Ask Claudette Hankins about her dressing room. It’s her favorite place inside her Lake Cable home.
The former spare bedroom was redesigned by Christine Ridgway, principal and lead designer of Empire Designs and Events, and features a chandelier, white antique armoire and wall-to-wall open shelving to perfectly organize and display Hankins’ vast wardrobe, including some of her roughly 120 hats.
“I love coming in here,” Hankins said. “I feel like I’m shopping in my own dressing room. It’s much easier for me. (Husband Robb Hankins) and I go to a lot of events, and I love not having to think ahead. I love just coming in here and being able to pick from something and put it all together.”
Many of her outfits and hats come from Collette’s Vintage in Canton and Dillard’s at Belden Village Mall but also include pieces she’s picked up from her many travels. Several of her hats also have been gifts from friends and family.
Hankins believes all women should have their own dressing space.
“For us women, I think we deserve to have our own boudoir, not a closet,” she said. “My life is too busy to have to share a room. I think we’ve progressed past that.”
Hankins was born in Jamaica but spent most of her childhood in Trinidad and Tobago. Her family moved to Brooklyn, New York, in 1967 when she was 13 and then to Connecticut as she was entering high school. She met Robb Hankins while living in Hartford, Connecticut. Robb was then the head of the Greater Hartford Arts Council.
They married in 1997 and moved to Long Beach, California, Texas and Eugene, Oregon, before coming to Stark County in 2005 when Robb took the position of president and CEO of ArtsinStark.
Hankins said she’s always appreciated art—their ranch home could pass for a gallery with its many diverse pieces—but doesn’t consider herself an artist in the traditional sense.
“My art is my style, my fashion. My art is my garden,” said Hankins, pointing to the vibrant plants and meticulous landscaping that surround the home.
Hankins became a Master Gardener Volunteer through the Ohio State University Extension Service in 2012. She’s also a member of The Heritage Herb Society, The Women’s Board of Aultman Hospital and the One Book, One Community committee.
Hankins’ local favorites:
Most Unique Product:
“My first few months of living in Stark County, I bought a Stern & Mann’s hat in its original box from Plant Et Art.”
Most Admired Local CEO:
“Besides my husband, Robb Hankins, there are so many that I have come to know who work very hard for the community. I think Mark and Robin Kratzer, owners of Quonset Hut, are an amazing couple who support so many local organizations.”
Favorite Indoor Activity:
”Going to see a show at the Massillon Museum.”
Favorite Place for Kids:
“My full-grown daughter, Candece, likes to go to the shops at Studio Five on Fourth in the Arts District and go back to California with something that says ‘Canton’ on it.”
Most Memorable Spot:
“Bender’s Tavern on Valentine’s evening. We’ve had special dinners there where all the men have brought in flowers and entertainment, and each husband would read a love poem to his wife.”
Favorite Date Night:
“When my husband rents out a gallery in the Arts District and has a local restaurant bring in food and hire local musicians to serenade us.”
Favorite Thing to Do:
“I love listening to music while picking out clothes to wear in my dressing room before an event, making Sunday brunch for my husband and watching ‘CBS Sunday Morning’ with Jane Pauley.”
Favorite Local Event:
Blues Fest, Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival events, Vintage Canton, and, of course, First Friday and the Canton Music Block.
Favorite Local Theater:
Favorite Volunteer Opportunity:
Master Gardeners of Stark County, The Women’s Board of Aultman Hospital, The Heritage Herb Society and One Book, One Community
Favorite Work Out Spot:
Barre Fly and the Paul & Carol David YMCA
Favorite Place to See Live Music:
Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium
Favorite Theatre Group:
Players Guild Theatre
Favorite Place to Shop for Gifts:
Avenue Arts, Market Street Art Spot in Minerva, Canton Museum of Art
Favorite Local Restaurant:
“Wow! I have so many. Fronimo’s, Lucca, Georges.”
Favorite Lunch Spot:
“The Hart Mansion in Minerva.”
Favorite Entertainment Spot:
“Cork & Canvas on 3rd because they have live music.”
Favorite Coffee Shop:
Carpe Diem and Cultured Coffee & Waffles
Favorite Spot to Grab a Drink:
Vinoteca Wine Bar in Jackson Township