Never Fear..Fall is Here!

It is the time of year for the changing of the leaves, pumpkin picking, Halloween, sweater weather, football, and pumpkin spice lattes. October is the heart of autumn and as soon as it hits October 1, people slip on their boots and grab their coziest sweater. What should they do next? Head to Downtown Akron to participate in many fun fall activities for people of all ages.

Downtown skyline

View of the downtown Akron skyline during the fall season.

The Akron Zoo hosts Boo at the Zoo, an event where children and their families are encouraged to put on their favorite costume and explore the zoo. Children will be given a candy passport, which will lead them to different treat stations throughout the zoo.

Are you ready for some football? I sure am! Football is my favorite sport and I love sitting in front of my TV on football Sundays. However, on Saturdays I love going to Infocision Stadium and cheering on the Akron Zips. The Zips always have pre-game celebrations and other activities that keep the games lively and entertaining. The feeling of being part of a spirited university is one of a kind. You can attend the Akron Zips football games on October 8 and 15.

One of my favorite fall activities is to go to the pumpkin patch to pick my own pumpkin, drink lots of apple cider, and to explore a farm and all of the fall activities it has to offer. The Cuyahoga Scenic Valley Railroad will turn into the Pumpkin Express on October 22 and 23. The train will depart Northside Station at 10:50 a.m. and take you to the Peninsula Station, where you will be transported by bus to Heritage Farms. You will be able to walk through the pumpkin patch and participate in fall activities.

Put on your Halloween costume and get ready to run! The Akron Area YMCA is hosting the 5k Jack-O-Lantern Jog which will take place on Friday, October 28 at 5 p.m. Immediately after the race there will be costume judging, children’s activities, and a family Trick-r-Treat. All proceeds will benefit Akron Area YMCA Annual Campaign.


Guests in costume at the Masque of the Red Death Halloween Ball

Grab your mask, elegant attire, and prepare to be a guest of Prince Prospero’s Masquerade Party, an interactive show experience. Akron Civic Theatre will host the Masque of the Red Death Halloween Ball on Saturday, October 29 at 8 p.m. The event will feature live music, dancing, light hors d’oeuvres, and specialty cocktail drinks.

The Akron-Summit County Public Library is in the Halloween spirit with two events that are geared towards kids,teens, and their families. The Halloween Glow Celebration on October 22 is a glow-in-the-dark Halloween celebration for teens aged 11-17. The Halloween Spooktacular on October 29 allows kids and their families to dress up in their “spookiest” costumes and enjoy Halloween stories and activities.

These are just a few of the activities Downtown Akron has to offer this season. Check out our website at for a full list of events happening this month. Happy Fall!

By: Courtney Bosetti, Downtown Akron Partnership Communications Intern


Come “Chill” at the new ice cream shop downtown

Akron has a new ice cream shop that is truly one of a kind. Chill is an Artisan ice cream shop located in Downtown Akron. The shop features a variety of over 50 flavors of hand-crafted ice cream and a plethora of toppings to chose from.


Ribbon cutting on Sept. 12

The shop was started by three Northeast Ohio brothers, Jeremy, Patrick and Zachary Jaworksi with the Downtown Akron location being their second store. Their goal is to create a fun atmosphere for people of all ages and to take local and fresh ingredients and turn it into unique flavors of ice cream.

Chill has a huge variety of flavors such as Rubber City Grape Grapenuts, Porch Rocker, Lavender Queen Bee, Jack and Coke, Fear the Roo, Brownie Points, Szaley’s Sweet Corn and many more. The interesting and eclectic flavors guarantee that you’ll find something you’ll enjoy as well as letting you explore a new palette.

Chill focuses on using fresh ingredients and giving you countless options while keeping it affordable. They have vegan options and many different sundae toppings to chose from if you wish to spice up the flavors even more.


