Intriguing Local Family Business

Mother and son bring glamour to Napa

Though many locals and visitors treasure Napa Valley for its casual ambience, others like fashion and glamour when they attend benefits and events. For those people, Helen Lyall and her son Scott are treasured resources.

Premier clothiers and mother and son, Helen and Scott Lyall have adjoining retail store front spaces in the River Front complex in downtown Napa.

Helen has been in the fashion business for 43 years. A native of Arizona, she attended the University of Arizona, then Wood Tobe-Coburn School for fashion careers in New York and worked for eight years at Abraham Strauss in Brooklyn before moving west to The City of Paris in San Francisco and James Sears in Vallejo. She also lectured about fashion and beauty on cruise ships then opened her store 35 years ago, moving to Napa eight years ago.

In addition to selling elegance hard to find elsewhere in Napa, she produces fashion shows that support charitable organizations like Queen of the Valley. Helen shops in Europe and the U.S. to bring her devoted clientele current trends, but her personal service – like glasses of Champagne as they shop – are the extra touches that endear her clientele.

Scott Lyall was inspired by his mother to get into fashion. He opened a store in Benecia in 1981 but moved to San Francisco in 1986. In 1992, he closed that store and went into women’s wholesale goods where he negotiated private labels that were produced in San Francisco long before high tech ruled. He followed his mother’s lead and features premier fashion attire, specializing in sportswear.

Both find business challenging, especially with the popularity of online shopping, but also recent fires. Much of their business is from tourists, however, and the future looks bright.


Article By: Paul Franson