November 2006 Issue
State of Shopping
Visit one of Ohio's unique retailers for exceptional gifts.
An anonymous scribe once wrote, "The holidays are a race to see what gives out first: Your money or your feet."
He, or she, was a bit of a pessimist, but the sentiment nonetheless does have a ring of truth in it. The gift-giving season can turn into a time-consuming, and wallet-consuming, endeavor.
That said, Ohio has a wealth of unique shops located in quaint towns and vintage antique malls, many offering terrific deals that make them well worth the drive. Many shops also offer the convenience of Web site purchases as well as sales via toll-free numbers, all to assure that the selection, purchase and delivery of your gift choices becomes a relative breeze.
In other words, you don't have to tramp through crowded urban malls, battle for coveted parking spaces or stand in long cashier's lines. This season, you can choose to make a day trip to one of the state's fascinating towns, or - conversely - dial up one of these shops via landline or the Web for their handy mail-order service.
If your loved ones would appreciate a stocking stuffer or wrapped box of delicacies, check out Around the World Gourmet. From bottled Dragon Fury Asian Style Salsa to Balsamic Bliss salad dressing, the selection is ripe with nature's blessings.
"All of our products are all-natural," notes company owner Jennifer Saunders. "Our products are great for fiery-food lovers, salsa and wing-sauce lovers, football tailgaters, vegetarians, people diagnosed with celiac disease or who are gluten intolerant, diabetics and people with high blood pressure."
The salsas are one example of Around the World Gourmet's quest to blend the best of many cultures: The bottled salsas blend fresh Roma tomatoes with ginger, rice wine vinegar, green onions and Asian chili peppers.
Part of the mission of the business is to provide healthy, gluten-free food that's low in sodium and carbs. Product gift sets and gift cards are available.
"And, we donate money to worthy charities as we make sales," Saunders adds. Recipients have included the Ohio Special Olympics, Disabled Firefighters Foundation, Children's Cancer Assistance Network, American Veterans Coalition and the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.
"I've always wanted my own company, and with a few great recipes, hard work and an entrepreneurial attitude, it's worked out great," says Saunders.
Around the World Gourmet: 888/789-ATWG, www.aroundtheworldgourmet.com.
Zanesville Pottery has been known for an exciting assortment of both trendy and traditional styles since 1953. In the company's showroom, you'll find some terrific gift ideas among the eclectic collections.
But if you can't make the trip to Zanesville, owner Kim Castor points out that "we have gift certificate cards in many denominations."
The selection of handcrafted items includes an amazing array of affordable, authentic pottery from around the globe.
Zanesville Pottery can be found on the tables of fine restaurants throughout Ohio, and in the homes of those who appreciate functional pieces with personality.
From bakeware to bean pots, crocks to Fiesta dinnerware, there's a potential gift for every taste at Zanesville Pottery - the pottery's inventory includes two-gallon bluebird crocks, beverage coolers (in orange, eggshell and turquoise), chicken cookers, stoneware pie plates, lasagna pans, bread bakers, carafes, souffle bakers, garlic bakers, potato bakers and loaf pans, as well as items such as pet feeders, whiskey jugs and pizza stones. The Fiesta blemished offerings include soup bowls, bread and butter plates, creamers, cups, oval platters, chowder bowls, footed bowls, mugs, salad plates, serving bowls, sugar dishes and vegetable bowls.
Zanesville Pottery: 7395 East Pike, Zanesville, 800/860-6456 or 740/872-3345, www.zanesvillepottery.com.
The Nelsonville Arts District is a historic Public Square featuring dozens of gift shops and galleries. The district offers "unique art at great prices," observes Ann Judy of Starbrick Clay. "You'll find quilts, baskets, ceramic sculpture, pottery, jewelry, paper products, handmade lampshades and one-of-a-kind pieces."
Shops here include Starbrick Clay for fine ceramic art; Studio 4 Art Gallery for fine art and gifts; Paper Circle for handmade paper art and products; Majestic Galleries for contemporary art; Foothills School of Art for fine crafts; Quattro Art for photography, jewelry, wood pieces and flower collages; Element 47 Silver Gallery for handmade silver jewelry; Outback Galleries for international and nature art; Gifts at 54 West for gifts for every occasion; Spinning Turtle for quality yarns; Nelsonville Quilt for all your quilting needs; Nelsonville Pottery/Art Supply for art supplies, pottery and handcrafted soaps; Busy Bees for beads and beaded art, Artistic's Boutique Craft Mall for gift ideas; Hocking College Student Gallery for student artworks in ceramic, glass and metal; Fullbrook's Cafe and Coffee for specialty coffee drinks and pastries; and Pieces of the Past for antiques and collectibles. Stuart's Opera House provides a range of live entertainment, and in its lobby, Gallery 1879 features art works for sale.
"Enjoy the unique artistic perspective of our large Appalachian hills community," says Judy. "Nelsonville Square is a quaint and lovely getaway from the larger cities. We are free from urban sprawl and suburban malls, and provide a nostalgic shopping atmosphere."
