Best of the City: Shopping

Whether you’re looking for a handmade wallet, some on-trend earrings on the cheap, or just a sit-down with a shop cat, our list will fix you up.

Handmade Leather Goods
Cannonball Handmade
When it comes to handmade leather goods, DAAP grad and Cincinnati native Kristin Guastaferro does it all, from traditional bi-fold wallets to messenger bags to dog collars. Have a specific product request? Guastaferro collaborates with each client to create just the custom goods they seek. Using only leather that’s an intrinsic by-product of the food industry—and local supplies whenever possible—sustainability is just as important to her as style. Available at various events and shops, and at

Cannonball Handmade
Cannonball Handmade

Photograph by Aaron M. Conway

indie > Rock Paper Scissors
Digital’s nice, but paper goods remain some of the most satisfying design products to browse and own. This sunny art-supplies/music boutique in OTR stocks the products of numerous local—and irreverent—paper artists as well as handmade sheaths and supplies for DIY paper engineers. Over-the-Rhine,

Rock Paper Scissors
Rock Paper Scissors

Photograph by Aaron M. Conway

Classic > Poeme
This is more than a stationery store: Poeme luxuriates in the artisanal beauty of paper, hand-set type, and printmaking, reminding us that a one-of-a-kind thank-you card can be a gift. Paying homage to the art of handwritten communication, Poeme isn’t so much stocked as curated. Give yourself time to browse. Hyde Park,


Photograph by Aaron M. Conway

Home Goods Source

Everything But The House
Price, service, and selection are retail’s holy trinity, and Everything But The House offers all three. Cincinnati’s homegrown estate auction website has expanded exponentially since its 2008 founding. Now bidders can nab unique furniture, art, appliances, and home accents from 15 different markets including Atlanta, Chicago, and Los Angeles—and the company itself is about to move into a larger downtown office space. 4650 Wilmer Ave., Linwood, (513) 242-3284,

Tomato Plant Supplies
with garden fixin’s > A.J. Rahn Greenhouses
Come April (should Mother Nature allow) Rahn is brimming with Romas, Better Boy, cherry, grape, and heirloom tomatoes, all seed-grown. You can also find hybrids like Black Krim and Brandywine Red, as well as plants specifically bred for pot planting. Winton Hills,

with dinner fixin’s > Pipkin’s Market
This family-run garden center has a huge selection—up to 100 varieties some years—all locally grown. They sell other edible plants too (chard, cucumbers, herbs galore). Plus: If you missed planting season, the adjacent market sells local (already grown!) tomatoes. Blue Ash,

Import shops
Australia > Simply Australian
Need a new didgeridoo? Some Australian meat pie? Oilskin duster jacket? Tim Tam biscuits? Get all of Down Under delivered to your doorstep, or skip the shipping costs and pick it up at their Mason warehouse. G’day, now.

Africa > Kilimanjaro African Heritage
Patterned skirts. Polished, cut-stone sculpture. Metal, bead, and stone jewelry for days. Owner Titus Mbindyo Nzioki selectively chooses and imports it all from his home continent—and offers something at every price point (example: carved wooden giraffes from $4 to $275).  Clifton,

Asia > Cincinnati Asia Market
Whether it’s pickled mango, ceramic tea ware, a Chinese-language World News, preserved duck eggs, loose-leaf green tea, a new rice cooker, or specialty products like enoki mushrooms, bitter melon, lotus root, and dim sum spicy chicken feet you seek—this supermarket will not let you down.  Evendale,

South America > Ten Thousand Villages
It’s not just the beaches of Brazil: South America is home to a diverse set of landscapes and cultures, and here you’ll find a range of painted gourds, woven goods, woodwork, tagua nut or serpentine stone jewelry, and more. Plus: The fair-trade shop can tell you exactly who made each item.  O’Bryonville and Montgomery,

North America > Panaderia la Mexicana
The tienda may be a bit bare-bones, but the adjoining bakery is abundant with freshly baked, slightly sweet pan dulce favorites like conchas and orejas. Taqueria Mercado runs the entire strip, with a restaurant, bar, bakery, and (coming soon) butcher shop. ¡Ya comemos!  Fairfield, (513) 942-5065

