Columbus, Ohio USA
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Dis 'n' Data
By Margaret Marten, Editor
January/February 2014


A T-shirt shop opened at 1253 N. High St. in the space vacated by Ohio Style next to Turner’s Barber Shop across from Out of the Closet Thrift Store. Owners Elliott Fisher, 34, and brother Dustin, 33, launched Donkey Tees online in 2006. “Our sales were fine with the online business alone,” said Elliott, “but we found the place driving by one day ... purple paint and everything all over it, and I looked in the window, and it was a perfect little space.” The storefront opened in October and functions mainly as a showroom and production area rather than a full-scale retail floor. “People can walk by and get a T-shirt. We can make it for them right there,” he said. “But we’re more online. They can do a local pickup. We also give any resident walking by free shipping.” The brothers began making T-shirts for friends and fraternity while in college using a Canon printer with a printout that ironed onto fabric. After graduating, they returned to their hometown Cincinnati, got jobs unrelated to T-shirts and saved money to eventually buy a screen press. “It was a good-sized investment,” Elliott said. “The worst case scenario is that my brother and I can make funny T-shirts for ourselves for the rest of our life. But we didn’t think that was a downside, so we said why not?” Most of the shirts are funny. The brothers routinely toss ideas back and forth, with two full-time employees and other staff, while working or watching a funny TV show. The most popular Ohio-themed shirt hangs in their window. It began as a joke, something Elliott and a friend wore to a game five years ago that evolved into a prime piece of merchandise: “The Way It Should Be... No Michigan” has a U.S. map with Michigan removed. Occasionally they depend on the kindness of strangers. Recently, someone offered them an idea for a Michigan-themed shirt that’s now in production. “For that we gave him a few free T-shirts,” said Elliott. The famous police-box door from the BBC show Doctor Who is plastered on their door for fun. “A lot of people take pictures of our door,” he said. “That’s how a lot of people spot us. When they knock on the door, they’re like, ‘My friend told me to look for the Doctor Who door.’ I’m like, ‘that’s us!’” There are over 300 T-shirts on the Donkey Tees website at The storefront is open 9 to 5 Monday through Friday where you can pick up orders and save shipping cost. The contact number is (513) 300-0721.

What may be the first organic cold-press juice bar in Columbus is opening in the Short North at 771 N. High St. where Phia Salon was housed prior to its move a few doors down. Native Cold Pressed is scheduled to open in February and will be serving all organic, raw, seasonal cold-pressed juices in a dozen varieties. Owners Erin Thacker, 34, and Nicole Salvo, 26, met a year and a half ago at a yoga event, found they shared an interest in raw foods and juicing, and quickly became friends. Both are yoga teachers and worked briefly together at lululemon athletica, a yoga clothing supplier, where they put their heads together and set their sights on the new enterprise. Thacker has an extensive background in the food industry working as a manager and bartender at Rossi’s and other Corbin establishments along with Ron Criswell. She faced health issues a few years ago that led her into a juice regimen that eventually turned her life around. “It really kind of sparked that passion to keep searching and playing with the recipes and studying a more holistic, homeopathic lifestyle,” she said. Salvo adopted juicing and raw food practices while traveling and teaching yoga in East Asia after graduating in cultural studies from Columbia College in Chicago. She met a group of people in Thailand who ate raw diets, and experienced a sense of profound well-being once she began the practice herself. “Every day after yoga we would get juice, crack open coconuts, and eat delicious raw concoctions. I was amazed by the effects it had on my body.” Later while visiting friends in Los Angeles, Salvo noticed an abundance of juice bars in the city, and after she returned to Columbus two years ago (she was raised in Canton), she realized there was a void in that market here. Among the variety of juices offered at their new store, Salvo’s favorite is Spicy Carrot, a mix of carrot, coconut and cayenne. Thacker is partial to Sweet Beet, a mix of beet, apple, lemon, and ginger. She recalls how her grandmother introduced her to fresh beets as a child and loved it: “I could taste the real earthiness, and it was naturally sweet with the bright vibrant color. I kind of fell in love with them.” The lemon and ginger in Sweet Beet give it a hint of spice with a perfect amount of sweet coming from the apple and beet, she said. The juices are sold in 16-ounce recyclable glass bottles ranging in price from $7 to $10. Smaller sizes, an 8 ounce carrot juice ($3.50) and apple juice ($4) are on the menu for a quick refresher. The cold-press method of juicing enables juice to be bottled with no preservatives and still maintain a 72-hour shelf life. Two varieties of a “Cleanse” pack, a supply of six recommended daily juices for a one- to three-day regiment with written guidelines is available. “There are some modifications you can do,” said Thacker. “If you’re somebody new to cleansing, you may not want to do all six juices in one day. You may want to do three juices the first day with two small raw snacks in between.” Both Thacker and Salvo live in the Short North and bring a sense of community to their new enterprise along with a commitment to local sourcing and holistic living. The website will launch when the store opens in February. Tentative hours are Monday through Friday 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. A business phone line was not available at time of press.

