Shop local this back-to-school season: 25 Greater Cleveland businesses to check out

CLEVELAND, Ohio — School bells will soon ring for students in northeast Ohio as the fall semester begins and classes begin.

Now is the time to shop for back to school, stock up on materials students will need for their classes and clubs. If you’re looking to shop local, we’ve put together a guide to some Greater Cleveland stores to visit when checking off items on your shopping list.

The list is divided into a few sections: school supplies, clothing, children’s clothing, shoes, books and extracurriculars:

(Photo by Laura DeMarco, The Plain Dealer)The ordinary merchant

School supplies:

cool world

As well as its 80s ephemera, hip Gordon Square storefront Cool World also has a curated selection of notebooks, pens and pencils perfect for note-taking. We recommend going in person, but the boutique’s online store also showcases some of its offerings.

6511 Detroit Avenue, Cleveland;

Read more: Cool World vintage retail store is coming to Gordon Square

Papercraft from Hollo

Founded in 1948, Hollo’s Papercraft has been selling paper, stationery, envelopes and more to generations of Northeastern Ohioans. The family store and distributor offers more than paper, also sells jewelry, posters, paintings, lampshades and more.

1878 Pearl Road, Brunswick;

Read more: Hollo’s Papercraft, a Brunswick treasure

Recycled parts store

This eco-friendly option allows back-to-school shoppers to breathe new life into donated materials like papers, pencils, markers and other craft supplies. The nonprofit is accepting specific donations of school and office supplies through the end of August to ensure it has plenty of deals for local students and educators; the list includes scissors, glue, wrapped pencils, notebook paper and more.

6419 St. Clair Ave., Cleveland;

Beautiful Paperie

Notebooks, journals, planners, pens and pencils are well stocked for writers at Lovely Paperie. Beyond writing supplies, find Cleveland-themed gifts and delicate homewares.

19275 Detroit Road, Rocky River;


The overstock section of Marc’s is a magical place. At this time of year, it’s stocked with back-to-school gear, often at deep discounts from the big box stores. The locally owned discount grocery store was founded in 1969 in Mayfield Heights and has grown to open dozens of locations across Ohio.

Various locations;


(Photo by Chris Stephens/The Plain Dealer)The ordinary merchant


Cleveland Clothing Co.

Wear your city pride on your sleeve. Cleveland Clothing Company offers t-shirts, long sleeve shirts, and even pairs of socks that represent Northeast Ohio communities and jokes. This local business sports four locations and constantly releases new clothing collections.

342 Euclid Ave., Cleveland; 64 SS Comet Lane, Westlake; 3265 W. Market Street, Fairlawn; 20070 Walker Road, Shaker Heights;


Teens, young adults, and adults: Find breezy, feminine outfits at Banyan Tree and pair them with the store’s funky jewelry, plus stylish handbags and totes.

2242 Professor Avenue, Cleveland; 162 Main Street, Westlake;

Avalon Exchange

This thrift store that started in Pennsylvania has two locations in the Cleveland area, selling gently used clothing and accessories at affordable prices. Here, thrift stores and boutiques meet.

2925 Detroit Avenue, Cleveland; 1798 Coventry Road, Cleveland Heights;

Whiskey category

Both stylish menswear and chic womenswear are well stocked at Whiskey Grade in the Van Aken district.

3415 Tuttle Road, Shaker Heights;

Children's clothing store

(Photo by Allison Carey, The Plain Dealer)Allison Carey, the ordinary merchant

Kids clothing:

cashmere monkey

Babies, kids and maternity clothes are the focus of Paisley Monkey, this long-running clothing boutique in Lakewood. Plus, find books, toys, home bedding and more.

14417 Detroit Ave, Lakewood;

Babycakes children’s shop

Babycakes at Rocky River has all the clothes a growing child would need, offering baby and toddler clothes, and outfits suitable for kids of all ages, all the way up to teens.

19315 Detroit Road, Rocky River;

double rainbow

Find stylish clothes for toddlers at this boutique in the Van Aken district. Double Rainbow has a variety of fun outfits for kids and moms, including colorful flower-patterned shirts and sparkly dresses, as well as basic tees and onesies.

3425 Tuttle Road, Shaker Heights;


(Photo by Maura Zurick,


Mac’s back

Order online, ship to your home or collect your books from this Coventry shop. The 40-year-old bookstore makes it easy for customers to find exactly what they’re looking for – and browse an impressive bedside connection, while they’re at it.

1820 Coventry Road, Cleveland Heights;

Loganberry Books

Larchmere’s Loganberry Books is a literary wonderland, filled with over 100,000 volumes. Ask the friendly store staff to search for a specific title or use affiliate links like to support this community staple.

13015 Larchmere Blvd., Cleveland;

bookstore by the fireside

Chagrin Falls’ Fireside Bookstore is well stocked with reading materials from local schools, and it’s a good place for avid readers; the store offers appointments for gently used book exchanges, with store credit to find your next great read.

29 N. Franklin St., Chagrin Falls;

More independent bookstores

Do you want to buy your books locally? Options abound in northeast Ohio; here’s our guide to 16 local independent bookstores.

cold kicks

(Photo by Mo Darowich)


Arthur’s Shoe Tree

Find shoes for the whole family at this Bay Village boutique. Arthur’s Shoe Tree has plenty of sneakers, sandals and more for every occasion.

27235 Wolf Road, Bay Village;


Sneakerheads can get their fix at Xhibition, finding exclusive drops and cool designer releases at two physical locations in northeast Ohio.

2068 W. 25th St., Cleveland; 3407 Tuttle Road, Shaker Heights;

cold kicks

Both new and used sneakers are available at Chilly Kicks, offering more affordable shoe prices. Also check out the brand’s extensive online store.

14057 Madison Ave, Lakewood;

Interior of art supply store

(Photo by Galadriel Olson)


Lakewood Art Supply

Find all the paper, pencils, paints and brushes an art student could need at this newly opened shop on Madison Ave in Lakewood. Products for beginners or more experienced artists are well stocked here.

13345 Madison Ave, Lakewood,

Read more: Lakewood Art Supply offers new hub for local artists

Jeanita Dance & Action Wear

Leotards and ballet shoes are well stocked at Jeanita’s Dance & Actionwear store. Plus, gym wear, cheerleading bodysuits, skating tights and more.

6593 Pearl Road, Parma Heights;

Get into the sport

Athletes can purchase equipment and apparel at the Step In Sports store in Chagrin Falls. The shop is aimed at Chagrin Falls students, but also offers a lot of unbranded gear.

5 N. Franklin St., Chagrin Falls;

2nd sole

Since 1997, 2nd Sole has provided local runners and walkers with the best footwear for most stages. Looking for a running group? You can also find this at this store in Lakewood.

18636 Detroit Road, Lakewood;

Make music

Are you looking to make music? Find all the tools you’ll need to do it at this local store. The store, located in the Polish village district of Parma, offers a range of instruments, repair services and lessons.

5795 Ridge Road, Parma;

Academy Music Company

Rent or buy a musical instrument at the two locations of this family-run shop, which also offers lessons and repairs.

1443 Warrensville Center Road, Cleveland Heights; 33505 Station Street, Solon;

Bowed String Shop

Young violinists, cellists and bassists can get everything they need to maintain their instruments (or buy a new one) at this new Lakewood Instrument Service Store designed for string players.

17305 Madison Ave, Lakewood;

Read more: Lakewood’s new Bowed String Shop hopes to shorten long trips for service

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