Europe > Jungle Jim’s International Market
The iron curtain is officially lifted: They stock rows of Bosnian, Hungarian, Russian, Bulgarian, Macedonian, and Polish goods, with entire sections for Germany, Great Britain (an aisle of teas!), and Italy, plus rooms for Greece, Scandinavia, Spain, France, Ireland, and the Netherlands.  Eastgate and Fairfield,

Victor Athletics
A spin-off brand of Noble Denim, the newly launched line of stylish men’s and women’s T-shirts, sweatshirts, and lounge pants has generated buzz from high-end fashion blogs Fashionista and A Continuous Lean. All items are made in U.S. factories using good-for-the-environment 100-percent-organic cotton that’s grown in Texas and milled in North Carolina. Victor also donates a portion of its proceeds back to the small factories it collaborates with to promote local economies and sustainability. Win-win. 1405 Republic St., Over-the-Rhine,

Store Pets
Hi-Bred > Scout
Listen for the pitter-patter of teeny paws on the wood floors in Shawna Maria Guip’s expertly curated vintage shop. Then look for a pair of ears that seem way too big for this friendly pup’s wee body. East Walnut Hills,

Scout, Hi-Bred
Scout, Hi-Bred

Photograph by Jeremy Kramer

Quince & Quinn > Louie
You can almost imagine this elegant little French bulldog trotting down the Champs-Élysées, nose in the air. Give him a knowing nod while browsing hand-painted table lamps, fancy guest soaps, and all manner of fabulous housewares. Oakley,

Louie, Quince & Quinn
Louie, Quince & Quinn

Photograph by Jeremy Kramer

Sidewinder Coffee > Patrick Swayze
This lop-eared rabbit won’t make himself known. Look for him behind a planter on the back patio (during warm months). He’ll probably be rolling around in the dust to stay cool. As one does. Northside,

Patrick Swayze, Sidewinder Coffee
Patrick Swayze, Sidewinder Coffee

Photograph by Jeremy Kramer

Suder’s Art Store > George Washington
As with most cats, this little guy isn’t sure if he likes you yet. Don’t take it personally. Are you a design student? Don’t worry. You will have plenty of time to get on his good side, as this decades-old shop is a Cincinnati arts institution. Over-the-Rhine,

George Washington, Suder's Art Store
George Washington, Suder’s Art Store

Photograph by Jeremy Kramer

consigner’s delight
We’re thrilled former toy sculptor Shawna Maria Guip quit her day job and opened Hi-Bred to sell vintage clothing instead. She splits sales with consigners 50/50, keeps merchandise until it sells, and if you don’t feel like schlepping it to the shop, just e-mail a photo and she’ll let you know if she’s interested. Spotted on our last visit: leopard Betsy Johnson stilettos, an orange polka-dot trench, and madras plaid men’s shorts. What’s not to love? 2807 Woodburn Ave., East Walnut Hills, (513) 240-4664,

West Side Jeweler
Geraci Fine Jewelry
Forget that owner/founder Joe Geraci makes impressive custom jewelry (wedding bands, pendants; the sky and your wallet really are his only limits). We walked into his Colerain store completely incognito, and still, Geraci took a solid 15 minutes to give us a tour; introduce us to three jewelers making repairs and working on special projects; and show us some of his finished work. Now that’s customer service! 9212 Colerain Ave., Colerain Township, (513) 385-4653,

Groomsmen Spa Package
Salzano & Sons Barber Shop
Fellas, for your last act of bachelordom, get a clay-pack facial. Salzano’s Barbershop offers the preeminent groomsmen package: on the morning of your wedding, you and your party get their famed straight-razor shave—featuring hot towels from the autoclave, pre-shave oils, and that post-shave facial—while enjoying the shop’s flatscreen TVs and a top-notch spread of food and drink, all for about $115 a person. “You can tweak it to include whatever you want,” says Guido Salzano. Either way, you’ll be out the door looking great—and with a little liquid courage—in time for the big day. 201 E. Fourth St., downtown, (513) 241-9669

flower fix
Una Floral
With an eye for color and the freshest stalks, Una Floral owner Patricia Campos arranges bouquets of fleeting beauty, available once a month at her pop-up at Fern in College Hill. The graphic designer-turned-florist (who also does weddings) sources locally, letting the season guide the look: ranunculus and peonies in the spring, dahlias in the fall. With fragrant additions such as clove-like stock and honey-scented sweet peas, these bouquets are on the nose.

