If you have been to Westerville before, chances are you’ve visited the charming Uptown Westerville district. The area is distinguished by its historic architecture and jazzy events like 4th Fridays and is a short walk away from the picturesque campus of Otterbein University. It’s also home to some of the coolest local businesses and boutiques in Central Ohio.
Visitors to the Uptown area are enticed by small locally-owned shops like Stone & Sparrow and Cinda Lou Shop. Restaurants Asterisk Supper Club and Uptown Deli and Brew are but two of the many choices available for grabbing a quick bite or settling in for a cozy repast. Small Business Saturday on November 26 will showcase these and so many more local businesses that deserve a closer look. Whether you’re a first-time visitor or have long been acquainted with Westerville’s charms, be sure to check out these latest additions to Westerville’s small business community, each with its own unique story and focus.
Uptown Art & Clay
13 1/2 E. College Ave.
Sylvana Whittaker dreamed as a little girl that she would be an artist her entire life. Working to make that dream a reality, Whittaker attended Columbus State Community College and then later transferred to the Ringling School of Art in Florida where she finished out her certificate in Ceramics and Fine Arts. After school, she went to work at Florida’s Universal Studios where she worked on various projects for their rides and attractions. Returning to Ohio, she began teaching art and entering her work in competitions. Opening Uptown Art & Clay has allowed her to create and teach art in a familiar and welcoming environment. “I love being in Westerville because I believe that Westerville is such a tight-knit community where we all try to help each other out,” says Whittaker. “Everyone here has been so supportive and helpful for my business.” For first timers to Uptown Art & Clay Whittaker recommends trying either the Paint & Sip class, or the Create and Sip class where you make your own mugs.
For Small Business Saturday, Uptown Art & Clay will be offering discounted mugs for the holidays.
20 S. State St. Unit K
Located off the brick-walk alley just behind Java Central Café and Roaster, Michael and Sarah Carlson have opened a pizzeria with deep roots to the Ohio Valley. “Our pizza is on the thinner side, with a crunchy crust, savory sauce not sweet, and fresh provolone cheese and premium pepperoni applied after the bake in the oven,” explains Michael Carlson describing the Ohio Valley Pizza or OVP as those in the know call it. Choosing Westerville as the home of DiCarlo’s OVP was an easy call for the Carlsons who were attracted to the community’s small town feel and the connection between the local community, government and businesses “all working together and effectively coordinating a thriving area for people to visit and enjoy all the offerings.”
Small Business Saturday visitors will enjoy a 10% discount on DiCarlo’s signature item, “The Box.” (for walk-in or call-in customers only – just mention the promotion to receive) “The Box” order comes with six slices of their crispy-crunchy pizza with cheese and pepperoni.
Sugarbee's Fine Confections
20 S. State St., Ste. A
Another new next-door neighbor to Java Central Café and Roaster is Sugarbees, a sweets-abundant store owned by “chocolatier” Jori McDevitt who crafts all her chocolate bars, squares, and treats in-house. If your timing’s right, chances are good you can watch as the sweets are dunked, drizzled and dipped in-store. Satisfy your sweet tooth with ganache-filled bonbons, gorgeous cakes and an array of creamy gelato. Or grab some sweets to go and pair them with a coffee or tea at one of Westerville’s cozy coffee shops. “There are so many small businesses in Uptown that offer such a wide variety of items, all made or sourced with great attention to quality,” notes McDevitt. “Holiday shoppers will have no problem finding something for everyone.”
Sugarbees is offering a complimentary two-piece bonbon box with any $50 purchase to Small Business Saturday shoppers.
74 N. State St.
Birdie Books owner Shari Russel is looking to integrate closely with Westerville’s culture of inclusivity and commitment to community engagement. As an independent bookshop, Birdie Books offers a well-tuned catalog of new and back-listed titles and plans to extend the shop with an art gallery and a café that doubles as an event and workshop space are already in the works. Russel believes in the community of small businesses that make up the Westerville area. “The small-town sentiment is hard to come by these days, [and] Westerville has it,” notes Russel.
Birdie Books will also be celebrating its first birthday on Small Business Saturday which means lots of different activities and plenty of in-store discounts for shoppers.
Fattey Beer Co.
79 S. State St.
The first Fattey Beer Co. to open outside the state of New York has landed on a prime corner of Uptown Westerville. True to its name, the small taproom and bottle shop features local, regional and national craft beers by the tap or for sale in cans or bottles. But you don’t have to be a beer fan at Fattey – wine, cider, seltzers, sodas and non-alcoholic beverages are also on the menu. Frequent visitors may want to become a Mug Club Member; participation perks include your own mug at the taproom, 22oz beer at 16oz prices, free mug fills on your birthday, $2 off canned and bottled beer to-go, and more!
Fattey Beer Co. is now a part of the Uptown DORA. Grab a drink and sip while you shop!
13 E. College Ave.
Sassy, Hip, and Empowered – those are the initials as well as the focus of S.H.E., a new women’s clothing boutique created by long-time friends Natasha, Chauntay and Adrienne. Looking to empower women through fashion, the owners offer trendy styles for women of all sizes, shapes and walks of life. Encouraging fun and friendship, the shop is available for private party rentals such as a girls’ night out or other festive occasion. Whether in party or public mode, the owners note, “Our shop is always lively and when the three of us [owners] are together - you always hear laughter.”
S.H.E. will be open from 10 a.m.-2:00 p.m. on Small Business Saturday.
Daylight Artist Collective
9 E. College Ave.
Daylight Artist Collective is a public studio, gallery space and creative workshop co-operated by six resident female artists, each with their own expertise in different areas of artistic expression. The main space is an open-concept artist studio that houses each artist’s unique workspace including large weavings, acrylic and oil paintings, tapestry, encaustic mixed media work, fiber art and embroidery and photography. In addition to the working studio space, they also offer high-quality art workshops such as circle weaving, oil and acrylic painting, and cyanotypes. Housed on the third floor of Westerville’s former Masonic Temple, a recent renovation created an open, sunlight-drenched expanse which co-operator and oil painting artist Janine Crum says, “adds to the unique ambiance of our space.” Crum finds that being a part of Westerville’s growing small business family has been a “dream come true” for Daylight Artist Collective. She and her fellow resident artists immediately felt welcomed by businesses and people alike who “truly take pride in offering quality food, products, and art to our community.”
Visit Daylight Artist Collective from 12-4 p.m. on Small Business Saturday when they will be selling their one-of-a-kind art for $100 or less - perfect for gift giving!
Can't Believe It's Vegan
584 W. Schrock Rd.
Owner and Operator Clayton Freeman started his business as a commercial kitchen over three years ago. Freeman’s food eventually became so popular that he began searching for a brick-and-mortar establishment for his business to call home. “I have the only 100% vegan restaurant in Westerville,” Freeman said. “None of my equipment has ever been used to cook animal products [which] sets us apart from everyone else that only offers vegan options.” Can’t Believe It’s Vegan also offers soy and gluten-free options. Specialties of the house include the BBQ ribs, BLT and the soup of the day.
These are just some of the newest businesses to explore in Westerville. However, don’t neglect to drop in on some of our more established, tried-and-true local businesses while you’re here.
Full list of Uptown Westerville's boutique shops
Don't wait to start your holiday shopping. There are shops for anyone on your list this year!
Uptown Westerville Inc.'s holiday gift guide
Find ideas on how to make the most of your holiday shopping in Westerville.
By Tyler Lloyd