Shelley Anderson likes to talk, and there's nothing she likes to talk about more than the "magical shop" she and her mother, Linda Chartier Woodward, opened 18 years ago this week in Healdsburg.
"We had a grand dream of being a department store in Healdsburg," she said when I dropped by Midnight Sun Bed and Bath Shop last week. The store, now located in one of the older structures on the historic 300 block of Healdsburg Ave. - the 1896 date is proudly appliquéd onto the building's façade - does have diversity, but its family-oriented inventory is more personal than a Sears, Macy's or J.C. Penny's.
In the window are lady's lacy teddies - it is close to Valentine's Day - mixed with children's pajamas and undershirts. Soaps, creams and bubble bath, chocolates, and lots of shoes are on display. Cute kitchen signs, high-count cotton bed linen, bath robes, and much more for a comfortable home fill the length of the store's long footprint - the antique shop that was here for so many years has been split into two, with the Bergamot Alley wine bar now using the south side.
Shelley Anderson was still at Healdsburg High School when she and her mother began thinking about the store, 18 years ago. "I was a Healdsburg cheerleader - still am!" she says. One of her fondest memories is being swept away by her husband Brad Anderson, who came into the shop while she was working with a dozen roses, a proposal and a waiting limo.
They now have two children, 14-year-old Troy at Healdsburg High, and Laura, 11, at Healdsburg Jr. High.
Although Midnight Sun started across the street, at 355 Healdsburg Ave., for a while they had a second store on Plaza St, Midnight Sun's Children's Shoppe. That closed down a couple years ago, but Midnight Sun still has a wide assortment of clothes and gifts for kids. Like the colorful rubberized hopscotch puzzle on the floor, or the pacifiers with ever-so-cute sayings on them, "Mute Button" being just one of them.
"We have learned to change with the times, and we're still here!" says Anderson. Still here they are, and this weekend - Saturday, Feb. 16, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. - they celebrate their 18th anniversary in town with their own birthday party - cake, drinks, free gifts and an 18% discount on everything in the store.
"We're one of the oldest shops in town now," said Anderson, "now that Noble Designs is closing. I think Papitre has been open for 20 years.
"When people shop with us, they know they're supporting a family. And we support the town because they support us."
There are lots of family stories and memories associated with Midnight Sun over the past 18 years. Just ask Shelley Anderson - or add your own to the comments, along with your birthday wishes for Midnight Sun.