Shopping locally helps community, businesses and customers: Olmsted Dates and Data


OLMSTED FALLS, Ohio — Local shops have some enterprising surprises in their inventory now.

If you haven’t re-entered the shopping scene yet, do so locally. The finds are some gems ready to be discovered.

The Rift in the Mill River Plaza moved to that location one week prior to the Ohio shutdown due to COVID-19. At that time, it had about 45 vendors providing an eclectic array of goods, from spicy dips and beaded jewelry to wooden signs.

Renee Banning of Renee’s Unique Boutique and More provides a safety counter shield, hand sanitizer and constant cleaning to ensure all are safe in her Olmsted Falls shop. (Joanne Berger DuMound, special to

Owner Jeremy Martin had a ribbon-cutting ceremony and plans for a grand opening.

“We were open eight days and then everything closed. It was horrible,” Jeremy said. “But we are still in business and we are rebounding. We have big plans for the future and are updating our shop. We now have 62 vendors. And we now offer gift cards.”

Jeremy and his staff help keep the store sanitized. They require masks and social distancing. A touchless sanitizing dispenser greets customers at the door.

A main draw now to The Rift, which stands for Repurposed & Intended For Today, is an array of facial masks and accessories. You’ll find adult masks, children masks, masks with matching pouches, small cloth bags printed “clean” and “dirty” for storing masks and fashion and formal lanyards that attach to your mask.

facial masks and accessories on table

Adult facial masks, children’s adjustable masks and a flexible ear strap extender are just some mask accessories at The Rift in Olmsted Falls. (Joanne Berger DuMound, special to

“We are investing in our community to keep them safe, yet having fun with it,” said Rebecca Soulchin, the store’s manager.

Some of the vendors who brought creativity to the facial mask merchandise at The Rift include Kindness Creations by Maria, Cottonwood Creations by Rhonda Lach and Oh Sew Connie (May).

“You can choose the fabric and they will personalize it for you,” Jeremy said.

Two of the newer vendors are Clay Play by Val and Three Sons Leather Company. Val, who is a great grandmother, brings a richness to her clay design and creativity. Three Sons Leather Company offers purses, briefcases, wallets and other items. Seth, a Beachwood firefighter, started the company with his family.

clay pieces on display

These Clay Play by Val pieces show diversity and creativity of vendors featured at The Rift in Olmsted Falls. (Joanne Berger DuMound, special to

The shop also has a new fixture, Riftina. The mannequin models various attire and items of the shop’s vendors. Jeremy said she will be the center of an upcoming contest in which customers may take a picture with her, upload it and get a chance to win vendors’ products.

“If you haven’t been in here yet, we invite you to see our local vendors’ work and shop local,” Jeremy said.

mannequin in store wearing items

Meet Riftina, the latest addition to The Rift in Olmsted Falls. She wears the shop’s vendors’ items and will be part of a contest soon. (Joanne Berger DuMound, special to

Renee Banning said the state shutdown came at a time, well, that was a bit less dramatic on her shop in Grand Pacific Junction. She owns Renee’s Unique Boutique and More on Mill Street.

“Oh, it was bad, but it happened at a time when I had a (partial) knee replacement and I had to recuperate,” Renee said. “I was able to get my online store going and that helped carry somewhat through until I was able to open again.”

She has invested in a framed plexiglass shield at her counter and hand sanitizer throughout the store.

“We sanitize everything we can, including the door knob,” she said.

The shop offers boho clothing, creative jewelry and some items not found locally. Obtaining merchandise after the shutdown, however, became a problem.

brumate items lined on a shelf

Renee’s Unique Boutique and More carries BruMate, the popular insulated drinking system that comes in various uses. (Joanne Berger DuMound, special to

“Restocking was hard. With all the closures and rioting that occurred, it was difficult to get items. I buy clothing in California and that was very difficult,” she said. “But now we are getting caught up and I’m even showing fall items.”

Granted, business isn’t like it was, but loyal customers have helped her return to the market.

