Things We Love: Picks from Pat Schmucki Barker

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Pat Schmucki Barker co-foundedAlive in 1984 and served as editor for 10 years. Her career has included positions as public relations director at GSW, executive director of the Dublin Convention and Visitors Bureau and assistant director for TourismOhio, where she relished the opportunity to promote her home state. She lives in Upper Arlington with her husband, Brian, and daughter, Lily. Her son, Cole, is a junior at Clemson. Barker recently opened Fabtique, a new boutique at the Shops on Lane Avenue in Upper Arlington that she created with her partner, Amber Wilson. Here are a few of her favorite things.


I have always loved football. I played powderpuff at my high school in suburban Cleveland and am a long-suffering Browns fan. As an Ohio State alum, I love living so close to campus that we can ride our bikes to tailgates and games. Football also means Friday nights at Upper Arlington's Golden Bear stadium watching my friends' sons play. And, Thursday football is extra special since I get to watch my daughter cheer on her eighth grade team.

Seeing Columbus Emerge

When we startedAlive (my business partner was Phil Miller), it was actually calledDowntown Alive.We wanted to help nudge Downtown along by reporting on the emerging arts scene, development ideas being discussed, etc. Our first offices were in the Trautman building (which has been demolished to make way for an exciting apartment project) where we watched City Center rise out of a desolate space. We also covered the Short North, which was pretty rough at the time, but it was a blast being part of the first Gallery Hop and literally standing with a few dozen others as the first Doo Dah Parade marched by. It was slow-going for a long time, but Columbus has burst into an exciting city with a hopping Downtown, hot restaurant and bar scene and established and stable arts organizations.

Kayaking on the Scioto Downtown

Two of our favorite couples introduced us to kayaking on the Scioto River. They have become aficionados, purchasing their own kayaks and exploring the Scioto north of the O'Shaughnessy Reservoir, where they say it feels as if you are hundreds of miles from the city. As newbies, we rented from Olentangy Paddle, near the Audubon Center, where owner Lisa Daris set us up with kayaks and directions. Not to be missed: Bronze deer sculptures lounging along the banks of the Scioto.

It takes a Village of Women

Amber and I have been researching Fabtique for the past year, and in that process, we have relied on dozens of awesome people - mostly women (husband, builder, realtor and retail consultant are the exceptions!) - to help us make the dream a reality. I can't say enough about the joy it has brought sitting in my kitchen with strong, creative women brainstorming, researching brands and designing the space, the graphics, the business plan, the legal documents, the photography, the advertising and the marketing. This business is a true collaboration of wonderful people, and it could not have happened in a better city!