A ZipsGuide to

Gifting Moms, Dads, and Grads

Editor's Foreword: 

How to Use This Guide

A ZipsGuide to Gifting Moms, Dads, and Grads can be used as a directory, a targeted idea generator, or a fun browsing experience.

By Julie Cajigas (Prof C), Guide Editor

Media outlets have permission to use the content of this site like a news release. Expand to learn more ->

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.

Welcome to ZipsGuide.com. If you’re new around here, the guide is a community engaged course collaboration between The School of Communication at The University of Akron and Downtown Akron Partnership. The students head out into downtown to meet and interview local entrepreneurs and small business owners. 


The goal? For the students to create and tell the story of these individuals, whose businesses are lifting our city up, to encourage readers to shop local and support their neighbors. 


The poor students bring their stories (and social media content) to me, and I torture them with nitpicky professor feedback that helps them learn interviewing, writing, storytelling, and editing skills. 

At the end of the semester, a student (or students) is selected to be a paid intern, through the generous support of the UA EX[L] Center for Engaged Learning, with Downtown Akron Partnership. There, they work to support its mission, ZipsGuide.com, and help the next crop of students coming behind them.   


This guide was created by the Spring 2024 Public Relations Writing class, DAP interns Madison Latona and Anthony Nichols (from the Fall 2023 class), independent study student Shananne Lewis (from the Fall 2023 class) and future intern, Liv Ream (also from the fall). 

I am beyond grateful for my class and for these four students who have continued to work with ZipsGuide.

Current ACIP ZipsGuide interns, Anthony Nichols and Madison Latona with Zippy in front of Prof C, future intern Liv Ream, current independent study student Shananne Lewis and Dominic Caruso of Downtown Akron Partnership giving an interview for Zips Unlimited.

Ok, enough background… without further ado:

How to Use A ZipsGuide to Gifting Moms, Dads, and Grads

A quick post-preface preface. If you've ever attended a RubberDucks Game, then you are undoubtedly familiar with how ever single foul ball is sponsored by Luigi's (the Akron staple).  At the beginning of the game, the announcer carefully articulates "This foul ball was sponsored by Luigi's." By the end of the game he's just franitcally shouting or groaning (depending on the score) "Luigi's" for each foul tip. 

This guide's equivalent of that is Northside Marketplace.  So let us just say that Northside Marketplace is at 21 Furnace Street in Akron's Northside District. Ok, for the rest of the guide, we're just going to shout NORTHSIDE. Thank you for listening to the preflight announcements, now on with the guide...

Late spring and summer gifting comes at you in three waves.


First up is Mother’s Day, which is right around the corner. For some reason, this one feels very high stakes, perhaps because it’s mom. 

The mom in your life may be an adopted mom (formal or informal), she may be a mentor or longtime friend. For some of us our daughter or daughter-in-law is the mom we plan to celebrate. Anyone who does the work of a mom deserves a gift that expresses that we know her, see her, and love her – let ZipsGuide help with that.


Then it’s time to move the tassel and toss the cap. With graduation ceremonies stretching from early May for colleges to late June for high schools, graduating gifting may even include kindergarten and preschool graduates. Once the big days have ended, the parties stretch out through the summer until fall beckons the grads to their next big step. 

For those gifting opportunities, many young persons are known to prefer a big fat check. What they remember a decade later, though, are the personalized, thoughtful items that the check is attached to. These are the gifts that they wear, hang on their wall, or use day-to-day that keep the thoughtfulness of the giver in mind – let ZipsGuide help with that.


The third wave is Father’s Day. Ah, the dreaded Father’s Day. It is so ubiquitously difficult to shop for dad that there’s an entire societal mythos filled with neckties, golf, tools and lawncare. Are these only gifts dad can hope for once the mug-making years have ended? And really, because it’s in mid-June, dad doesn’t even usually benefit from the elementary school craft room. 


Just like mom, we all have different father figures in our lives who fix our broken things (or pontificate on how to fix them while signing a check), kill all the bugs (or release them gently into the night), and make our favorite breakfast (is that just us?). Each one of them deserves the same thoughtfulness that mom gets back there in May when our gifting brain is still fresh – let ZipsGuide help with that.


This guide is created to be used in different ways, depending on your gifting needs:

Browse It – are you at the beginning stages of thinking about gifts? Do you want to learn more about downtown Akron and all its hidden (and not-so-hidden) gems? Explore the guide by browsing it like a Sears and Roebuck Christmas Catalog or your favorite magazine. Check out the A-Z list of all featured businesses and browse the guide spotlights, some of which are focused on moms, dads, and grads, and some written as part of last year’s holiday guide.

Focus In – if you’re here for Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, or Graduation gifting in specific, go to one of the three guide spotlights linked here. There, you’ll find a larger feature story with one of our ZipsGuide writer’s recommendations for that specific occasion, filled with links to stories about the individual businesses so you can learn about the people you are supporting with your purchase.

Get Social – For events, sales, announcements and other “in-the-moment” information, follow us on Instagram, Facebook or TikTok. We provide all the updates we find and promote events and specials for the businesses in Downtown Akron. You will also find giveaways and other fun ways to interact with ZipsGuide throughout the year. 


Thank you for visiting and we hope that you find a meaningful gift for your loved ones this summer.


- Guide Editor and Professor, Julie A Cajigas

Happy Mother's Day, Happy Father's Day and Congrats Grads!

ZipsGuide editor Julie Cajigas is a professor of practice, teaching public relations and journalism in The University of Akron School of Communication. 

To reach Prof C,

 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.