Fear the Roo is one of Chill’s new flavors

A select few of Akron’s famous icons have their own personal flavors available to customers. Akron’s mayor Dan Horrigan, Akron Coffee Roasters, LeBron James and the University of Akron are a few examples who inspired the ice cream shop to create a custom flavor that represents them.

The grand opening of the shop occurred on Monday, September 12 at 12:30 p.m. The grand opening featured a ribbon-cutting ceremony and free ice cream for those in attendance. Chill is located at 21 Maiden Lane in the Historic Arts District in Downtown Akron. They are located next to Urban Eats and Musica and accessible from both High St. and Maiden Lane.

By: Courtney Bosetti
Downtown Akron Partnership Communication Intern

Look. Love. Vote. Akron Art Prize returns for 5th year

Summit Artspace

Summit Artspace during opening weekend of Akron Art Prize 2015

With a combined prize amount of $16,000, new and expanded categories, juror prizes, and art works within one single gallery, the 2016 Akron Art Prize is poised to be a great experience.

Akron Art Prize logo NEW 2016Art Prize, sponsored by the Margaret Clark Morgan Foundation and coordinated by Downtown Akron Partnership, takes place at Summit Artspace from Sept. 3-Oct. 1. View more than 200 works of art ranging from photography, sculpture, graphic design, paintings and more with public vote determining $12,000 in cash prizes in six categories. In addition, two civic jurors and two arts jurors will award $1,000 each to four entries.

Entries are accessible for viewing and voting Thursdays-Saturdays from 12 to 9 p.m. throughout the month.

Come to opening night
Saturday, September 3, 5-10 p.m.
Enjoy music by The Dreemers, food trucks and cash bar from 5-9 p.m.

Come to closing night
Saturday, October 1, 12-9 p.m.Vote for entries at Summit Artspace until 8 p.m. and then make your way to the Akron Art Museum for the finale reception from 8-10 p.m. with entertainment by DJ Ben Crazy,  light hors d’oeuvres and cash bar.

Download the FREE Akron Art Prize app through iTunes or Google Play to view entries, curate favorites and cast votes. Each registered voter, age 16 and older, has up to five votes.

Visit or for details. Share Art Prize experiences on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook using #akronartprize16.

The Burton D. Morgan Foundation provides additional marketing support for Akron Art Prize and presents artists with opportunities for growth through networking, building rapport with galleries and providing tools to promote themselves to patrons.

Distinctly Downtown: Apotheclaire – An environmentally-friendly twist to beauty care

Walking into Apotheclaire is literally a breath of fresh air –the new eco-responsible salon in Downtown Akron makes natural, organic and chemically-reduced alternatives their priority.

Unlike most salons, Apotheclaire recycles 98 percent of their waste, such as color leftovers, vinyl gloves, product packaging and hair. Apotheclaire is part of the Green Circle Salons, which has warehouses that use recycled hair to make oil booms. The oil booms are used to clean up oil spills, and can be reused several times, unlike synthetic booms.

The idea of Apotheclaire began with owner Claire White, who has a long history of being hypersensitive to many chemicals and fragrances. The name Apotheclaire was inspired by the word “apothecary,” which in Latin means shopkeeper, creatively combined with Claire’s name.

“I don’t remember a time when I didn’t have some sort of rash or sneeze or actually be in the hospital,” White said. “It’s something I’ve had to deal with my entire life, and I’ve had to learn how to accommodate my personal environment for a long time.”

White told stories of the struggles she would go through when getting a haircut. The hair salons would have to make sure there were no chemical products lying around or any fragrances lingering in the air.

White said there are others like her; however, her main goal is to make sure that Apotheclaire provides the best service in the nicest environment possible, regardless of if a customer has the intention of being toxin-free.

“We try to keep the environment clean enough and comfortable enough that if you come in here for a service, you’re going to leave here feeling good,” White said.

In addition, Apotheclaire is also a retail shop that sells a variety of natural and organic beauty, skin, hair, personal and home care products.

