Barbara's Bests

The best thing about Lakewood? Its people. Over time, I’ll highlight some of the men and women who make our city unique.

You may have seen Beth Keenan behind the counter at Nature’s Oasis, a coffee shop, café, gift shop and market she describes as a “connector space where people can hang out and enjoy Lakewood.” The city, as she sees it, is "a melting pot of cultures and humanity," and the average Lakewoodite is kind. As general manager, she looks for that trait when interviewing prospective employees – “I hire people that are good people, and if they have experience that's a plus.”

Kindness, of course, is not unique to citizens working at Nature’s Oasis. This became particularly obvious when Covid hit, and the restaurant Salt, for example, provided dinners for people in the service industry who were temporarily unemployed. The coffee shop and restaurant The Root began helping the community by becoming part of a project called Community Fridge, which enables people to donate or pick up food as needed.

Unsurprisingly, since Lakewood has a distinct artsy, boho vibe, half of Nature Oasis’s staff are musicians or artists. Beth herself is an artist, as is her mom, with whom she’s collaborated for 25 years, focusing on home decor and working in all kinds of media: wood, glass, metal, ceramic and polymer. The two have a store called Functini. It's located in one of seven small metal-roofed huts in a new space called City Goods, located on Detroit and W. 28th Street.

Lakewood inspires her work, some of which can be found at Nature’s Oasis, such as the detailed wood burning map of the city which hangs in the newly-expanded second room. That it’s the largest piece of art hanging in the shop is fitting. “I have a love affair with Lakewood,” Beth says.

Barbara Raymond is a Lakewood resident and author of the nonfiction book, "The Baby Thief: The Untold Story of Georgia Tann, the Baby Seller Who Corrupted Adoption".

barbara raymond

Lakewood resident and author of nonfiction book, "The Baby Thief: The Untold Story of Georgia Tann, the Baby Seller Who Corrupted Adoption".

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Volume 18, Issue 21, Posted 1:41 PM, 11.02.2022