Our new “Exploring Local Treasures” series will profile signature Gahanna, Ohio businesses and their owners, offering a little background about these gems that draw both visitors and locals. The first post in the series is written by Karen Eylon, former director of the Gahanna Convention & Visitors Bureau and Gahanna expert.
Barbara. The name is fitting, as it’s typically associated with individuals who have a deep desire to express themselves, create, and yearn to have beauty around them. You’ll know it’s true the moment you meet Barbara Drobnick and step into her heady shop known as Honey Grove Botanicals. It’s just like her – lovely and a delight for the senses and soul.
Barbara has been studying, visioning and creating holistic bath and beauty products for more than 20 years. This one-time banker put her calculator aside to follow a deep-rooted passion, only she didn’t realize it at the time. On a quest to research earth friendly skin care products for her husband’s business, she was transported back to her childhood, her mother’s green thumb and subsequent herbal remedies. As she read, the more she realized that the holistic approach coined “new age” or “alternative,” was actually age-old wisdom. In fact, the insight from her mother’s remedies would guide her on her own herbal journey. Although she may not share her mother’s gardening prowess, Barbara has an ingenious command of herbs and their many uses to cleanse, calm, soothe, heal, and invigorate.
It didn’t take long before she has hooked. This science hound found a new calling and began experimenting in her kitchen. The moment that her soap began to “trace” (a term meaning to thicken) was a thrill that energizes her to this day. Bath soap led to lip balm and now the shop is filled with varieties of beautiful handmade soaps, soy candles, bath confections, body scrubs, lotions, body butters, bath salts, oils and more. As she imagines, new products find their way to the shelves.
Honey Grove Botanicals is an integral stop on Gahanna’s Herbal Trail. With that, I asked if she had a favorite herb, as I assumed that it would be hard to choose from so many. Her quick and unexpected answer: calendula. Barbara’s calendula butter is a top seller, especially this time of year, as it heals and protects the skin like no other product. She stumbled upon this powerhouse of an herb, while researching ingredients for a diaper rash cream alternative for her newborn son. Don’t be fooled, as its uses greatly expand beyond a baby’s bum. She gets a kick out of the “look how you fixed my” stories from customers.
In keeping with her name, Barbara’s creativity doesn’t end with her. In fact, she encourages her patrons to explore and express, as well. She has more than 400 essential oils on hand to help customers create distinctive fragrances and signature lotions, as well as “mix your own” bath salt and bath tea stations. To some, her wealth of knowledge may be intimidating, but it’s not. In fact, her folksy wisdom, warm smile and easy presence create an environment that is energizing. When in her shop, I always linger and discover, as I embrace my inner herbal artist and relish being a “Barbara,” if only for a little while.
Honey Grove Botanicals
121 Mill St #126 Gahanna, OH 43230 (614) 638-7809
Hours: Mon-Wed 2-7, Thus-Sat 2-8, Sun Closed