HUBBUB opened its doors in 2005 in a 1910 brick building on N Tower Avenue in Centralia. Owner Rebecca Staebler had just returned home after nearly 30 years away. “I’d fallen in love with the contemporary American handcraft when I was living on the East Coast,” she says. “I loved shopping for those things and meeting the artisans behind them.”
Rebecca’s vision for a contemporary arts and crafts boutique was new for Centralia. “There weren’t places to buy art. Most of the downtown retail businesses were devoted to antiques. I believed a shop showcasing contemporary arts and crafts would be a great complement to the local shopping scene.”
Her hunch was right. Twelve years later, HUBBUB is thriving, full of vibrant color and eye-catching displays. Tasteful lighting reflects off mellow brick walls and highlights items for sale — art, gifts, cards, clothing, accessories and contemporary crafts. The store has product lines from the Pacific Northwest and from selected artists across the country.
In 2008, Rebecca created the Hub City Art Park, also known as “Hubcap.” The contemporary sculpture park is adjacent to HUBBUB in a reclaimed parking lot. In it, massive black, red and white sculptures are surrounded by greenery and flowers, adding softness to the scene. Colorful chairs and tables invite relaxation and contemplation. It’s a peaceful place that’s enjoyed by locals and visitors alike.
Rebecca is an active member of the Downtown Merchant Association, ArtTrails of SW Washington and a past member of Centralia’s Historic Preservation Commission. In short, she’s a dynamo with a very big heart.
“Rebecca and HUBBUB have become staples downtown,” says Teva Youngblood, owner of Loose Ends Fiber Arts, L.L.C. “She’s very loved in the community.”
On Saturday, May 6, 2017, at one in the morning, a drunk driver crashed into the front of HUBBUB, destroying half the plate glass windows and part of the brick facade. The driver was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center with serious injuries. Rebecca, in her apartment at the back of the building, was uninjured.
Messages went out to community on Rebecca’s behalf right away.
“Early this morning in Centralia, one of our beloved downtown business fronts got hit by a drunk driver,” began an email that went out early that Saturday morning. Immediately, locals rushed forward to help.
Although her apartment was structurally safe, the building inspector suggested that Rebecca stay elsewhere until the building was evaluated. The contents of the store needed to be moved to a secure location.
“Friends, customers, neighbors and strangers helped me move merchandise and fixtures, weeded the art park, brought me food, and gathered funds to help with unexpected expenses,” Rebecca says. “I’ve been blown away by the support and concern.”
An empty shop space was offered to Rebecca in the historic Wilson Hotel a few blocks away. It was quickly dubbed the “HUBBUB Pop Shop” and was open for business with a few curated items on Monday, May 8.
“I feel very fortunate that we were able to get a small space so close to HUBBUB and quickly move in for Mother’s Day,” Rebecca says.
The first Pop Shop was very small, a fraction of the size of the original HUBBUB. “When we realized how long the repairs would take, we decided to make another move to the larger lobby of the Wilson Hotel. Friends again rallied and we moved the entire contents of the store. It feels good to have it all together!”
The larger HUBBUB Pop Shop had its grand opening on May 25. Rebecca and shop associate, Tiffany James, worked tirelessly to get the place ready for the opening. “I’ve had to deal with so many details of the accident and displacement. Tiffany kept us moving steadily forward. I wouldn’t have been able to do it without her!”
Repairs to the HUBBUB building are extensive and will take four to six months to complete. But in the meantime, HUBBUB continues at the HUBBUB Pop Shop in the old Wilson Hotel lobby at 328 N Tower Avenue.
Centralia is a strong community, filled with good people. The HUBBUB crash could easily have spelled disaster for Rebecca Staebler’s business. Thankfully for all of us, it didn’t.
“I want to extend thanks to my insurance agents (Nicholson & Associates), City of Centralia officials, and so many others who have offered advice and counsel. Gotta love the local small town!” adds Rebecca.
For more information about HUBBUB, you can contact Rebecca Staebler at 360-736-1517, visit HUBBUB’s website or follow the shop on Facebook. The original HUBBUB was located at 505 N Tower Ave Centralia, WA 98531, while the Pop Shop is at 328b N Tower Avenue.