Monday, April 28, 2014

Mobile Boutiques Set Up Shop at Crafty Mart

Mobile Boutiques Set Up Shop at Crafty Mart
by Joanna Wilson

Crafty Mart is offering something a little different at their next event this coming Saturday: two mobile fashion boutiques.

Although mobile boutiques are popular on the west coast and down south, they are a new idea here in Ohio.  Rockeverywear's Fashion truck hit the streets within the last month, and Truckshop, which is based in Cincinnati, got started last July.

The Rockeverywear Fashion truck was an idea born when the the company had to close the doors of their brick and mortar location in Akron.

"I wanted something that was unique and could reach a larger audience by being mobile," said Ryan Weiss, owner of Rockeverywear Apparel. "We have only done two events so far but they have had a wonderful response and people love the truck."

Keep an eye out for the Fashion Truck around Akron all summer.  Details will be announced soon about an official launch party in June. Check out Rockeverywear's website for more details.

Ashley Volbrecht, owner of Truckshop, said she was inspired by a fashion truck she saw in LA, but of course she wanted to do it better so she came home and bought a bread truck off Craigslist.  "I love to shop," she told Akron Empire, "and I wanted to bring a style I thought was missing from the Midwest!"

Both trucks will be set up right out front of Musica at East Market Street and Maiden Lane on this Saturday, May 3rd for Crafty Mart Presents: The Mom & Pop Shoppe, an indie craft show with over 50 vendors selling handmade gifts just in time for Mother's Day and Father's Day, or just because.

For more information, visit Crafty Mart's website or Crafty Mart's Facebook page.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Mustill Store

The site of the Mustill Store is at the bottom of the hill on North Street, not far from the intersection at Howard Street.

The Mustill Store Visitors Center
by Joanna Wilson

Most of us have been past the Mustill Store, located right along the Towpath Trail just north of downtown.  But have you stopped, gone inside, and enjoyed the historical displays and information on the inside?  It had been awhile since I had done that--so I went again to the museum and familiarized myself once again with the history of this special place.

If you're not running or biking past the store on the towpath, you can easily find the Mustill Store behind the parking lot off North Street.

The Mustill Store's location--right along the towpath--makes it easy to find.  But this living site of Akron's past is also one of the most accessible history museums in the area.  It is open seven days a week from April through October each year (thanks to the Cascade Locks Park Association and their volunteers).

The convenient location of the Mustill Store isn't just a contemporary advantage.  The store's location had much to do with its success during the nineteenth century and why it remains as a museum.  The store was a profitable business that operated directly across from Lock 15 along the canal--a bustling water route that hauled goods and passengers by boat.  For people who love history as much as I do, it's fun to re-call that the Towpath Trail was once literally a path for mules to tow the heavy boats that lined the canalway.  An essential part of canalways were the systems of locks, allowing the boats to continue along the canal despite any change in elevation.  Think about it--a couple of mules and horses could never pull a heavy boat UP or DOWN waterways.  The boats need flat water conditions to be towed--and the locks provided a controlled way to change the water levels and keep the boats moving along.  In the Cascade Valley, the elevation changes 150 feet within a mile so there were created seventeen locks--known as the Cascade Locks--to create a controlled and safe water level for the passing boats.  Navigating each lock might take twenty minutes or more, so boat owners, crew, and even passengers might get off the boat.  A place like the Mustill Store located right along Lock 15 had a steady stream of customers each day--perhaps as many as seventy boats a day stopping and doing business.  Of course, Akron wouldn't even be a city without the canal--having the means to ship to and from this region meant our natural resources and farm goods could be sold and transported elsewhere, and manufacturing could develop.  The story of the Mustill Store is essentially Akron's story.

The inside of the museum reflects the origins of the building as a store...

....complete with an iron stove in its center.

Inside the Mustill Store, you can read the many displays which explain the three generations of the Mustill family, immigrants from England, who ran the store throughout the nineteenth century.  There is also information about what goods the store sold, what life in early Akron was like, and about the store's eventual restoration.  In a side room, there is even a display to help visitors understand how the lock system worked and what life on the canal was like back then.  While I'm aware that travel was extremely grueling in the nineteenth century (before railroads, before cars, etc), it's still shocking to learn that canal boat passengers from Cleveland to Akron, a 38 mile trip, usually arrived after 24 hours!?  I'm not going to complain about the drive along 77 South again.

The Mustill Store Visitors Center includes this back room with more details about how the canalway and the lock system worked.

This helpful display will help visitors better visualize how the locks work to raise and lower water levels so boats can continue along the canal despite changes in ground elevation.

