Today, we celebrated family-owned stores that have been serving residents in and around Akron for generations. For example, January Paints & Wallpaper, the store that "My Beautiful Home" co-host Andy January and his family own, has been in business for 61 years. West Point Market turns 82 next year, and Mr. Fun's Costumes & Magic Emporium turns 50. Check out these local businesses to understand why they've had such great longevity.
Kally Vernon said that she will be sampling Rue Farms Rustic Potato Chips today at West Point Market, which specializes in gourmet foods, wine and gift items. Kally says that the store carries many locally sourced foods and treats, including Akron's Honadles candies and Rue Farms' chips, which are out of Springfield, Ohio. Visit West Point on a Saturday, and you'll likely see Kally's smiling face as she greets customers with a friendly hello and a free sample of something delicious.The store is located at 33 Shiawassee Ave. off West Market St.; turn right before Miller Road if you're driving west. For more information, call 330.864.2151 or visit online.
Meralie Pocock, owner of Mr. Fun's Costumes & Magic Emporium, came to the show dressed in a red and green sweater that actually had an on-off button. Turn it on, and the sweater lights up and plays Christmas music. This remarkable piece of clothing is just one example of the wide range of attire, costumes, accessories, gifts and novelties that Mr. Fun's carries in its 18,500-square-foot store, a former roller skating rink that still has a maple floor and the benches where skaters sat to change. It's located at 4130 State Rd. in Cuyahoga Falls, where you'll find everything from striped tights and tutus to full Santa suits. Mr. Fun's lives up to its name, for sure. For more information, visit the website or Facebook.
Chris Stranahan, owner of Wild Birds Unlimited on Howe Avenue in the Staples Plaza, Cuyahoga Falls, talked about his store's first holiday market. It's essentially a store within a store, with local and handmade items by 14 different craftspeople. The Portage Trail Barn Holiday Market used to be held in a real barn on, you guessed it, Portage Trail. It's now been moved to the heated and therefore more comfortable environs of the store, and it's a charming way to buy nature-themed gifts and holiday decorations, among other seasonal items. Hours are 10 to 6 Monday through Saturday and noon to 5 on Sunday. You can find out more by calling the store at 330.922.4990 or by visiting the Wild Birds Unlimited website.
Carli Molinelli, events and marketing coordinator for the Akron Zoo, talked about Wild Lights, the zoo's extravaganza of holiday displays, light shows and live entertainment. The event continues through Dec. 30. After Christmas, the Santa Land section gets transformed into a crafts area with plenty of handmade gift items and, for the kids, photo opportunities with cutout characters. Speaking of characters, there will be a galactic princess, warrior and villain roaming around the zoo. There also will be carolers every night. For admission prices and a schedule of these and other events, visit the zoo's website.
Keith Jones, lead tech for J.R. Shoup Locksmiths, has been in the locksmith business for 51 years. Shoup has been installing and fixing locks and other security devices for nearly 110 years, which is no small feat either. Keith talked about securing your home this holiday season, including putting timers on your lights so that would-be burglars will think you're at home. He also talked about new security devices such as the doorbell cameras that deter nefarious people from taking your packages off your stoop. The cameras are operated with your smart phone, which will alert you to a possible thief and even let you yell at the person through your phone. Pretty cool. To reach Shoup, call 330.434.4026.
Ken Hammonds has a five-acre outdoor showroom with about 25 small and large structures, any one of which could be moved to your property. Or, you can have one custom built to your specifications. Ken's business, K.C. Hammonds Building Solutions, offers both steel structures and Amish-built wooden buildings ranging from 6-by-6 sheds to full-size houses. The business, located at 8880 Norwalk Road in Litchfield, is open by appointment, but the great thing is that you can visit anytime and go through the structures on your own. And each building has the price clearly displayed. You can even pick up a copy of the catalog that Ken gives out. The catalog is created by JDM Structures, and it shows many of the beautiful and appealing buildings that this Amish company makes. Ken is offering some discounts this month. For more information, call him at 330.631.7690 or visit him on Facebook.
