A ZipsGuide to Mother's Day

A ZipsGuide to Mother's Day

Skip the mass produced, cookie-cutter items at big-box stores and instead find mom a heartfelt gift that supports a small, local business.

By Liv Ream

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The content of this website was created by students in the Spring 2024 Public Relations writing course at The University of Akron (and students from previous semesters).  Any of the information on this website may be used the way a feature news release would be used. If a significant portion of a student's work is used, a byline will help them build their professional writing portfolio.

For high resolution images to run with a story about shopping small in Akron or to reach any of the businesses featured in the guide, contact Professor Julie Cajigas at julieca@uakron.edu for additional media information.

My Mother is my fashion icon,” Wendy Geonis, co-owner of Northside Cellar wrote on her website. 

“She always managed to look like a million bucks while on a tight budget. Perfectly matched from her hat & gloves to the tip of her shoes.” 

 This sense of fashion made an impression on Geonis, who credits her mom for her love of fashion. 


“She always had gloves and hats. I used to get in her drawer and look at her olive-green gloves, orange gloves, pale-pink gloves, navy polka dotted gloves, I can still see it,”  


When asked how her parent’s managed within their means, Wendy explained, “[My mother] sewed and saved and shopped sales, [...] she sewed for me, she used to make us matching outfits.” 


Painting the story of a woman who was serious about her closet, she wrote, “Even when I was little, I wasn’t allowed to wear play clothes. If I was sick and had to go to the doctor, she made me put on a sunday dress- I mean, that’s the way it was in the 60s, very proper,” 


Wendy’s mom had a lasting impression on her daughter and her daughter’s journey.


“When I have mothers and daughters come in here to shop, I tell them they remind me of my mom and I,” she said. “My whole life, my mom and I have always been shopping girlfriends,”


From childhood onward, she recalls experiences that shaped their mother-daughter bond, 


“I remember going to Rolling Acres Mall, bra-shopping together- I was an adult. I wanted mom to buy a push-up bra,” she said. “We were in the dressing-room laughing so hard- like a couple of teenagers.”


Summarizing her affinity for a well-crafted wardrobe, Wendy once more credited her mother, “It’s all her fault!”


How did your mom impact your journey? What did you giggle over?  If you don’t have your mom, what about the motherly figure or female mentor in your life - or maybe dad?


It’s that impact that makes shopping for Mother’s Day feel so high stakes.


Remember those… Uniquely awful knick knacks you assembled for Mother’s Day, from ages 5-10? It’s probably time to start atoning for all the glittered-monstrosities of mother’s-day-past; and I don’t mean in the form of a dehydrated potted plant from the clearance aisle of Home Depot. 


Yes, this year we’re aiming higher than a hastily bought hallmark card. This will require some labor, think of it as making up for hers!


*To clarify, that double entendre is in reference to multiple types of labor, as not all moms give birth; yet all moms face truly laborious working conditions. I wouldn’t be doing my job as a writer if I didn’t acknowledge that.* 


Crush expectations, whether your mom prefers a day to herself or time spent together. The only difference between these options is execution. All the businesses listed sell gift cards, so in-person or in-spirit you can treat mom to a fantastic Mother’s Day in Downtown Akron. 

Check out our list of Mother's Day events here.

(Top) Wendy Geonis (left) as a child with her mom. Photo courtesy of Wendy Geonis. (Center) Geonis standing behind the counter of Northside Cellar showing off a vintage photo of her modeling in The Buchtelite. (Bottom) Sandra Cajigas, the guide editor's mother-in-law, having a spiritual moment with a beaver fur at Northside Cellar. (Yes, it went home with her). Photos by Julie Cajigas.

Start off strong with Akron Coffee Roasters located at 30 N High Street or Chameleon Cafe at 23 South Main Street. If your mom isn’t much of a coffee drinker, they do sell specialty drinks, teas and breakfast. This will set the tone for the day; so unless you’re planning breakfast in bed, this is the best place to begin. Food = fuel for shopping.


