November 26 is Small Business Saturday, the day that you are encouraged to support your local businesses and business owners and kick off your holiday shopping! Findlay and Hancock County is home to so many great small businesses and we want you to get to know the men and women behind them. So, instead of just celebrating Small Business Saturday we are celebrating Small Business Month and highlighting the different business owners that you may see behind a shop counter, at an event, or in the grocery store and their stories as part of our Community Spotlight Series. This week we are shining the spotlight on Jody Combs and Abby Anderson of RooBarb Studios!
Jody Combs has long been an entrepreneur, beginning when she was four and went door-to-door selling maple seeds with her neighbor…without her mother’s permission. Even when she was doing clerical work at Marathon, and later Wilson Vance and The Alliance, she always had something to sell. Jody had previously owned stores in Downtown Findlay – Just for Friends in the Blackburn block and The Sweet Shoppe next door in the 80’s and she later had a store in rural Hancock County called Saltbox Overnorth. Throughout the years Jody has always enjoyed creating items, especially jewelry. So when her daughter, Abby Anderson, showed a talent and interest in hand stamping jewelry they paired up and began selling it together. Working out of their homes and selling the jewelry online and at special shows the demand grew to the point where Abby and Jody needed studio space. They purchased the storefront on the 600 block of South Main Street in Downtown Findlay to do just that, but they realized that doing retail in addition to using the work space made sense and, in November 2014, RooBarb Studios was born. RooBarb may seem like a unique name, and it is, as well as deeply personal. The store is named after Jody’s parents’ , Roosevelt and Barbara’s, nickname.
Day-to-day work is often very busy for Jody and Abby. Abby works as an electrician for H&R Electric as well as doing most of the stamping on the jewelry, while Jody does a lot of the finish work, shapes the metal, and works at the store full-time alongside the store manager, Mary Duffy. Making each piece of jewelry even more unique are the hammers Abby and Jody use which belonged to Roosevelt. Each piece is made individually by hand, and each is original, complete with the slight imperfections that make them little pieces of art. In fact, designing each customized piece of jewelry is Jody’s favorite part of the job. Many times customers come to the store with an idea but don’t know if it is possible to do locally, Jody works with them and figures it out. She says watching customers faces light up when they are able to put together a plan is the most rewarding part of her job. While Jody and Abby have a full stock of pre-stamped bangles with some favorite sayings available for cash and carry at the store, their custom jewelry is what stands them apart from the crowd – and has been a part of many memorable moments. Jewelry has been purchased to help families cope with a loss, play a pivotal role in an engagement, as a unique charm in a wedding bouquet, and even to raise money for a special cause. The every day moments are peppered with Jody and Abby’s work as well, their customized bangles and charms can have names of children or grandchildren stamped on them, the coordinates of a special location, a hidden message stamped on the inside of a bangle, names stamped on a ring, and so much more. If a customer can dream of an idea for a piece then Jody and Abby will try their best to make it happen.
It isn’t all work and no play for Jody and Abby. In between their busy careers they can both be found out and about in the community. As members of the Downtown Findlay community, they are strong supporters of the growth that has been occurring. One of Jody’s best memories from growing up is when she and her friends would “drive the circuit” in her father’s turquoise 1956 Chevy and enjoy all that Downtown has to offer, which is something they can do once again with the revitalization (with a different car this time!). Jody enjoys dining at The Bistro on Main, one of her favorite restaurants, and attending as many Downtown events as possible. She is sure to never miss an ArtWalk, her favorite event, which she enjoys as a participant as well as a patron. Although Downtown Findlay is RooBarb’s home, the greater Hancock County has so much to offer, something Jody definitely recognizes. She loves taking advantage of the parks, especially Riverbend with her dog, Lula. She finds that the reservoir is incredibly peaceful and is able to enjoy the deer and wildlife in the woods, she names it as a must-see during every season.
While Jody has been a Findlay staple for years, her talents are not contained to just Hancock County. Her and Abby’s jewelry, is sold across the country; but Jody was also a published writer in the 80’s and 90’s. During that time she served as a field editor for a publishing company out of New York City and her articles were featured in magazines like Country Accents, Country Decorating Ideas, Country Sampler, and Country Kitchens. Although she may not now write articles, Jody does design wedding invitations and custom stationery and other paper goods. In addition the the jewelry and paper goods, RooBarb does retail and sells locally-focused gifts as well as unique gifts, candles, home decor, and so much more. Stop in and check out the cash and carry selections as well as the gift options this holiday season!
You can find Jody and Abby at RooBarb Studios, located at 622 South Main Street in Downtown Findlay. RooBarb Studios is open Thursday – Friday, 11 a.m. – 6 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m. – 3 p.m., and by appointment. You can contact RooBarb Studios by email or by message on Facebook.
Don’t miss out on other community members we have highlighted through the community spotlight series, like fellow small business owner Doris Schumacher. Make sure to support small businesses this holiday season by shopping local, especially on Small Business Saturday. Check back to VisitFindlay.com often for more information on ways to support small businesses this holiday season!