Why you know her: Barbara Given, known by most as “Barb,” was the force behind Jackson Ward’s Stoplight Gelato Café, which opened in July 2016 in honor of her son, Bryce, who died of cancer the year before. The cafe, located at 405 Brook Road, opened on Given’s 81st birthday.
However, in March, Given sold the shop after a health scare convinced her that the time was right to retire. The new owners were Jackson Ward neighbors and Stoplight regulars Mike and Caitlin Wilbert.
What’s new: Given has moved to a local retirement community, where she reports that life is grand. She used to live above Stoplight in an apartment her son finished for her (it’s now home to the Wilberts), which allowed her to work nearly every day in the shop she loved. The shop’s name came from the working stoplight that hangs from the ceiling, one of Bryce’s finds on his many shopping trips for eclectic items.
“Without question, I miss being there,” Given said about running the shop. But she makes regular appearances throughout the year, usually at least once every month — or anytime they need a gelato taster. She retains those rights, specifically, she said, jokingly.
“I miss the wonderful customers and the young vibrant staff,” Given said. During her visits, “when I’m there and engaged in conversation, time flies by.”
When the Wilberts bought the shop, they added some lunch and dinner items to the menu — homemade pizzas, for example — but otherwise are keeping the shop just as Given (and her son) intended.
“I call her at least once a week” for help and insight, Mike Wilbert said. “She watches over us, and we absolutely appreciate her guidance. Our staff knows that when Barb is here, ... she is still the boss!”
— Holly Prestidge