Photo by Kryan Crist/Collegian: Mike Jobe and his daughter Alexia pose outside Aleesa’s Bath & Body in Hutchinson.
By Sam Bailey / Editor in Chief
Local business can be like little gems hidden in the inner workings of a city.
Hutchinson is no exception, having dozens of small businesses waiting for people to find and experience.
Aleesa Bath and Body, at 930 N Main Street, is one such business, co-owned by Mike and Heather Jobe.
“We make and sell handmade soaps and bath and body products, as well as gift items,” Mike Jobe said. “What makes us special is we cater to people with all skin types and skin difficulties. It’s extremely rewarding to help someone find a product that works for their skin type.”
The store was not always the plan for the family, but after the death of a loved one, the story started to write itself.
Mike said, “We started this after the passing of a close family member. She passed away from a heart attack that stemmed diabetes and cancer. After her passing we began learning a lot about the chemicals that are in products we use everyday and found a significant amount in soaps and bath products. We began making our own and found out how wonderful they were! When we realized this could be a business we named the store “Aleesa” in honor of her. When she had been healthy we had always planned on starting a restaurant together, when her health began to fail that was no longer possible. This seemed like a great way to honor her memory.”
Being a Black-owned business in an area like rural Kansas can come with a variety of added struggles.
“We have not received any open discrimination from anyone, but you never know what someone’s sentiments are, especially with the temperature of the country right now,” Mike said. “We have customers from all backgrounds, and we love that about our shop.”
Recently, the United States has been pointing much of its attention toward the upcoming election and the Jobes are no different.
“Both myself and my wife are very involved in voter registration,” Mike said. “I am the chairperson for the Hutchinson NAACP Religious Affairs Board, as well as Senior Pastor at Living Hope Church, and my wife heads the Hutchinson NAACP Youth. Over the past several months we have held several voter registration drives around town and even have made registration available here in our store. We also have 100% of our eligible congregation members at church registered to vote.”
Part of Aleesa Bath and Body’s goal is to work with the community to build a better tomorrow.
“I was raised that you put your all into anything that you do. For me, that means to consistently put out a product that exceeds my customers’ expectations. That also means giving back to my community. I cannot expect them to support me and my dream if I’m not there for them. We try to do that by donating to fundraisers and supporting various events going on in the community, and that together we can make Hutchinson a better place.”