One of White’s favorite products that she sells are wool dryer balls. These dryer balls are an eco-friendly alternative to dryer sheets and fabric softeners, which have harmful chemicals and perfumes that coat clothing. In contrast, the dryer balls have no chemicals and can be used over and over again.

White said the intention she has for Apotheclaire is to have a series of shops in one place. In addition to the services and products Apotheclaire already provides, Claire hopes that if there are opportunities for the salon to grow, she will be able to put them all under the same roof.

Apotheclaire is located on 70 E. Mill Street in Akron, on the ground floor of Greystone Hall. Salon hours are Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 8 a.m., Wednesday and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

For more information about Apotheclaire, visit their website at and check out their Instagram account @Apotheclaire.

By: Zaina Salem
DAP communications intern


Rubber City Comics thrives at new location

Rubber City Comics is the place to go for any comic book fans, young or old.

Rubber City Comics began in a small room inside Quaker Square, where it was called “Quaker Square Comics.” There, the store sold comic books but also a conglomerate of kick-knacks such as souvenirs, T-shirts, candy and more.

Now at its new storefront in Downtown Akron, Rubber City Comics focuses on comics, graphic novels, action figures, apparel, and other collectables.

Rubber City Comics outside

Owner Scott Malensek said there are three things that make Rubber City Comics stand out from other comic book stores: the customers, the free subscription service, and the consignment.

“We’re defined largely by the people right around us. We let the customers help evolve us and develop,” Malensek said. “And that’s where we have our focus. We’re a reflection of our customers.”

Manager Tom Hoff said the subscription service is flexible enough so that if someone wanted to jump on or jump off, it’s a quick process.

Rubber City Comics attracts a variety of age groups –from young children to adults. For these people, the store is not just a place to buy comic books and leave; many come just to hang out and speak the language. The staff enjoys talking with customers and hanging out with people who like the same conversations and interests.

“This is a destination. It’s the kind of place where people come,” Hoff said. “We have built a community.”


One unique thing that Rubber City Comics does is host a comic fan get-together on the last Saturday of every month. From 2:30 p.m. to 5 p.m., guests can watch a comic-related movie as well as discuss ideas.

If you’re a comic book fan, or are interested in becoming one, stop by at Rubber City Comics for a fun and unique experience! Their hours are Mondays through Wednesdays from noon to 6 p.m., Thursdays and Fridays from 1:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., and Saturdays from noon to 5 p.m. For more information, check out their Facebook and Twitter.


By: Zaina Salem
DAP intern

Distinctly Downtown: Ely Road Boutique

Fashionable, affordable, and unique: these are three words that come to mind when reflecting on Ely Road Boutique, the brand new retail store in downtown Akron.


Ely Road Boutique offers pieces that are timeless, ageless, and cannot be found anywhere else, according to founder Susan Pruitt. Pruitt handpicks the pieces from wholesale places, and wants customers to feel confident that they are investing in good quality clothing.

Pruitt and her husband first began the business solely through a website, She said wherever she was –whether it be at work or walking the streets in a city –she would have people stop and ask her where she got her outfits from. She then started being a stylist for her coworkers and friends, putting together outfits for them. She loved it so much that she decided to start her own business.

IMG_2457Pruitt was an executive assistant for a number of years, but didn’t get the satisfaction she wanted out of it. After moving from Houston to Boston to Indianapolis, Pruitt and her husband decided to move back to their hometown –Akron. Since their items would consistently sell out at fashion shows and festivals, they agreed to expand on their website and begin a storefront together.

“My husband and I are so excited,” said Pruitt. “I love this city and I see that is has really great potential. I see it coming alive year after year. I think the style and flair we have will work really well with downtown.”

Pruitt remembers moments she had growing up in Akron –from visiting the Peanut Shoppe as a child to receiving her master’s degree at The University of Akron. Because the city is so near and dear to her heart, she believed it was the best place to start her business.

“Akron means so much to me,” Pruitt said. “I want to be a part of the city’s growth and future, and a part of its culture.”


