Sugar Rush, Handcrafted move locations downtown

Jorden Shevel

Two Kent businesses, Handcrafted and Sugar Rush, have recently changed locations. One moving from Erie Street to Main Street and the other moving further down Erie.

The two locally owned and operated businesses are located in what is known as Acorn Alley. It was constructed in the spring of 2009 by local business leader Ronald Burbick to bring more retail and restaurant space. The first phase was soon followed by a second in 2011, adding even more retail and dining space.

The revamp of Kent’s downtown area in 2008 also sought to connect the campus to downtown. The renovations added Acorn Alley, an extension to the KSU Esplanade better connecting the university to downtown, and a hotel and parking garage to better suit out of town visitors.

The Acorn Alley website describes the area as “Located in the heart of historic downtown Kent between East Main and Erie Streets, Acorn Alley is a pedestrian-friendly development that offers cobblestone walkways and a welcoming locally-owned mix of specialty shops and boutiques, art and live music, and special events throughout the year.”

Two of the locally owned shops recently changed their location. Handcrafted moved one block down Erie, and is now located in between Rise & Shine Cafe and Laziza Mediterranean restaurant. The other business, Sugar Rush, moved to East Main Street next to Last Exit Books and Coffeehouse.

Handcrafted is a boutique that offers handmade art from artists all over Ohio. Items like wooden signs and paintings can be seen from outside the store. Once customers are inside they can shop the array of soaps, jewelry, dishes and other handmade pieces of art.

Sugar Rush is a candy shop that sells a wide variety of candies that can’t be easily found in other stores. They keep their shelves stocked with unique sweet treats like Hi-Chew Japanese fruit chews and German chocolate. 

The main goal for both the businesses in moving was to increase their foot traffic. The two businesses used to sit next to each other on Erie St., which is a retail area that sees fewer people walking around throughout the day.

“What both businesses found was that the foot traffic up on that part of Erie Street makes it difficult for a retail operation because not as many people are walking by,” said Tom Wilke, economic director for the city of Kent.

Handcrafted, which only moved down one block, has already started to see more business after the move.

“We have much better foot traffic on this side of town which is really funny because we only moved one block down,” said Jessica Ryan, owner of Handcrafted. “Right now we are sandwiched in between some of the more popular restaurants and Tree City Coffee so people have been walking by our windows more often then they did on the other block.”

Sugar Rush has also seen more business after their move and is pleased with the new location for their operation.

“This is just a great location and it was available and we just decided to move here,” said Liz Woods, owner of Sugar Rush, “people at all hours of the day are walking by here and over there you needed to walk to get to your destination and over here you can just kinda stroll.”

Jorden Shevel covers business. Contact him at [email protected]