New Life in Store for North Earth

SPRING GREEN—North Earth Gifts in the South Albany Street Shops is the nexus of two women’s spiritual and retail journeys. One is coming, the other going.

On the first weekend of December, Jenafer Humphries assumed ownership of the business Cecilia Farran spent 17 years curating: “a shop for the spiritually minded,” as Farran puts it, “a respite, a support for the light-seeking people of southwest Wisconsin and for those who come to this beautiful valley for respite and rejuvenation.”

In announcing her decision to “let go” of North Earth, Farran said, “I am complete with my creation and have a lifetime bucket list that, in my seventh decade, is still overflowing.” She said she plans to “settle into more Being and less Doing.”

About her future, Cecilia adds: “I am at heart a storysmith. In ‘retirement’ I intend to devote more time to sharing stories both with my voice and on the written page. Coming from a family of storytellers, I have always been guided by author Barry Lopez: ‘Sometimes people need stories more than they need food.’   It is my joy to shape and share stories for the heart and soul, especially in house concerts around candle light.”

Farran opened her gift and book shop in 2000, the same year Humphries, 45, and her husband, Robert, moved to Spring Green.

A descendant of Enos Lloyd-Jones, whose sister was Frank Lloyd Wright’s mother, Humphries brought her future husband to one of her family reunions in Spring Green. “Being from Wales, Robert wanted to move here because it looked like home to him,” said Humphries, who was trained as an opera singer at the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati. “I agreed and it was a wonderful decision for both of us.” Today they live on Cincinnati Street with their children Rhiannon, 13, and Rhys, 7.

“I had many jobs in my early years as a young singer, both musical and otherwise,” Humphries said. “After awhile I learned the vagabond lifestyle of an opera singer was not what I wanted and went to work for the Cincinnati Symphony. While there, I met Robert, and then we moved here.” For the last 16 years Humphries has worked in a variety of roles at Lands’ End, where Robert works as a copywriter in addition to being a historian with a master’s degree in Celtic Studies from the University of Wales. Jenafer also teaches voice and is attempting to write a novel in addition to putting her mark on North Earth.

Her decision to pick up where Farran leaves off was an easy one, Humphries said. “I’ve known Cecilia for a long time and I’ve always thought it would be wonderful to have a shop like hers. When she said she wanted to retire I knew it was the right thing.”

The transition has been a whirlwind, Humphries says, but one that has been accompanied by much encouragement from the community. “I feel like I have so much support. It’s really been amazing.”

Humphries says she wants North Earth to not only be a fun place to shop, but also a center for alternative wellness. “We have built a practitioners room and will be renting out space to healers who work in a variety of modalities. I want to have speakers give monthly classes on a variety of topics, and have unique events.” There are also plans for a reading room for psychic, Tarot and angel card readers and an expanded selection of rocks, minerals and natural specimens.

“We have a large selection of gifts for almost every taste,” Humphries says. “You don’t have to be interested in healing or spirituality to find something great, but if you are interested in those topics we have wonderful surprises for you.”

North Earth Gifts on South Albany Street is open during the winter 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. For more information, call (608) 588-3313. To contact Cecilia Farran, email cecilia.farran175@gmail.com or call (608) 583-2776.