Last-minute holiday shopping doesn’t have to be all about dashing to malls, big box retailers or convenience stores.
Many locally owned shops offer extended hours during the holiday season. Here are some details about small independent merchants.
An aside: Only 11.3 percent of folks say they have completely wrapped up their lists, leaving much shopping left to be done. That’s according to a report last week from the National Retail Federation.
ARTS, CRAFTS AND EGGS
Three years ago, John Fitzgibbons began selling antiques, as well as “just older, interesting stuff” out of his “picker’s barn” in Copley Township.
These days, there’s a lot more to choose from as Fitzgibbons has vastly expanded his Wolf Creek Trading Co. to include a variety of hand-crafted wares and painted furniture. He often has free-range eggs available, too.
“We’re trying to build a village here,” Fitzgibbons said, “a permanent installation of arts, crafts and fun shopping experiences.”
The “village,” at the corner of Summit and Cleveland Massillon roads, is home to the 1870s barn, with the antiques, and an adjacent horse stable that houses the arts and crafts gallery.
The aqua paint job on the gallery gives it a whimsical look.
At the gallery, Fitzgibbons offers works from some 70 artists — most from Northeast Ohio. He notes that current offerings include gifts priced at $20 or less, including inlaid wood rulers and little boxes, fused glass necklaces and colorful felt mittens.
“This is not church bizarre craft stuff,” Fitzgibbons adds. “We’re kind of like a Boston Mills [art fair] on a permanent installation.”
Shoppers also can find pottery, wood-turned bowls, wood ornaments, inlaid wood cutting boards, paintings, drawing, pillows made with Turkish textiles, candles and jams and jellies from Crooked River Herb Farm of Wadsworth Township, and more.
The barn is full of furniture and collectibles.
Fitzgibbons, a cabinet maker, envisions his emporium as a “retirement type of business that takes me away from the construction business.” Wolf Creek Trading is at 2361 S. Cleveland-Massillon Road.
TREASURE CHEST OPEN
The two-month-old Treasure Chest antiques/vintage items shop at 393 W. Exchange St. in Akron is a lot more than the brightly lit store front that passers-by see from the street.
“We just got bigger and bigger right away and we opened up the back building, too,” said owner Bill Neiman, who also works as a landscaper.
Neiman takes items on consignment and also visits estate sales to find inventory: “We try to get unusual and interesting stuff versus stuff you see every day.”
Items vary from new and old signs, vintage jewelry, Christmas decorations, an old wood corn husker, second-hand furniture and kitchen ware, remote control helicopters and more. The shop is across from January Paint & Wallpaper.
Ecco Lights’ hand-painted glassware and handmade candles have graduated from Coventry Township’s Southside Flea Market and moved into its own quarters at 2884 Albrecht Ave. in Akron’s Ellet area.
“We’ve done this for three years now and have a really good following,” said co-owner Rob Logan, who makes the candles, which come in nearly 250 scents, and handles the online portion of the business.
His partner and Ecco Lights co-owner Troy Miller, a mail handler for the U.S. Postal Service, does much of the painting, adorning glassware (wine glasses, plates, beer mugs etc.) with flowers, fruit and even tattoo designs.
TREES DISPLAY GIFTS
Ten Christmas trees — each carefully decorated in a different theme — adorn the interior of Just That Twist in Copley Township, at 1463 South Cleveland-Massillon Road. The sprawling shop, offering gifts and home accessories, is in multiple rooms in an 1883 farmhouse near Copley Circle. There’s a baby room, a dog corner and other specialty areas. Owners Janet Clover and Kelly Brown have installed a tree in each room, and all the decorations and gift items used to decorate them are for sale.
Nearby is Copley Circle Antiques, which opened this fall, in the former Copley Antique Mall, at 1451 S. Cleveland-Massillon Road at Copley Circle. The new owner is John Mack, who said the place now boasts nearly 30 dealers.
KEEPING TIME IN KENT
City Bank Antiques in Kent specializes in vintage watches and antique clocks. It’s in the old brick City Bank of Kent building at 115 S. Water St.
Co-owner Don Barrett, a financial planner, is known across the country as an expert in the repair of antique American pocket watches. The store’s large watch selection includes collectible American railroad grade pocket watches — those that meet standards adopted by railroads in the late 1800s.
It’s not all about timepieces at the shop, though. Co-owner Karen Barrett, Don’s wife and a former librarian, said the store also stocks books, china, glassware, vintage jewelry and antique music boxes.
The shop’s decor includes two working steam locomotives. These are the small kind used in so-called garden or backyard railways.
Last week’s look at area bookshops did not include the Village Bookstore at 8140 Main St. in Garrettsville. Ellen Eckhouse opened it in 2005, setting up in a 100-plus year-old storefront. She offers “mostly used, a little bit of new” books for every age. “I was a stay-at-home mom,” she said. “Now, I’m a stay-at-the-bookstore mom.”
Another shop is religious bookstore Grismer’s Christian Gifts & Church Supply. It has been an Akron fixture for more than 75 years. It has been in its current location in a little building at 272 S. High St. since the mid-1940s. The shop offers Bibles, books and a variety of gifts, including nativity scenes, rosaries, keepsake boxes, indoor and outdoor statues and picture frames. Grismer’s also has locations in Stow and Northfield.
Retail operations tied to local institutions also include gift shops in hospitals. Paid staff and volunteers run the shop at Akron General Medical Center in Akron. It offers a wide selection of jewelry and Hartville chocolates.
Among the most popular items at the shop at Lodi Community Hospital are local honey and candles. The Lodi hospital is part of the Akron General Health System.
Proceeds of the shops at Summa Akron City Hospital go toward fulfilling a $440,000 pledge made by the institution’s Women’s Board. The board pledged the money to the hospital’s Cooper Cancer Center. Summa Akron City Hospital has a gift shop as well as the “Plant Place.”
Katie Byard can be reached at 330-996-3781 or email@example.com.