buy-local wear-local emporium
Sustainable is the fashionable byword in food these days, but cotton and wool are farm products too, and it’s good to know there are boutique owners running their storefronts as a force for environmental benefit—or at least minimal harm. Enter Continuum. Opened in May by DAAP grad Ericka Leighton-Spradlin, Continuum sells the clothes of emerging designers whose garments are manufactured in the United States and usually made with cotton from sustainable operations. It’s a wardrobe you can feel good in. 1407 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, (513) 429-5035,

Plant Farm
Mary’s Plant Farm
The fairy-tale English perennial borders alone are worth the trip, but  Mary’s Plant Farm offers much more. Opened in 1976 by Mary Harrison, the 94-year-old still tends the farm today with help from her daughter Sherri Berger. They specialize in native and heirloom species, spring and fall bulbs, and everything in between. Plants are field grown, not raised in a greenhouse, so they’re particularly hardy to our local climate. We’re digging it. 2410 Lanes Mill Rd., Hamilton, (513) 894-0022,

Denim Spray
If you dropped a couple hundred bucks on a pair of raw denim jeans, know this: permanent press and tumble dry are not your friend. Invest in a denim spray instead. Jen Knarr, founder of Benchmade (sold inside Northside Chop Shop, which she co-owns), makes a denim spray with scents of sandalwood and vetiver that eliminates any bar stank while preserving the integrity of the jeans. 1609 Hoffner St., Northside, (513) 591-2467

plant sale
The Civic Garden Center
Calling it an “annual plant sale” is a little like calling the Kentucky Derby an “annual horse race.” The Civic Garden Center’s fund-raiser, around for 56 years, is a three-day plant-buying extravaganza that begins with a preview party Friday night. Seventeen booths sell thousands of varieties, from hostas to rare exotics and “necessary” natives. It’s all about small quantity and large variety—only one tray of each type of plant will be available, most of them commissioned, with a focus on local and regional growers. May 6–8, Hauck Botanic Gardens, 2715 Reading Rd., Avondale,

Inexpensive Indie Jewelry
Libby Boutique
Tiny shopping bags always come with the biggest price tags, right? Not at Libby Boutique, a Brooklyn-inspired shop in OTR. Hand-stamped nameplate necklaces, minimalist wire bracelets, delicate layering chains: Most items can be had for less than $30, and some are actually handmade in the shop by owner Libby Andress. 1420 Main St., Over-the-Rhine, (513) 409-4256,

Libby Boutique
Libby Boutique

Photograph by Aaron M. Conway

Instagram Account For: Shopping
Continuum OTR
Mentally prep for some lifestyle envy (or just plan your next shopping trip).

@continuumOTR on Instagram
@continuumOTR on Instagram

Big Girl Lingerie
Sheer Necessities
Some cups you want to overflow. Your bra cup is not one of those. So Sheer Necessities stocks sizes 32A–52N and their attentive employees will size and custom-fit each bra you try on, meaning you’re guaranteed to find a perfect fit—no matter your size—for every day or your big day (they’re in the Reading Bridal District). Head downstairs to find the naughtier stuff (you know, costumes and props). 201 W. Benson St., Reading, (513) 761-7010,

Custom Woodworking & Restoration
Krieger Furniture & Millwork
Bringing a custom kitchen to life may sound like a lofty dream demanding a team of professionals—until you meet James Krieger. He plans, designs, and handcrafts custom wood cabinets and furniture, specializing in residential kitchen remodels and library renovations. He can also bring that banged-up antique table back to its original beauty. Or, if you’re interested in an urban woods project, he’ll use your trees and his sawmill to keep it green. Batesville, Indiana, (812) 212-1749


Facebook Comments