DASH Around Downtown

Have you ever seen a big, purple metro bus driving around Akron? This fun and fresh METRO bus is the new downtown circulator. Students, business professionals, Akron citizens and guests of Akron are welcome to cruise around Downtown Akron for free on the DASH.

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One of our DAP Ambassadors on the DASH!

On a brisk Monday afternoon, I decided to take a spin on the DASH.  This was my first time riding a metro bus and I was pleasantly surprised how clean it was. The bright purple seats and the big windows were welcoming as I stepped on. I found a seat and started my ride along with three others already aboard.

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Inside of the DASH

The first stop was to the Akron METRO Transit Center. The bus stopped for a few minutes to allow travelers to transfer buses and allow those who utilize park and ride enough time to get on the bus. After a few minutes, we were on our way again. The stops along the way were the 401 Lofts, the College of Business Administration, Quaker Square, the College of Arts and Sciences, and then back to the Polsky Building.

As a University of Akron student, the DASH has many stops that appeal to students and give access to parts of campus that are far to walk to. Every student knows the Polsky building is a decent hike, but the DASH allows you to go from the main part of campus to Polsky in 2 minutes flat. It’s a much quicker – and warmer – way to get to and from Polsky.

The people that I encountered on the bus were friendly and most were fellow students.  It was a smooth and easy ride with little disruption.

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The Upper Deck of the DASH

Overall, the DASH is a great way to travel downtown efficiently and quickly. A round trip during the school day rush hour took me 29 minutes with stops. With buses that arrive every 10 minutes from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and every 15 minutes from 7 p.m. – 11 p.m. on the week days, you’re guaranteed to get from place A to B in a flash!

 

 

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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.

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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.

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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 www.downtownakron.com 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.

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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.

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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

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

 

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.”

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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.

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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: 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: 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

Distinctly Downtown: She’s A Smart Cookie

Shana Stiel, creator, owner, and sole-employee of She’s A Smart Cookie, a gluten-free and vegan treats business, brings healthy and tasty snacks to Northeast Ohio and Akron’s The Market at Lock 3.

Stiel’s certified home bakery is located in North Canton. She provides services primarily at farmers markets and to businesses and bakery shops in Cleveland, Akron, Kent, and other surrounding Ohio areas.

Stiel delivers special orders to cafes where her products are then featured. She’s A Smart Cookie is sold at several shops in Akron such as Highland Square’s Angel Falls Coffee and The Coffee Pot Cafe downtown.photo(12)

Stiel is very active in the downtown Akron dining life through her involvement at The Market at Lock 3 and her locations in Akron stores and bakeries.

Stiel makes various baked goods, health snacks, and energy bars; providing a wide range of gluten-free and vegan options that taste good and provide essential nutrients. Her specialties are cookies, granola, almond butter, and energy balls.

These products are not only completely vegan, but they are also packed with natural ingredients- with no fillers or artificial flavors. Her treats are both healthy and delicious.

“I want to make a cookie taste like a cookie—not like it’s trying to be a cookie,” Stiel said.

Stiel began her business after personally suffering from food allergies. For the past 4 years, Stiel struggled with countless health problems. She was lethargic, constantly tired, and had severe migraines and body pains. After seeing numerous doctors, none of whom could diagnose her, Stiel sought a solution through her diet.

Similarly, Stiel’s sister suffered from allergies to wheat and dairy, which encouraged Stiel to get testing done for food allergies. After getting the results back from her tests, Stiel learned that she was allergic to wheat, dairy, and gluten. This knowledge motivated Stiel to change her diet drastically. She already maintained a vegetarian diet and exercised regularly, but this inspired her to look for more ways to improve her lifestyle.

“No food tasted good enough for me to feel so bad,” Stiel reminisced about the first few weeks upon discovering her food allergies.

Over time Stiel adapted to a gluten-free and vegan lifestyle. She felt the results of her diet change immediately; quickly recognizing the improvement in her body and health.

Still, Stiel struggled while grocery shopping for foods. She found that most products in stores were loaded with gluten and artificial fillers. She always loved baking, so she took matters into her own hands and began testing ingredients to create more options that her sister (the sister with a sweet tooth) and she could enjoy.

As Stiel saw the changes and improvement in her life and diet, she wanted to share this with others, knowing that she couldn’t be alone in this issue with her allergies. Stiel hoped that if the awareness of gluten-free snacks that tasted good reached the public, more people might make the switch to wheat and dairy-free products.

Stiel is passionate about helping others with health problems, and she encourages those who struggle with aches and lethargy to get tested for allergies to food. Yet, Stiel also seeks out people without food allergies to still take a look at their diets and find room for improvement. Stiel said that if vegan products taste as good as regular products, people’s bodies might feel and look better eating the first choice.

Stiel’s advice to anyone hesitant to change their usual eating habits is that “you can eat smart, and it can taste great.”

While grocery stores primarily offer popular manufacturers’ brands, despite their unhealthiness, Stiel’s goal is to popularize not only She’s A Smart Cookie products, but gluten-free and vegan options in general.

“I think it’s getting to that point where people want to be healthy now,” said Stiel. Taking the initiative to put her product in numerous shops and bakeries, Stiel hopes people become familiarized with her vegan treats and make the transition over to a healthier diet.

Stiel’s business is continually growing; roughly every week, she starts selling to at least one more bakery in Ohio. Her goals are to one day see She’s A Smart Cookie as a trusted and recognized brand in bakeries and grocery stores everywhere.

By: Spencer Skolnick, Downtown Akron Partnership Intern

Distinctly Downtown: Cascade Plaza

Cascade Plaza, a new addition to Downtown Akron’s vibrant atmosphere, attracts employees and residents of the area for games, music and relaxation.

The Cascade Plaza

The Cascade Plaza

Developed recently this summer, Cascade Plaza, located along South Main Street, is a public spot many people frequent during their lunch hour, for the lively and beautiful environment it provides. The tables and open field give people an outdoor lunching area and a great escape from the office.

Downtown Akron Partnership (DAP) hosts Summer on the Plaza, a program that brings events, musicians, and games to the new downtown hotspot, attracting more people to the area.

As the summer intern with DAP, I get to experience Summer on the Plaza firsthand. Participating in “Throwback Thursday” each week, a day that brings old recess games back to people in downtown Akron and onto the plaza’s field, I’m able to watch partakers roll up the sleeves of their office suits and get down and dirty in competitive games of corn hole.

Playing a game of corn hole with the DAP staff

Playing a game of corn hole with the DAP staff

While every Thursday at 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. reminds participants of their past with games like bocce, ladder ball, and badminton, other days of the week attract people to the plaza as well.

Tuesdays during lunch break hours, free concerts take over the Cascade Plaza. Artists such as Ohio’s own Michael McFarland perform free shows at the plaza. For the remainder of the summer from 12:15 p.m. to 1:15 p.m., Akron employees, residents and students are encouraged to enjoy their lunches on the plaza, entertained  by some rock ‘n’ roll.

Wednesdays welcome Namaste and downward dog with Yoga on the Plaza on evenings at 5:30 p.m. Akron Yoga & Wellness introduces free yoga classes, the perfect way to relax before heading home from work.

I highly suggest to anyone able to utilize the resources of these free events to take advantage of this summer fun. And for anyone unable to attend the Summer on the Plaza events, I still recommend enjoying the sunshine and the beautiful surroundings of the Cascade Plaza during your down time.

Summer on the Plaza occurs from now until September 3. Stop by to soak up the sun and free entertainment before the summer ends.

By Spencer Skolnick, Downtown Akron Partnership Intern