With chain retailers such as Target and Amazon set to open on High Street, a local organization looks to emphasize businesses made in Columbus.
Experience Columbus, the visitor’s bureau that launched the coffee trail and ale trail in the past, launched the new Made in CBUS Trail, encouraging locals and visitors to explore local shops and businesses.
The trail includes 20 different locally based retailers specializing in everything from clothes and candles to soaps and spirits. Retailers are located citywide, with a majority in the Short North and others located in nearby neighborhoods such as Clintonville and German Village.
Experience Columbus announced the new trail on March 15 at the group’s annual meeting. Megumi Robinson, Experience Columbus spokeswoman, said this new trail was created as a way to highlight Columbus’ own makers and entrepreneurs.
“(These trails are) really encouraging locals and visitors alike to get out and explore those different themes as well as being a way to drive exploration in the different neighborhoods where those breweries or different coffee shops reside,” Robinson said.
Made in CBUS passport booklets are offered at one of the trail’s retailers or at one of the two Experience Columbus visitor centers –– located in the Greater Columbus Convention Center and in the Arena District. Making a purchase at any of the retailers listed earns a stamp in the passport. After visiting four different businesses, participants can redeem the passport at a visitor center for a free T-shirt.
Since its launch, Robinson said businesses on the trail have already noticed a spike in business.
“We’ve been talking with a lot of the partners since the launch, and they’ve all shared that they’re seeing people come in with the Made in CBUS booklet or they’re there to pick one up,” Robinson said.
Jim Jackson, owner of the Grandview Heights-based clothing store State of Devotion, said he’s honored to be included on the Made in CBUS trail and hopes the experience will spark a new appreciation for shopping small.
“(Small business) is the backbone of America,” Jackson said. “I think that today’s youth needs to understand the importance of supporting local businesses … You’re going to find some of these small mom-and-pop shops and see we’re doing stuff that’s unique, that’s handcrafted and that has a story.”
Robinson said that the Made in CBUS trail has something for everyone to explore.
“(If) they’ve grown up in Columbus, and maybe they aren’t as familiar with these neighborhoods like the Short North or downtown or Grandview, this gives them a really good opportunity for them to explore,” Robinson said. “For those who are new to Columbus, this is a great introduction to the incredible wealth of the locally owned businesses, restaurants, shops and attractions that we have right here in our city.”