By Kristy Eckert
It's a tearful goodbye, this one, for several women whose worlds intersected in a little shop and consider their lives all the better because of it.
Powell home décor boutique Found is closing its doors at the end of March.
For six years, the upscale shop introduced Central Ohio to several swoon-worthy lines, from Simon Pearce dishware to Sferra bedding. But more than that, says owner Jana Leino, it birthed so much more-her as a businesswoman, others' careers and enduring friendships.
Anne Ciotola still remembers the first time she walked in.
Finally! she thought-a chic store in her own little downtown that could easily have been in New York, Chicago or abroad.
"My house thanks me every day," Ciotola says, laughing.
But as quickly as she laughs, she tears up, because Found, she says, also brought her a family. Ciotola is a photographer whose work ended up being showcased and sold in the store. And she has become so close with Jana and Jana's husband, David, that she and her husband are now the legal guardians of the four Leino children should something happen to their parents.
"I've got these amazing friends," Ciotola says. "I would not have this big part of my life (without Found). … It really has changed our lives."
Janet Feheley was designing clothing for her family when, while she was shopping in the store, Leino complimented her dress. When she learned Feheley had made it herself, Leino asked her to make a few pieces for the store. Feheley is now in demand as a custom clothier for more women in Columbus than she can keep pace with.
Leino gave her the courage to do something she long had dreamed of, she says. And she, too, got a handful of friends out of the deal.
"Sometimes it was like therapy to go to the store," Feheley says. "You would leave feeling so much better."
Mary Beckett was a shopper who became an employee who has now launched her own interior design business. As sad as it is to see the store close, she says, the next couple of months are not about mourning it, but noting all it has done. "It's a celebration," she says.
When the shop opened, David Leino, a longtime retail executive who had retired early, planned to run it himself. But six months in, he decided to return to work. His wife, who never had worked in retail, took over the shop.
Now, the woman who long said "I'm just a mom" (and who maintains a motherly love toward her longtime employees Amy Legg and Jennifer Bakewell, who she credits with much of the store's success) is a savvy negotiator and inventive shopkeeper who is mulling her next venture.
"What she's become is this helluva negotiator," David Leino says of his wife. "She is tough with her vendors and what she expects. She had people reporting to her and was responsible for their lives."
The shop was turning a profit five years in, Jana Leino says. And while it hasn't made a lot in the past two years, it wasn't losing money and has no debt, she says.
With her oldest child heading to college in a year and a half, Leino just wants to devote more time to him and her other children, she says-and mull her next venture.
She's not certain what it will be, but she is walking away with confidence.
"It's time for me to move on and do the next step," she says. "It's been a really fun adventure."
The shop will mark most of its inventory beginning half off Feb. 19.