I’ve known Cheryl—Cherub—Dr. Love—Zimmermann for 23 years and have long appreciated her connection to a higher power. I first met her in 2000 as the owner of Langley’s Living Green Natural Food & Apothecary, first housed in a yellow cottage next to Langley’s post office, and later in the Langley building which later hosted Tim Leonard’s former Machine Shop. Cherub’s store was Langley’s haven for health and well being for years.
Before I walked in the door, Myca Christensen, a young mother of three, waited outside for her order. Myca was our son Raymond’s friend in elementary school and this was the first time I’d seen her since she became a mom.
“I absolutely love it,” she said of her regular Tonic visits. “It feels like Harry Potter in there.”
Cherub said another regular visitor told her Tonic has a “Diagon Alley vibe.”
Tonic is a place for those seeking a little magic in their lives.
The tiny and well-organized space hosts shelves of beeswax candles next to Yogi Teas, natural soaps, aromatherapy products, Two-Spirit Medicinals tinctures—made by an indigenous woman, mushroom-infused chocolate, energy bars, bulk incense, herbs and salts, jewelry, homeopathic remedies, Smilin’ James’ holy icon key rings, smoothies, chips, and little altars above it all, encircling the upper walls of the shop.
When creating a setting for Tonic, Cherub said, “I wanted to include healing art from other cultures, which includes influences from Native American and Ayurvedic cultures, Waldorf student art depicting sacred geometry, art from Christianity, Mayan, Bali, Islam and Guanyin, among others. I call this place a temple.”
Besides being my neighbor, Cherub and I share a connection with the Whidbey Island Waldorf School, which brought her to the island for educating her three children, where our daughter Gillian once attended, and I worked for six years. Cherub continues to be an influencing force in running the school where her youngest son is a student.
Back at Tonic, Cherub took a moment to run her fingers along the strands of her silver necklace before saying, “I feel so safe in here. We smudge this space 3 times a day. I do chanting every day, listening to spiritual masters such as Krishna Das, and White Sun. They invoke God’s presence.”
We took a break from chatting as a woman walked in the door wearing a shirt which read, “Create Good Karma.”
“My Leah,” Cherub greeted her visitor, Leah Marie Barnett. “What’s up, Sister? Our vegan broth is half off. Now, pick your potion, a dream elixir, or summer potion smoothies.”
Leah replied, “Can you make summer happen?,” referring to the cool gray weather outside.
Cherub told her about an energizer smoothie. She suggested treats such as Energy Spheres with peanut butter and honey.
Leah asked whether the chips on display near the counter were clean, meaning pesticide-free. Cherub assured her they were, and imported from Spain.
We chatted about folks on South Whidbey being open to healthy food and lifestyles. Leah, a wellness coach, added: “We live in a good Mecca and people here are more conscious. I let people know how to change their diet. The big pivot now is nuance. The American Dream isn’t cookie cutter.”
If it’s nuance you want for well-being, Tonic most likely has what you are looking for: supplements, oils for brain health, probiotics, a tiny grocery section, products from different parts of the world, honey from France and Ukraine, and chips from Spain. It has an organic juice and vegan smoothie bar, along with herbal tonics, elixirs and potions. Cherub plans to serve smoothie bowls soon. During the winter she will serve brown rice and quinoa bowls, along with hot Matcha and turmeric drinks.
“I source natural, organic and vegan products,” Cherub added. “I like things from other countries. We just got this soap from France. We are the first in the U.S. to carry it. We’re promoting the energy of someone else’s dream. She [the French soap maker]was happy to have her product sold here.”
Cherub also supports local businesses and artisans as well.
“We carry products from Whidbey Herbal. I witnessed their dream coming to manifestation, because they shared their vision and intent with me in creating an essential oils business. Now they have a farm in Greenbank, with products like cedar oils and Whidbey Island balsam. I carry chakra oil from Juliana. I’ve known her since she was a girl.”
Twenty-five years ago Cherub opened Living Green Natural Food & Apothecary in July 1998. Five years later the yellow cottage was sold and remodeled to become Useless Bay Coffee. Cherub moved north on Second Street to the Langley Building. A remodel turned the space into a colorful welcoming spot where one relaxed on a couch in the library, folks could order smoothies, bowls and wraps, and kids could play in Bapu Land, a little space like a Harry Potter cupboard, decorated with animals and plants. While she sold the business three times, it continued coming back to her. After one of the Living Green sales, Cherub ran Belief Boutique Herb Shoppe and Parfumerie, a potion and resale shop dedicated to the spirit of Zippy, the sweet daughter of Cherub’s dear friends, who was killed by a falling tree on Christmas 2011.
Later, while standing on her Saratoga Passage and Cascade-view balcony, Cherub got chatting with her former neighbor Jennifer Lovely from her balcony two doors down.
“Jennifer really took a stand for me and said, “Come and talk to me about running a business at Bayview,” Cherub recalled. “I helped her with her yoga studio.”
Nowadays, Jennifer runs a healing, integration and movement practice.
Over the years since then, while raising her young son, Cherub took time to remodel her home and help her husband Denis get Ultra House up and running. And on Feb. 23, 2023, she opened Tonic.
“It’s been busy and good,” Cherub said. “What comes up for me is the level of energy it takes. This is a letting go and creating anew. The commitment to give and be of service. We run two businesses. Tonic is the vessel of sacred space that holds me.”
Tonic Juice & Remedy is located at 221 Second Street, #10, Langley. The phone number is: (360) 221-8242. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Hours are Tuesday-Sunday 10 AM to 5 PM