Let’s face it, being a college student well sucks…especially when you’re in the middle of nowhere and the nearest “mall” has about three stores.
I was only exaggerating.
Don’t lose hope just yet, Court Street has plenty of places to shop and it ranges from small novelty stores to stores where you can purchase certain items we weren’t allowed to film.
Uptown Costumes, the name says it all. You’ll be able to find a large variety of not only costumes but also sweaters and posters. If you’re lucky enough you might run into Charlie, the owner’s dog. Be gentle, he’s an old boy.
Import House is a split into two sections, one side where you can take your parents other side where your mom questions whether or not she actually believes you’re using the money she gave you last month for textbooks. (It’s okay, your parents did the same thing in college.)
Artifacts has a lot of novelty items along with dresses and t-shirts. You’ll be able to find left-handed mugs for your obnoxious left-handed friend (me) and other handmade knick-knacks.
“I usually shop on Court Street after I get breakfast to cure my hangover. It’s a nice way to spend whatever is left of my afternoon,” said a student on Court Street who didn’t want their name used in case their parents were to ever Google them.
Join me as I dragged my boyfriend and a close friend around Court Street to look at things I don’t have room for but will sooner or later end up buying.
According to ElleMagazine’s “The Complete Fall 2015 Trend Guide,” furry boots, high cuffs and high waists are in this year. Harper’s Bazaar said that suede boots are a must have for fall. Take a look at fall fashion in Athens, Ohio.
One of Athens’ newest clothing shops on West State Street, BlueTique, has already started stacking their racks with their fall essentials.BlueTique opened in August. The store sells clothing, accessories and boots. There are only eight other BlueTiques in the U.S. Store Manager, Marissa Whaley, described the store’s vibe as, “trendy yet affordable.”
As far as what’s popular this fall, Whaley said it was sweaters and scarves. Scarves at BlueTique range anywhere from $15 to $30. Sweaters go from $25 to $70.
“Blanket scarves, infinity scarves or any type of scarf. That’s the number one staple,” Whaley said.
Vests are also very popular, especially with a little bit of fur. Whaley recalled getting a supply of vests on Thursday and was sold out by Saturday (photo shown below on the left). There are also a lot of options in school colors and the store just recently started selling blankets.
Store hours are from Monday to Saturday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on Sunday from 12 to 5 p.m.
The Artifacts Gallery, located on North Court Street, has several winter accessory options and ponchos. Cassey Spires, a long-time sales associate for the Gallery, said that the line is multi-seasonal. “Anything can be layered,” Spires suggested. There are also dress options in muted colors that could be paired with boots or a heavy sweater to make it fashionable and functional for fall. The style is cute and funky, Spires said.
Store hours are Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Figleaf Boutique, also located on North Court Street, just got their fall shipment in on Wednesday, November 11.
Maggie Fewel, a sales associate, defined FigLeaf’s collection as “boho.”
“Dresses are our most popular item,” Fewel said. Other than dresses comfortable clothing to wear for class is also popular (photo of some dress options on bottom left). According to Fewel, the prices range from $8 to $50.
Store hours are Monday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. and on Sunday from 12 to 4 p.m.
At South Court Street’s TheOther Place, scarves, jackets and boots were abundant. There were also sweater and skirt combinations in colors that resemble fall foliage. (Here’s the breakdown for the outfit shown in the photo on the left: the sweater (last photo in center) costs $30 and the skirt (on right) ranges from $30 to $40, and lastly the scarf which costs $16).
Store hours are Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Sundays from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Christmas is right around the corner, and there isn’t much time left to find perfect gifts for each special person in your life. Luckily for Athenians, we live in an area that’s rich with one-of-a-kind shopping destinations. Court Street is dotted with small stores that offer great holiday shopping experiences.
Each store on Court Street has a different personality, which means there’s a good chance you can find a gift for everyone on your list. The lack of a formal shopping mall near Athens provides the perfect opportunity to check out locally-owned stores and find that gift that your mother, brother or uncle never even knew they wanted.
But where do you begin?
“I really like shopping on Court Street because it’s easy to find something everybody will like. The House has a lot of good gifts for my brothers. I can shop at The Other Place for my sister. College Bookstore has great T-shirts for my parents, and then there’s Mountain Laurel for my grandparents. I can do all of my Christmas shopping uptown,” said Sara Bechtel, a senior.
