Best of Kent: Shopping

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Off the Wagon is located in Acorn Ally at 152 E. Main Street in Kent Ohio. Off the Wagon was voted the best place in Kent to shop by community members and students.

Zaria Johnson Assigning Editor

First Place: Off the Wagon

When it comes to finding a good place to shop, there is almost nothing you won’t be able to find in Off the Wagon. The shop is like a toy box come to life with anything from gag gifts and plush toys, to ukuleles and card games.

“It’s kind of the highlight of downtown Kent,” Kent State junior Kianna Jackson said. “It gives a funhouse kind of vibe because there is so much to look at.”

Be it personal shopping, gift shopping or just having a few minutes of free time, Off the Wagon has something for everyone.

“I like it because there’s so much stuff I can play with,” Jackson said. “The workers here just let us play … They’ll let anybody play with whatever they want.”

Off the Wagon is open with the goal of bringing out everyone’s inner child, and store owner, and self-titled “guru of fun” Michelle Sahr said they’ve accomplished just that.

“We wanted to bring a fun store that would engage kids of all ages,” Sahr said. “We keep changing things trying to make it better. People have a good time and laugh a lot when looking through the store, and that’s a fun thing to hear.”

 

Second Place: Last Exit Books and Coffee House

Don’t let the name fool you. Last Exit Books and Coffeehouse has more to offer than books and coffee. Along with a vast collection of books and magazines, the store also sells records and movies, and offers a large menu filled with drinks and pastries. 

Customers are encouraged to grab a book and test it out before committing to it, employee Joey Langan said.

“That’s why the cafe space is there,” he said. “You can get a cup of coffee, page through the book and see if you want to buy it.”

While some come to grab a good book for themselves, many visit the store to talk with friends, employees or even strangers about what they’ve been reading.  

“I have a lot of interesting conversations with people from all walks of life,” Langan said. “There are a lot of artists of different mediums, but there is also a diverse range of people who live in Kent. A lot of students come here, but there are also older people who live in the community who want to grab a cup of coffee.”

Third Place: Kent Cheesemonger 

Coming in third is the Kent Cheesemonger, which is the perfect place for cheese and wine lovers. Walking in will transport you to Europe with bright shades of red throughout the store along with  the variety of cheeses, wines and jellies they have available.

“We have a unique set of products and we always focus on providing a unique set of products,” owner Tom Sahr said. “We want to provide the Kent community with artisan cheeses and other things that went with it.”

Although the Kent Cheesemonger sells wine specifically for adult customers, the shop gets customers of all ages, Sahr said.

“It’s an across the board mix,” Sahr said. “We get everything from students to grandma and grandpa with the grandparents coming in here, and everything in between. There’s not one demographic that fits our store. People of all ages seem to enjoy it.”

 

Contact Zaria Johnson at [email protected]