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 www.Apotheclaire.com and check out their Instagram account @Apotheclaire.

By: Zaina Salem
DAP communications 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.

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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, elyrdboutique.com. 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.”

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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 www.elyroadboutique.com.

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.

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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.

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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: Akron History Exhibit and The American Toy Marble Museum

Akron History Exhibit and the American Toy Marble Museum

I did not know what to expect when walking into a museum that focused on toy marbles. It never really struck me as a crucial piece of history that one city could find important. I was wrong; it is a big piece to a much larger, captivating puzzle that is Akron’s history.
The museum has so much more than marbles in glass cases. It is a gleaming reminder of the history of Akron that anyone who lives in Akron must attend. I am from Cincinnati, and I had never expected so much affluent and pivotal history to engross Akron. No wonder LeBron wanted to come back. Akron has history and who wouldn’t want to be a part of it?

DSC00812When you enter the exhibit, everything you see is engulfed in fascinating history. The first thing that greets you when you walk in is a staunch, tall gate, which was actually the original gate in the Summit County Court House. There is also a display that shows you Akron in its earliest days as a simple village with the canals running through it. It is an interesting piece as it washes away the concrete buildings you see today and takes you back nearly a century and a half. The display was also built by students of the University of Akron.

DSC00828I found the most interesting history surrounding the marbles to be that they signified the birth of mass production of toys. Due to mass production becoming prominent, toy prices dropped and more than 250 manufacturers sprouted up during that time, making Akron a beacon of toy manufacturing, bringing joy to children throughout the nation. It did not stop there when it came to toys. Akron was producing so much rubber at the time; they began wondering what to do with all of the excess rubber. This created a new market for rubber toys, such as the Rubber Duck, which became a staple of children’s lives. Akron in many ways was a huge part of creating a memorable childhood for children across the country.

The manager, Michael C. Cohill, is absolutely phenomenal in explaining all of the displays and history that is housed in the museum. Writing it all down in this blog would be an extreme disservice to Mr. Cohill, as the sheer passion he exudes during his explanations of the displays is simply enchanting. You can see he cares thoroughly about the city of Akron, and is ecstatic to shed light on its history of Akron with anyone. Mr. Cohill knows what Akron has been, what it is, and has visions of what Akron could do in the future.

DSC00821There is so much more housed in this museum that will absolutely stun the Akron community and visitors. It would be a travesty to pass up. It is extremely family focused and the people who work there absolutely love families of all ages and sizes to see all that it has to offer. “We love the holidays,” said Michael C. Cohill, “The busiest times of the year are October through December.” They love to decorate for the holidays and enjoy getting Akron involved with activities to decorate their area in Lock 3.

I could gush for hours about all that I had learned in my short visit to the museum but I would rather leave it up to you to go check it out and piece the puzzle together yourself. A piece of Akron you might not know anything about will captivate you as Akron was a pioneer of many things that you’ve come to know today.

Founded by the City of Akron, the Akron History Exhibit is a project of The Summit County Historical Society of Akron in partnership with the Akron-Summit County Public Library.

Partners:
Akron Police Museum
Akron Fire Department
All-American Soap Box Derby
Cascade Locks Park Association
Hower House
The University of Akron
The Lighter-Than-Air Society
Summit Metro Parks
The Shirla McClain Gallery for Black History & Culture (U Akron)
Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens
The TV Dinner Club Museum
The University of Akron Archival Services
Wacky Woodcarvers

By: John Frank, Downtown Akron Partnership Intern