PORT CLINTON – A dream shared with her late father and a Put-In-Bay vacation inspired Mollie Alban to move to Marblehead and open a furniture and clothing shop in Port Clinton.
Alban, who has a fashion merchandising background, had long wanted to open her own store. On June 1, her dream became her reality when Little Shop By The Lake opened in the Port Clinton Plaza.
“My dad and I had a plan to open a store, but that fell through,” Alban said. “Then my dad passed away in 2017.”
Alban still carried that dream when a friend suggested she travel from her home in Cincinnati for a Put-In-Bay vacation.
“I had never been in this area, and I was really overwhelmed when I got up here. It’s amazing and peaceful. Everyone is really friendly, and I like being around people who want to engage,” Alban said. “Last year, I camped with my kids and mom on Put-In-Bay, and I thought I could really see myself moving up here.”
Little Shop By The Lake sells gently used clothing, from casual daywear to formal dresses, and home décor items, such as handmade, lake-themed pottery pieces. The shop offers an eclectic mix of vintage furniture, including mid-century, modern, art deco and French provincial pieces.
“I carefully select every item,” Alban said. “I have someone who goes to auctions for me and sends me photos to see what I want.”
Alban sells a wide variety of furniture, including couches, tables, chairs, desks and buffets.
“I like having unique, different things, and I love the Bohemian look. My items are affordable,” she said. “Eventually I will have newer furniture, too — I like to mix the old with the new. I’ll always be revamping the shop.”
Customers Debra Weigel of Catawba and Kristi Strakowski of Cincinnati were impressed with the shop when they visited on June 16. Strakowski said she especially liked the mix of furniture.
“It’s beautiful,” Weigel said of the shop. “I’m going to have to bring my husband back.”
Alban partnered with her friend, Tani Thomas of Cincinnati, to bring the “E Pluribus ltd.” hand-poured, scented candle line to Little Shop By The Lake. The candles are made of pure soy, chemical-free fragrances and cotton wicks. They feature lake themes and come with drink/wine charms.
“Tani personalizes them, but the quality is what’s most important to me,” Alban said.
Alban and Thomas plan to offer “Pour and Take By The Lake” candle-making classes exclusively at Little Shop By The Lake.
“In the future, customers will be able to make candles and other crafts here,” Alban said.
It was the lakeside friendliness that attracted Alban to the area, and she has found that same kindness surrounding her since she arrived. Not only have local residents welcomed her to the area, but State Sen. Theresa Gavarone, R-Bowling Green, sent Alban a letter of recognition in honor of the opening of her shop.
“The welcome I’ve gotten here is something I want to give back,” Alban said. “Everyone has been so supportive.”
Contact correspondent Sheri Trusty at [email protected].