Starting off by selling designer brochures and business cards created by its then 12-year-old entrepreneur, the Robert Mason Company is one of those stores that makes dull office supplies interesting and unique. This boutique office, school and stationery store, in downtown Columbus, is known for their customized services and products.
North Market is the greater Columbus area's version of a bustling old-world marketplace. Vendors galore occupy the enormous building's many stalls, each specializing in a different cuisine. There's a sausage shop, a pasta shop, fish mongers, meat mongers, Chinese, Mediterranean, sushi, Mexican, Vietnamese, a wine merchant, a cheese merchant and lots more. See website for complete list.
The Monk's Copy Shop, in the heart of Downtown Columbus, is something of an oddity. It's a full service copy shop, serving local businesses honorably. But as you walk by, you're struck by their window display: tons and tons of gorgeous handmade pottery, all for sale at extremely reasonable prices. Seriously, at a proper art gallery, these pieces would fetch exponentially more than the modest USD 5 and USD 10 price tags they command here. Asked Why the pottery? one clerk replied (clearly having answered this question many a time), "Well, we're a copy shop. What else would we put in the window?" Touché.
Easton Town Center takes retail to a whole new level. Some developers set their sites on a plot of land outside the city, but instead of putting up a regular old mall, they decided to build a small town. They did, complete with a town square, a town fountain, little streets zigzagging through small city blocks. But instead of local businesses and residential buildings lining those streets, it's mall shops, mall eateries, and mall entertainment. All the cosmetic touches are there, from cute little building facades to cute little old-timey police cars providing security. And there are three major hotels on the outskirts of "town" so that shoppers can truly immerse themselves in this clean, sober little sealed-up bubble. See website for complete business listing.
Rose Bredl fits perfectly in its location just outside of downtown Columbus. Equal parts metropolitan flower stand and suburban boutique, the selection at Rose Bredl is phenomenal and their retail space allows shoppers to inspect the eclectic varieties of flora which owner Mary McColgan has curated. Alongside flowers, guests can pick up potting and planting supplies as well as home and beauty products.
The science of candle-making is a sublime art at The Candle Lab in Columbus. This exquisite store specializes in scented candles and boasts an array of unique aromas. From popular fruity and floral favorites like Gardenia and Vanilla Bean to exotic varieties like Basmati Rice, Wasabi and Whipped Cream, they have some of the most bizarre fragrances covered. Their secret recipe of natural soy wax and organic essential oils is what sets them apart. If you don't fancy anything on their ever-evolving list, blend your own scent at the essence Bar. These hand-crafted lights are the perfect accompanist to unwind at home with or make for great gifts. Bacon scented wax, anyone?
Milk Bar's name is a wee bit misleading. It's not a bar, and it's got nothing to do with milk. Instead, Milk Bar is a sleek little boutique specializing in designer t-shirts and denim. There are options for both guys and gals, and there's a great deal of Columbus-focused gear. Ironic t-shirts say things like “Surf Ohio” or feature some kind of vintage regional logo. The staff is proud as punch of their wares, and they're more than willing to chat about designers, make recommendations and just generally make your time in the neighborhood a little more pleasant.
This popular shop is stocked with fashionable items and accessories for both men and women. Flirty dresses, pants, casual button-downs, belts and handbags are all on display, but the neatest thing may very well be their eclectic collection of funky gifts and novelty items. Warbling Bird Whistles, Secret Message Writing Sets, pillows embroidered with anchors, glass terrariums, old-fashioned crank radios...the list goes on. You can definitely kill a lot of time browsing in this fun place.
Grid Furnishings is an appropriately fashionable boutique on Columbus's ever-hip High Street, providing locals and cultured visitors with modern furniture designs and home decor items. With a catalog that stretches from mid-century mod to modern day designs, Grid Furniture is a great place to explore the urban bent of this up and coming district and the craftsmanship of local designers.
Packed into a humble little building in the center of German Village is the Book Loft, a multilevel maze of books, books, books. The place feels a bit like Yoda's house with its low ceilings and tiny stairways from one level to another. But it's fitting. German Village is a bunch of little bungalows, and this is one slightly overgrown one packed to the gills with bargain-priced volumes. The bargain pricing doesn't mean the selection is limited however. If there's a book to be found, it's to be found here, so long as you're willing to brave a trek through its many cavernous passageways. See website for online ordering, t-shirt club info and more.
In this age of big-box stores and online shopping, regular old record stores are having a tough time. Scads of them all across the nation, beloved though they may have been in eras past, have shuttered. So it's a rare treat to find a tenacious relic like Magnolia Thunderpussy still going strong. Founded by an expat San Franciscan in the wake of the Summer of Love, it stocks a world of used and new CDs, tapes and vinyl, as well as music-related t-shirts and accessories. The staff is well versed in all things rock'n'roll, and always thrilled to help you find what you need.
Used Kids can be found directly across the street from the Ohio State University Campus. As such, parking can be tough, but if you manage to find a spot, look for the Used Kids sign. Follow it through the front door, up a dank flight of stairs and into a second-story loft full of CDs and LPs galore. Special attention is paid to local artists, so be sure to peruse those sections. The staff is supremely capable of answering all questions and aiding in epic hunts through the stacks of wax. See website for new release updates, in-store event announcements and more.