The long-shuttered mercantile in the center of downtown Guerneville is coming back to life after a complete renovation that transformed its once crammed yet sizable floor space into four shops meant to draw both local residents and tourists.
Two new shops — a natural body care and gift boutique, and a nature store run by Stewards of the Coast and Redwoods — opened Friday in the still-faded building off the central plaza, where exterior painting is scheduled to get underway next week.
Still in the works are a wine tasting room for Equality Vines, launched last year as a brand celebrating achievements in social justice, and a packing-shipping store new building owner Keri Yuh and her fiancé plan to run themselves, filling a retail gap in the town of about 4,500.
The newly dubbed Plaza Building is the most recent addition to a changing business district that now combines mid-century standards with hipster eateries, serious art with kitschy trinkets, neighborhood bars and a whimsy-filled 5-and-10 cent store. Rainbow flags, a symbol of the gay pride movement, flutter before a backdrop of forest-covered hills.
For Yuh, 50, the mercantile building represents both an enterprise and a new start after three decades of urban, corporate life that she and her partner, Paul Bydalek, shed when they moved to Sonoma County from Sausalito two years ago in search of a more easy-going community.
“We’re here because we chose it,” said Bydalek, Yuh’s fiancé. “We’re here because we think it’s a special place. It’s a life…
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