Autumn is upon us and with the month of October, which is National Women’s Small Business Month, comes the opportunity to celebrate some of the many women entrepreneurs whose businesses contribute to the economy of Mendocino County. In our last newsletter, we asked you to nominate women-owned businesses you admire and the results are in! 

From inland to the coast and points in between, our readers are truly enthusiastic about women-owned businesses of all types. We’ll start our small business journey in the town of Covelo, nestled in beautiful Round Valley, which is home to Inspiration Ink, a print retail apparel service and custom apparel supplier run by entrepreneur Jessi Alvarado. 

 Just down Highway 101, Willits is known for being a hub of creativity and caring for community and that’s evident at First Steps Daycare owned and operated by Lauren Morris, who’s helped many families raise, teach, and shape their children. Lisa Davis, owner of Scoops, understands that serving great food with a smile will win customers and loyalty. Stop in for a sandwich and seal the deal with a scoop of delicious frozen yogourt. You never know what you’ll find in the hills that surround Little Lake Valley and one surprise is Atrain Education Inc., offering online accredited continuing education programs for nursing, case management, and physical therapy run by Navy veteran Sharon Sanders, RN and Lauren Robertson, PT. The “Heart of Mendocino County†is home to the bi-monthly magazine Word of Mouth. Publisher Holly Madrigal and designer Torrey Douglas seek out and cultivate the hidden stories behind our county’s abundance of food and agriculture. 

The small community of Redwood Valley is home to vineyards and wineries galore, two of which were nominated for recognition! A familiar sight along Highway 101 is Barra of Mendocino with its distinctive upside-down champagne glass-styled tasting room. Founded by legend Charlie Barra, the winery is a family operation now headed up by Martha Barra. On the east side of Redwood Valley is Mia Bea Wines, another family operation run by Chris Barra White, Lori Barra, and Cyndi Barra Woskow of Barra Family Vineyards (no relation!).

S.P.A.C.E. is the place for kids and teens in Ukiah. Founded and run by Laurel Near and Paulette Arnold, this performing arts school and theater has been teaching the county’s young people about diversity, tolerance, music, and theater for more than 30 years! Downtown Ukiah is home to a couple of beauty spots with Ashley Cali of Cali Brows and Chelcy Gibbs with Lash Lounge both offering personal care services. Deep in the Dragon’s Lair on the corner of Main and East Perkins Streets you’ll find gifts, clothing, and treasures from around the world all carefully curated by manager Edith Lucas. A life coach since 2006, Carol Goldberg has guided her many clients to live healthier and more fulfilling lives by deepening their understanding of their motivations and desires. 

We next head to the coast via the town of Boonville. Sarah Cahn Bennett of Pennyroyal Farm has created a sustainable farm, dairy and vineyard producing exquisite wines that pair perfectly with their award-winning goat cheeses (courtesy of cheesemaker Erika McKenzie-Chapter). At Disco Ranch (yes, there’s a story behind that name), you’ll find Georgia transplant Wendy Lamer presiding over a bevy of fine imported and local wines to pair with the delicious specialty food offerings all ready for a picnic.

Based in Mendocino, Terri Larsen heads up Paneless Window Cleaning, an essential service on the coast where the salt air clings to windows obscuring the “I can see forever†views. A licensed fiduciary is someone who can help navigate the settlement of trusts, probate, and estate management. In Mendocino, this very necessary service is in the professional hands of Maggie Watson operating as Mendocino Fiduciary. Another indispenable part of our lives is plumbing and for more than 30 years, Donna Feiner of Feiner Fixings Water Operations has been serving the coastal communities of Mendocino County as a plumber and water operator. For almost 60 years, Gallery Bookshop & Bookwinkle’s Children’s Books has been a small business mainstay in the village of Mendocino. Owned by Christie Olson Day since 2006, the store serves local residents and tourists from around the world with an extensive library of books and magazines. Take your book to GoodLife Café & Bakery on Mendocino’s Lansing Street to order up a cup of coffee and a delicious home-cooked breakfast or lunch from owner Teddy Winslow’s smiling crew of chefs, bakers, and servers.

The final leg of our women-owned small business journey takes us to Fort Bragg where entrepreneur Megan Young provides a full-service salon and boutique at Oasis Express tucked into the Boatyard Shopping Center. Head downtown to stock up on socks and gifts at Pippi’s Longstocking whose owner Katie Carr has weathered the pandemic by setting up a great online store. Just a block away, Sabine Brunner keeps Littlecup Ceramics and Letterpress stocked with whimsical and practical craft kits, ceramics, soaps, and eclectic vintage items. Last, but definitely not least, Kiersten Hanna’s shop, Braggadoon, is responsible for many of the eye-catching signage you’ll see around historic Fort Bragg… from the Skunk Train to Roundman’s Smoke House to the Golden West Saloon!

West Center provides services to women (and men) through the Women’s Business Center. If you’re considering opening a business or want to explore new avenues for revenue generation, give West Center a call today at 707-964-7571 or visit our website at