Baksheesh sold to longtime employee

After nearly 20 years in Sonoma and a decade on the Sonoma Plaza, Baksheesh will ring in the new year with a new owner – and a new name.

Baksheesh owners Candi Horton and Brian Smucker are selling their store to former employee Sofie Wastell. Baksheesh originally opened on West Spain Street in 1997 and moved to the Plaza on First Street West in 2002.

Wastell started working at Baksheesh in 2005 while a student at Sonoma Valley High School. The Sonoma native remembers being immediately drawn to the store’s commitment to only selling fair trade items. After four years of working at the store and learning from Smucker and Horton, Wastell was promoted to her latest role as store manager in 2009.

“Working at Baksheesh has altered the direction of my future in the best possible way,” Wastell said. “What started as a part-time position after school, has morphed into a full-time passion.”

Smucker and Horton have plans to retire. “The timing is just right,” Smucker said, adding he would like to retire while he has energy to do other things and the economy is stable enough to sell the store. “It’s valuable (to us) to promote from within,” Smucker said. He and Horton are “excited to have someone (they) know and trust bring fresh energy and ideas to Baksheesh.”

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