Olfactory factory

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Her husband calls it "the Barbie house," where Barb Drobnick heads to have fun.

Making and selling bath and body products in a cheerfully updated 1850s stagecoach stop delights Drobnick. And for her family, it's even better than having all the fun happen at their home, where she worked for a decade before opening her Gahanna store three years ago.

"It was getting to where people were showing up to my house and saying, 'I'd like to see what this smells like,'" she said. "It's like, 'It's dinner time.'"

Her calendula - a cure-all lotion that Drobnick suggests for anything from diaper rash to dry skin - was just as popular when she created it 11 years ago as it is now.

The scrubs, sprays and cupcake-shaped "bubble cakes" she's come up with since are similarly all-natural and meant to make you feel good, in body and mind.

The centerpiece of the store is a section with three "bars" that beckon eager noses and chapped skin. Drobnick, a certified aromatherapist, puts the picking and choosing in people's hands, something shoppers aren't used to, she said.

Wide-mouthed glass jars of fruit-scented sea salts can be scooped into plastic bottles like sand art. Dried lavender rose petals and oats are ready to be scented with essential oils.

Most impressive are the tiny bottles lined up on the Fragrance Bar, from "anise" to "soapy clean." Customers can mix and match the fragrances to scent any of Drobnick's lotion and bath products, from massage oil to sea salt to misting lotion.

Almost anything in the store is similarly customizable for allergies or lifestyle choices. Drobnick's even been known to recreate name-brand lotions and scents, replacing the ingredients with natural substitutes as necessary.

Her soy candles of every imaginable scent line an entire wall. Each burns clean and burns for days, she said. Other products are scattered on shelves and in baskets around the shop. Everything's made in the building's back room, save for the attention-intense soaps she still makes at home.

Drobnick also showcases products from several local crafters, including decorated concrete garden stones from the Creative Stone Company in Westerville and stone-centric jewelry from Trinkets from the Heart, made in Reynoldsburg.

Honey Grove Botanicals

74 Mill St., Gahanna


Web: honeygrovebotanicals.com