Local shopping is alive and well. Even as Amazon and other online behemoths attract more of our money, a quiet brick-and-mortar renaissance is occurring. Small, distinctive shops are thriving all over Central Ohio, offering unique wares, in charming settings, curated by passionate experts. While consumers might love the ease and practicality of online shopping, they also want to spend their dollars closer to home.
A recent survey from WD Partners bears this out. When the Dublin retail consultant asked about 2,500 people across the U.S. late last year whether they intended to shop more locally, 88 percent said they did. What’s more, 57 percent said they wanted to spend their money at locally owned shops, as opposed to national brands with nearby outposts. “Local is bigger than ever,” says Lee Peterson, executive vice president for WD Partners. What’s driving the trend? Online shopping is pragmatic, efficient—and that has its appeal, as the pandemic showed. But local shopping, at its best, is joyful, surprising. When you visit a great local store, you might interact with its owner, learn something new, crack up at a witty display or even find a community of like-minded souls—stuff that doesn’t happen on Amazon, in other words. “It’s the emotional factor versus the functional factor,” Peterson says.
In the following stories, Columbus Monthly dives into Central Ohio’s dynamic local shopping scene, highlighting more than 50 brick-and-mortar stores worth visiting. Our guide offers can’t-miss picks for fashion, plants, books, home furnishings and more. Enjoy the local love.
It’s worth the drive to visit this sprawling, 3-acre nursery off I-71 in Marengo. (read more)
This “living furniture store” with locations in Upper Arlington and New Albany features a curated blend of pieces. (read more)
You won’t find the big pet food brands at this Central Ohio-based chain. But you will find unique fare—and a pet store drive-thru in Grove City. (read more)
This hotspot for unplugged gamers will open its newest store on the Far West Side in late spring or early summer. (read more)
A local rock hound gives a tour of the city’s best outlets for crystals and mystical fare. (read more)
Find fun, handcrafted products—and plenty of wonderful scents—at these brick-and-mortar outlets. (read more)
Owner Dionte’ Johnson also uses his business to give back to the community. (read more)
From elevated to accessible, you’re sure to find the right fit at one of these fashion hotspots. (read more)
The independent publisher’s bookstore on the South Side is also a haven for events and approachable vegan fare. (read more)
Discover an assortment of retro goodies, from clothing to furniture, at this two-floor emporium in Italian Village. (read more)
A lifelong crate-digger shares his favorite haunts in the city. (read more)
The neighborhood offers a trove of vintage and antique stores. (read more)
Owner Adria Hall tries to remove the intimidation factor from living an eco-friendly lifestyle. (read more)
Cool finds discovered at seven of Central Ohio’s wildly diverse home goods stores (read more)
This story is from the Where to Shop Now package in the May 2023 issue of Columbus Monthly.