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Fig & Oak, Ashland

Julie and John Mitchell’s store sells products from philanthropy-focused businesses and donates a portion of its own sales to good causes.

Julie Mitchell’s philosophy about giving back to her community was formed while growing up in the Ashland County village of Jeromesville.

“My mom would take my sister and me to nursing homes to visit with patients,” she recalls. “Helping others was something that was engraved in us.”

So, when she and her husband John Mitchell opened their Fig & Oak boutique in downtown Ashland, they decided to continue that commitment on a larger scale. The Mitchells wanted to carry products mostly from companies known for philanthropic generosity. As a result, 80 percent of the items sold are made by brands that donate a portion of their proceeds to charity.

Among the companies represented are Cleveland’s Happy Thoughts Candle Co., which donates to suicide prevention and mental health awareness; Bitter Babushka in Mohicanville, which creates milled soap that helps support women’s shelters; and Hello Sunshine, an Ashland greeting card business that gives to the Ashland Humane Society.

The Mitchells donate 2 to 5 percent of each sale to nonprofit organizations that include the Parkinson’s Foundation; Clean Water, which provides potable water worldwide; and Ashland Church Community Emergency Shelter Services, which provides temporary shelter to Ashland families in need.

“Anytime I would shop, I felt myself drawn to things that had purpose or meaning, and those are the things I would want to buy,” Mitchell says. “When we thought about the mission of our store, we felt that giving back would be a great way to give others a way to shop with purpose.”

Customers find home furnishings ranging from accent tables to pillows and lamps, and gifts that include succulent terrariums, tea towels and candles. John Mitchell, an engineer by trade, crafts tables from reclaimed wood and lamps made from gumball machines. Fig & Oak also carries a small selection of women’s clothing and accessories.

“Everybody has a desire to want to help people,” Mitchell says. “One small step can make a big impact.” 

100 W. Main St., Ashland 44805, 419/651-5596,