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A Maker’s Marketplace

Find gifts, conversation pieces, décor and more from 30+ of Northeast Ohio’s specialty crafters and artisans at Blended

Article by Chris Watson

Photography by Terry Fravel

Originally published in Canton Lifestyle

Located in Belden Village Mall, Blended is an eclectic marketplace where local artisans sell their wares as a “blended” collection. It’s filled from wall to wall with unique works of art, handmade decor, clothing, edibles, custom gifts – the list goes on and on. Co-owner Lori Weaver leads the Blended family alongside her husband, Kevin, and provides a supportive venue for specialty crafters and artists to sell their products and advertise their brands.

It’s not the first small business ownership experience for the Weavers. In 2012, Lori started Lil’ Pink Goose Boutique, which specializes in handmade tutu skirts and baby photography props. Then in 2017, she created Pink Goose Boutique to sell women’s graphic tees. After running the two online shops for several years, the Weavers realized that a physical venue like Blended would not only give other owner-operators like herself a platform on which to sell their merchandise, but also introduce the public[1]  to talented makers they might not otherwise find.

As with any enterprise, the Weavers have had to overcome their share of barriers in opening and maintaining the store. The current health crisis has been particularly challenging, to put it mildly. Beyond the safety measures and policy changes, though, they’ve found that Blended’s role in the community has become more important than ever before. With art shows and craft fairs shutting down throughout the pandemic, providing a venue for local artisans has become critical to their continued operation. Weaver tries to remind herself in difficult times that perseverance ultimately wins the race.


“Every stumbling block can be twisted and used for your benefit in the end,” said Weaver. “It’s all about outlook and never giving up when things don’t go as planned.”

As a crafter herself, Weaver is meticulous and passionate about her work. Those qualities, coupled with her years of experience in retail and customer service, help her provide a personalized shopping experience for every patron who comes to the store. And it’s her husband, Kevin, who not only co-runs the business, but also crafts his support around all of Lori’s pursuits and inspiration with his unfaltering way of thinking. Together, they work to curate and showcase one-of-a-kind products created by people who hold a passion for their craft, whatever it may be.

“Seeing our crafters’ products and businesses turn into a full-time job is my favorite part of what I do,” said Weaver. “There are so many talented people right in front of us on a daily basis that we never even knew existed. Blended helps them and their product shine.”

As of this writing, Blended features the works of 30 different Northeast Ohio artisans and specialty crafters. These include Sworks, who intricately crafts shadow boxes and other unique pieces; NOSH Butters – makers of craft nut and seed butters; and Stampin Stitchin for hand-stamped inspirational jewelry, among other vendors. Patrons can even sample products from Buckeye Blends, Balsamic Vinegars + Olive Oils at the full Fusti Bar at the center of the store.

Some makers are specifically curated by the Weavers while others approach them directly. All are welcome members of the Blended family. Together they create a charming space that offers customers distinctive pieces every day.

Blended

blendedohio.wordpress.com

4306 Belden Village Mall

Canton, Ohio

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