BEAUTIFUL OHIO Enjoy the best of Ohio at Celebrate Local, a nonprofit store featuring items made, grown or created in Ohio. According to retail operations director Connie De Jong, the store showcases products from nearly 200 vendors sold on consignment.
The variety is enormous. There are houseplants from Baker's Acres, Bebo Organics baby food, Maramor Chocolates, fair trade coffee roasted in Ohio, buffalo meat from Ohio Bison Farm, edibles from Ann's Raspberry Farm and CaJohns Fiery Foods, clever upcycled sculptures from Mr. Mister and a large selection of Ohio beer and wine reasonably priced at $10 and $15. You'll see spices, soup mixes, maple syrup, eggs, cheese, gluten-free foods, Long Meadow grass-fed meat and Snowville Creamery milk, along with candles, beauty products and Halleck custom-made pens.
If you're in search of a present, there's a selection of gift baskets from which to choose, or you can create your own. Some items from Global Gallery, a part of the collaboration, also are on sale here. The store is scheduled to remain at this location until June 30.
Celebrate Local, 4030 The Strand East (in Easton Center, just north of Easton Town Center), 423-4509. Open Mon-Thu 10 am-9 pm, Fri-Sat till 10 pm, Sun noon-6 pm.
RAGS TO RICHES Rag-O-Rama buys and sells men's and women's current, classic, designer and vintage clothing and accessories. You'll find handbags, jewelry, sunglasses, costumes, wigs and one-of-a-kind items. It also carries new merchandise. This locally owned shop is part of a chain of four stores and the only one in Ohio. It doesn't sell on consignment, but it does pay 30 percent cash or 45 percent store credit on the spot for gently used items.
The average price for a piece is around $10, with the exception of designer items that still are priced to sell. When I was there, I saw Christian Dior and Prada outfits, Tiffany jewelry and Coach handbags. International brands included Topshop, ASOS and Fred Perry.
New merchandise comes in every day, and for St. Patrick's Day the shop will have a rack of green clothing. During the year, look for dollar sale weekends, when hundreds of items are marked down to $1.
Rag-O-Rama, 3301 N. High St. (south of North Broadway), 261-7202; ragorama.com. Open Mon-Sat 11 am-8 pm, Sun noon-7 pm.
FOR OUR TROOPS To support U.S. troops returning home, the board of trustees for the nonprofit 40 Plus of Central Ohio has approved a 50 percent discount for any returning veteran who signs up for two months of training before March 31.
The program trains people in the skills necessary for success in a job search, career change or professional advancement. The company has been helping professionals of all ages for 30 years. Meetings are held every Monday at 9 am in its offices at 1100 King Ave. (lower level). They are free and open to the public. For more information, visit fortyplusoh.org or call 297-0040.
BACK IN THE SADDLE Keith Saddle Shop has been catering to horse enthusiasts-and those who like wearing horseman-style attire-for more than 30 years. The shop's founder opened the first location in the back of a bar in a small Ohio town.The Pataskala store now encompasses 10,000 square feet and stocks just about anything an equine enthusiast could need. According to the shop, it has Central Ohio's largest selection of Western tack and apparel for horse and rider.
The merchandise includes shirts, blouses and jeans for men, women and children in brands such as Wrangler, Cinch and Cowgirl Tuff. There also are perfumes by Annie Oakley, purses and a large selection of boots and hats, plus gift and home décor items. With a large assortment of saddles, you can test them to find just the right fit. The shop also can fill your needs if you ride English style.
Keith Saddle Shop, 12751 Worthington Rd. SW, Pataskala (heading east from I-270 on the Rt. 161 bypass, turn right onto Beech Road/Township Highway 88, then left onto Worthington Road), (740) 927-3321. Open Mon-Fri 9:30 am-8 pm, Sat till 6 pm, Sun noon-5 pm.
Send sale and bargain suggestions two months before sale to: Bargain Bits, Columbus Monthly, P.O. Box 29913, Columbus, Ohio 43229-7513, or firstname.lastname@example.org. No phone calls, please.