. Location: 6988 McKinley St. More information: 707-829-1181, Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily.

Taylor Lane Organic Coffee: The roaster’s website says every small coffee batch is roasted in their locally made and energy efficient roaster that helps reduces the business’s carbon footprint. Their offerings range from light and fruity to dark and bold roasts. They also have a subscription service and a blog on all things coffee. Taylor Lane Organic Coffee is located in the Barlow for take-out only. Location: 6790 McKinley St. no. 170. More information: 707-634-7129, Hours: 7 a.m.-6 p.m. daily.

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