This Christmas Shopping Guide offers a quick rundown of the atmosphere and items found in many Court Street shops. Use the descriptions to decide which stores will have the best fit for the people on your gift list this year.
For the eccentric friend: Mountain Laurel Gifts
Of all the shopping destinations on Court Street, Mountain Laurel Gifts is the store that least conforms to mass-manufactured product lines. Instead, the store has paved its own way with merchandise. Upon entering the store, shoppers are immediately presented with a large Christmas tree that’s decorated with many ornaments. Picking a new ornament from the tree each year is a part of many people’s family traditions. Mountain Laurel Gifts is home to a plethora of other gift items as well. The lavender table is full of wonderfully-scented neck pillows, lotions, and socks that would make any lady swoon. Pair that with some of the delicious USA-made truffles on the checkout counter for an extra special gift. If shoppers are searching for that perfect children’s gift, it may also be found there. Directly across from the checkout counter is a large toy shelf that’s full of great gifts for kids, which is a rare find in Uptown Athens. Within the store, there is also a back room stocked with fine leather goods and jewelry. Celia Summers, a long-time employee of Mountain Laurel Gifts, boasts about the store’s wide variety of inventory. “I think there’s a little bit of something for everyone in here,” she said.
Gift Idea: Although the store carries a wide variety of gift-worthy items, I think the line of Athens Block art pieces would be a really great gift for any Bobcat. Made by local artist James Robinson, the pieces are intended to look like the actual bricks that pave many streets of Athens, so that students may want to treasure them instead of stealing an actual Athens Block brick. Many pieces of his artwork are featured in a large glass case in Mountain Laurel Gifts and include mugs, trivets, coasters, coin banks, trinket boxes and corked bottles. This is a great unique gift to deter your Bobcats from stealing the coveted Athens Block brick on their own.
For the homemaker: So…Livi’s/Interior Concepts
Shoppers who enter So…Livi’s/Interior Concepts will experience home décor that is much more sophisticated than the popular college trend of Marilyn Monroe posters and empty alcohol bottles. Gifts found there are perfect for someone who takes pride in her living space and strives for an attractive home. Many different types of figurines and decorative knick-knacks can be found within the store. Other merchandise found at So…Livi’s/Interior Concepts includes seasonal items such as ornaments and festive spreader sets for holiday parties, keepsakes for babies and Pandora beads, just to name a few.
Gift Idea: A very popular item sold there is the black and white chalkboard-esque signs that are proudly displayed all over the store. The look is always the same, but the size and saying varies with each one. The quote featured on the signs may range from sweet to snarky or somewhere in-between, but they’re always worth reading. The locations of the signs aren’t narrowed to one spot in the store, however. The owners have strategically arranged the merchandise to be reminiscent of a home, which means you may do a little searching to track down the perfect one for the person on your list.
For the funky friend: Artifacts Gallery
Located one block from the end of Court Street, Artifacts Gallery is the perfect place to find great small gifts for stocking stuffers or classic games of White Elephant, among many other things. The gag gifts there are sure to delight any jokester on your gift list. One of the most creative gag gifts found there are “handerpants,” which are a type of glove that looks like underpants for hands. As the name suggests, however, Artifacts Gallery does not subscribe to just one merchandise category. The store also sells clothing, jewelry and locally made pottery. “Artifacts is a unique and funky boutique. We really carry things for everyone,” said Cassi Spires, an Artifacts employee of four years.
Gift Idea: One of the greatest things about Artifacts’ inventory is the large selection of jewelry. Recently, a new shipment of colorful, locally made jewelry was stocked at Artifacts Gallery. The jewelry features many large, colorful stones that have been incorporated into necklaces and earrings. This would be the perfect gift for that special lady that likes unique things and avoids run-of-the-mill items.
For the OU student, alumnus, or parent: College Bookstore
The ultimate shopping destination for the enthusiastic Bobcat is College Bookstore. Shoppers are sure to find men’s and women’s OHIO gear for students and family members alike. Gear ranges from T-shirts and sweatpants to hats, backpacks, baby clothes and more. College bookstore also has gifts specifically for alumni. The store specializes in diploma frames, car decals, key chains and stickers for alumni to proudly display their Alma Mater. College Bookstore also has a dedicated department for Greek attire. The bottom floor of the bookstore is home to the biggest selection of Greek memorabilia in Athens. One of the most popular Greek items from College Bookstore is custom made Greek letter t-shirts, which make the perfect gift for any sorority girl on your list.
