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New focus for Gathered shop in Healdsburg

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Cindy Holman announced she is now the proprietor of Gathered in Healdsburg. The store opened in May 2013 with three partners, Holman, Kristy Borg and Jessica Maas. While Borg left the business within the first year, Holman and Maas began the separation process in September. Holman re-opened the business as a sole proprietorship on Jan. 1.

The women launched the store with an eclectic mix of painted furniture, housewares, vintage clothing and gift items but found the housewares were not a top seller.

In response to her customer base, Holman decided to allocate more space in the 500-square-foot store just off the Healdsburg Plaza to fashion and eliminated housewares.

According to Holman, she sees a strong number of locals in the store, including mother-daughter duos shopping together, so she keeps a number of affordable items for them. Gathered also serves tourist traffic with items that fit in a car trunk or suitcase.

“We give people an approachable place to shop,” said Holman, 48. “We’re trendy in the fashion world.”

The average price for fashion clothing at Gathered, which offers bohemian 1970s chic, is $65. In that same flavor, the store carries macramé vests and handmade items.

Scarves start at $28, candles at $22 and bracelets start at $35. Holman sources much of her jewelry from local designers, including Kathy Timberlake.

Textiles include throws, Turkish pillows made from up-cycled rugs, woven pieces from Peru, as well as vintage beaded clutches and bags.

In addition, the store carries a small selection of perfumes and lotions.

Michelle Schultz works at the store two days a week and helps with local promotions, as well as merchandising. Eve Sutliff is Holman’s second employee. Both have small children and work part-time, with options to work more hours.

Holman is clear that she’s paying a living wage to her employees and says it’s important to provide good paying jobs.

“I try to help customers select what works for them,” Holman said. “I’ll try to steer them from poor choices.” She goes on to say that satisfied customers make return visits and tell their friends. On weekdays, about 20 shoppers come through the store, though on weekends the foot traffic exceeds 100.

Holman says that with a $5,000 initial investment in 2013, gross expenditures grew to $115,000 in 2015.

The store sits in a nook, set back from the Healdsburg Avenue street front, so Holman spends time drawing foot traffic through the clever use of a cart and valise showing a sign leading to the store, saying, “The road less traveled,” near the avenue.

Gathered is located at 377 Healdsburg Ave. The store is open Wednesday-Monday 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m. and closed Tuesdays. 395-4622.

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