If you’re in need of a healthy snack, an energy-boosting concoction or a one-of-a-kind piece of jewelry, look no further than TONIC Juice & Remedy, one of Langley’s newest businesses.
Cheryl “Cherub” Zimmermann is the beaming proprietor of the 425-square-foot store, which is packed to the rafters with not only inventory but her own decorations collected from trips around the world. Friends started calling her “Cherub” for her love of the images of winged angelic beings depicted around Europe, and the name stuck to the point where everyone uses it now.
TONIC Juice & Remedy is part apothecary, part juice bar and part gift shop, complete with a tiny grocery section, which includes 50 bulk herbs and a small cooler full of flax oil, probiotics and sauerkraut. Cabinets within the store contain 100 different types of incense. Colorful hand-blown perfume bottles and small crystal orbs add to the feeling of stepping into someplace magical.
“Somebody came in here and they said this definitely has Diagon Alley vibes,” Zimmermann said.
Perched above the merchandise is what she calls “the temple,” her collection of vintage glass and an assortment of her own decorations that are not for sale – including, yes, cherubs.
“I’m a person that believes in all religions and all cultures, so I have African, Egyptian, Native American, Mayan, Balinese (things),” Zimmermann said.
Unique jewelry from Bali and Nepal, however, is for sale.
Many people in the Village by the Sea know Zimmermann as the other half of Ultra House, the ramen shop next door that she owns with her husband, Denis. The couple opened the restaurant in 2018.
Others know Zimmermann from her days as the owner of Living Green, an apothecary and health food store that she owned in Langley for about 15 years. That business, she explained, was ahead of its time in many ways when she created it in 1997 since she worked in bulk foods and chose not to partner with big corporations.
“I actually seeded some of the energy of the natural food movement here on the island, which is a blessing in and of itself,” she said.
Zimmermann got into the business of healthy food as a way to provide a lifestyle for her kids. She came to South Whidbey originally for the Whidbey Island Waldorf School, which each of her children attended. She holds the honor of being the longest-running parent of the school at 25 years.
TONIC Juice & Remedy is, in a way, a reincarnation of Living Green, albeit in a much smaller form.
“This is just the little baby version of something. Much more manageable, even though I crash into things,” Zimmermann said with a laugh.
The juice bar is also another component that she had in her health and wellness businesses before. The juice is made using all organic ingredients, from carrots to celery to apples to ginger to beets. Smoothies are made with plant-based protein powders and juices. Lesser known ingredients on the menu include spirulina, a blue-green algae rich in protein, vitamins and minerals. Drinks have names like “Enlightenment,” “Good Rising” and “Ruby Rain.”
Herbal remedies are offered in the form of tonics, which come in a shot glass size. Countless tiny bottles of tinctures behind the counter are added to the drinks. If there’s something specific a customer is looking for, odds are TONIC Juice & Remedy has it.
“Someone just came in and said, ‘I have an upset stomach and I want energy,’ so we gave her ashwagandha and holy basil with something called peppermint spirits and we just put it into a glass and added filtered water to it,” Zimmermann explained.
Washington-grown sipping vinegars, referred to as shrub, are mixed with other ingredients such as sparkling white tea, elderberry and ginger. Bitters, which can help with digestion, are also an option for drinks.
“In Europe, bitters are very popular,” Zimmermann said. “But right now there’s this big trend happening with mocktails and bitters and adaptogens and people making sparkly drinks and stuff with them. That’s powerful.”
More food items are coming in the future, such as rice, smoothie and acai bowls.
TONIC Juice & Remedy has been a work in progress for the past three years. Zimmermann said the idea for the store came to her in a vision. She took over the small space from the Tranquil Computer in 2020, and has since then been working to transform the place. Along the way, she decided she wanted to wait until the COVID-19 pandemic had calmed down before opening.
While money helps, Zimmermann said it’s not the driving force behind her creation of the new business. She gets emotional when she speaks about her purpose.
“I have this connection with helping to wake people up,” she said. “It’s my mission here to help and be of service.”
She hopes the store continues to have a “ripple effect of love, consciousness and inspiration” for all who visit.