BY D’ARCY PATRICK EGAN
Marlene Webb has become an expert at turning trash into treasures for more than 37 years at Lene’s Web in the Village of Oak Harbor.
“I love visiting with people, and showing them the treasures I have collected over the years. They’re on display in my barn, in hopes my customers can see the financial or emotional value in them,” said Webb, 78.
Lene’s Web is located at 11313 West Elmore Eastern Road, south of the Village of Oak Harbor and the Portage River and west of Route 19.
Webb’s store is more like a museum than an auction barn, she says.
“When people visit Lene’s Web, I don’t need them to buy anything. I just love people coming to visit, to reminisce about items that were created a long time ago.”
Many visitors have an appreciation for old-time appliances and lamps, cookware, home furnishings and souvenir items from their good, old days, or that were favorites of their parents, grandparents and aunts and uncles.
“If an item is something your kids, relatives or a friend might want, buy it for them,” said Webb. “But always make sure it’s something the the recipient would appreciate and keep.”
Over the years, Webb has worked at a local bank, been a country babysitter, made wedding cakes and more. These days, making a lot of money isn’t her big goal.
“My goal is to spend a little at garage and yard sales and auction houses, then sell items to support Lene’s Webb store. It doesn’t have to be for a lot of cash, especially if it makes someone happy.”
Webb wishes she had more time to meet and greet people around Ottawa County, whether she wants to sell some of her favorite items or collectibles or to make a bargain purchase on some back road in t the country.
Her husband, Bill, has provided financial and moral support for Lene’s Web while working for Materion Brush Beryllium & Composites in Elmore. Their barn is not heated, she said, so they time off when the snow flies.
“I started selling unique things out of our garage, then out of a barn out back on our property. The first barn burned 22 years ago,” she said. “I’m still selling old farm and home tools, pieces of wood used for crafting and most anything that can be repurposed.”
Family means the world to Webb, especially her two sons, a daughter-in-law and four grandkids.
“Growing up, the boys used to love playing out in the barn, and making some dimes and nickels with a lemonade stand out by the road. St. Lutheran Church and teaching Sunday school helps me to keep going as long as I can.”