Ely Road Boutique pays homage to Pruitt’s grandparents who lived on Ely Road in Akron and were a big inspiration to her. Her grandfather was a surgeon in Akron who saw great potential in the city. Her grandmother was a fashion guru who, having lived through the depression, would put together inexpensive outfits using her own unique sense of style.

Pruitt believes her grandparents would be proud of her and her business. “They always just wanted to make sure I was happy,” Pruitt said. “I want the business to succeed because I want to do something in their memory and I want tIMG_2467o continue their legacy.”

Not only is the name of the boutique special, but so is the logo. The logo, a woman walking her dog, is Pruitt and her Pembroke Welsh Corgi, Huey Lewis Pruitt. Huey likes to greet customers as they walk into the Boutique, his tail wagging with excitement.

Pruitt hopes she can expand her business to do fashion shows and runway shows, while also collaborating with other designers. She also would like to learn how to create fashion videos as well as doing trunk shows and private parties as the business grows.

If you’re looking for clothing and accessories with unique flair and at an affordable price, stop by and check out Ely Road Boutique on 21 N. Maiden Lane in the Historic Arts District. The boutique is open Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Wednesday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Saturdays from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. To see some of the Ely Road Boutique collection, visit

By: Zaina Salem
DAP intern

Enriching the Lives of Children at the Main Library

One of the key necessities of a community is to enrich the education of the younger generations because these children will one day take our positions of being the city’s leaders. In order to supplement their education, there is no place better place to look than the local public library.

Located on High Street, Downtown Akron’s Main Library branch serves the community like no other. The library is a place to explore stories and culture through a variety of mediums and is a place to gather with colleagues, classmates, or tutors to discuss projects and concepts. The library is essentially a hub for the creation and conception of ideas to blossom into success.

In order to provide young children and preteens with the knowledge and resources they need to succeed, the children’s library division implements a series of programs to support their learning.

The monthly recurring programs in the children’s library include Baby Tales, Preschool Story Times, Saturday & Sunday Story Time Sampler, and Paws for Reading, in which children can share a story with a certified therapy dog.

I had a conversation with Trish Saylor, the manager of the children’s division at the Main Library. She explained that the five librarians of the division collaborate to create programming for early childhood and school-age children, ranging from birth to age 12.


Trish Saylor, Children’s Library Division Manager

I asked Saylor about her thoughts on the rise of technology and how the library ensures that the children still find a love for reading. She says they are incorporating more technology into their programs, such as a Minecraft program and Wii games.  But reading is still the central idea of their programming. “We don’t care what format you use to read, whether it’s a book, an audio book, or on your device, it’s still reading.” With the passing of the levy this past May, the librarians are very excited more room is available in the budget to continue to introduce technology.

She mentioned that many library patrons do not realize how much downloadable material the library can offer. Saylor introduced me to a new platform available called Hoopla, in which anyone can digitally stream eBooks, music, and movies onto their digital devices, allowing ten loans per month per library card. This is definitely something I will begin to take advantage of!image3

Lastly, Saylor spoke of a trend many libraries have begun to embrace. This trend is community engagement. The library is able to be a contributing part of the city’s committees to collaborate with other Downtown organizations such as the Akron Art Museum and homeless shelters in order to create more programming to reach out to the population. By doing this, the library makes more connections with the businesses in the area as well as share ideas that are beneficial to both parties.


The librarians love showcasing their creativity along with the children!

The librarians of the Akron-Summit County Public Library also want their patrons to know about events the other divisions are holding. During the first weekend in February, the Main Branch will host the Annual Family Reading Festival, in which a musician friend of the library’s will be arriving from Chicago to perform for the participants. April will be the host month of a family awareness program brought on by the Children Services Board, and May 14th will be the International Literature Festival.

The library is a place with something for everyone. We are lucky to have such a committed team of librarians working to enrich the lives of our children in the city of Akron!


