Alive & Unedited: Gabe Sturgess

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Age: 34

Day job: general manager, Clintonville Community Market

Neighborhood: Upper Arlington

Hometown: Newark


Gabe Sturgess has become a Clintonville standby. After extended stints at Studio 35 and Sunflower Natural Foods, his newest gig is managing the Clintonville Community Market, a member-owned grocery store that specializes in organic offerings. He spoke more about fixing cars, raising chickens and helping his community.

I'm originally from Newark, but I've been hanging out in Columbus since I was, like, 14. I was up here going to shows and stuff. After I graduated high school, I came up here to go to college. I really liked it here, so I stayed.

One project I'm working on is gearing our house to be more self-sustaining. We have rain barrels to water our garden. We have chickens giving us eggs. We have chickens giving us compost for our garden. My goal is to have a couple rooms lit up by solar energy.

Raising chickens in your backyard is really easy. We named them after our grandmothers: Ada and Gladys. They get a little grumpy if you don't let them out when the sun rises. Sitting in the backyard, playing horseshoes and watching your Rottweiler play with your chickens is a pretty good summer.

One of my favorite things to do is primitive camping. My girlfriend and I have a cabin out in the woods that her father built. It just has a room and basically a wood-burning stove. We'll go out there and stay for two or three days out in the middle of nowhere. There's so many stars out there. You can just breathe.

My favorite thing about Columbus is the people. I've been here long enough and been lucky enough to work in local businesses for an extended period of time. I think there are a lot of good people here. I think there's a lot of creativity here.

One thing that has surprised me about the market is how in tune the community is to this place. I didn't realize how a store means so much to so many people. I think it's a beautiful thing.

One thing I'm really good at is fixing things. When I was a kid out riding my bike, I'd find a TV in the trash can, take it home and electrocute myself. Half the time I would fix old clock radios, televisions and stereos. I pride myself that I can fix just about anything that's broken.

I've had a 1965 Mustang coupe for 12 years now. Right now, I'm rebuilding the carburetor. It's the car that I've always wanted. If I had a million dollars and I had 10 cars of my choice regardless of price, I would still have a '65 Mustang, black with black interior.

I learned to work on cars through advice from some friends and trial and error. And just out of necessity sometimes. You buy your first $500 car, and it's like, "Am I gonna walk or am I gonna figure out how to fix this thing?" I had quite a few $500 cars.

The best advice I've ever received is from my mother. She gave me two ceramic candles and she said, "Always remember that there are two sides to everything." In my life, I always try to see other people's perspectives. I try to see through other people's eyes.

Know someone doing great things in Columbus? E-mail John Ross at