Local business spotlight of the week

Mackenzie Pflum, Reporter

“Oh my goodness, i’m so obsessed.” This sentence exited my mouth more times than I can count while inside the local Knick Knack gift shop, Fig & Oak, in downtown Ashland. 

If you’re like me, then you’re a sucker for unique local shops that you walk in not needing to buy anything, but you walk out with a number of things that you just had to have. Fig & Oak on Main Street is exactly that place. 

I walked into the store on a cool autumn weekday and met a kind employee who was an absolute ray of sunshine, Rachel Barr. Rachel is the sister of the store owner Julie Mitchell. Rachel helps to run the store with others in the family. She explained to me the idea behind opening Fig & Oak, and where the name came from. 

“Fig would be Julie and Oak would be John, her husband. He is in woodwork and has his own business called Oakhill Design which is where this branched off from. It’s a husband and wife team and our family helps her run it,” she said.

Rachel then went on to explain their mission statement. “So Shop with Purpose is our mission statement because most of the items in here give back to other things. They all have stories behind them, whether its suicide awarenss or giving clean water to homeless shelters and certain things like that.”

Fig & Oak celebrated their three year anniversary in July. Giving back was the main goal of opening the store. “Our family was always really purpose driven and wanted to give back and know others who want to give back too, but don’t they know how or where to go or if it’s trustworthy or what not,” said Rachel. She explained that her family is very eccentric and quirky so they try to pick out fun, unique items that give back and are cool! The best of both worlds.

Not just because I am a sucker for candles, but also because of the meaning behind them, the Happy Thoughts Candle Co candle collection was my absolute favorite item. The candles all have unique scents like black cherry merlot, cowboy, or mid summertime night. They also include inspirational phrases or sayings that made me smile. The candles all have a summary on the back on what is behind the company, which is spreading happy thoughts and positivity. 20 percent of proceeds go towards suicide prevention, which pulled at my heart strings and I ended up buying two!

Fig & Oak has items for everyone. They had snacks if you’re hungry, toys for kids and animals, clothes, hats, decorations, you name it. Each item that you see is labeled with some kind of tag that lets you know what your purchase is helping. In this picture, these baby and toddler eating utensils, help to give meals to a child. It is a special touch that makes Fig & Oak an experience, not just a store.

The last place to give back after checking out at Fig & Oak takes place right next to the register. After you make a purchase, you’ll be handed a wooden chip to place in one of these three boxes. The boxes are labeled with different charities that are changed from time to time. Your job is to pick which one of those boxes to place your wood chip in and a portion of the sale will go to the one you pick! 

Fig & Oak does a great job at making things personal and paying attention to details. Rachel explained to me they travel to big markets in big cities and try to find the right connections and do a lot of research to know what they want in the store. The owners are particular and want the best fit for the store and do a great job of bringing different items in  consistently to keep things new and unique! You can follow Fig & Oak on social media at @figandoakshop and visit the store at 100 W Main Street in downtown Ashland, Ohio. Rachel