Small businesses are sometimes pushed to the background in the wake of national retail chains during the holiday shopping season.

Sure, there’s Small Business Saturday, a holiday that spotlights these establishments, but that doesn’t mean shoppers can’t take advantage of them at other points of the year. Especially because most locally-owned shops provide customers with a personalized shopping experience within their own communities.

If you are trying to slim down your holiday shopping list at some small businesses, below are some stores across the state that are certainly worth the drive.

Bizzy Beads Boutique

Shopping for someone who loves quirky jewelry and food? Here’s a place to get both in one gift.

Bizzy Beads is among the several dozen small businesses located in Akron’s Northside Marketplace.

The business is best known for its handcrafted miniature food charms, earrings and necklaces.

Bizzy Beads Boutique sells a variety of handcrafted jewelry, including earrings that resemble popular food items.

The tiny clay charms — which include various flavors of ice cream cones, loaded baked potatoes, s’mores, nut-crusted caramel apples, tacos and more — look so real that owner Kimberley Camp warns customers that the little pieces of artwork are not edible.

Bizzy Beads inside Northside Marketplace, Thursday, Nov. 9, 2023, in Akron, Ohio.

Other unique offerings include natural stone bracelets, cured resin doughnut pendants that look like multicolor blown glass and jewelry made from slices of mokume gane polymer resin. Mokume gane is a technique used in Japanese metalworking that makes metal look like layers of wood. When applied to clay, it gives swirls and bursts of color. Inside Northside Marketplace, 21 Furnace St., Akron;; 216-309-1967

Modern Traditions Co.

A customer browses the selection of vintage clothing at Modern Traditions Co. inside the Northside Marketplace, Thursday, Nov. 9, 2023, in Akron, Ohio.

While you may have cringed at the clothes they wore back in the day, there’s a growing audience of collectors and fashion aficionados who appreciate the clothes that once graced a hanger at Kmart or a rack for those fancy pants who shopped at Polsky’s Department Store.

Curious customers can find racks of unusual, well-loved clothing and other oddities at Modern Traditions Co, a vintage clothing store that opened in January 2022. Inside Northside Marketplace, 21 Furnace St., Akron;

Vintage clothing enthusiasts can pick up old school threads at Modern Traditions Co. inside Northside Marketplace, Thursday, Nov. 9, 2023, in Akron, Ohio.

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.

Olivia Buzzi looks through a drawer of crystals while shopping at Gypsy Grace & the Vintage Goat in Akron, Ohio.

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. 451 W. Market St., Akron; 330-366-2835;

Coburn’s Quilting Plus

Thinking of giving a personalized quilt to someone as a gift, but daunted at the amount of work involved? Then the staff at Coburn’s Quilting Plus in Barberton may be able to lend a hand.

Coburn’s Quilting Plus, which has had four generations working there, has been in the quilting business for over 30 years, said Joyce Coburn. Coburn said her mother had initially purchased a shop with a friend in the late ’70s.

Three generations stand together at Coburn's Quilting Plus in Barberton. From left, Martine Wilson, Wilson's daughter Stephanie Moore, and Joyce Coburn, Wilson's mother and Moore's grandmother. Coburn's mother started the Barberton business with a friend.

Today, the store not only offers quilting but embroidery, sewing and alterations.

A big trend right now are T-shirt quilts made from a person’s T-shirt collection. Coburn said her daughter recently came to work at the quilt store to expand opportunities at Coburn’s, which currently averages 100 to 150 T-shirt quilts per year. It takes the store about four weeks to make a T-shirt quilt. 527 W. Tuscarawas Ave., Barberton;; 330-310-7346


Westerville brothers Talan and Taron Taylor have become a hit at makers markets with Huckstle—their line of beard balms, beard oils, mustache wax and soaps. The branding may be a play on the snake-oil salesmen, or “hucksters” of yesteryear, but there is nothing devious about their inventory. 

Huckstle founders Talan Taylor (left) and Taron Taylor display some of their men's skin-care products at Land-Grant Brewing Co., 424 W. Town St. in Columbus' Franklinton neighborhood.

