Cheryl Modica, at far right, at her eponymous store at 15 East Blithedale Avenue.

Spend a few minutes with Cheryl Modica and you quickly realize that she is a “take the bull by the horns” kind of person.

Modica, who has lived in Mill Valley since the 1970s and had an illustrious career in retail for Nordstrom in various parts of the country, moved her eclectic, eponymous shop from Union Street in San Francisco to 15 East Blithedale Ave. in Mill Valley in November 2019 – just in time for the COVID-19 crisis to ravage the retail industry and just about every other business sector on the planet.

PictureCheryl Modica.

But she hasn’t taken a passive approach to the turbulence, however. Modica shares a block with the popular MilVali Salon and Stefano’s Pizza, along with a few vacant spaces, and she’s determined to both beautify the block and make it a destination that is much more than the block you drive past as you head into downtown Mill Valley.

“People come into Mill Valley from all over the world,” Modica says. “And if they’re coming in on Blithedale, this block is one of the first things they see when they arrive in our downtown. We’ve got to beautify this part of town.”

That go-getter approach extends to Modica’s “a little bit of everything” shop, whose inventory spans from Peruvian alpaca blankets, art, apparel, puzzles and barware to a variety of designer trays, leather goods, Italian bags, scarves and plenty of cashmere and jewelry. Oh, and hats upon hats, as Modica’s latest claim to fame is a tribute to one of her closest friends, the late Dorothy Schubert, former owner of the Mill Valley Hat Box.

Modica is unwavering when it comes to her efforts to make her block more inviting.

“I’m going to beautify this street and make this area something that excites people,” she says.


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