Bellefontaine’s colorful Rainbow Row storefronts (photo courtesy of Small Nation)

Rainbow Row Creates a New Bellefontaine Landmark

The colorful redevelopment project provides a new downtown destination and fresh chapter in this Logan County city’s revitalization.

Not long ago, one of the city of Bellefontaine’s newest success stories was an unsightly row of rundown buildings. The structures, which date to the late 1800s, were abandoned, dilapidated and in need of a lot of love to bring them back.

Today, they house the vibrant Rainbow Row Bellefontaine, a new attraction inspired by the famous pastel rowhouses in Charleston, South Carolina. In the span of two years, the Bellefontaine property was stripped to its bones and rebuilt. It now houses five retail businesses and second-level suites for overnight or extended stays.

The Craft Emporium, which features a variety of Ohio beers on tap, moved into Rainbow Row’s dark green building in January 2023. The yellow one next door houses Candy Craze, a bright space filled with retro treats. Eden Haus, which arrived in September 2023, sells houseplants inside the lavender-colored storefront, and the light green structure next to it is home to Rush Creek Art Studio, where Dwight Greenbaum teaches artists of all skill levels. The red building on the end houses tattoo artist Nicci Kauffman’s The Salty Swan Studio.

Local doctor Norman Greene and his wife, Julie, are behind Rainbow Row’s second level, which houses seven Airbnb suites that are themed after the seven continents of the world. They are available for one-night stays or multi-month reservations.

Since 2011, the city of Bellefontaine’s downtown has seen a revival spurred by Small Nation — a local company that redevelops historic properties and is behind Rainbow Row Bellefontaine — as well as other independent business owners.

“We wanted to create a neighborhood within our downtown that was fun, funky and creative,” says Jason Duff, the founder of Small Nation. “[In] every living room, when you work with effective designers, you always have that accent chair. This is what we described as the gem and the accent chair for downtown Bellefontaine.” 

114 W. Chillicothe Ave., Bellefontaine 43311, 937/565-4580,