Columbus, Ohio USA
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Dis 'n' Data
By Margaret Marten, Editor
November 2010


The Short North Yankee Trader has seen its last Halloween. The legendary party supplier permanently closed its doors after nearly 45 years in its current location at 463 N. High St. across from the Convention Center. Sisters Debby Williams and Lynette Howard were raised in the carny supply trade but moved on to other professions before taking over the store after their mother, Edith “Edie” Holler, passed on ten years ago. Edie inherited the operation from her husband, Bob Holler, who died in 1976. His legacy as carny supplier began even earlier, before their marriage, back in the ‘50s. The old building, which includes one of the first elevators in Columbus, and loads of character (not just realtor jargon), is up for sale. The Yankee sisters deserve a standing ovation for their incomparable contribution to Columbus in keeping our celebratory spirit alive and well-supplied with their imaginative, humorous and provocative hand-picked products for so many years. Our hearts are heavy but hopeful that the building will sell well and bring in a prosperous future for the two Great Gals of Carny Heritage.

The Columbus Italian Club’s highly publicized meatball challenge at the Italian Festival last month came up short by 94 pounds at 655.5. The group had hoped to break the Guinness World Record for the largest meatball by cooking one in excess of 739 pounds – the record set by a German company. Chairman of the Columbus project, Chris Beardman, was clearly disappointed with the outcome but proud that the story made national news. “ESPN was there to do the game the next day,” Beardman said, “and they heard about it, thought they’d come out and take a look, and sure enough we pulled this thing out of the oven.” The clip was shown at the OSU game and televised nationally. Another national highlight was the club’s success in beating the North American meatball record, providing some consolation, and a little momentum as they edge their way closer to the world’s record next year.

Brandt-Roberts Galleries opened last month in the space formerly occupied by Kathryn Gallery at 642 N. High St. Both owners, Bryan Roberts and Michelle Brandt, have substantial background in gallery management. Roberts has operated the Bryan H. Roberts Gallery in Bexley for the past 14 years and is a self-taught artist. Brandt, who holds degrees in art education from the Ohio State University, has a decade of gallery experience under her belt including work at Bryan H. Roberts Gallery, Kathryn Gallery, as well as time served in Charleston, S. C., as an educator and gallery manager. The new gallery offers contemporary fine art, custom framing, portraiture and art restoration, and will primarily exhibit high-caliber art, or recognized artists. “We’re carrying some wonderful mid-century modern pieces,” said Brandt. “We kind of focus on the ‘50s and ‘60s. We’ve got about a dozen contemporary living painters on board with us.” Brandt, who exudes unbridled enthusiasm and an educator’s loquaciousness when discussing art, says she prefers to work directly with their artists in order to pass on that close connecton to the buyer. “One gentleman that we’re just thrilled to have on board is Al Newbill,” she said. The 89-year-old painter, whose art was unfamiliar to them when they spotted it recently, was reluctant to meet at first, but eventually permitted them to stop by and see his collection, some of which had been in storage for a number of years, and they persuaded him to join up. His amazing career and line of associates can be read about on the Brandt-Roberts Web site. Newbill showed predominantly in the ‘50s and ‘60s alongside some of the great Modern masters. “His pieces are the biggest pieces that we have in the gallery, said Brandt. “They’re huge works.” Newbill taught at OSU in Mansfield where he currently resides. Paintings of Fred Doloresco are featured in this month’s show, Home and Abroad, which presents artistic impressions of travels in France and Italy as well as here at home in the Midwest. The Short North gallery team includes assistance from Christine D’Epiro, a CCAD grad with a master’s in fine art from Washington University in St. Louis. Hours are Tuesday through Friday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday Noon to 4 p.m. Call 614-223-1655 or visit

The Yankee sisters, Lynette Howard and Debby Williams, may have stepped off the Short North stage – to our dismay, but to our delight another pair has popped up in the northern district at Wilder’s City Pharmacy. The business, which opened in October at 1198 North High St. is family owned and operated by Dr. Kate Wilder Adams, 32, and her sister Maureen Koeppen, 34. The pair worked at City Pharmacy in the Market District on Main until its closing and decided to maintain a sibling working relationship by opening a pharmacy of their own. The Wilder name stems from northern Maine where their father and his family established a business in jewelry that carries the name. The sisters continue the tradition with Wilder’s City Pharmacy. The benefits derived from dealing with an independent pharmacy rather than a chain pharmacy are significant. Adams says the relationship with a pharmacist is as important as that with a physician. She and her sister – who manages day-to-day operations – place primary importance on developing a close relationship with patients, learning their names, drug and medical history, answering their questions and phone calls. They offer counseling with every prescription, and advice to newly diagnosed patients. Also, expect to save time. Prescriptions are filled in the store rather than sent out to a centralized location to refill, a common practice among chain stores, which means orders can be processed in five minutes. Adams and Koeppen have worked extensively with the elderly population and specialize in geriatrics. According to Adams, long-time customers from the former City Pharmacy were excited to learn about their new store because they value the relationship with the sisters and the special services they provide – including free delivery. The Wilder sisters want to thank those former patients for their loyalty. Hours are 9 to 5 Tues. through Fri., with extended hours on Mon. and Wed., and 12 to 4 on Sat. Their number is 614-732-5947. email

Hudson McFann, a former Short North resident previously employed by neighborhood retailers Greenovate and Four Winds, was awarded a U.S. Fulbright scholarship to do independent research at the University of Toronto this academic year. McFann’s enthusiasm for green living, intelligence and love of learning were factored in when Tyler Steele hired him two years ago as director of Greenovate, a green building supplier, and those commendable qualities continued to work in McFann’s favor when he won the scholarship this fall. Steele recalls meeting him through Kris Batcheck at Four Winds where McFann worked while studying geography at Ohio State University. “He was leading Four Winds down the environmental path,” Steele said, “helping the business become more educated about environmental attributes of furniture.” McFann was also looking out for some professional opportunities to further deploy those interests. Greenovate, meanwhile, was a relatively young and growing enterprise. “It was just sort of a natural fit that he would work with us here,” said Steele. Once he was hired, McFann developed a successful educational program for Greenovate helping to instruct everyone from consumers to world-class scientists, and that became his primary responsibility – coordinating and facilitating the workshops. Now residing in Toronto doing research, McFann says his goal is to eventually get a Ph.D. in geography and that he will be applying to graduate programs this winter. “I’m interested in pursuing a career in academia,” McFann said, “but I’m also interested in communicating the results of my research outside of academia and looking at producing short documentary films as a long-term objective, as a way of doing that.” His current research (on the geographies of waste) is political, controversial, and time-consuming, but he manages to get out. “The city’s incredibly diverse. There’s always tons of things going on, so it’s been easy to get quickly involved in lots of interesting things.”

News about upcoming events in the neighborhood can be found in Community Events and the Bulletin Board.

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