By: Audrey Fliegel
DAP intern


Distinctly Downtown: Jilly’s Music Room

jillys_02If you enjoy live music with a contemporary flare, Jilly’s Music Room is one place you need to check out. Located in the Northside district of Downtown Akron, Jilly’s provides a live music venue with state of the art sound systems as well as a bar, mocktail menu and gluten free tapas menu. Recently, Jilly’s was even named number one in Akron for their 100% gluten free food and number three in live music venues.

I spoke with Jilly’s owner, Jill Bacon Madden, about what Jilly’s means to her and why she believes that live music is so important.

Jilly’s is not known for any specific genre of music, you can hear everything from blues, R&B, jazz, Americana, and that’s just to name a few. You’re bound to find something that fits your taste. You’ll also catch mostly original artists here performing all original music. The best part is there’s hardly ever a cover charge.

Most importantly, Jilly’s is not just for the 21 and over crowd. Even underage, you can come enjoy the music while accompanied by a responsible adult. Madden believes that exposure to live music is important and kids should be involved in music. They even showcase bands with children as young as nine. Madden says, “We encourage parents to bring their children in and expose them to live music; we think it’s really important.”ig jillys performer

Madden owns multiple buildings downtown but holds a special attachment to Jilly’s. She moved into the area from Northern California and has called Akron her home for the past 25 years.

When asked what she likes specifically about Downtown Akron, Madden stated “Pretty much everything, I like the progress it’s been making in the past 20 to 30 years… there’s a lot to do down here now and a lot of excitement and a lot of vibrancy, a lot of great arts and culture, a lot of great new restaurants, a ball park.”

So whether you’re looking for some live music, wanting to grab a drink with some friends, or sit down for a nice Saturday lunch, Jilly’s is a great place to bring both friends and family. Check out DAP’s website for more details or visit Jilly’s Music Room website for food and drink menus, special events and merchandise.

By: Brittany Norman
DAP intern

Distinctly Downtown: Discovering the Zeal of Zeber-Martell

A sunny and warm autumn afternoon was the perfect day to visit the Zeber-Martell Gallery. The sun was shining through the giant windows, reflecting rays of orange, yellow, and green off of the brilliant pieces of art showcased in the gallery. We can thank our local artists for providing the city of Akron with this kind of vibrancy.  FullSizeRender (2)

Michael Martell and Claudia Zeber-Martell are the hearts and souls of this business. In 1975, the gallery was born in Spicer Town on the corner of Spicer and Exchange Streets. That was the era of boutiques, leather shops and record stores. The gallery outgrew itself and found a new home, after a few temporary spaces, in their current location in the Northside District next to Luigi’s and since, the gallery has not stopped growing.

At the time, all that was in the small area was Luigi’s, which was only open at night. The district has since then given birth to the Northside Lofts, Jilly’s Music Room, Akron Glass Works, Palladian Palette and the Akron Symphony Orchestra. This area has simply become a cultural outburst.

Before opening a retail gallery, traveling used to be a big part of Michael and Claudia’s art lifestyle. They would travel to various shows around the country, sell their pieces, and come home to make more. But recently, traveling has become much less frequent in order to focus on the downtown gallery.

FullSizeRender (4)The one show that they do keep close to their hearts is the Boston Mills Artfest each summer in order to stay close with their demographic of patrons who enjoy the artistic lifestyle.

Claudia and Michael are the torch-bearers of this business but they do bring in pieces from other artists as well. About 60% of the pieces are made by Michael and Claudia. Because of the large space, they sell pieces of 15 other artists in the gallery.

One of the most interesting aspects of the dynamics of this couple is that essentially every piece of art they sell, has been touched by both of them. They have been doing collaborative work for the past 25 years. Every piece that Michael makes, Claudia paints. “We have both had separate studios, separate bodies of work, but we always seem to come back together.”

Inspired by British studio potters, Michael taps into his aesthetic by following the strong sense of functionality he adopted from British studio potters. Claudia’s main focus is the painting of the artwork. In the past, she used acrylics to decorate the pottery but now uses glazes and stains. When breaking down the studio duties, Michael does the making and Claudia does the decorating. Even though this is the normal case, both of them can do any aspect of the creation of the pottery in order to keep the business thriving.

