COLUMBUS, Ohio — A Columbus artist made a decision so many have had to make during the COVID-19 pandemic: she's closing down her brick-and-mortar business.
And Dawn McCombs made the difficult announcement on, of all days, Small Business Saturday.
Glean opened in 2013 on North High Street. McCombs wanted to celebrate all things creatively repurposed: quirky objects, antique tchotchkes and bath and body products.
"I really got to know many of my customers," McCombs said in a Zoom interview as she packed away her items from her store.
But being hands-on and up close with customers didn't translate in 2020.
"It was a very magical little store," she said. "But also the size of it doesn't lend itself well to COVID-19, because it's such a confined space."
In March, her business fell into a downward spiral. Once she could reopen, sales and foot traffic just weren't the same. Then, Franklin County turned "purple" on the Ohio Public Health Advisory System map. That signifies the highest level of exposure and spread. A stay-at-home advisory went into effect.
"I really struggled with the idea of keeping a store open under the guidelines from Franklin County that people should only go out for essentials or medical reasons," she said.
McCombs knew what she had to do. She posted online that her storefront was closing, and her sales would move 100 percent online. She said she had no choice.
"As sad as a realization as that is, that's just the times that we're living in right now," she said.
But she's not doing it alone. Mentors are helping her through this. And she might be giving up her store, but she's holding onto something more important.
"I do have a lot of faith that this is going to turn out really well," she said. "It might turn into something far greater than I ever imagined."
McCombs wants to thank the Short North community for supporting her over the years. She says there is nothing like that neighborhood.
"Even though it’s come to this, I would not have been able to hang in as long as I have without them," she said. "Speaking completely from the heart, I feel Columbus, especially the Short North, has just been tremendous."
You can find more information and the items that Glean is selling by clicking here.