Craig Smith

Craig Smith is the executive director of the Downtown Napa Association.

J.L. Sousa/Register

Cake Plate, at 730 Main St. in the Riverfront building, just turned nine years old.

Over the years, they’ve made it easy for Napa to women look their best, helping them realize their “passion for fashion in the wine country.”

Now, Cake Plate offers clothing for men.

“It was born from guys sitting in the ‘Man Chair’ while their wives shopped,” said Paige Smith, who co-owns Cake Plate with her sister Lindsay Smith.

“Fashion is fashion, after all. Sure, there are differences—men wear ‘shirts’ and not ‘tops,’ and they like to accent their broad shoulders – but everybody wants to look good,” she added with a smile.

At first, men were reluctant to shop for clothes at what they perceived as a women’s store. Women bought men’s clothes and took them home for the guys in their lives to try.

Literally nothing was returned, and guys started to come in and do their own shopping.

“That tells us we’re on the right track.”

When Paige and Lindsay buy for men, they do so the same way they do for women, selecting casual weekend wear.

Cake Plate now refers to themselves as a “clothing boutique for women and men.”

Cake Plate has made subtle changes to the look of the store. Photographs of outdoor sports adorn the wood walls inside the shop, and a male manikin has been added to the front window. “We even took out the flowers in the outdoor flower pots and added dinosaur topiaries,” said Paige.

Two years ago, Cake Plate started carrying sundries.

“There’s no place around here to buy Advil, Tums, Kleenex, or something for allergies or feminine products,” said Paige.

“We figured these would be a hit with people visiting the Welcome Center, but a lot of locals buy from us.”

Visit, stop by the shop seven days a week or check out their videos on You Tube and Facebook.

Moon River…

Friday, Oct. 14, everything come together for a “perfect storm” on the Napa River.

The moon is very close to full and rises at 6 p.m., the sun sets at 6:30 p.m., and low tide is at 7:30 p.m.

What does all that mean? Put your kayak in the river around 6 or 6:15 p.m., while there is still plenty of sunlight, and head south.

The outgoing tide will make your paddling easy. Turn around at 7:30 p.m. and head back to the dock, and the tide help you return.

You’ll be amazed at how bright the moonlight is, and will have no trouble seeing. It’s a great way to kayak.

Bring a flashlight. If you see a boat, turn your light beam toward it so they’ll see you.

Wear something reflective and remember that the Coast Guard requires that you have a life vest with you. Putting in at Cuttings Wharf makes this an easy in-out.

See you downtown, and on the river!

Craig Smith is the executive director of the Downtown Napa Association. Reach him at 257-0322 or