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10 Questions: 'Everything has a story': the Bennington Napa Valley
10 Questions | Susan Melendez, The Bennington Napa Valley

10 Questions: 'Everything has a story': the Bennington Napa Valley

From the Get to know Napa County's local entrepreneurs and businesspersons in 10 Questions series

Susan Melendez said she has a simple method when it comes to deciding what to sell in her new First Street Napa store, The Bennington Napa Valley.

“Everything has a story,” she said. “People gravitate to that. It’s almost like magical stardust.”

The Bennington Napa Valley offers a curated selection of vintage items, mixed with products created in the Napa Valley and gift items such as ornaments, tabletop décor, candles, wine accessories, olive oil, chocolate, nuts, honey and more.

Some shoppers may already be familiar with Melendez. She previously worked for NapaStyle in Yountville for nine years.

1. What was your childhood ambition?

To work for the airlines... and I achieved that dream. (Melendez worked for Qantas at LAX for nine years).

2. What was your first job?

Salad girl at Joe’s Steakhouse in Coal City, Illinois.

3. Which three people would you most like to have dinner with?

Oprah Winfrey, Warren Buffett, Pat Riley (of Miami Heat).

4. What job would you like to try/not try?

Try: Learning electrical. I love construction work from framing to plumbing.

Not try: Roofing.

5. What is the biggest challenge the retail industry in Napa has faced?

Pandemic, two fires in Napa, people afraid to spend money…

6. What’s on your to-do list?

List three things of gratitude each day, three things to improve on and three things to work on.

7. Who do you most admire in the business world?

My late husband Robert Melendez. He passed away in 2011.

8. What is one thing you hope to accomplish in your lifetime that you haven’t yet?

Meet Andy Beckstoffer. I have a 300 vine vineyard. I want to be a great farmer.

9. What’s something people might be surprised to know about you?

I was a 1979 Miss USA contestant, love construction, love vintage dresses and vintage Barbies.

10. Do you have a personal motto?

I want to make everything around me in my life beautiful.

WATCH NOW: Spending too much on Amazon? Here's why


The Bennington Napa Valley is located inside First Street Napa at 1300 First St., Suite 345. Info:

Pop the cork on Napa Valley wine!

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Business Editor

Jennifer Huffman is the business editor and a general assignment reporter for the Napa Valley Register. I cover a wide variety of topics for the newspaper. I've been with the Register since 2005.

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