SHED v Barlow: The Race to Open

What you need to know about Sonoma County's new artisan food/wine and production facilities.

2013 is shaping up to be the year of large-scale artisan markets opening (for reals!) in Sonoma County.

Here’s a look at The Barlow in Sebastopol and SHED in Healdsburg. No doubt you’ll be hearing lots more as opening dates come into sharper focus, but here’s a heads-up on what you need to know.

The Barlow, Sebastopl

 THE BARLOW: Estimated opening Jan 2013 (in Phases)

The Concept: An 222,000 square-foot artisan marketplace and production facility

The Pitch: “The Barlow will also incorporate a carefully chosen selection of restaurants to create a comfortable, fun atmosphere where the community can come together and enjoy, art, wine and time with one another.”

Cost: $23.5 million

The Developer: Barney Aldridge, real estate developer

Major Tenants: Kosta Browne, Taylor Maid, Community Market

The look: 17 modern metal buildings on 12.5 acres

Artchitects:  O’Malley Wilson Westphal


The Barlow, named after an old apple plant that once stood on the site, has been plugging away since announcing its intentions in 2010. After a number of delays (including a fire) construction is near completion and tenant improvement permitting began in earnest in October. Most recently Noah and Mirjam Bolmer of Occidental’s Barley and Hops started tenant-improvements for their micro-brewery project, Warped Brewing along with Taylor Maid Farms, who are beginning interior construction on a coffee bar and roasting facility.

Last week, John Stewart and Duskie Estes of Zazu announced their intention to lease space at the Barlow which would include a space for production of their Black Pig Meat Company.

Other tenants who’ve announced their intention to be involved include Wind Gap wines, Guayaki Yerba Mate, Spirt Works Distilery, Woodfour Brewing, MacPhail Family Wines, Village Bakery, FEED Exchange, Marimar Estate Winery, La Follette Wines, Whole Spice and SubZero Ice Cream and Yogurt. 

The Buzz: There’s been plenty of press about tenants who’ve planned to move in, then changed their minds. That’s not too surprising, since many paid nominal fees early on to “reserve” a spot. Most folks are curious to see whether the mix of production and retail will be a big enough draw to casual shoppers, but there’s a lot of excitement in Sebastopol about this massive project — BiteClub included.

SHED in Healdsburg

SHED: Estimated opening February 2013. 

The idea: “A Modern Grange”

The Pitch: “We propose to tranform the property at 25 North Street into our vision of a contemporary grange, where we bring people together to share food, stories, knowledge and information.”

Cost: Privately funded

The Developer: Cindy Daniel and Doug Lipton

Major Tenants: Will feature products and foods from local farms

The Look: Ultra-modern two story design in downtown Healdsburg will feature a Mercantile, Cafe and Meeting Space.

Architects: Jensen Architects

Cindy Daniel and Doug Lipton are familiar faces in Healdsburg. Daniel ran a local yoga studio and Lipton is the founder of Lipton Environmental Group in addition to serving on the boards of the Sonoma Land Trust and Healdsburg Jazz Festival in addition to tending the family’s 15-acre farm. The couple have privately funded SHED, which is being built next to Foss Creek in downtown Healdsburg. The exact plans for the space are still a bit vague, but include plans for a mercantile, cafe and meeting space inside the 9,000+ square-foot center. The couple have strong interests to the emerging grain movement in Mendocino, along with Slow Food’s Arc of Taste and promoting artisan, heirloom produce.

This week, it was announced the Kenny Rochford will be SHED’s General Manager and Niki Ford with be Culinary Director. Rochford is most recently GM of Medlock Ames and Ford is a Chez Panisse alum.

The Buzz: There seems to be some major money and major passion attached to this project, according to folks we’ve talked to. Daniel and Lipton are active and respected in the local food and environmental circles, and are reaching out to highly credible players while (we hope) providing exposure for small artisan producers. We think this will resonate strongly with tourists looking for an adorable “farmy” experience while providing locals with an outlet to sell their goods and a space to meet and discuss important issues.