BY SHERI TRUSTY
In the summer of 2013, a friend encouraged Dina Rodgers to open a retail shop in downtown Port Clinton. Rodgers had always wanted to own a business, so she made the plunge and opened Lilly & Gert’s in just two weeks. Now she is bringing that same passion to her new location in the Port Clinton Plaza.
Lilly & Gert’s moved to 1622 East Perry Street during Memorial Day weekend. The shop joins a number of other popular businesses in that area, including Slater’s Food & Spirits, Visions VR, Bassett’s Hardware & City Market, Jolly Roger’s Seafood House, and The Ice Shanty.
“After being downtown for nine years, I wanted to bring our focus and energy to uptown,” Rodgers said. “There are a lot of great establishments here, and we wanted to add retail to that.”
Lilly & Gert’s offers a variety of personal, gift and home products, including furniture, glassware, candles, plants and jewelry.
“I have a lot of locally-handcrafted and vintage items and a lot of local art,” Rodgers said. “We sell seasonal and holiday items.”
Rodgers created a play area in the store where children can have fun while their parents shop.
“Kids can touch everything here. There’s an art center, so they can cut, paste, color and paint,” Rodgers said.
In the midst of the children’s section is a jewelry bar for ages three and up.
“I teach you how to make jewelry,” Rodgers said. “I’ve had grandmothers and granddaughters make matching bracelets and even had little boys make jewelry for their moms. It’s amazing to watch the kids and see what they create.”
From its earliest days, Lilly & Gert’s has been committed to hands-on engagement in the community. Rodgers recently provided decorating services for the Port Clinton Area Arts Council (GPCAAC) fundraiser, and the shop serves as a ticket sales location for GPCAAC events and Playmakers Civic Theatre performances. Lilly & Gert’s supports many organizations and school groups.
“Having Lilly & Gert’s provides me with the opportunity to give back to the community,” Rodgers said. “We love to provide donations to different charitable needs and events.”
Evidence of Rodger’s passion for community support can be found right inside her store where she provides a venue for local artists to sell their creations.
“I’m an artist myself, and I wanted to provide a place for artists to showcase their art,” she said.
Rodgers is thankful for the many loyal customers who followed her to Lilly & Gert’s new location, and she has been excited to meet the new customers who have discovered her now that she is uptown.