From boutiques to bakeries, here are 20 women-owned businesses in Columbus
March is Women's History Month, and since the monthlong celebration began in the 1980s, it has provided an opportunity to recognize and celebrate the contributions of women in a number of areas.
Nationally, women-owned businesses increased by 21% between 2014 and 2019, compared to 9% for all businesses, according to the State of Women-Owned Businesses report by American Express. That same report shows that business owned by women of color grew even faster — by 43%.
In Ohio, women entrepreneurs have made a significant impact on the local economy. Over 41% of businesses are owned by women, according to 2018 data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Today, that percentage may be even higher thanks to the efforts of groups like the Women's Small Business Accelerator.
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To highlight the creativity and determination of these women entrepreneurs, here are 20 women-owned businesses in Columbus. From retail stores and salons to restaurants and bars, if you're looking for a way to support local women-owned businesses, check out this list.
Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams
One of the most recognizable woman-owned businesses based in Columbus, Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams, is now known nationally for its distinctive ice cream flavors and notable collaborations. Founded by Jeni Britton with its first stall at North Market in 2002, Jeni's has nearly 80 locations across the country, including eight in the Columbus area.
Creole 2 Geaux
Janvier Ward owns Creole 2 Geaux with her husband, Sharif Ward, which started as a food truck in 2015. This Louisianan eatery, which just opened a location in the Arena District in addition to a stall at the East Market, serves shrimp and chicken po'boys, creole bowls, jambalaya mac and cheese, gumbo, Creole ramen bowls and more. Items are based on many of the traditional Creole recipes from Janvier Ward's mother and grandmother.
Owned by Annie Williams Pierce and Luke Pierce, Brewery District wine and cocktail bar Law Bird features innovative cocktails, seasonal organic and biodynamic wines and bar snacks like nuts, pickles, olives, hummus and cheeses. Last year, the bar was named among the 10 best new cocktail bars in the U.S.
Owned by Lindsey Drahos, Hosful Collective opened as a retail boutique in Olde Towne East in August 2020. Created as an accessible pathway for small businesses, most of the vendors at Hosful Collective are Black-owned, women-owned and minority-owned. A variety of work is represented, clothing and jewelry brands and artists and artisans.
Beloved Mexican restaurant Dos Hermanos is owned by Lisa Gutierrez and her husband, Vicente Gutierrez. The restaurant serves traditional Oaxacan-style dishes and authentic Mexican street food. It started in a food truck and is now open in several locations, including North Market, North Market Bridge Park, Food Fort 2.0, the Greater Columbus Convention Center, Lower.com Field and, most recently, Easton.
Eclectiques Antique Mall
Owner Abbey Simeral owns Eclectiques Antique Mall, a longtime Clintonville shop updated to include 60 vendors, offering a wide variety of antique and vintage items. The vendors, many of which are local or regional, sell everything from mid-century modern pieces to vintage clothing and jewelry.
Owned by former corporate lawyer Nicci Hicks, Short North boutique Pivot opened last year featuring clothing, shoes and accessories from brands owned by women and people of color from around the world, with an emphasis on inclusivity and sustainability. The boutique is a place where people can shop their values, Hicks says.
Owned by Megan Pando, who also owns Studio 614, Makers Social is an interactive bar experience that allows customers to create their own DIY crafts while socializing and enjoying drinks. The bar, located in Franklinton, offers themed cocktails, mocktails and beer, and guests can make wallets, photo coasters, dog collars, jewelry and more from a "project menu."
Pattycake Bakery is a vegan bakery that offers a variety of sweet treats like cakes, cookies, cupcakes, muffins, whoopie pies, granola and gluten-free treats made with organic and 100% natural ingredients. And not only is Pattycake woman-owned, but it's also an eight-person worker-owned cooperative.
J's Sweet Treats and Wedding Cakes
J's Sweet Treats and Wedding Cakes owner Juana Williams is a self-taught baker specializing in cakes, pies, cookies, pastries, cheesecake and more. The bakery also creates wedding and custom cakes for different occasions and is currently set up at the Greater Columbus Convention Center.
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Basic Biscuits Kindness and Coffee
Owner Rebekah Hatzifotinos serves up delicious homemade biscuits at Basic Biscuits Kindness and Coffee in Grandview Heights. The cafe serves up multiple biscuit varieties; mini biscuits; biscuits with sausage gravy; biscuit breakfast sandwiches and sliders; biscuit quiche and gluten-free biscuits as well as coffee, local beers, ciders, champagne, sparkling wine and more.
Owned by twin sisters Lisa and Lindsey Rusch, Brekkie Shack serves health-centric breakfast, brunch and lunch items, like avocado toast, breakfast burritos and sandwiches, waffles, in-house baked goods as well as coffee and cocktails. The Grandview Yard eatery also sources its ingredients locally and aims to do so responsibly.
Founded by Heidi Maybruck in 2011, Celebrate Local is a retailer that showcases Ohio-made products, including food, home goods, jewelry, clothing, wines, stationary and more. Celebrate Local also is a business incubator assisting small businesses, with a location at Easton Town Center.
Mmelo Boutique Confections
At Mmelo Boutique Confections, owner and head confectionary chef Michelle Allen create handmade confections using high-quality and unique ingredients, including artisanal marshmallows, tea cakes, chocolate buttons and liquor-infused bonbons. The confectionary also has vegan options, including agar jellies, fruit bars, latte stones and chocolate jam.
The Blowout Bar
The Blowout Bar is a salon owned by sisters Kristin DeJohn and Kailen Kouvas that specializes in blowouts, hairstyling and makeup. Among the first blowdry-only salons in the Columbus area, the salon has opened three locations in Dublin, Easton Town Center, and Grandview Heights since its inception in 2013.
Bake Me Happy
Owners Letha and Wendy Miller Pugh started Bake Me Happy in 2013, and the gluten-free bakery is now located in Schumacher Place and at North Market Bridge Park in Dublin. The bakery specializes in sweet treats like cookies, bars, cakes, brownies, cupcakes and muffins. Other items include oatmeal creme clouds, brown butter Rice Krispies, pop tarts, blondies and scones.
What the Waffle
Owned by Gayle Troy, What the Waffle offers buttermilk Belgian waffle sandwiches for breakfast and lunch, as well as other items, including sweet potato muffins, omelets, shrimp and grits, baked salmon, eggs benedict, coffee and tea. The restaurant opened in King-Lincoln Bronzeville in the summer of 2020.
Red Giraffe Designs
Red Giraffe Designs is owned by Kate Stevens, who founded the jewelry shop in 2009 and now has multiple locations in Easton Town Center, the Short North and Grandview Heights. The shop sells handmade, vintage, customizable and "forever" jewelry, including bracelets, necklaces, anklets and more.
Owned by Fay Abdi, Fay's Crepes offers a variety of sweet and savory crepes made to order, as well as waffles, omelets and other breakfast items. There's also tea, refreshers, ice cream and more. The eatery has locations at Easton Town Center and soon, Bubbly Hall.
Viral Selfie Museum
Owned by Danielle White, Viral Selfie Museum opened in the University District in 2021 and features themed booths for guests to take photos for Instagram or have a private photo shoot session. White, who also works in real estate, opened the museum as the concept has grown in popularity in major cities.
This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Women's History Month: 20 women-owned businesses in Columbus