Nelsonville Historic Arts District: On the Public Square, Nelsonville, 740/753-1011.
Experts agree that keeping it simple can help keep Christmas enjoyable. "One reason so many of us love the idea of an â€˜old-fashioned Christmas' is because our lives seemed much simpler then, and the joys of Christmas were simpler as well," says Glenda Lehman Ervin of Lehman's old-time general store, and a self-confessed Christmas connoisseur.
Evoking the simple joys of an old-fashioned Christmas doesn't have to be a complicated affair, Lehman Ervin says. "Few of us have time for all the old-fashioned traditions, but by choosing some pleasant, easy traditions, you can create the Christmas atmosphere without the holiday stress."
The choice of a gift can be a simple one.
"A good set of Christmas cookie cutters is never a bad investment," Lehman Ervin observes. They can be used year after year to make a family's favorite holiday treats and to dress up a home for the holidays.
Evergreen, spices, bayberry and baked goods are all scents that evoke the holidays. "Another way the Christmas cookie cutters will pay off - the aroma of freshly baked Christmas cookies." Sleigh bells are another great holiday gift that evokes the sounds of Christmas, even if your loved one doesn't own a sleigh.
"Anything you use to bring Christmas to your home can also bring the spirit of the season to your friends, far-off family and business associates," she observes. "Giving a gift that says â€˜old-fashioned Christmas' also tells the recipient that you really put some thought into their gift."
Remember a gift to yourself, as well. "The key is to find a few special things to do so that you don't add to your holiday stress," Lehman Ervin says. "I do a lot at Christmas, but I only do what I really want to do. These things really bring the spirit of Christmas to my home without ruining the holidays for me."
You'll find traditional bayberry candles, sleigh bells, copper cookie cutters, classic children's toys and more old-fashioned Christmas ideas and decorating touches at the company Web site.
Lehman's: 1 Lehman Circle, P.O. Box 41, Kidron, 888/438-5346 or 330/857-5757, www.Lehmans.com.
Shop and Stay
Perhaps an overnight weekend is in order for your shopping needs. If so, consider a journey to the town of Perrysburg, located on the scenic banks of the Maumee River.
"We offer three packages. We want to appeal to everyone, from the family with kids on a long weekend, to mom and dad for a getaway," says Mary Helge, the general manager of the Holiday Inn Express Perrysburg. "The best thing is the packages are available seven days a week, with no restrictions." Gift certificates are available in any denomination, should you want to give the gift of an overnight stay.
Conveniently located at I-75 and U.S. Rte. 20, the Holiday Inn Express Perrysburg is both a family-friendly and business-smart hotel. The hotel offers a complimentary continental breakfast, free high-speed/wireless Internet service, indoor pool, sauna, whirlpool and fitness center. A "children's corner" includes a color TV, VCR, childrens' movies, and games and toys. A business center offers copying, e-mail and Internet, fax, PC and printer.
The hotel is located 10 minutes from Bowling Green State University, the Toledo Zoo, Center of Science and Industry-Toledo, and the area's newest shopping area, the Town Center at Levis Commons - a 319,000 square-foot, $55 million, open-air lifestyle center that includes retail, offices, restaurants and entertainment in an open-air, traditional Main Street environment.
The center features such retailers as Talbots, Talbots Petites, J. Jill, Coldwater Creek, Ann Taylor Loft, Chico's, Lane Bryant, New York & Company, Arhaus Furniture, Yankee Candle, Schakolad Chocolate Factory and Jos. A. Bank Clothiers. Children's clothing retailers include Gymboree and Strasburg Children. A wide variety of restaurants include Biaggi's Ristorante Italiano, Max & Erma's, Johnny Rockets and Blue Pacific Grill.
Holiday Inn Express Perrysburg:10621 Fremont Pike, Perrysburg, 419/874-3101, www.hiexpress.com/tol-fremontpk.
The Gift of Music
When Michael Hauer started selling musical instruments from a small Dayton studio in 1937, he never could have imagined how his endeavor would thrive over the next seven decades.
Today, the Hauer Music Company is located in a fully restored, four-story canal building that was built in 1887. The piano department features handmade Austrian Bosendorfer grand pianos. "Hauer Music has been orchestrating family music for over 70 years and is the perfect place for all of your holiday shopping," says Hauer's Kelly Rougeux. "A Bosendorfer grand piano is a gift that will last a lifetime and become a treasured family heirloom. It is definitely worth the trip to Dayton to see and play this beautiful, handcrafted instrument."
Hauer Music's acoustics department includes acoustic guitars, from beginner to pro models. The string collection includes vintage and handmade violins and violas. And there are completely stocked brass and winds, percussion and electronics departments.
Hauer Music receives many inquiries on the whereabouts of former students, teachers, customers, music educators and professional musicians who have worked for or been influenced by the company over the decades. The company even hosts a gallery that is filled with vintage photos and historical stories, musician biographies and historical facts.
Hauer Music:120 S. Patterson Blvd., Dayton, 800/544-2837 or 937/222-2815, www.hauermusic.com.