Green Gallery Brings the Art World to Summit County
George W. Davis
A love of fabric and craftsmanship as well as a desire to own a retail store with broad appeal continue to propel local entrepreneur and green community leader Joan Smith despite the COVID-19 pandemic.
When the epidemic hit the world, Smith was forced to close the doors of her art studio Gallery 143 for two months in mid-March 2020. But with the help of her team of three artists and the encouragement of The store’s customer base, the 2,600-square-foot facility reopened last year in mid-May.
“Those who wish to return to work explained how we could navigate there, make ourselves and our customers safe,” said Smith, member of the board of directors of the Green Area Chamber of Commerce.
Smith is also the show director of the Green art-A-palooza festival on August 21 at Boettler Park and the Wilderfest festival on October 2 at Southgate Park behind the Twisted Olive restaurant. Both festivals will take place from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“To my surprise, the customers were supportive of us and wanted to make sure we stayed in business,” she said. “They said they wanted us to stay in business and urged us not to close because they love to shop here. Therefore, I think we survived the pandemic because our customers appreciate the store. It was a beautiful thing to see.
New Green Room chairman Josh Maximovich said Smith “is a woman at her word and has a great little store here.”
“She has championed the community and the Green Room for many years,” said Maximovich.
Smith loves fabrics of all kinds and is a longtime quilt maker whose mini quilt wall hangings are for sale in the store.
“What we have is personalized professional coaching so that we can do everything about coaching,” she said. “We offer a small amount of fine art prints and have fine art prints available to order from national printing houses.
“We have items from all over North America, including handcrafted jewelry; gift articles of glass, metal and wood; fiber art; small wall hangings; small hand puppets; pottery; and handbags.
She has items handmade by artists from all over the United States and Canada which wholesale to galleries. She also has works by some local artists on consignment.
The gallery deals with two American fair trade companies, who work with artists from other countries where they receive fair wages and enjoy good working conditions.
The gallery’s team of artists also exhibits his works.
Smith also owns commercial office cleaning Smith Janitorial and its division, Steamsmith Residential, commercial and residential carpet cleaning.
After her birth in Wheeling, West Virginia, her family lived in Cleveland, Wooster and Canton, where she graduated from Central Catholic High School and worked on the school’s cleaning crew to help with the costs of schooling.
Her husband, Jeffery, a Jackson High School graduate, worked part-time at Central, where he met his 44-year-old future wife.
After moving to Carrollton, she opened a small quilt shop, but soon suffered a broken back in a car accident, which ended the business. Once retrieved, the flame of owning a business was still burning.
In 1986, the Smiths opened their Smith Janitorial Service, from which Jeffery retired. Their only child, their son Jesse, now runs the business.
Joan Smith still owns the cleaning business, but in 1996, through her sister, she found a small retail store in Mount Vernon.
“It was exactly what I wanted,” she recalls.
Shortly thereafter, Mount Vernon owner Deana Glenn said the business was for sale and on Joan’s 40th birthday, the Smiths loaded a box truck with the contents of the shop and moved everything around. the garage of their green house “because I didn’t know what to do with it.
All the framing equipment, handcrafted merchandise, lighting fixtures, and exhibit pieces came to Green, including handcrafted artwork from artists from across the country.
They set up the store in a 500 square foot office at the bottom of a landscaped Akron building, then moved to another section of Green Plaza for three years before moving across the street. in another complex. At the request of the owner of the Green Plaza, she finally moved into the current storefront.
“This is my fourth and final location,” she said.
Besides her businesses and community involvement, Smith enjoys sewing, working in her flower gardens, spending time with her husband and their son’s family, including her daughter-in-law Stacey Smith, a health education teacher and stay-at-home mom. current, and grandchildren Osborn, Violet, Henry and Ivan.
“Being a grandmother trumps everything,” she said. “Probably being a grandma and then doing the store would be one and two. We started the store from scratch, which has been a labor of love. But these grandkids are really awesome. And they love it. grandmother’s store.
George W. Davis can be reached at: [email protected]