After you’ve armed your mother with their morning-drink of choice, head to Northside District. Not all moms favor the same style, store or budget, making Northside Cellar the obvious choice of venue. 

Besides being packed with memories and celebrations of Geonis' mother, the shop is also packed with a staggering array of clothing. Geonis specializes in vintage, new and consignment clothing as well as a wide variety of gifts, accessories, shoes, home decor and more.


When asked what Northside Cellar has to offer for Mother’s Day, co-owner Wendy Geonis said, “There’s lots of gift ideas."

“Shower melts, cute cocktail napkins, planters, journals, little makeup bags," she listed off. "I’d say we have plenty of things to take care of mom.”

The boutique is guaranteed to have something for every mom, at every price range and size, with an always present sale rack outside the front door. 

The sales rack is organized into four price levels: $10, $5, $2 and $1. These are consignment items that, though often lovely, need to go to make way for new items. 

On a recent trip, we found multiple designer brands on the rack, including a sheer, black Michael Kors top that left in a friend's bag for $5. 

She also tried on a gorgeous new dress that cost a touch over $100. That one didn't make it into her bag, but we all wish it could have.

Northside Cellar is a must-visit for any mom who likes fashion, design, thrifting, vintage and well, just clothing.

Now, if your matriarch is in need of Akron-branded apparel, you can make your next stops 7th Floor Clothing  in Northside Marketplace and Rubber City Clothing not too far outside of downtown (in that order).

(Right Top) The shops of Northside Marketplace. There's also a bar, a restaurant, a jukebox and frequently live music and trivia, among other events. Photo by Mona Abdeldaim. (Right Middle) Just one of the displays inside the expansive Northside Cellar showing its range of offerings. Photo by Liv Ream. (Right Bottom) Check out the $10, $5, %2, and $1 selections we found at Northside Cellar.

Since you’re just across the way, take mom into the Northside Marketplace first without losing your parking spot. This etsy-come-to-life shopping experience is a fantastic browse and in our experience, we nearly always find something we've gotta have. 

Grab flowers or a plant from Lepley & Co. while mom shops. If you didn't know, you can pick the pot and the plant and the Lepley staff will repot it for you right there in the store. If mom's a green thumb and you aren't, that's a pretty valuable service.

Northside Marketplace makes Crunchy Mom gift-giving easy. Shop local vendors like Stephanie’s Remedies, Zinke Apiary & Apothecary and My Eco Shop for all things organic and healthy. If mom extends these habits to her plate, also browse Akron Honey, Nosh Butters, Peaceful Fruits and NOMZ Restaurant & Bar which has vegan options available. 

If your mother’s children include four legs plus fur, be sure to check out the vendor, Sandy Paws Collar Company. Sure, mom doesn’t need another harness, leash, or sweater for the “sibling” you could never compete with; but it’s nice to have options. If she’s more into funny stickers and canvas bags, Snarky Pants Studios will have no shortage of items in their catalog to shop. 

For the animal loving mom who is also snarky, check out Snarky Pants Studios' Pet Achievement Badges. We are still not sure if this one is a badge for a cat that dragged something in, or if the badge is honoring the bird for dying as "the best gift." Either way, this one is for a mom with a dark sense of humor. For moms into the fantastical creatures, here's a great sasquatch sticker to remind her to believe in herself.

Maybe your mom’s passions are social-justice-centered and she’s worried about the uptick in book bannings across the U.S. Consider Banned Books Box and Trust Books offer safe harbor, in the case that literary restrictions start affecting people other than public school-children and prisoners. 

For the homebody-activist-mom, the Banned Books Box offers a monthly delivery subscription. Avoid censorship from home with free shipping and no cancellation fees. For the socially avoidant mom, Trust Books relies on trust as their payment policy. Visit the basement of the Northside Market to browse, read and purchase a book with little to no employee interaction.