Gift Idea: Could there be a more appropriate Christmas gift than Christmas decorations? College bookstore has a selection of ornaments that would satisfy any Bobcat’s inner elf. The ornaments range from the classic bulb shape to gnomes and even snowflakes. Some ornaments are available in light-up versions as well. An ornament would be a great gift for the OU student that would like a small Christmas tree in his/her dorm, the Bobcat that just got his/her first full-size christmas tree for their apartment, and even the alumnus who is spending his/her first Christmas away from Athens and needs a little bit of OU spirit on the tree.
For the athletic male: The House
Connected to Cross Court and owned by College Bookstore, the House is Ohio University’s Under Armour headquarters. Mostly male-oriented, the merchandise at The House includes T-shirts, sweatshirts, jerseys, socks, backpacks and water bottles, among many other things. Few items are tailored specifically for females, but there are super stretch underwear and multicolored headbands as well as some clothes, if those things are on your shopping list. The House is perfect for the man who wants the OHIO gear with Under Armour quality.
Gift Idea: Depending on your budget, an OU/Under Armour gift pack would be an awesome gift for a special fella on your list. An Under Armour drawstring backpack filled with and a T-shirt and water bottle could be enough to keep you on the nice list until next year.
For the crafty female: Cross Court
A wide variety of unique girly gifts can be found at Cross Court. It is one store on Court Street that doesn’t specialize in clothing, but it offers myriad other options for gift ideas. One entire wall of Cross Court is dedicated to scrapbooking supplies, so if there’s a crafty girl on your list, you don’t want to miss that store. Other great gift ideas include posters, photo frames and albums, inspirational mugs, candles, and a selection of Athens t-shirts that are sure to get people talking. For gift recipients that are of age, Cross Court has a nice selection of wine goblets, shot glasses and drinking games as well.
Even if your list doesn’t include a crafty female, be sure to stop in Cross Court to peruse the huge greeting card and gift-wrapping selection.
Gift Idea: A scrapbook starter kit or refill set would be a great idea for any girl in your life who is a bit crafty. Girls are sentimental, and giving them a way to capture and record their memories from a special time period in their lives is a great way to get on their good side. Stroll through the scrapbooking wall at Cross Court, and find pieces that have a coordinating theme. Pair that with a scrapbook album, and you’re sure to put a smile on any crafty girl’s face.
For the trendsetter: The Other Place
The season’s hottest trends can always be found at The Other Place. Located right next to Cross Court, the store’s merchandise consists mostly of clothes, shoes and accessories. Many obscure brands are featured in The Other Place’s inventory. Clothing from there is the perfect gift for a gal who’d like to stay warm and fashionable this winter. April Almond, manager and buyer for The Other Place, describes the store as a “fun, eclectic, fashion-forward clothing store.” A lot can be said for the wide selection of Vera Bradley products that the store offers, as well. The back right-hand side of the store is dedicated to Vera Bradley purses, backpacks, lanyards, in addition to desk accessories such as pencils and stationery. The Other Place is also a major retailer of TOMS shoes, for anyone that’s looking to give gifts that give back.
Gift Idea: Most college females would love to have any Vera Bradley item she can get her hands on. Shopping for Vera Bradley gifts at The Other Place is great because you can inspect each print and pick out the one you like in the store rather than trying to do it online. If the girl you’re shopping for already has some Vera Bradley merchandise, just make sure you buy her gift in the same print or a coordinating one. Nobody wants clashing Vera.
For the hard-to-please Athens resident or frequent visitor: gift cards
If making a choice among all of the incredible shopping options on Court Street becomes too difficult, the perfect gift for someone who lives in or frequently visits Athens is a gift card. That allows the person to pick out a physical gift that they love, or opens up the options of stores to choose from. Gift cards to places like Attractions Hair Salon, Court Street Diner or Outer Glow Tanning Salon allows the recipients to treat themselves whenever they feel the need.
Athens is the perfect place to find unique Christmas gifts. The shops featured in this guide do not exhaust even all of the options on Court Street, let alone all of Athens. Sometimes the best way to find that perfect store is to wander in and let the gifts find you.
Kasi Reed is a senior at Ohio University studying magazine journalism. She enjoys searching Pinterest for new recipes and then trying them, reading dystopian novels, and watching chick flicks in her spare time. Her dream job would be to run her own bakery/photography studio.