Unique local shops and their wares are sometimes pushed to the background in the wake of national retail chains during the holiday shopping season.
For this reason, Small Business Saturday was created. The holiday is meant to spotlight small businesses that provide customers with a personalized shopping experience within their own communities.
But don’t worry, these off-the-beaten-path shopping opportunities welcome customers through their doors more often than just the Saturday following Thanksgiving.
Below are some stores in the Akron-Canton region best for slimming down your holiday shopping list.
Gypsy Grace and the Vintage Goat
If the person you are buying a gift for is into the metaphysical, a visit to Gypsy Grace and the Vintage Goat is a must. The shop is in Akron’s Highland Square neighborhood and primarily sells metaphysical supplies, décor and gifts. Some items on their shelves are salt lamps, tarot cards, crystals and incense.
Next door is Leaf, a retail boutique and florist. Here you can pick up a wrapped bouquet or vase floral arrangement and browse their urban inspired collection of gift items, homewares, plants and blooms. Flower delivery is also available.
Address: 451 W. Market St., Akron
The Northside Marketplace
There’s a little bit of everything for everyone at The Northside Marketplace, where businesses that the public normally only has access to at farmers markets can rent booths and shelf space for their products. The goods of 42 vendors, selling everything from soap to miniature gaming systems to stained-glass art and jewelry, have found a permanent home in the market.
Address: 21 Furnace St., Akron
The Gamers’ Keep
This shop was made by and for local gamers with an interest in card, board, Warhammer and role-playing games. The store has everything a casual, competitive or professional gamer needs, including Magic: The Gathering cards, Dungeons and Dragons products, select board games and Warhammer miniatures.
Heads up: When entering, you will be greeted by a husky named Albus, the store’s mascot, in his normal fluffy form or as a life-size cutout.
Address: 1275 W. Wooster Road, Barberton
The Bomb Shelter
Shopping for someone who likes to reminisce about the “good old days?” If so, a visit to Akron’s Bomb Shelter may be in order. This 26,000-square-foot warehouse is a treasure trove of vintage vinyl records, cars, military equipment and other interesting items.
So, stop by and say hello to the business’s giant sea monster or its goldfish of more than 10 years, named Punkin. You can get a taste of what life looked like during the mid-1900s and, if you spot something that nostalgic person would enjoy, buy a piece of that history.
Address: 923 Bank St., Akron
Founded in 1969, this eclectic gift and smoke shop in Canton has maintained its original “hippie boutique” charm. Customers can park in the store’s lot, where spots are bordered by squiggly rather than straight lines, and go inside to find an assortment of tie-dyed clothing, candles, incense, jewelry, loose-leaf tea and more.
Shoppers also will find crates of vinyl records and an array of skateboards, darts, disc golf and pickleball equipment.
Address: 3775 Cleveland Ave. NW, Canton
Plant Et Art
Another funky shop offering unique and local items for more than 30 years in Canton is Plant Et Art. The brick building with its address in large numbers on the side and a metal spaceship sign in front stands out from the surrounding residential properties.
As the name implies, the store sells art and plants but also offers eclectic jewelry, metaphysical gifts and trinkets.
Address: 1524 Fulton Road NW, Canton
Sir Troy’s Toy Kingdom
The Belden Village shopping district is home to the nation’s largest independent toy store, Sir Troy’s Toy Kingdom.
The 30,000-square-foot store in Jackson Township features Lego displays and a wide variety of educational and imaginative toys for children of all ages. There also is a 13,000-square-foot Sir Troy’s in Solon and a 9,000-square-foot location in Medina.
Address: 4304 Belden Village St. NW, Canton
Rooted Oaks in Streetsboro’s Market Square Plaza offers. wide variety of gifts, including cottage foods, candles, travel mugs, T-shirts, wooden signs, jewelry, baby and children’s items and more.
David Gehris, who owns the store along with his wife, Sara, said the store opened in 2020 and hosts 40 independent artisans who sell their wares there.
“You name it, we sell it,” he said.
Rooted Oaks is working on a “Splatter Room” where people will be able to make their own creations and take them home. The room will be open by appointment.
Address: 9296 Market Square Plaza, Streetsboro.
Popped, which offers specialty candy and popcorn, has two locations, one in Kent and one in Ravenna. Owner Gwen Rosenberg said the store’s confections have become a staple for many families during the holiday season.
Popular items include “Christmas caramel” popcorn, which has “all the flavors of the season,” peppermint bark, and a line of brittles and chocolates. Tins of popcorn and gift boxes also are popular.
She said many people have been coming to the store for more than a decade, and some graduates of Kent State University return around this season to bring their favorites home.
“There are people who say they can’t go home if they don’t bring our caramel corn,” she said. “That’s really sweet to hear.”
The store in Ravenna has an Art Space next door, which has a show running until Dec. 1.
Addresses: 138 E. Main St., Suite 101, Kent and 232 W. Main St., Ravenna.
Silver and Scents
Silver and Scents, which moved to Ravenna from Kent nearly a year ago, offers an eclectic mix of items, including candles, jewelry, clothing, dream catchers, crystals, stones, dream catchers and singing bowls. The store also has more than 5,000 oils and fragrances.
Owner Laurie Zalla said leather bound journals also are popular gifts.
The store also offers some spiritual items, such as tarot cards.
Zalla said she wants to make sure everything is positive and uplifting.
“The theme is art and beauty and all that is good and uplifting,” she said.
Address: 220 W. Main St., RavennaPhone: 330-474-5751Website: https://www.facebook.com/silver.scentskent/
Got a story recommendation? Contact Beacon Journal reporter Tawney Beans at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @TawneyBeans. And follow her adventures on TikTok @akronbeaconjournal.