Zipper owners say ‘bon voyage’
ELIZABETH CASHOUR and Steven Saden opened Zipper in the Cornerstone in 2007.
After 20 years in retail and six years at the Cornerstone in Sonoma, Zipper owners Elizabeth Cashour and Steven Saden are calling it quits and taking a travelling sabbatical.
The couple opened the original Zipper in LA, between West Hollywood and Beverly Hills in 1993. “Our LA space was a really weird, cobbled together two buildings that we kind of worked with,” said Saden. “People really liked but we always felt like, ‘If we could just have a normal space to work out of.’”
They opened a second location in Brooklyn in 2001, but sold that to their employees in 2006. Soon after, Cashour says she one day asked Steven, “If we had another store where would it be?”
And he answered, “In the midst of beautiful gardens; it would have to be a beautiful drive to work, and have very high ceilings.” Call it kismet, but the very next day they got an email from Cornerstone, then a nascent art garden center, asking if they’d ever considered opening a shop in Sonoma. “And my birthday was coming up,” says Cashour, “So we said ‘Let’s go up and check it out.’”
At that time, Cornerstone was still filling out. There were quite a few empty spaces, but Artefact was already in place and caught the couple’s attention. “We said, ‘We could be the light to their dark.’” They decided to give it a try and moved up the Glen Ellen, among deer and picturesque old trees (the couple now lives in Carneros). Saden had his beautiful drive, the space definitely had high ceilings, and he couldn’t have asked for a more idyllic garden setting. “Six years later, here we are,” they both say in unison.
“We weren’t sure at first if our modern mix was going to be appealing to the community of Sonoma,” says Cashour. But the community embraced the eclectic shop, the store became something of an anchor for Cornerstone, and many people in the area are now wondering what they ever did when they were looking for gifts before.
“We’ve been doing retail now for 20 years,” says Saden. “And we thought, ‘OK, that’s a good time to get out – 20 years,” he laughs. “We did 20 years in our other careers,” he says. “So let’s do 20 years of this,” Cashour finishes for him.
Before ever opening the first Zipper store in LA, Saden and Cashour lived in New York City for 20 years, where he was a fashion designer on Seventh Avenue and she an art administrator and playwright.
Now that their second act is ending customers and friends are stopping by in the last weeks to say their goodbyes, and it’s bittersweet for Cashour. “We’ll miss the people,” she says.
Those who will miss the store have until the end of April to visit it before it closes. From March 20–April 28 Zipper will feature a special gallery of California artists, jewelers, glass blowers, and potters as well as vintage items. And from now until it closes, Zipper is offering discounts up to 90 percent throughout the store.
“We needed some time to get out and see the world,” says Cashour. For the past 20 years, because of the demands of running a store (and sometimes two at once), “We’ve been the ‘No’ people,” meaning they’d get invited to go on trips or visit friends overseas, and they’ve always had to say, no. “So it started with wanting to take all our friends up on their offers. … and asking, ‘What if we took a year,’ and now we’re going to be the ‘Yes’ people.”
The voyage will start with a cross-country road-trip, with Cashour and Saden throwing their dog, Georgie, in the car and meandering from the West Coast to the East. Georgie will be dropped off with Saden’s mother, and then the couple will jet from New York to England, Paris, the Greek Isles and parts of Asia. “All those things that we always really, really wanted to do, we’re going to do, says Cashour.
She might be most excited about the road-trip though, “I like the idea of having the car and the dog and Steve and just kind of wandering together.”
In all, they plan to travel for the next year, before returning to their Carneros home to plan their third act. They’re not sure yet what that might be, but that’s just the way they want it.