Renowned metal artist Don Drumm is the inspiration behind Don Drumm Studios & Gallery, which is operated by his wife Lisa. Don's pewter pieces, including Christmas ornaments, as well as his line of cast-aluminum leaves, which make beautiful wall hangings, are all for sale at the gallery. Also available for ogling and buying are glass pieces, ornaments and miniatures by the Drumms' daughter, Leandra, and a huge array of other gorgeous works by artists from all over North America. Don is consistently busy and always creative. One of his new endeavors is making pewter plaques for the tops of cremation boxes. And again this year, he made ornaments that are for sale at One of A Kind Pets. Sample his creative genius at his namesake gallery, 437 Crouse St. near the University of Akron. Call 330.253.6268 or visit the website for more information.
Cleveland fabric artist Liz Sabo of Liz Sabo Handmade creates small batches of distinctive and colorful purses and wallets out of canvas and other soft fabrics. She draws the patterns by hand and pairs colors in unusual ways. She also has a new line of home decor that includes pillows that will brighten up your rooms. Liz has a couple of shows coming up right after Thanksgiving in Cleveland and Pittsburgh, and she has a robust website on which you can get information on her shows, place orders and find her contact information.
Kucko-Anthony Funeral home has been in business 100 years starting back on November 6, 1917. Things have changed since then. Dave Anthony, owner, said that when his grandfather was in embalming school in Cincinnati, his job was to feed and tend the horses that were used to pull the hearse. One of the recent changes in the funeral business is the increased number of cremations, which Anthony's provide at their own facility.
Dave also gave some advice regarding grieving during the holidays. If you are the one who has experienced a recent loss, even more than a year ago, Dave suggests changing things up during this year's holidays. Have your get-together in different surroundings, rearrange seating at the table, and don't stop the discussion of your late loved one. All if this helps with the grieving process. According to Dave,Thanksgiving actually can be harder than Christmas, and the anticipation of the holiday is actually worse than the holiday itself.
If you want to help others who are grieving, remember birthdays, anniversaries, holidays and other significant days to the family of your late friend. You can say, "I know today is a difficult day for you. I am checking in and thinking of you."
Kucko-Anthony is located in three neighborhoods in Summit County. For more information, call 330-724-1281 or go to the website.
Liz Lenke and Heather Jalbert, co-chairs of the 36th Annual Holiday Tree Festival, talked about the event that they described as Akron Children's Hospital's gift to the community. This extraordinary gift, made possible by more than 1,400 volunteers and community members, kicks off with a gala on Friday, Nov. 17, and continues Nov. 18-26 at the John S. Knight Center, 77 E. Mill St. in downtown Akron. In addition to 165 decorated trees -- the most ever in the history of the event -- the Holiday Tree Festival features wreaths and other holiday decorations, a gift shop for kids, plenty of opportunities to meet Santa and all kinds of festive ways to support Akron Children's Hospital. The festival is free. For hours, tickets to the gala and other information, visit the website.
Bruce Yacko, creator of J.A.W.S. (the Just Add Water Cleaning System), says that he reads all the testimonials his company receives and they warm his heart. Here are just a couple: The kitchen cleaner "cleans the microwave, stovetop, counters, barbecue grills -- just about anything you can think of. I will never buy anything else." Another happy customer says this about the J.A.W.S. shower product: "Finally a nontoxic bath cleaner. Works great on tub and shower walls. I also use it on the large shower head to remove buildup, and it looks new. It is nice to use a cleaner in a small space and not die from the fumes." Bruce is running an online promotion today and tomorrow during which you can buy all four products in the J.A.W.S. line for $19.99 and get free shipping by using this code: Andy. Also, J.A.W.S. products are available anytime at Discount Drug Mart locations and online.
Greg McNeil, founder of Cover2 Resources, started his foundation after the death of his son Sam, who used heroin for the last time on Oct. 23, 2015. Greg and his wife created the foundation to help educate and advocate for communities and families dealing with the opioid epidemic, which claimed the lives of 64,000 people in the U.S. in the last year alone. Greg has a series of 141 podcasts on this subject. The series is called Cover2PPT, for people, places and things making a difference in the opioid epidemic. For more information, visit his website.