These aren’t the only socially conscious bookstores in town. Some moms are hardcore bibliophiles, if this describes yours, probably play it safe and hit all the indie bookstores of Downtown Akron.

Elizabeth’s Bookshop & Writing Centre, a black, queer, woman-owned bookstore, promotes the creation of a diverse and healthy ecosystem for books, authors, and publishers. Elizabeth’s carries books that represent marginalized voices including BIPOC voices, disabled voices, and queer voices. 

Located inside of Compass Coffee at The Well CDC, Elizabeth's is known for holding book groups, book readings and signings and other events. Read more about Elizabeth's in a story by ZipsGuide author Amanda Bruno here: 

If you don’t want to go out in person, in a time where 60% of all books in the U.S. are sold by Amazon (yikes), online customers can browse their local independent shops online, or visit bookshop.org or Libro.fm- supporting thousands of other independently owned bookstores in the U.S. 

(Left Top) Reusable (panda!) dryer balls in the Northside Marketplace home of My Eco Shop. Photo by Julie Cajigas. (Left Center) The Northside Marketplace Display for Sandy Paws Collar Company with a patch and sticker from Snarky Pants Studios. (Left Center Lower) Trust Books, with its open till and banned books shelf. (Left Bottom): Mercy Tullis-Bukhari, Author of The Little Deaths signs copies of her book at Elizabeth's Bookshop & Writing Centre. Photo via Elizabeth's Bookshop Facebook Profile.

If you find yourself seeking DIY- options, visit Street Craftery at 356 S Main St. to try candle-making and splatter-painting (see their website for special classes offered). If you’re wondering why Zeber-Martell Gallery & Clay Studio wasn’t suggested, their spring pottery classes are currently sold-out. However, if your mom appreciates local art, stop by the gallery at 43 Furnace St # G to browse one-of-a-kind creations. 

Head just ever so slightly outside of downtown (right down Market) to Shamanic Beads in Highland Square. Owner Jeremy Ondo has a variety of beads and beading materials that range from affordable, to ‘Indiana Jones probably unearthed it while hunting antiquities’ expensive. 

The shop also features finished jewelry, some of which is made by Ondo himself, and some of which comes from other makers. Ondo knows the history of vintage pieces and can tell you that the brooch you’re eyeing is from the 1940s, or the ladybug bracelet on the shelf is crafted with beads from the 1920s. Sometimes he even knows more history behind the pieces, which makes shopping there a fun experience.

Does mom like unique or historical pieces? How about some radium/uranium glass beads that glow a haunting green under black light? A singing bowl from Nepal? Ondo has those too. Shamanic Beads offers organized classes, which you can learn about on their Instagram page, but if you just stop by during open hours, Ondo is more than willing to jump into a project. 

Take mom in with a project in mind (call ahead and plan with Ondo), or just browse through the shop. ZipsGuide is a downtown guide, so we don't recommend outside of downtown except in special cases, but while you're there, just take a gander around - you may see some fun places to visit *wink*. 

After crafting, take mom out for a nice dinner. Where? Check our Guide A-Z here for some of our favorite spots. 

(Top) Radium beads that glow under black light can be added to a special project. (Bottom) Hazel Cajigas enjoying Shamanic beads with her mom. Photos by Julie Cajigas.

Did we find your mom's perfect gift idea?

If none of the above seems fits your mom, we recommend checking out our ZipsGuide to Father's Day here. Let’s be real, gifts aren’t specific to ladies or gents, and perhaps one of the next-level gift ideas on that list will inspire you.

Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms reading ZipsGuide!

Liv Ream has been hired as the ZipsGuide Intern for Summer 2024, but got an early head start by assisting with the Moms, Dads and Grads Guide. Welcome Liv!

Want to reach Liv?

Email her here.

Ready to learn about some hand curated Akron awesome? See gifts by type here:

Downtown Akron Partnership Announces Downtown Dollars E-Gift Card Program > read more here.