Chamblin to hold anniversary, memorial sale –
Story by Patricia Beech –
Photo by Mark Carpenter –
For more than four decades Paul Wayne Chamblin and his wife Joyce served the people of Adams County selling home furnishings out of their long rambling furniture store on the corner of Rice Drive in West Union.
Next week their daughter, Paula Aulino, will celebrate their store’s 44th year of business with a special anniversary sale to honor her parents’ memo
She calls her return to her parent’s store “bittersweet”.
“It’s good to be back in the furniture store,” she says. “Being here brings back happy memories, but it also really makes me miss my Mom and Dad. My parents loved this county, they loved their business and being able to serve people through their business.”
Aulino, who spent several years working in the corporate world before starting her own interior design business in Columbus, says returning to her parent’s store has given her the opportunity to reconnect with people from her childhood.
“There are such good people here, and it’s comforting knowing people who knew your parents, it’s a wonderful connection.”
Returning to oversee her parent’s store, while continuing to run her own business is a daunting enterprise, but she is driven by a greater purpose.
“I’m trying to carry on the tradition my parents started in 1972,” she says. “ As Dad would say, ‘to serve the fine people of Adams and surrounding counties’.” Aulino isn’t just mimicking her father’s favorite expression, she has a deep appreciation for her parent’s legacy of reaching out to help people through their business.
“They truly loved what they did, and they saw the business as an opportunity to reach out and help people,” she says. “Quality and value were always their goal in business and it always made them happy when someone would say, we bought a sofa or chair from you 25 years ago, it’s still good, but we’re ready for something new.”
Aulino spent her growing up years working with her parents in the family business.
“My childhood was unique because I went to work with my parents every day after school – not many kids get to do that,” she says. “I’d sit in a rocking chair by the front door and when someone pulled up I’d run back and tell Mom there was a customer, and she’d ask me, ‘Is it a looker or a buyer’ because I had a knack for telling them apart.”
While Aulino has a wealth of happy memories from those years, she and her family also faced dark times and challenges that drew them closer together and forged an inner strength that would sustain them through many difficult years.
During her Sophomore year at Ohio State her father was diagnosed with cancer. He began a battle with the disease that would last more than three decades before it took his life.
“Dad never said, ‘Why me?’, throughout his illnesses. I think he felt like, ‘Why not me?’ I never saw him get down about his illnesses, he always said, ‘you know, it’s just the way it is’, and he chose to see it as an opportunity to help others.”
Chamblin’s battles with cancer were well known in the community, and others who were similarly stricken would visit his store to talk about their own struggles. Among them was the daughter of one of his competitors, Judy Mosier Campbell.
“Wayne and I were experiencing bouts with cancer at nearly the same time almost 30 years ago,” Campbell says. “We forged a special relationship of mentoring and support for each other. Mine was fortunately a one time occurrence, but Wayne fought battle after battle with such courage and faith that he was an inspiration to me and so many others.”
Fourteen years ago, in the midst of her father’s ongoing struggle with illness, Aulino’s mother was also diagnosed with a very rare form of breast cancer. Within 30 days her liver was completely consumed and within two months it ended her life.
Aulino, who had taken a leave of absence from her job during her mother’s illness, returned to work, then two months later, walked away from the corporate world.
“When she died, I thought life’s just too short, work was always so stressful, people were always gunning for your job, so I left and decided to focus on my own business.”
Her decision to step out on her own brought a new opportunity to work with her father.
“It was nice for Dad and I to work together again,” she said. “He’d come to Columbus and work with me, hang pictures, and give advice, we had fun doing it, it gave him something to do, and that’s how we’ve been for the past 14 years.”
In 2015, in his 83rd year, her father’s cancer returned. The prognosis was dire. “I was so sad,” Aulino says. “But, Dad said ‘kid, you’ve had me 25 years longer than you should have, let’s just count our blessings’, he really felt God put this in his life for a reason.”
Before her father’s passing she was to receive one more blessing from him that would sustain her during the months following his death.
“I’d given Dad a little book for Christmas that consisted of questions you could ask your father like what was your first job, what’s the best advice you ever got, who was your best friend when you were young. We spent three weeks going through that book, and it was one of the best gifts I could have ever received from my dad. As a child, your parents are just your parents, but because of that book I got to know him more as an individual – his struggles, his joys, his dreams, and the funny things that happened when he was young.”
In Feb. 2016, Chamblin’s battle with cancer came to its end. “Dad died early on a Sunday morning and he had a positive attitude right up to the end. You tell yourself it’s the natural order, but I can’t tell you how many times during a day I want to ask him something, or tell him something. I miss him so much.”
She calls her father “the hippest old man I’ve ever known.” “He taught me to be thankful for everything, to see blessings everywhere. He loved God, he loved people, he loved music, he was vital and vibrant, he was just a wonder.”
As she prepares for the store’s anniversary sale, Aulino finds herself coping with the double-edged emotions of grief.
“It’s a wonderful thing to be here, and it’s a hard thing to be here,” she says. “I feel Dad’s spirit is still with us, and I want to honor him by running this sale in a way that would make him proud.”
The anniversary sale begins Saturday, July 30 with extended hours every other day (9 a.m.-6 p.m.), open Sunday 1-5 p.m., and the week-long event will end Saturday, Aug. 6.