CHILLICOTHE – Walking around downtown Chillicothe is more fun than ever. With the revitalization of the inner city area, it has become a hotspot for local businesses. Next time you stop by, be sure to check out some of these shops run by local people.
Local bibliophiles don’t have to travel far for the latest book as this independent bookstore has them covered. Wheatberry Books was founded in 2017 by owner Chelsea Bruning. Owning a bookshop has always been a childhood dream for Bruning, who opened her shop when the opportunity arose when another bookshop in town was closing.
Although originally from Bainbridge, Bruning likes to run her business in downtown Chillicothe.
“I couldn’t imagine doing it anywhere else,” says Brüning. “This is home.”
Since the store is rather small, Bruning has to be selective about what goes on the shelves. Many of the books in stock are ones she likes as well as ones recommended by customers. Bruning works hard to make her bookstore a safe place for people to gather and share their love of reading without fear of judgment.
Paper City Coffee and Lady Basil
Paper City Coffee is a great place to stop for a nice, relaxing cup of coffee during your shopping spree. The building has a beautiful mural with many different places inside to sit and meet friends or do some work.
Opened in 2016 by owner Megan Vanbuskirk, the café offers customers coffee and sandwiches as well as places to meet or work. With every purchase, customers support the Paper City Mentoring Project.
Although a separate company, Paper City Coffee was formed to support the Paper City Mentoring Project. This program is a non-profit mentoring program for high school students, where they work with mentors who support them through socialization and guidance. Megan VanBuskirk and Anna Purpero, who is now the director of the project, were both high school teachers when they came up with the idea for the mentoring project.
Paper City Coffee has worked to expand downtown and bring people to the city. Vanbuskirk enjoys being a part of the downtown revitalization and is excited to offer visitors and those who call Chillicothe home a place to enjoy. She has created an environment where everyone is welcome, whether teenagers in the program or clients.
“We’ve worked really hard to create a healthy space,” said VanBuskirk. “It is a value of ours to include people from all walks of life.”
At Paper City Coffee, customers can visit a plant shop called Lady Basil. Here they will find many beautiful plants and unique pots to grow them in.
Are you looking for a new piece to add to your wardrobe? Look no further than Hometown Threads, a shop full of locally made pieces that will show your Ohio and Chillicothe pride.
Hometown Threads was founded in December 2019 by owner Ben Thompson, who also owns Hometown Apparel and Screen Printing in Chillicothe. Originally from Lancaster, Thompson always thought he might one day return to his hometown, but now says Chillicothe feels right at home. Hometown Threads has helped him connect with the community in ways he never thought possible. One of his favorite things about the store is that it can reflect what’s at the heart of the community. Because of this, almost all of the designs in the store come from local artists
“Everything is Chillicothe, everything is Ohio,” Thompson said.
Manager Lydia Moore likes the store for many of the same reasons. Growing up in Chillicothe Moore says the shop helped her appreciate the city more than ever. She loves telling visitors about the city and giving suggestions on where to visit downtown.
Bernie & Max Stained Glass Studio
Bernie Evans, owner of Bernie & Max Stained Glass Studio, has been creating stained glass art for over 14 years. He started creating at his home but has since moved downtown. His shop offers custom window and door trim, one-of-a-kind gifts, and one-of-a-kind courses where people can try their hand at different glass crafts.
The courses offered are perfect for beginners or experienced glass artists. In each class, participants will go home with a unique piece they have created.
Pam Hatton, a glass artist at the studio, says being in the “quaint” downtown area is great for business because they see a lot more foot traffic compared to other places. She is also excited about the trolley that has recently come downtown, as she believes it will bring more people to downtown shops.
Nellie Dog Ceramics & Colors
Nothing is more unique than handmade and hand-painted ceramics. At Nellie Dog Pottery & Paints, visitors make their own beautiful creations with the help of the staff.
Owner Nikki Bridenbaugh bought the shop in 2017 when he moved to Chillicothe. The shop was originally founded in Jackson, Ohio in 2014. When she found out the business was for sale, Bridenbaugh left her job at the company to run it. She says it wasn’t a difficult decision for her as it gave her more time to spend with her family.
“People come here for different reasons,” said Bridenbaugh. “Some come here to relax and take a mental break, others come here to spend time with family.”
The shop sees many returning customers who come to the pottery to make their own pieces. Guests can order pottery and canvas painting, and the shops also host parties for special occasions like birthdays and bridal showers. Nellie Dog encourages walk-ins at any time during normal business hours.
Next time you’re in downtown Chillicothe be sure to stop by some of these unique shops. You can also check out the other fantastic shops in the area and let us know your favourites.
Shelby Reeves is a reporter for the Chillicothe Gazette. You can email her at SReeves@gannett.com or follow her on Twitter @Shelby_Reeves_