The former location of Spinelle Fine Jewelers at 1232 First St. won't be vacant for long: , which sells colorful and whimsical home and garden accessories, is moving there from its Caymus Street location.
Spinelle owner Lori Wear said she intends to continue designing jewelry in Napa after closing her retail operation at the end of 2010. The Playful Garden owner Mimi Glavin expects to open in the former jewelry shop March 1.
"I would not have been able to do this without Lori's help," Glavin said. "This is a win-win situation for both of us."
Glavin has big shoes to fill on First Street: Several neighboring merchants described Wear as their official cheerleader for shopping downtown. The popular jeweler held numerous fundraisers after hours -- most notably, her annual tiara party -- to help local nonprofits.
But Glavin also has a record of working for the community: She took part in December's weekly "Dine, Shop and Donate" promotion for local non-profits, donating a share of sales to the Napa Valley Food Bank, and she and her husband contributed generously to the last month.
Across the street at , manager Marilyn Teixeira said "Mimi will be a welcome addition to the heart of downtown. But, at the same time, Lori will be missed.
"First Street seems to be the 'hot spot' to be right now," continued Teixeira, who added that she believes The Playful Garden will help shoppers discover Shoes on First.
"Tourists and locals strolling through Mimi's store will see us across the street and decide to come in and browse," she said.
At the tasting room, just a couple of doors west from the former Spinelle location that will soon be The Playful Garden, sales and hospitality manager Michael Angelo Wray said "We are really sad to see Lori leaving. She has been a great neighbor."
Angelo Wray said he's already seen an increase in the amount of foot traffic along First Street, and the addition of The Playful Garden should only help.
"I think downtown is definitely moving in the right direction," he added.
Glavin is moving from a 1,450 square-foot retail space on Caymus to 1,800 square feet on First -- and that may not be enough.
She said she'll use some of the backroom space to cultivate her store's Internet presence and to increase the amount of inventory she can store.
And if The Playful Garden's business should increase and need even more space, Glavin is already eyeing the empty building next door, which was once home to the Beaded Nomad and served as The Playful Garden's "pop-up" Christmas shop last month.