BY DIRK PERREFORT
Hearst Connecticut Media
For generations, the old general store in the heart of Ridgefield served as a gathering place where residents could meet with their neighbors and hear the news of the day.
Meredith Mulhearn, the owner of Cucumber and Chamomile nutrition therapy services, hopes to rekindle that connection with the community through her new home, a quaint red-brick building near the intersection of Route 35 that was once home to the town’s general store before becoming an ice cream parlor and a longtime chocolate shop.
“Since I first moved into Ridgefield I’ve always admired that building and thought it would be a great place to open a business,” said Mulhearn, who has a degree in nutritional therapy. “It has a certain amount of nostalgia that you just can’t find anywhere else.”
When the space opened up earlier this year, Mulhearn moved quickly to rent it. Besides moving to a new location, Mulhearn also included a new retail component to her operation that includes a line of signature teas as well as an apothecary line of teas that she said can assist with everything from digestive issues to detoxification. Custom tea blends are also available to meet the needs of individual clients.
Mulhearn first opened her business about two years after battling chronic fatigue and other health concerns. When none of the treatments available by traditional doctors seemed to help, she decided to change her diet. The results, she said, were incredible.
“I went back to school to learn everything that I could about nutritional therapy and how it could help,” she said. “I quickly realized the power that food has on us and was inspired to help others, as well. Nobody should have to go through the amount of research I did to find the right answers.”
Instead of telling people what they should eat or what giving them a designated diet, Mulhearn said she prefers to teach people about the impacts different food has on their bodies.
“Good nutrition isn’t a quick fix,” she said. “But it’s a fix that will help you for the rest of your life.”
Mulhearn said she hopes the shop can become a place where area residents can stop for a quiet moment and spot of tea in an otherwise busy and hectic life.
“I want people to come in, have a cup of tea and sit down and talk awhile,” she said. “We want to help people disconnect with their electronics and reconnect with the people around them. You can come here and connect with the people you brought with you, or you can meet new people to connect with. Either way, we want the shop to serve as a place of social interaction. The shop is a small and intimate environment that we believe will help foster that.”
Mulhearn, who opened in the new location in April from an office just down the street, is also planning on hosting events at the shop including afternoon teas that will be held at least one Saturday a month starting on Aug. 22. Because her customers have already been requesting such events, Mulhearn said two seatings will be held and reservations will be required. She is also hoping to host book clubs and other functions in the space.
“We really want to do whatever we can to be part of the community,” she said. “Our motto is reconnect and restore.”
Hearst Connecticut Media includes four daily newspapers: Connecticut Post, Greenwich Time, The Advocate (Stamford) and The News-Times (Danbury). See newstimes.com for more from this reporter.