Shop locally

Get on Pinterest and you will see tons of ideas for DIY projects. Whether you want to learn to knit a scarf or make a coffee table from old pallets, you will have lots of tutorials from which to choose. Head over to Facebook, and you will see video after video with the “easiest” recipes for pretty much every food you could think of. Our social media world has been overtaken by do-it-yourselfers who are happy to share their craft.

Get on Pinterest and you will see tons of ideas for DIY projects. Whether you want to learn to knit a scarf or make a coffee table from old pallets, you will have lots of tutorials from which to choose. Head over to Facebook, and you will see video after video with the “easiest” recipes for pretty much every food you could think of. Our social media world has been overtaken by do-it-yourselfers who are happy to share their craft.

Not only has our virtual world been inundated with handmade projects, our real world has, too. Which came first? Was it cool to make handmade items before the growth of online outlets? Or did the growth of these online platforms spur the uptick in real people making real things? It’s a case of the chicken and the egg. Either way, it looks like handmade items and local shopping opportunities for said handmade items aren’t going anywhere.  It’s officially “cool” to make things. And if you can sell them,  even better. People are avidly looking for shopping opportunities featuring handmade items. Luckily, local and handmade markets, craft shows, flea markets and the like are popping up everywhere.

Last summer, I had the chance to check out a new one: the Downtown Canton Flea at Deli Ohio. The brainchild of Melissa and David Sherrill, co-owners of Arrowhead Vintage & Handmade Goods, and Ryan Miller, owner/operator of Deli Ohio, the Downtown Canton Flea was so spectacular, they decided to have several, and they continued the fun this year.

It’s full of art, crafts, antiques, handmade and vintage items, farm fare, collectibles and more. And it all happens at Deli Ohio on the third Saturday of the month, April through September, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Flea has more than 50 vendors each month, and the market is inside and outside. It’s a “local lover’s” dream. It combines local people, local food, local crafters and locally handmade items.

It all started just as a way to get people downtown on Saturdays, Melissa Sherrill said.

“Ryan Miller, owner of Deli Ohio, and my husband, David Sherrill, got together and had this brainstorming session of how to get people downtown on a Saturday and came up with the flea market …,” Melissa Sherrill said.

They definitely reached their goal of getting people to visit downtown on Saturdays.
People flock to these fleas, and they stick around to chat and eat. It really brings the community together. That’s one of Miller’s favorite parts of the Flea.

He gets the greatest joy “when the vendors set up and talk to each other. It is so exciting to build relationships with one another and see people
literally hanging out and talking,” Miller said.

nother local shopping market set to showcase what the community has to offer, The 720 Market is starting this month in North Canton. It is going to be a unique, curated, open-air market featuring local makers, growers, food trucks, nonprofit organizations, music and more.

The 720 Market creators, Dave and Lynn Shimko, began developing the idea last
October. Their inspiration for it came from their travels and interests.

“We wanted to develop an outdoor, urban marketplace showcasing all things
local—makers, growers, food, music, community organizations and properties. We like weekend day trips and attend urban markets, festivals and fleas in places we go. The 720 Market is a custom mix of the things we like to see and do,” Lynn said.

The Shimkos realized it was time to stop dreaming and start doing. They asked questions and shared their vision for the market with area businesses, nonprofit organizations, artists, residents and city officials. Everyone embraced their idea, so they started paying more attention to local makers and markets. Once they set up the venues, the Shimkos reached out to this network of vendors, and the market started to take shape.

The reason for the name? The 720 is a nod to the North Canton ZIP code, where the market will be held this month, July and September. The May 7 and July 23 markets will be at the
E. Maple parking lot in the Hoover District, and the September 17 market will be at
S. Main and Waterside Drive at the DeHoff/Waterside Centre.

Dave and Lynn chose North Canton because they’re from there. They like having the local connection, and they believe that’s one of the reasons people enjoy local shopping.

