Meet Erie & Anchor Founder Micah Roberts: Erie Interviews

Meet Micah Roberts, who on New Year’s Eve fulfilled her life goal of launching her website for Erie & Anchor, a Lake Erie lifestyle brand.

“I wanted for years to open a store, and I thought this might be the best way to go, so I would be able to tweak it, put my energy into it before I had all the overhead of a store.”

Roberts’ lifestyle website sells Erie & Anchor-brand wine tumblers ($25) and sweatshirts ($38), as well as striped blue-and-white tote bags ($60) and anchor key fobs from other artisans.

Roberts, 40, grew up in Bowling Green and graduated from the College of Charleston in South Carolina. She works full-time in nutrition sales, with a crazy schedule traveling throughout Ohio and Kentucky. In Kentucky she met her husband, who grew up in Berlin Heights.

They now live in Vermilion with their three kids, ages 12, 9 and 6.

Roberts says she has to be incredibly organized to pull off what she calls her “side hustle.” You think?

“Without being focused we wouldn’t have been able to get this off the ground,” Roberts said. “A friend told me, it’s never going to be perfect. You just have to put it out there. You can tweak it as the company goes.”

The following interview has been edited for length and clarity.

Why did you start Erie & Anchor?

My goal for Erie & Anchor is to give people who live here, or vacation here, or spend summers here, a way to support the lake, and have unique gifts and apparel.

It’s classic but a little bit different. The company is all about giving back. We are donating 5 percent of earnings back to Lake Erie water quality, starting with the Lake Erie Foundation. I want my kids to be able to enjoy the lake, and my grandkids someday.

I have a postcard that goes out with every package that tells our story. Long-term, it’s important to me that people understand the story behind the brand.

There are a lot of nautical lifestyle brands, including Shore Society and Lyman Life, and a lot of Cleveland T-shirt companies. Where does Erie & Anchor fit in?

I looked at a lot of really cool nautical companies when hoping to develop our own. I would buy gifts at Vineyard Vines, and think, why am I not giving back to my own community?

I think there’s definitely a demand for comfort, for that vintage feel. Busy moms don’t have to put on a front and be all glammed up to run errands with their kids.

I feel like there’s room not only for Erie & Anchor but for other businesses. I hope we continue to support local businesses that give back to community.

Micah Roberts is realizing a dream by creating the Erie & Anchor lifestyle brand. (Micah Roberts)

If you grew up in Bowling Green, where does your affinity for Lake Erie come from?

When I was 16, I moved to Put-in-Bay for a summer and lived with good family friends and worked there.

I worked at the Boardwalk, their retail store, pizza place, seafood restaurant, yogurt stand. I floated between all those places and babysat for the family. It was a really unique opportunity to create an appreciation for hard work, and also to be on an island. It’s just a really cool way of life. It gave me a fantastic appreciation for the island and Lake Erie in general.

I said if I ever moved back to Ohio, I wanted to be near the lake. I love to fish. When I started dating my husband, his family had a boat, and we started going out and fishing and spending a lot of weekends on the boat.

My husband and I got married at Put-in-Bay. It was really nice to be in a place we loved and be able to celebrate with family.

Do your kids love the water?

We love to be on the water any way we can. It’s amazing to have Lake Erie in our backyard, just a couple miles away.

We go to Main Street Beach all the time, get ice cream, take pictures in front of the Vermilion Lighthouse. The kids just love to spend time at the beach.

I hadn’t been to Kelleys Island in years, and we went this summer with the kids. There are so many awesome places within an hour or two.

Do you feel like Lake Erie is experiencing a renaissance?

Yes, and a whole sense of pride for the communities along it. All these places are really banding together.

Your kids have this sense of the belonging. They grew up on the lake, and they have this really cool appreciation of Lake Erie that they can share that with generations

I do feel like that’s a movement. I think that will continue to grow.

What’s next?

We really want to hear what people want.

Next year I’d like to have gift boxes curated: some type of baby box with a baby blanket, nautical rattle, something cool and different, so you can really give a cool meaningful gift and support Lake Erie in the process.

We’re adding kids sweatshirts. I collaborated with an Etsy artist on stationery. I’d like to have charms. We’re going to have a blend of things that you don’t see at every store.