“Regular customers have been following online and have come in and done some big shopping,” she said. “People seem to want to support local. And some come in and say, ‘I just want to get out of the house,’”

Renee is careful to purchase only what she needs and is trying to replenish her rainy day fund, which also helped during the closure.

One of her newest lines is BruMate, the popular insulated hydration drink ware that keeps liquid at a perfect temperature. There are not many area retailers who handle the product. Renee is also proud of the Kinsley Armelle jewelry in her boutique.

She hopes people will begin shopping a bit more regularly now.

“Come back and enjoy what is here,” she said. “Everyone is respectful of each other during this time.”

Whether it’s shopping in Olmsted Falls or Olmsted Township, the communities’ store, restaurant and business owners are here to serve you and your needs. Grab your mask, hand sanitizer and check out what is new in your favorite local business.

Fill the truck is here: The Olmsted Falls Music Association will have its Fill the Truck fundraiser this Saturday (Aug. 22) at the Falls-Lenox Primary School parking lot. The truck will be there from 8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

The association is partnering with Savers in this donation drive.

This is a great way to de-clutter your home. Acceptable items include clothing and shoes; such accessories as scarves, belts, purses, hats, book bags, cloth lunch box and linens, curtains, draperies, towels bedding and fabric.

The drive will not accept household items, toys, books or items that are not cloth.

Place your items in bags or boxes. There will be bags at the site if you need them. Those who donate will receive a tax-deductible receipt. If you have questions, contact Frank Miller at

Such music association’s fundraisers help support, encourage, advance and cultivate the music education of all Olmsted Falls school district students.

Local 9/11 memorial: Fundraising efforts continue for the city’s 9/11 memorial.

The city received one of the last remaining artifacts of the World Trade Center – a 2 l/2 foot, 76-pound of steel remnant. It is a piece of steel girder from the fallen New York City Twin Towers that collapsed during the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attack. The artifact, obtained in 2017, will be placed outside the Olmsted Falls fire station on Columbia Road.

The city is offering a bumper/refrigerator magnet to benefit the memorial for $5. All proceeds will benefit the memorial with any additional funds donated to our community’s Christians in Action food pantry.

You may make your donation – and pick up the magnet – at the Olmsted Falls fire station, Olmsted Falls City Hall, Olmsted Falls police station, Olmsted Falls building department, Gibbs Butcher and Brews, Ameriprint and Moosehead Hoof and Ladder. If you are interested in selling the magnets, call the fire station, 440-235-3238.

Your donation is appreciated.

School supply donations: The COVID-19 virus has hit some families hard, especially financially.

A group of friends – Dan Corrigan, Jennifer Huffman and Dawn Pettry – realized there wasn’t a local school supply drive for this school year. So they created one. Whether learning is occurring in the classroom or virtually at home, supplies are needed.

These three Bulldog school supporters decided to give back so here is how you can help this Community School Supply Drive. Go to the SignUpGenius link and check off which item or items you will buy. There are two drop off locations listed on the link, which is

Some of the listed items are backpacks, masks, #2 yellow pencil with erasers, soft zippered lunch box for supplies, wide rule spiral notebooks, water bottles, letter flashcards and others. Items should be dropped off at the two locations listed on the link between now and Aug. 28.

Dan invites companies to be part of this cause as well. If so, contact him at

Our kids need us now more than ever. Why not be part of this effort to make school a bit easier and happier for our kids.

Mini Vintage Marketplace: Let’s hope this Sunday the weather cooperates a bit better and brings some sunshine.

The Mini Vintage Marketplace remains ongoing from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. each Sunday this summer in front of Second Thyme Around on Orchard Street. There are four vendors that will sell their wares. Check them out and the rest of the downtown stores for some great items, whether for a gift or yourself.

Information, please: To include news, tidbits, honors or activities in Olmsted Falls and Olmsted Township, contact Joanne DuMound at She also is on Twitter, @JoanneDuMound. The column’s online version at has direct links for many news items.

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