“People want to have a connection with things. Being able to connect with the maker or grower of what you buy in the place where you live is pretty powerful. It’s an awesome way to build community and boost local economy,” Lynn Shimko said.

I couldn’t agree more. I think that a lot of people are choosing to shop locally because they like connecting with other people. Knowing the story behind an item  has become important to a lot of people.

Miller agrees.

“When you shop local, you get to meet your neighbors, know the story of the product and know that your money is going to someone that is working hard rather than sitting in a pile of gold coins in their mansion,” Miller said.

For me personally, I love buying unique pieces for myself and to give as gifts. I’ve found that most of my favorite pieces in my apartment are handmade and were bought locally (whether I bought them or were given them as gifts). What I’ve noticed is that handmade items usually are unique. Each piece seems a little different from the next, and I like that. I think many people enjoy buying something that stands out or is an original. And buying locally makes that possible.

Worried about not being able to shop locally year-round with markets such as The 720 Market and the Downtown Canton Flea? That’s no problem. Between those two shopping opportunities,  and Crafty Mart Canton, Oddmall, local flea markets that are open
daily, Small Business Saturday and the 3/50 Project, you can shop locally pretty much every day of the year. (Wondering what all of those shopping opportunities entail? Check the sidebar above for more information.)

And no need to worry about this shopping trend going away. More and more people are catching on to the ingenious idea of shopping small. And shops are popping up all over Stark County, especially in downtown Canton. I believe the concept of local shopping is just starting to grow, and Miller can back me up.

“Downtown (Canton) always has plenty of local businesses to support all the time—people just don’t know it. I think in five years, there will be even more local businesses which will continue to drive good, successful, hard-working individuals that have dreams and passions and give them a shot. As consumers continue to catch wind and understand why local is important, they will have a hard time going back to the chains,” Miller said.

More Shopping Opps


December 10 and 11 at the Cultural Center for the Arts in Canton

Oddmall has a little bit of everything. It’s part art fair, craft show, comic con, gaming festival, antique show, vintage fashion show, music fest, magic show and more. Oddmall is free and open to the public. It offers lots of fun, artsy, geeky, crafty and odd objects. It’s the Emporium of the Weird, after all.

Crafty Mart Canton 

Friday, July 1 from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Canton Museum of Art

Crafty Mart is a nonprofit corporation that started in 2009 in Akron as a way for makers to showcase their arts and goods and let locals shop small. Through the years, it has grown, and now it is offering a Crafty Mart in Canton.

Hartville MarketPlace

Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday

Offering indoor shops year-round and lots of outdoor vendors in the summer, it has a little something for everyone.

The 3/50 Project


The 3/50 Project was started in 2009. The premise is that if each person chose to purchase items at three local shops each month and spent $50 locally each month, then you would help save your local economy. Sounds like a win-win for everyone. Local shops stay open, and you get awesome goods.

Small Business Saturday

Saturday, November 26

Small Business Saturday started in 2010 as a counter to the sales that happen at large chain stores on Black Friday and online on Cyber Monday. American Express first sponsored the event in Massachusetts. Since then, it has grown nationwide, including here in Stark County.

Downtown Canton Flea

Deli Ohio: 328 Walnut Ave. NE, Canton

The 720 market

Hoover District: 265 E Maple, North Canton

DeHoff Waterside Centre: 1240 South Main St, North Canton

Where to buy

The Repository
Select Rite Aid Stores
Spee-D Foods
Buehler's Fresh Foods
Fishers Foods, including 44th Street NW, Tuscarawas St. W, Fulton Drive, Lincoln Way E. and Cleveland Ave. NW locations
Aultman Hospital Gift Shop
Mercy Medical Center Gift Shop
Gervasi Vineyard Marketplace
Carpe Diem Coffee Shop, downtown Canton and Belden Village Mall locations
News Depot
Avenue Arts Marketplace
Yum Yum Tree Alliance
Grapes in a Glass