By ANGIE ZAM
Entrepreneur Micah Roberts is making her dream a reality with the opening of her storefront, Erie & Anchor, in downtown Vermilion.
As a teen, the dream was a children’s shop, but that concept evolved over the years. For a while, she considered curating other retailers’ offerings in her own shop.
Finally – when designs weren’t exactly what she wanted and fabrics just weren’t soft enough – she set out to create her own brand.
Erie & Anchor began with a website in December of 2017 then went for a more hands-on connection.
“We were fortunate enough to get into the big summer markets,” Roberts said. “Avon Lake Summer Market was really our first big break.”
Avon Lake and Huron Lake Front Market were the brand’s first chances to showcase the product line – beachy tees, preppy sweatshirts and all variety of nautical accessories and gifts.
But beyond the sales, the markets were important to Roberts for the connections she made.
One example is Erin Stack, owner of blog and brand Coastal Cleveland and one of the market founders.
“We meet up on a monthly basis to speak about our businesses. It’s been a really wonderful and surprising relationship,” Roberts said. “Some people would look at us as two Lake Erie brands looking to compete but there’s really space for both of us.”
Another friend and collaborator is Marcy Hoke, whose handmade driftwood sailboats are on display in the store.
“It’s amazing how many women that are working moms do these side hustles,” Roberts said.
And that’s just what Erie & Anchor is for Roberts, mom of three. She has a full-time gig in medical sales and her husband, Tim, is an architect.
In three short weeks, he replaced the multiple flooring options in the space with a solid, wood look, covered the walls in shiplap and built multiple displays to bring Erie & Anchor’s timeless, classic, nautical aesthetic to life in the space at 5499 Liberty Ave.
“It’s definitely been a labor of love and I’m so fortunate my husband is so handy,” Roberts said. “He has been amazing.”
Of course, with three kids, two full time jobs and a budding business, balance has been a concern over the years.
“You do have to be really organized and make sure that you prioritize. There have been times when we’ve had to pull back. Family first,” she said. “If you have a really good group of people surrounding you, you will be able to achieve everything.”
According to Roberts, that just what she has.
She credits her in-laws in Berlin Heights, parents and sister in Bowling Green, her kids and countless friends for making it all possible. In fact, working alongside her own parents in their businesses growing up helped set the stage for her success today.
“Having that engagement in their businesses helped me feel like, ‘OK, I can do this’,” she said. “There’s no better feeling as a parent than creating that environment for your children.”
The shop opened for the Vermilion Ice Affair Jan. 21 – a sneak peek event that turned into the brand’s biggest sales day ever.
“When you have strangers come in and rave about the space, rave about the products and logo. It’s unbelievable,” Roberts said. “It’s all kind of coming together.”
The shop has been open weekends only but the grand opening celebration is coming up March 21-22. From 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. there will be discounts, giveaways and several raffle baskets to help introduce Erie & Anchor to the community.
After the grand opening, the shop will be open Thursdays through Sundays with more days added in May.
“We are looking forward to summer,” Roberts said.
And they aren’t the only ones.
“We are so excited to have Erie & Anchor open a storefront in Vermilion,” said Sandra Coe, executive director of the Vermilion Chamber of Commerce. “Such a fun, unique store geared towards the love of Lake Erie. Micah and her team are very helpful and always greet you with a smile. We are so happy they dropped anchor in Vermilion.”
Lake Erie Foundation
Erie & Anchor is inspired by Micah Roberts’ love of Lake Erie. To help maintain this great resource, the brand donates 5% of sales to the Lake Erie Foundation. The Lake Erie Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization established in 2016 to sustain and protect the waters of Lake Erie and serves as an advocate for economic sustainability, legal defense, education, outreach and innovative sustainable technology. For information, visit lakeeriefoundation.org.
Avon Lake Summer Market
The Summer Market – in its 15th year – offers a unique, waterfront setting to shop for furniture, architectural salvage, vintage finds, art and jewelry, coastal decor, fresh produce and a variety of other goods from more than 120 vendors. The event runs 4 to 9:30 p.m. Saturday, July 18, and 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Sunday, July 19. Black River Landing, 421 Black River Lane, Lorain. For information, visit thesummermarket.com.
Lake Front Market
Lake Front Market is an open-air marketplace featuring Ohio-based food trucks, live music and kids’ activities from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, June 13, at Lake Front Park in Huron. For information, visit huron.net.