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Harvest Moon Apothecary, Rituals By Nature Now Open on Pike Street

Will and Missy Marlar, after operating Rituals By Nature as an online enterprise, started making appearances at local farmers markets and then took a deeper plunge by operating a booth at Oktoberfest in Mainstrasse Village.

They were assigned booth #212, a possible sign as the married couple just opened a bricks and mortar location at 212 Pike Street in Downtown Covington.

Rituals By Nature, the natural skin care product line, and Harvest Moon Apothecary, its retail counterpart, opened its doors for the first time on Friday. So far, so good. "Covington seems excited to have us here," Missy said. "I mean, who gets a sign permit in one day?"

The Marlars have spent the past months re-imagining the space at 212 Pike that has been home to a handful of different businesses over the past two years. AJ Creations, the gluten-free bakery, closed followed by Bread & Spice, another bakery that followed the same unfortunate fate. Some good mojo entered the space earlier in 2013 when Grateful Grahams moved in and did so well that it had to move to a larger kitchen, where its owner now operates the Northern Kentucky Kitchen Incubator.

Though the commercial kitchen in the back of the space is what drew the Marlars to it, the entire front has been redesigned to accommodate the newly launched retail operation.

"We shared a space for a little while but needed something bigger," Missy said. The Marlars spoke with Katie Meyer at Renaissance Covington, located a space, and made the move. "If you have a problem with skin, we can fix the problem."

It was Missy's eczema problem, brought on by anxiety and autoimmune issues, that inspired her to find a natural remedy. Both of them had experience in natural oils and herbs before meeting eight years ago when Will lived in Latonia and Missy lived in Ludlow. The pair began brainstorming to come up with a product that could combat Missy's eczema, finally creating a non-petroleum beeswax skin balm. Now that eczema is nearly non-existent.

And Rituals By Nature was born.

Now the product line includes skin balms, lip balms, body butters, exfoliating cubes and soaps. The retail space includes honey and other locally-sourced items such as jellies, as well as special gifts. Boxes from a Louisville artist who constructs them from pieces of old barns arrived during this interview.

The center table was created from stone from the building's original foundation and bricks removed during the space's renovation.

Down the line, pending a license approval, the shop will offer potted herbs like thyme and basil. Will created a terraced garden at Missy's Ludlow home. "We still have a lot of the herbs," he said. "It will be nice to incorporate those once we get our herb license."

Their products are already available at Jungle Jim's and will soon be sold at Whole Foods.

The shop is open Wednesday through Friday from noon to 8 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. - 6 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. at 212 West Pike Street in Covington. 

Story & photos by Michael Monks, editor & publisher of The River City News

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