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John Werner and Carrie Brown

Fifteen years ago in a Napa Valley vineyard, John Werner and Carrie Brown launched their joint artistic and culinary vision, which guided their creation of a new Jimtown Store. That day, the bride wore red and carried a bouquet of kale, edible geraniums, baby carrots, and cascading tiny squash. The groom wore a red madras tuxedo jacket. Carrie tossed her salad bouquet, and cookies were served from a three-tiered tower. Carrie and Johnís unusual wedding day offered a glimpse of what they would create together.

John and Carrie’s individual and combined passions are reflected in Jimtown’s blend of vintage American and international foods and antique treasures. John’s background was culinary and artistic; Carrie’s is artistic and flavorful. Both true citizens of the world who appreciate the honesty and simplicity of traditional American country heritage.

John always understood the world as a tangible place. When, as a child living in Connecticut, his father would point out a country on a globe to show where a relative was living. ìI got this sense at a very young age that the curve of the earth was tangible and accessible,î he said. ìThe world didnít seem unconquerable.î John brought this global sensibility with him to Jimtown, a classic American country store with a worldly sophistication.

John began his career in cooking during his 20s while working at the Silver Palate, an award-winning New York eatery. After a short period, he became a partner in the business. It was there that he developed his interest in food and retail, which guided the new incarnation of Jimtown. After leaving the Silver Palate, John spent several years traveling and cooking in Africa and Asia. While there, he worked to bring the pink peppercorn from Africa and a rare nut into American kitchens.

Carrieís mother Caroline was an art major who took Carrie to museums and encouraged her to pursue art lessons as a child. Carrie graduated from the Academy of Art College in San Francisco in 1978, and also studied art in Mexico. Food is an important ingredient of Carrieís artistic sensibility. ìMy feel for color and flavor and detail are intertwined,î Carrie said. Carrieís artistic talents are reflected in the colors and design of Jimtown Store. ìJimtown is one big still life,î she said. ìIt is an artistic expression of us.î

Much of Carrieís life before John was spent exploring the world. Her family lived in Venezuela when she was a teenager in the 1960s, which inspired her love of Latin art and foods. After finishing high school in Northern California, Carrie spent a year at an art institute in Mexico. Upon returning, her parents moved to the Middle East and her sister to Europe. This provided an opportunity for Carrie to meet them in countries around the world over the next ten years.

Having traveled the world, John and Carrie chose the Alexander Valley as their home. The valley represents quintessential Northern California for Carrie, who grew up in Sausalito with memories of afternoon drives through the vineyards of Sonoma County. It was on a trip from New York City to visit Carrieís parents in Healdsburg that John and Carrie found Jimtown. They were instantly impressed by the possibilities for the historic relic. Within two years, they sold their apartment in New York City and headed west to realize their dream of a culinary and artistic endeavor together. They have since turned Jimtown Store and their cottage home into an artistic forum.

Unfortunately John passed away in December of 2000. Carrie continuesto live in the cottage behind the store with their dogs Patty Lewis andMoses and direct the growing Jimtown business.

 

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