Online shops meet real world in Marysville’s Uptown District

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Goodies Galore owner Katie Rappleye is pictured at the counter of her shop on East Fifth Street. She said keeping the business in the Uptown was important to her, since she doesn’t like seeing shops leave the area’s historic buildings “to rot.”

(Journal-Tribune photo by Will Channell)

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Last year, Union County resident Dawn Combs took a leap.

She’d been the owner of an online and traveling business for more than 15 years. Her farm on Burns Road, Mockingbird Meadows, produces honey and herb-based remedies

“We’ve spent most of our time on our online platform, and we’ve done farmers markets and things around the Columbus area,” Combs said. “We were looking for a change … our kids were getting older and wanting to be more involved in the business.”

Late last year, the mother of two opened Soda Pharm on Main Street. It’s an offshoot of her online business. She makes sodas made from her various organic herbs and spices.

Combs is just one of several formerly online-only business owners using Marysville’s Uptown as a place to test operating from a brick and mortar store.

“That’s what my kids wanted to do. They wanted to open a soda shop,” she said. “And they felt that they needed to be downtown.”

Paula Lynch, owner of East Fifth Street antique shop Plumm Home, said she operated a shop on Etsy, an app that allows people to set up online stores to sell wares.

“I think the shop being here has helped with the foot traffic,” Lynch said.

Lynch said when she opened her shop about two years ago, the only other antique shop was Uptown Antiques on Main Street.

“I hope that I’m providing kind of a different taste,” Lynch said. “I think we complement each other really well.”

Miranda Hoyt, owner of Kendall and Blue Boutique on East Fifth Street, said her business partner, Jamie Snow, started an online store about a year and a half ago. After Hoyt came on, she said she and Snow decided to take a chance and open up a physical shop.

“We just wanted to bring stylish, affordable, unique clothing to Marysville,” Hoyt said.

Hoyt said she appreciates the family-friendly atmosphere of the Uptown. The various events the City of Marysville hosts bring foot traffic to all the stores.

“We feel like we’ve been really blessed with community support,” Hoyt said.

Lisa Rausch Arnold said she’s spent her whole life in Marysville. She opened her store, The Little Blue Boutique on East Fifth Street, just before Christmas last year. She said the boom the Uptown is seeing helped convince her to open a shop.

“I know the Uptown has a lot of potential,” she said. “There’s a lot of growth going on.”

The proximity to her home was what made her seek out a location Uptown. Its location near local restaurants helped, too.

“I absolutely love the building,” Lynch said. “I think we’re in a good location as far as the restaurants and so forth.”

In the basement of Kendall and Blue is a business that has been around for years. Katie Rappleye is the new owner of Goodies Galore. She’s only owned it for about a month after purchasing it from its previous owners, Joe and Georgia Duke. She’s revamped it as a more candy-focused shop.

She said her intent has always been to stay Uptown.

“I felt that it was very important to what Goodies (Galore) was,” Rappleye said.

For Rappleye, small businesses operating Uptown keep the local scene alive.

“I really love driving through little towns where the Uptown is really unique,” Rappleye said. “If we were to move to a new site, it really leaves all of this to rot.”

Rappleye said there’s something unique about smaller businesses occupying the historic buildings Uptown.

The relationship between the stores is one of camaraderie, rather than competition. Rappleye said now that there are several boutiques operating Uptown, the increased foot traffic raises everyone up.

“There’s room for everyone,” Rappleye said. “You could be mad and angry that another boutique is opening up, but you have different styles and different things to offer. The atmosphere is different in each one. We get traffic in our store because of the other stores.”

Combs said the community has been “amazing.” She said she enjoys speaking with customers every day. She said she’d spent years serving other communities.

“It was time for me to actually be able to do it in my own,” Combs said.

Rappleye said the more there is to do in the Uptown, the better it is for all the businesses.

“I wish that the buildings were all full of businesses,” Rappleye said.

 



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