Local Women: Caryn Rhodes

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Caryn Rhodes and her husband Matt own Dusty’s Cellar, Dusty’s Wine Bar and Dusty’s Tap Room in Okemos. They purchased the business from Matt’s father, and have been managing it for more than 20 years. When they started a family, Caryn decided to stay home with their children, and now balances her time among family, Dusty’s and volunteerism. Q: What sort of work do you do at Dusty’s? A: I manage projects (such as) the corporate gift-giving (during) the holidays. I come in mainly November, December (and) January, (and it) becomes a full-time job for us here at the holidays — being in retail that’s just our big time. I do a lot of corporate gift-giving with gift baskets … As the kids get older ― my youngest is now in middle school — my time is kind of freeing up, and so Matt taps his foot and says, “OK, what are you going to start doing now in the store?”… So I’ve started to work behind the scenes here doing some of the office work and that sort of thing. We’ll see — it changes from year to year as I’m able to get more involved and the business changes and as we grow and expand here. Q: What type of volunteerism do you do? A: It started off with PTOs and pre-school boards and Junior League, then as my kids have grown, it’s grown into their interests. I co-chaired the band trip to Paris and London last year. Then my middle daughter, Alison, got involved in ballet with the Children’s Ballet Theatre of Michigan — it’s a parent-driven company — so parents volunteer from start to finish. We make the sets, we make the costumes, we market. It has taken on a life of its own, but it’s very rewarding. I’ve enjoyed it quite a bit, and that’s where my main focus has been. I feel it’s important, and it’s incumbent on all of us to give back to the community. I’m able to do it through volunteerism … and I’m modeling that for our kids. Hopefully they see the value in that, especially in this day and age with the economic times, and the state of the fine arts and our schools, we have to give back. Q: What do you like best about helping out the ballet company? A: I found a love for ballet that I didn’t realize I had until I started getting involved in it. I love watching what they do ― it’s amazing … I’m the vice chair, currently, and I have a dancer management co-chair, so I have some jobs, which kind of umbrellas jobs in helping all the committees work together. It’s a real family atmosphere, and so it’s enjoyable to be there. It’s a lot of time, so it’s really nice that we have this family feel with the dancers and the adults.
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Tags: Caryn Rhodes, Dusty's Cellar, Dusty's Tap Room, Dusty's Wine Bar, Local Women

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