Michael compares the studio to the household. “You find that each have their own strengths and you divvy that up… We work better together than apart.”

FullSizeRenderTo help with the daily duties of the business, Michael and Claudia have three part-time employees to assist them through a variety of tasks. Michael and Claudia do the conceptual work and some of their employees do some assembling of jewelry, as well as casting, fabricating, cleaning, smoothing, and other preparation in order to fire the pottery pieces. This help is especially important during the holiday season when Christmas ornaments are in high demand.

One would think that he has been doing this since he was born, but Michael did not have any art training until college. He graduated from the University of Akron with a degree in ceramics and graphic design, as well as a graduate degree in Arts Administration. Pottery is his main expertise but his graphic design skills help him with the business and marketing side of things, such as making e-blasts and flyers.

In order to show support for small businesses and local artists, be sure to mark your calendar on November 28 for two reasons. This is Small Business Saturday, as well as Zeber-Martell’s Holiday Open House. Michael and Claudia would love to see anyone drop by for this special event.

Additionally, Saturday, December 5 is the monthly Artwalk.  Drop by the gallery to do more of your holiday shopping in Downtown Akron’s art district and check out some of the dining experiences around town throughout your night!

By: Audrey Fliegel
DAP intern

Distinctly Downtown: blue: a Goodwill Boutique

Who doesn’t like a good thrift find? Goodwill’s blue Boutique is brand new to Downtown Akron, opening just a few months ago in August, anDSC00898d is full of great finds at affordable prices. I stopped into the store to sit down and talk with Janet Morrison, Vice President of Contacts and Logistics and Dee Gillespie, Manager of blue Boutiques.

This lovely little boutique came straight from the minds of Akron students who missed having a Goodwill downtown. When the store closed in 2000, the students were given a project to bring Goodwill back. The final projects were presented to the student’s instructors and Goodwill and that’s how blue was born.

It took years oDSC00895f working with the idea to find great success before blue found the perfect location right on S. Main. But all the effort put into the project is evident as soon as you walk into the store. The urban feel makes it fit right into downtown and it’s easy to find exactly what you’re looking for.

You’re not going to be wearing what everyone else is; you’re going to find a “different look that’s not coming off the rack…very rare and very unique,” said Morrison.

Morrison also mentions that “blue is a great opportunity to reach those that don’t typically thrift,” or find larger thrift stores to be overwhelming. Gillespie, who comes from a family of Goodwill shoppers, says it helps break the stigma that only people of need shop at Goodwill.  But the smaller size doesn’t limit your options by any means. You can still stop in and find shoes, purses, cute tops, lots of denim, and there’s even clothing for men.DSC00896

While you’re busy filling your closet, don’t forget to clean it out too. Blue accepts donations and in fact, they encourage them. Goodwill had 21,000 tons donated just last year and blue works to make sure that not only is the boutique filled with great finds and fashion, but the retail stores as well. Gillespie says they’re all “one big happy family.”

Thrifting isn’t only great for your wallet, but it’s a great way to help others. Goodwill’s mission is to help people find and retain employment. Morrison wants people to know that every dollar that is spent at Goodwill is helping their mission. Goodwill wants to help others and they want to provide a place for everyone to shop, regardless of income. Goodwill is also part of the recycling movement, and that’s why Morrison and Gillespie believe that blue has been so successful. Morrison says millennials today have connected with the sustainability movement and want to reduce waste. So when you shop at blue you’re truly supporting so many good causes. And it’s also a great place to stop in and volunteer.

Morrison and Gillespie’s goal with blue is to strengthen the community and bring retail to downtown to help create employment and give back. If you’re looking for unique finds and great prices stop into blue boutique at either location (Akron or Kent), and for more information check out their website.

By: Brittany Norman
DAP intern