Sole Classics, the sneaker and streetware boutique at 765 N. High St., plans to relocate further north in the Short North in mid-February. Owner Dionte Johnson, who bought the business from Chris Davis and Aaron Conroy four years ago, said the reason for the move is space. Sole Classics will be leasing two storefronts at 846 N. High – the old Image Optical and Mwandiko Traders Co. space – allowing the shop to greatly increase inventory. “It’s the same brands, just more of it,” said Johnson. King’s Rowe Gallery, another one of Johnson’s streetware boutiques, remains at 1104 N. High a few doors down from Surly Girl Saloon where he opened it in October 2012 to sell his local label King’s Rowe. “We carry a lot of different apparel brands at Sole Classics that go along with the shoes,” said Johnson. “We want to keep the two [shops] separate so people know King’s Rowe is an Ohio-based brand.” To read more about Johnson’s background and store opening, visit our Dis N Data online archive Jan/Feb 2013. Also check out to view merchandise.

A change in ownership at Travonna Coffee House has resulted in a new name for the shop at 1195 N. High St. Inayat Ullah, who originally opened the business with Travis Hardy in 2009, purchased it outright from Hardy in October. The new name Short North Coffee House, visible on the storefront, reflects the no-nonsense approach of Inayat, who has served the neighborhood steadily for the past four years, often with the help of his large family. A native of Pakistan and resident of Pickerington, he and his wife Zenab and their five children (ages 10 to 19) all contribute time and energy to keep the place running 24 hours a day with the help of three staff members. No changes are on the horizon other than the name change. Inayat said it’s business as usual. The menu and décor will remain the same, the poetry readings and art exhibits will continue. “Yes,” he said, “the art is still going on, and we’re doing very well. People like it.” The shop offers a large, comfortable space with plenty of seating, and the family gives the place a home-like atmosphere. Stop by and congratulate Inayat on his decision to take sole ownership of the business so that it continues to serve the Short North as a popular destination for coffee lovers and art admirers.

Zoom Room is no longer in business at 685 N. High St. Becky and Brian Berger opened the dog training facility in November 2012 after Funky and Functional vacated the space earlier that year. The new tenant is The Collection European Furniture, offering contemporary furniture made in Europe. At the time of their grand opening during the January Gallery Hop, the inventory was mostly German-made but will eventually expand and include products of Italy and other European countries, said co-owner Pavel Lisin. Pavel, 24, moved here from Belarus, a post-Soviet country, with his father, mother, and sister ten years ago. His father Viktar, 59, co-owner of the store, had a large trucking company in their homeland, but it proved too difficult to reestablish here in the U.S., so Viktar, and eventually Pavel, began working in warehouse management and delivery for a Columbus furniture store, Eurolife Furniture, which Viktar’s son-in-law eventually purchased. “In a way we’re almost as a franchise,” said Pavel. The business shares a website with the sister store, Eurolife, and a branch in Miami, The Collection German Furniture. They don’t expect to fill the showroom until the end of February or early March. In the meantime, the store will remain open two days a week, Friday and Saturday. “At the beginning of March, end of February, that’s when we expect a large shipment,” Pavel explained, “and when everything comes in, we’ll have a full operational store.” For more information about The Collection European Furniture, located at 685 N. High St., call 614-220-4030 or visit

Dames Bond Market closed its retail shop in the Garden District at 1188 N. High after a year showcasing products of local women entrepreneurs, artists and crafters. The close was unexpected but not too surprising considering how busy owner Mary B. Relotto has been managing her other store, Mary B.’s Gift Shop in German Village, and maintaining her women’s networking business. Relotto said it was a very hard decision to make and she is grateful for the time spent in the Short North meeting customers and residents who stopped by.

Tom Zanetos passed away in October. The co-founder of the Anthony-Thomas Candy Co. was 93 years old. His wife Agnes died three years ago in 2010. Greg Zanetos, whose house Cocoa Manor stands at Buttles and Park across from Goodale Park, is one of their four sons, and the Anthony-Thomas Candy Co. has regularly supported this neighborhood.

Betty’s Fine Food & Spirits is moving from 680 N. High St. to 340 E. Gay at the end of January. Tom Thomson, the Gazette founder, is a fan of the place and regularly ate there before his knees began to give out a couple years ago. He will celebrate his 92nd birthday on January 23.

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