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I know this thread is dead but I'm reviving it because Columbus has stepped up its game since the first post. Apologize for the spaces in the web addresses, my post count isn't high enough to put direct links into my posts.
*Downtown has been on retail life support for a while now and there isn't much to see here but the city's once bustling mall, City Center, is actively being demolished and hopefully the planned retail/residential/public use space that will take it's place will breath new life into the area soon.
1. B1 Bicycles (b 1 b i c y c l e s . c o m) - The owner of this shop is a former bike messenger and has put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into making this place a reality (literally). If you're more of a serious road biker, mountain biker, or cyclocross mud puppy then this is the place for you. Last I heard they were starting to make custom frames as well.
*This is my favorite area of Columbus, hands down. It's like a little SoHo in the middle of Ohio. There are a ton of great art galleries, local restaurants, boutiques, and bars/venues in this neighborhood. It's a MUST to visit if you're anywhere near here. I'll just focus on the retail for now.
1. Sole Classics (s o l e c l a s s i c s . c o m) - Still going strong, although the ownership has recently changed. Haven't been in since that happened but from what I hear the new owners are striving to keep the original aesthetic and general vibe the same, which is a good thing. They carry brands like 10 Deep, Mishka, The Hundreds, Clae, Nike Sportswear, Play, Stussy, Crooks, & UNDFTD to name a few. They also have a Quickstrike account.
2. Milkbar (s h o p m i l k b a r . b l o g s p o t . c o m) - Nice boutique owned by a few friends. They carry a lot of independent labels that include Hyden Yoo, Good Society, Insight, Ludwig, Homage, & Shades of Greige but also some of the bigger brands like A.P.C., Levis (Capital E), Band of Outsiders, and Rag & Bone. They have a pretty strong local following, and for good reason. Real cool dudes that know what they're talking about. They've also started a house brand called Dry Clean Only, which is rapidly expanding and worth checking out. Definitely a place to stop by if you're in the neighborhood.
3. Tigertree (s h o p t i g e r t r e e . b l o g s p o t . c o m) - Another locally owned boutique with a very clean/vintage aesthetic. This is always the place that I mean to go to more often but never have a chance to. They carry a nice selection of jewelry/accessories as well as some vintage wares and select apparel. Sorry I can't provide more details, I'm not as familiar with this shop as the others.
4. Brigade (c l o t h i n g b r i g a d e . c o m) - The Columbus contingent of the original store by the same name located in Cleveland. They have a nice selection from brands like Nom De Guerre, G Star, A.P.C., Band of Outsiders, J. Lindeberg, Rogues Gallery, and their house brand Wrath Arcane. I haven't had a chance to stop into the Columbus shop yet but I've been to the Cleveland one quite a few times. The owners are really down to earth guys and really know their craft.
5. Rivet (r i v e t a r t . c o m) - There are a LOT of amazing art galleries in the Short North, too many to list here, but Rivet is unique in that it features low brow/no brow art and vinyl toys, both of which I'm into. I really enjoy this gallery because they always have a nice exhibition going and they constantly update their vinyl stock.
6. Paradise Garage (p a r a d i s e g a r a g e . c o m) - Local urban bike shop with friendly staff and a nice selection of gear/bikes. They have fixed gear/single speed bikes if you're into that and also urban cruiser type bikes. Pretty nice selection of urban cycling apparel as well.
1. Black Sheep Board and Skate (m y s p a c e . c o m / b l a c k s h e e p 7 7) - This is your quintessential skate or die, balls to the wall, neighborhood skate shop. A very different atmosphere than Embassy (see below). It's run by a super chill old school cat that's been skating forever and has seen every trend in the game come and go. Haven't been in here for a while because I don't skate anymore but from what I remember they also sell snowboarding gear in the winter.
*This is a close second in my mind to the Short North. There is a unique old town feel to this area with a ridiculous amount of cool antiques/vintage shops & bike service shops lining the streets.
1. Embassy (e m b a s s y b o a r d s h o p . c o m) - New-ish skate shop with a strong local following. Only place in Columbus with an SB account. 'Nuff said.
2. Rag-O-Rama (r a g o r a m a . c o m) - Hip resale shop that carries everything from neon green party wigs to second-hand Mason Martin Margiela shirts (true story). You can find some mind-blowing peices here every now and then, but be prepared to hunt them out. The college kids and the local hipsters all unload their stuff here so there's a wide selection of goods to sift through.
3. Seagull Bags (s e a g u l l b a g s . c o m) - Also in Clintonville, they make some choice custom messenger bags. You can pretty much design every aspect of your bag and get some kickass custom embroidery/patch work done up here. Check out the online gallery, the quality of their work is pretty impressive.
There are a lot more shops and areas of Columbus that should be highlighted but I've spent way too much time this one post already. I guess you guys will just have to come visit and find them out for yourselves! Peace.