I can picture the red-haired Lorna Bridsall in another age, holding court in a Celtic cottage where dried herbs hang thickly from the rafters and more than one cauldron steams fragrantly over the peat fire. There, Lorna’s calm presence would have a placebo effect, getting clients to start healing even before she gave them their herbs. For a shopkeeper of the 21st century, Lorna comes pretty close to that archetype at her corner store, Golden Carrot Natural Foods. When I drop in to pick up something organic or hard-to-find, she’s usually listening patiently to someone about an ache, pain or dietary challenge; she responds not as a salesperson but as an empathetic and knowledgeable healer who’s been through it all herself and genuinely loves to help people. Small wonder her few employees do not turn over. It’s like a family. The other day her employees threw Lorna a private birthday party in the back of the store; when I came in they showed me what they’d created for her—an intricately adorned scene, replete from ceiling to table with nesting birds and bits of forest treasures. Pretty Celtic-looking, I thought, and pretty loving. You can’t buy this at Whole Foods. 1621 W. Imola Ave., Napa, 707.224.3117.—Juliane Poirier
The 25 Days Project is an online series through the month of December spotlighting some of our favorite local businesses. Read more about the project here, and about our commitment to shopping locally here.