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Dis 'n' Data
By Margaret Marten, Editor
November/December 2015


Righno Menswear Boutique
The location of a new men’s boutique, Righno, is slightly off the beaten path in the Short North, as is the merchandise that lines Righno’s shelves and clothing racks, according to owner Corey Bee. Housed in a former attorney’s office at 22 East Fourth Ave. right off High Street by Michael’s Goody Boy Restaurant, Righno’s inventory of men’s apparel reflects the quality of European, Australian and West Coast style – inventory you won’t easily find elsewhere in the region (except Bee’s other shop in Indianapolis). The name, a variant of rhino, suggests strength and perseverance – qualities Bee needed while honing his skills to become a 27-year-old Short North business owner. “I always wanted a shop in the Short North,” he said, “as long as I can remember.” With a passion for fashion, Bee began work in retail when he was 19 at Ruehl No. 925 in Easton Town Center. He transferred to the West Coast and worked for another Ambercrombie & Fitch brand, Hollister Co. at the Fashion Island Mall in Newport Beach, before returning to Ohio in 2009 when he started an online T-shirt company, Enue, while continuing in retail work. His current apparel line, BASE, is part of the store’s
inventory. “I’m kind of a gypsy,” said Bee, while relating his work history. In fact, the fashion industry appeals to him for the same reasons as the gypsy life – movement and change. “It’s the only industry that I can think of that is constantly, consistently changing,” said Bee. “It keeps you alive. You’re always able to bring in something new, try something new. See what people like, what people don’t like.” Bee loves to shop, and believes people are happy when they shop. “I’m all about good vibes, and good energy, and I think whenever someone’s shopping they’re in a good mood, and it’s just exciting.” His inventory includes skincare products, greeting cards and other lifestyle merchandise for men. The quaint 1000-foot space embodies the idea of a local small boutique with personality. If you’re a man looking for a distinctive style, these quaint spaces are the places to honor. “Everything that I have in here, every brand that I carry,” said Bee, “I absolutely adore.” Righno is open Monday through Saturday 11 to 7, and Sunday 11 to 5. Visit or call 614-914-8999 to learn more.

Samson: A Men’s Emporium
Another shop featuring menswear opened in September at 772 N. High St. next to Torso. Samson: A Men’s Emporium features a lush assortment of classic casual attire and accessories. The place is stocked with basic, sophisticated quality merchandise. You’ll find the sweater, shirt, slacks or jacket that will probably last for years and never go out of style. The floor space is shared with T. David Collection, so your shopping experience is enhanced by a combination of clothes with gorgeous furniture and household accessories. Owner Travis Samson, 40, managed Union Cafe (located a few doors north) for many years before fulfilling his dream to open the men’s store. In his youth, he planned to be a doctor, even completing a pre-med degree in biology at Marshall University. But after taking stock of the situation – listening to his heart as well as the discouraging advice of a physician friend – he changed his mind during the application process. “Everything was coming into alignment,” said Samson, “and I started doing my applications and just started sweating and shaking. And it was like ‘I don’t want to do this.’” Meanwhile, he knew that his life as a gay man in rural West Virginia had no future, so he moved to Columbus and took a desk job at Nationwide – loved the city but hated the job. Subsequent work in real estate sales and restaurant management were much more fulfilling. “I love to entertain,” said Samson. “I always think of all the little things before people need it. I can usually look at something on a person’s face and tell what they’re in need of.” But after 14 years, mostly in the food industry, and an encroaching 40-year birthday, Samson felt he had learned all he could at the restaurant, and wouldn’t be able to move around continually on his feet all day forever, so now he would do what he really wanted to do. But it took some soul-searching, he says, before he understood that. Owning a shop like his grandfather’s furniture store had always resonated with him. After considering a bakery or a men’s clothing store, the clothing won out, even though he was a little hesitant at first. “Girls worry about clothes, guys don’t worry about clothes. I think that was always kind of, you know, a little bit in my mind. It took growing up to feel like, oh my gosh, I can do whatever I want to do.” While researching to open the store, he examined old photos of his grandfather and uncles and saw that their style was his own. “That time was just such a classic period. People cared about how they look, and their hair was done or they were wearing a hat. I like that put-together look whether it’s classic dress or it’s classic casual.” Yet, he emphasizes that he was raised in the country where one rarely sees men dressing really well. “I grew up around flannels and hunting coats and camouflage. And I bring pieces of that into it because I have always gravitated to those looks, but a more tailored look,” he explained. “Camouflage is a really hot color and fabric right now and pattern choice. That’s been interesting.” Tom Crumley, the owner of T. David Collection, generously offered to share his floor space and split the expenses, making the life/work transition for Travis a lot easier. Two happy faces and plenty of breathtaking browsing await you at this destination. Samson is open Tuesday through Saturday 11-7, Sunday 12-5.
Contact Travis Samson at (614) 504-8038 or on Facebook.