The products are crafted to prevent dryness, itchiness and frizz while stimulating hair growth and shine. The items include natural ingredients and pleasant scents like citrus and pome, linen and lime, and pine and leaf. 

While some family members argue too much to work together, the Taylors said it’s mostly smooth sailing for them.  

“We have that strong bond,” Taron said. “We’re not just brothers, we’re friends.” 

Online orders at;

Dublin Toy Emporium

Dublin resident Enas Lanham opened her Dublin Toy Emporium March 10, 2018. A mother and a former educator, Lanham’s mission is to provide high-quality, mind-expanding, safe, and fun toys for all ages. 

The Dublin Toy Emporium had shelves stocked with fun offerings on North High Street in Dublin.

“I take great pride in selecting products that enrich child development, such as wooden toys, learning games, puzzles, arts and crafts, and so much more,” the shop’s website states. 28 North High Street Dublin;; 614-389-1467

Pivot Boutique

Owned by former corporate lawyer Nicci Hicks, Short North boutique Pivot opened last year featuring clothing, shoes and accessories from brands owned by women and people of color from around the world, with an emphasis on inclusivity and sustainability. The boutique is a place where people can shop their values, Hicks says.

August 12, 2022; Columbus, Ohio; Pivot is a new boutique in the Short North owned by Nicci Hicks. She's a former corporate lawyer who pivoted to opening her own boutique last month. Nicci's clothing, shoes and accessories are curated from women-owned and minority-owned businesses, and sustainable-focused fashion brands. A display is pictured at the boutique. Fred Squillante-The Columbus Dispatch

Two of Pivot’s featured brands, Marion Parke and Poche, were created by women who pivoted from their own careers. Marion Parke was created by a foot and ankle surgeon who switched to making shoes that are both attractive and comfortable for women, and Poche is a Ukrainian jewelry brand by two best friends who left their careers to start the business.

Hicks stated in a Cincinnati Enquirer story that customers have gravitated to the sustainable handbag line Ree Projects, a brand that is also Black woman-owned, because of its distinctive design. 718 N. High St. Columbus;; 614-219-9419


Artichoke, a curated cookware store selling unique kitchen tools, appliances and seasonings that aren’t always offered at chain stores, especially those used for French, Japanese, and other international types of cooking.

Those more into gifting experiences as opposed to present can still breathe easy, as Artichoke also offers informal one-hour cooking classes and sit-down two-hour classes. All events are BYOB (bring your own booze). Guests sample whatever is being made in class and get copies of the recipes to bring home. Past classes include “Steakhouse Secrets,” “Intro to Indian” and “Italian Seafood Risotto dinner.” All classes are reservation-only and require advance payment. 

A cooking class at Artichoke.

Husband-wife duo Karen and Brad Hughes opened the shop in one of the the 150-year-old buildings that borders Findlay Market in 2015. Why? They saw the need for a store specializing in cookware and wanted to do something fun during their retirement. 1824 Elm Street, Cincinnati;; 513-263-1002

Spun Bicycles

This mom-and-pop shop has been selling and tuning up bikes in the heart of Northside off Hamilton Avenue since it’s opening a decade ago.

Owner Judi LoPresti poses at Spun Bicycles in the Northside neighborhood of Cincinnati on Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2020

Owners Dominic and Judi LoPresti are equipped to help fans of just about any cycling discipline including mountain bike, road, BMX, cyclocross and more. Not only does the shop sell and fix bikes, but it also does bicycle restoration.

Customers can even design and build their dream bike and its wheels, piece by piece. According to the Spun Bicycles website, custom-made bikes and wheels can come in any color or design and range from classics to carbon and anything in between. 4033 Hamilton Ave., Cincinnati;; 513-541-7786

Ohio Book Store

Ohio Book Store has five floors of books and magazines. The store also has a book bindery where they repair and restore books, and a big part of that business is restoring children’s books. Most of their inventory is used and older books, which means its the perfect place to find something for the book collector in your life.

Ohio Book Store; 726 Main St., downtown Cincinnati.

The massive book shop has an inventory of more than 300,000 books and magazines in stock covering all subjects. 726 Main St., Cincinnati;; 513-621-5142