Glean, a Short North gift shop specializing in locally made art from recycled and repurposed materials, is a little place with a lot of character. Step into the shop and your eyes immediately bounce from wall décor made from old license plates to candles in empty soup cans and jewelry with vintage findings. Gift givers will have no trouble finding something unique for any occasion.
Shop Owner Dawn McCombs opened Glean nearly 5 years ago after a long career as a classroom teacher. “I always enjoyed making things and being around creative people. At the time, I really wanted a career I was passionate about,” she says. Her personal creative history includes writing poetry, plays, and short stories during her time as an artist in New York. When she returned to Ohio and opened her shop, she invited her friends and local artists to fill the 200 square foot space first, focusing on products made from recycled supplies.
Dawn infuses care and intention into all things Glean, including choosing the name. The origin of the shop name is reminiscent of Dawn’s childhood in a farming community in northern Ohio. During the planting season, birds would glean the fields, supplementing their diets with leftover seeds. Dawn likens her artists to these birds, gleaning their environments to make beautiful art from discarded materials.
As a veteran business owner in the Short North, Dawn knows the importance of embracing change and being flexible. “When you own your own business, you think you’re in control,” she says. “But you have to consider your landlord, your environment, your neighborhood, and your customers at all times.” The area around Glean is currently under heavy construction, which could hinder foot traffic. But Dawn has found creative ways to keep customers walking through the door, including adding a rotating gallery, featuring local artists in her shop, being heavily involved with monthly Gallery Hop festivities, and collaborating with fellow business owners on special events.
Dawn operates Glean full time with some assistance from family, but confesses that the weeks get long and self-care has become even more vital to her. “It’s hard to step away when you wear so many hats,” she says. “But if you don’t, you close yourself off creatively. You have to get to a point where you feel like everything will be ok if you step away for a while.” Since opening Glean, Dawn started a biking ritual of 15-20 miles each morning, only taking time off for bad weather. The rides clear her mind and inspire her to make constant improvements to the shop.
Discover one of a kind gifts at Glean during their normal business hours: Tuesday-Saturday, 12pm-7pm, and Sunday 12pm-5pm. The shop recently expanded, tripling the square footage. New bath and body products, clothing, and accessories fill the larger space. Find out more about Glean’s artists and products on Facebook and Instagram.
Artists interested in having their product at Glean can send photographs and price points to firstname.lastname@example.org. Each product must have some element of recycled or repurposed materials.
Find out more about how Dawn is fusing sustainability with fun at Glean by visiting their website: www.shopglean.com.