Grid Furnishings
Grid Furnishings recently celebrated five years in business. Tim Friar operated Grid in the Short North for four years at 944 N. High (where Rocket Fizz is now located) before deciding to expand his inventory and reopen in Worthington last July. The business, now at 661 High St., sells modern American-made furniture and custom-made Ohio furniture. The grand opening and anniversary celebration showcased a solo exhibit of paintings by Kirsten Bowen, a New York artist and 1989 CCAD graduate, featuring text by noted poets and songwriters. The exhibit runs through the end of this year. Friar is an art enthusiast and organized some wonderful shows while operating Grid Furnishings in the Short North.

Rigsby’s Kitchen
Come February 2016, Rigsby’s Kitchen, located in the Short North at 698 N. High St., would have been in business for 30 years, but the restaurant closed the first week of November. The Facebook page contains a farewell statement, expression of gratitude, hint of future projects, but no explanation for the close from owner Kent Rigsby. The strain and pain of parting from a familiar world inhabited by multitudes – streams of distinguished diner/friends flowing in and out day after day, year after year – is hard to imagine. And the faithful employees, like family, with their own pains and joys, left behind. Rigsby the man is a master of the makeover and will surely reinvent himself again. In the post, he maintains enthusiasm: “I look forward with energy and excitement to my next professional challenge. There will soon be a new curtain rising on my next act.”

New Life Pastor Steps Down
Another transitioning member of the Short North community who, like Kent Rigsby, has fed the multitudes for decades is Rev. Jennifer Kimball Casto. After 20 years, Casto delivered her last sermon at New Life United Methodist Church on October 25, 2015 (video on their FB page). Located at 25 W. Fifth Ave., New Life has been ministering to the poor and homeless in the Short North neighborhood for over 100 years, providing meals, clothing, and medical attention. Casto was 28 when they appointed her as their first female pastor. “They were a little concerned that a petite woman wouldn’t be able to manage a roomful of mostly men,” said Casto, “and especially that I was young.” But the congregation gave her a chance and she won them over a few months into the job after breaking up a fight in an alley. She and her husband Bill will leave the Short North when she is appointed to another church. “It was a very difficult decision,” she said, “when I felt that God was telling me that it was time to move on.”

Other developments, possibly described in greater detail in upcoming issues, are the following: Chunky Armadillo is opening this month in the original pm gallery location next to Mike’s Grill at 726 N. High, selling repurposed gifts, furniture and apparel. A kids clothing store Cubshrub is now operating at 749 N. High in the space formerly occupied by Mac Worthington. A unique heritage office supply company, Robert Mason, will open soon at 17 Brickel St. Owner Robert Grimmett has done a lot of self-promotion in the past, so there is a plethora of articles online about his business. Joseph Editions at 17 W. Russell St. is a new Pizzuti enterprise providing printmaking and artwork. Corepower Yoga will be based in the Pizzuti’s office building, The Joseph at 629 N. High soon. On the fringe of Italian Village is a new boutique plant shop, Stump, located at 305 E. Fifth Ave., selling interior plants and wares. Buns & Brews is another eatery we will learn more about later. It’s located at 1205 N. High where the pizza place and Short North Coffee house are also under construction.


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