Visiting the Mustill Store Visitors Center is free and open to the public.  The displays include information but there are always helpful, knowledgeable volunteers there to assist you with any questions as well.  You can also learn about their Friday music concert series, the annual Duck Derby, and their other events at the Cascade Locks Park Association website.  You can also follow them on facebook:

When you visit the Mustill Store, don't forget to go across North Street and check out Schumacher's Mill water wheel display too!

Akron Empire and its guest bloggers have visited other local historical sites as well.  Please feel free to check out these past blog posts: The Hower House, John Brown House, and Perkins Stone Mansion.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Record Store Day 2014

Record Store Day 2014
by Brit Charek

On the third Saturday in April for the last seven years hundreds of independently owned record stores across the country have have celebrated Record Store Day. This year RSD lands on this Saturday, April 19th and there's more places than ever in the Akron Empire to join in the festivities. Here's just a few:

Square Records
824 West Market Street in Highland Square

The shop opens at 11am, but if years past is any indication of what is in store on Saturday, there will be people camped out several hours earlier. Check out Square Records' RSD Facebook event to see the ever-growing list of what they'll be getting in stock. There will also be giveaways, a limited amount of hand-pressed Square Records t-shirts by The Social Dept for sale, and live music from Analog Fog, Travelogue and Chimney Swift and the Echoes.

Square Records will be celebrating their 11th anniversary this summer-- click here to check out when I talked to the owner about the store's humble beginnings.

Time Traveler Records
2615 State Road in Cuyahoga Falls

This shop is selling raffle tickets at the store for an autographed Black Keys El Camino vinyl for $2.00 per ticket or 6 for $10.00 The winner will be announced on Record Store Day. 

pork records of n.e. ohio (inside Stone Tavern)
110 E. Main Street in Kent

Stone Tavern is hosting a free vinyl release show for Kent based punk group Kill the Hippies who are unveiling their new album, You Will Live With Us Forever.

Lucky Records
126 S. Market Street in Wooster

This is Lucky Records first RSD! Click here to check out the post I wrote about them when they first opened last year.

There will be bands playing the store all day, including psychedelic rockers Buffalo Killers just before they leave for a tour of the West Coast to promote their new record.

Visit Record Store Day's website to see a complete list of stores participating, and remember to support your local record store year round!

Monday, April 7, 2014

Ready Dress Go

Ready Dress Go
by Joanna Wilson

Spring is in the air--I can just feel it!  As the earth and air begins to warm, I hope I can encourage your heart to warm again as well.  I've just recently come across a worthwhile movement, Ready Dress Go, which aims to help underprivileged teens participate and enjoy prom.

Ready Dress Go started in 2011 as a project to provide prom dresses to teens whose families were financially challenged.  Four years later, they have outfitted over 350 young ladies and have provided an economic solution for many Akron families.  Since many teenagers today are being raised by single parents, grandparents, and agencies on a fixed income, prom and other formal events can be a stressful time.  Ready Dress Go aims to alleviate that stress.

On Saturday, April 12, 2014, Ready Dress Go (RDG) will host its 4th Annual Teen Gown Giveaway for underprivileged teens.  The giveaway will be held at Relentless Church, 1878 Killian Road, Akron, OH 44312 from 9AM to 1PM.  Participants will receive prom dresses, shoes, accessories, Glam Bagsand a chance to win beauty related services. In addition, guests are welcomed to enjoy refreshments in the Glam Cafe. 

The event is entirely funded by the donations of local businesses, organizations and individuals.  RDGs largest contributors are Youngs Screen-printing, Revolution Church, YMCA Teen Leaders Club, Relentless Church, University of Akron, and E&R Factor.  With the help of more than 60 volunteers, RDG provides an extravagant event unmatched by other prom giveaways.  We offer our guests a boutique-quality experience with everything from a personal shopper to catered food while they wait, states Co-Founder Amanda Brant.

Do you still have your teen's prom dress hanging in a closet?  Why not help someone else in need?

They will have one final collection of gently-used, clean formal dresses (newer dresses please--purchased since 2009).  This will take place Friday April 11, 6:30pm at Relentless Church.  What a wonderful second-life for last year's gowns.

For more information, please follow this organization on facebook: Ready Dress Go
or contact Co-Founder Leslie Laney at 330-926-6629
link to RDG event on Facebook

The 4th Annual Teen Gown Giveaway is Saturday April 12, 2014 from 9am-1pm
Relentless Church, 1878 Killian Road, Akron, OH 44312

Please feel free to share this info with your friends and family.