There is a new business in Uptown Marysville and it is making a statement.
Owner Lauralynn Stephen wants to promote healthy eating and community on her own little island.
"I think that our body is a vessel that's going to carry us through our lifetime," Stephen said.
That thought drives the concept of Bagel Island, 117 East 5th St.
"This is destination delicious," Stephen said.
"I want people to feel welcome and relaxed and enjoy a delicious bagel, soup, and sandwich," she said.
"We strive to be all natural, nothing artificial and wholesome healthy. The goal is to promote community as much as possible Stephen said.
In fact, the business was barely two weeks old when it sponsored a fundraiser for the Marysville High School swim team.
Stephen's colorful background paved her way to the equally colorful sandwich shop.
She is a Navy veteran, serving in the Persian Gulf War. She has been a restaurant manager and a bailiff at the Franklin County Courthouse.
That is where she met her husband and the voyage to Bagel Island began.
He had a vending cart called Bagel Island outside the courthouse and Stephen ate there everyday. Lunch lead to marriage.
After they got married they worked the cart at football games and parades.
When Stephen was pregnant with the first of their two daughters they decided to settle down and her husband got what she calls a "real job."
Fifteen years later, her husband heard about a space opening in Uptown Marysville and he went straight to his wife with the idea.
"In less than 48 hours we said, 'OK, we're going to do it.'And we did. It was quick; a now or never opportunity," Stephen said.
They dove in. Now the shop offers her personally mixed cream cheese for the bagels, including the LL Lemon original, as well as soups and salads.
"I'm trying to bring natural, healthy, organic and fair trade to my business," Stephen said.
Cancer, heart disease and Parkinson's disease touched Stephen's family in various ways and that spurred her to this healthy message.
"I truly believe what we put into our bodies makes a big difference in our health," she said.
"I personally would like to live a very long life and enjoy my children, and enjoy my grandchildren, and should I be so fortunate, my great-grandchildren," Stephen said.
Her two teenage daughters have each completed a shift at the shop, which makes Stephen laugh but she concedes one shift is at least something.
"We want to instill a good work ethic in our children, teach them the value of a dollar, teach them respect for everyone's occupation, and open their eyes as to what goes in to something," Stephen said.
Stephen said she hopes to join the other small businesses in Uptown Marysville in spurring revitalization.
"Small business is a huge risk and an incredible undertaking full of a lot of stress, and worry, and fear," she said.
"I just want to do my part and maybe help bring Uptown back a little bit. I'd like to have a hand in that."