When it comes to creative ideas, Robbie DeLoach has a ton of them. But what makes her different, is that when she has an idea, it's usually done the next day. Her secret: not wasting time, and having a husband that is equally creative, energetic and as industrious as she is.
Born in the tiny town of Lamar, SC, Robbie was a tomboy from the get-go; perfect for a girl whose father owned the local lumber company. To top it off, she was given creative carte blanche to go for it, which she did. "I built all kinds of things and basically, built a life from it," said Robbie, who still loves to build things. So much so that she has added a grand total of eight rooms onto her once modest St. Helena Island dream home.
Another inspiration that helped to shape her destiny was her mother, who began importing antiques from Europe in the early 80s, and owned a large auction house where representatives from Christie's and Sotheby's would fly in regularly. "I always helped unload the containers. It was exciting to see the different pieces as we unloaded them." Although Robbie's first job was remodeling government housing as a carpenter, the excitement of the antique business stuck with her, leading her to open her own antique shop in Irmo, SC, outside of Columbia.
There, at an antique auction, she "met the man of her life." Enter Lauren (pronounced La-wren) DeLoach. "He is my best friend, the most creative person ever. He is a great artist; a skilled furniture maker and we are so much alike. He is my second and last husband," Robbie gushed in her matter-of-fact way.
Lauren, a Port Royal native, convinced Robbie to leave Columbia and move to Beaufort in the early 90s. That year Robbie got married, moved, built a house, put her children in a new school, opened two businesses and acclimated to it all without missing a beat. "I like change and I like challenges," said Robbie. Not surprising for someone who has lived in four different places since arriving in the Lowcountry, and owned five, operated four and sold two successful businesses in the process. She now owns What's In Store, a gifts, home and garden store, along with Bellavista and Octopuses, her two coastal stores. She is a busy woman, but that's the way she likes it, adding with a smile, "My husband is even harder to keep up with." "Hard work" is the number one factor that she attributes her successes to. But with that, she also throws in a lot of creativity, keeping her stores fresh, interesting and ever-changing.
Robbie and Lauren love being a part of the St. Helena community. "It has a 'coolness' about it. It's artsy and laid-back. I love the scenery, and to me, it's just everything the Lowcountry is all about," said Robbie. In addition, she touts that St. Helena is growing. "Four new business have opened here over the last year. We're only six miles from Beaufort and there's a good traffic flow. We're thriving!"
Ironically, when Robbie described St. Helena, I realized that she also described herself - artsy, laid-back, with an eclectic "coolness". Robbie and her husband are just those enviable types that can make something completely incredible out of what others deem to be just plain old driftwood, trash or junk. Robbie's motto is, "Just do it or at least try to do it. Nothing ventured, nothing gained." This humble, do-it-yourselfer is an amazing talent, and while she may take a little credit for making a difference on St. Helena, she probably has no clue that she and Lauren are definitely a part of the reason it's so cool and artsy.
Family: Husband, Lauren; Son, Matt, 28; Daughter, Anna, 26; Five cats - four Manx and her favorite, Charles, who was born under the store and looks like he is wearing a tux.
Education: University of South Carolina - Arts Major in Education and went back for Interior Design.
Bragging rights: Her husband is one of the top five scuba divers in the world that dives for Megalodon teeth. He has also found Wooly Mammoth teeth right here in Beaufort.
Favorite sweet indulgence: Publix Granola - she swears you can't stop eating it. By the way, it has chocolate in it!
People would be surprised to know: Robbie is very shy.
Just can't seem to: "Cook. I just don't think that way. I burn everything, even if I'm standing right beside it."
Would love to tell the world: Have fun and enjoy your life and. don't waste time!