Charlottesville's Downtown Mall Is a Stroller's Paradise
Caroline Kettlewell Special to The Washington Post
June 29, 2001; Page T32
I ambled back to the Mall and was seduced within moments by the Sun Bow Trading company. From outside you are drawn in the door by the deep, rich, earthy colors visible through the large picture windows: rust, burnt umber, persimmon, reds so profound that they seem to speak directly to your soul.
Sun Bow (401 E. Main, 434/293-8821) is a downtown veteran, in the neighborhood since 1978, selling "fine tribal and nomadic textile art," extraordinarily beautiful pieces from the Middle East and Central Asia: kilims and prayer carpets and tent bands and runners, each unique.
On duty the day I dropped in were three of the store's staff (owner Saul Barodofsky was in Turkey on a buying expedition), a delightful trio of women whom I almost immediately began to think of as the Three Graces, after the goddesses of Greek mythology said to be the personifications of charm and beauty, inspiration for poetry and the arts. Lisa Williford, Olivia Johnston and Stephanie Tanner beguiled and entertained me with tea and conversation, and I could easily imagine them all in another time and place weaving and drinking tea and chatting happily while a bitter wind swept the steppes outside their cozy yurt.
"This was the most beautiful place in Charlottesville, so I came here," said Williford, looking around Sun Bow with pleasure.
One morning, the Graces told me, they found kiss prints dotting the front window glass.