Check it out: Holiday shopping ideas with a Cleveland flare

Northeast Ohio is rife with talented makers who create just about anything you can think of—from apparel that shows Cleveland pride to food and drink that illustrates our culinary diversity.

So why not share that love this holiday season by shopping local and giving back to the Cleveland maker community?  

Whether you’re buying scented soaps for your aunt or handmade jewelry for your significant other, FreshWater Cleveland went holiday shopping and knows just where to go to shop some of our favorite local makers. We picked a number of options to choose from in this list.

Made ClevelandMade Cleveland
Made Cleveland has the perfect gift for local sports fans, artists and jewelry lovers alike. With a tagline of “A one-stop shop for local Cleveland culture creators,” it’s nearly impossible to leave empty-handed.

Owner Ash O’Connor created the online marketplace for local artists and vendors during the 2019 holiday season. Her goal? To give Cleveland creators the recognition they deserve while providing Clevelanders with the products they love.

Now, O’Connor has both an online shop and a physical store on Coventry Road in Cleveland Heights, where you can buy handmade art, jewelry, stationary and more from local creators.

Each vendor has their own shipping methods, and you can even arrange an in-person meeting to avoid extra costs.

A few popular products include CLE skyline stickers from Dalia Jean Designs, hand painted bonbons that look almost to good to eat from Sweet Bean, Municipal Stadium wall art from Inspired Indigo, and bracelets made of recycled glass from pebble & ripple
Made Cleveland, 1807 Coventry Road, Cleveland Heights (216) 501-1805.

Avocado Toast with Savory Chana CHUTNI PUNCHChutni Punch 
Many Clevelanders have a soft spot for India Garden, Bombay Chaat and other local Indian restaurants. But have you ever thought about making an authentic Indian meal in the comfort of your own home? Chutni Punch has all the flavors you need to make dosas, idlis, coconut chutney, butter chicken, and other popular Indian dishes. Or use the three spice blends to create your own culinary sensation. 

Owner Sahithya Wintrich sells her spice blends across Northeast Ohio, from Shaker Heights to Lakewood, and on her website. She makes three blends: Super Sesame, Spicy Peanut, and Savory Chana, or customers can buy a three-pack with each blend.

Originally from Bangalore, Karnataka in Southern India, Wintrich launched Chutni Punch last fall so Clevelanders could add authentic Indian flavor to their cooking. She says use the blends to make classic Indian dishes, or give pizza, hummus, pasta and bagels an extra kick.

Whether you have a friend who loves Indian takeout or family members looking to expand their cooking horizons, Chutni Punch is just the right gift.
Wintrich makes Chutni Punch out of Central Kitchen in MidTown. Click here for a list of retailers.  

STEM Handmade SoapSTEM Handmade Soap
Two years ago, Dave Willett and Steve Meka set out to create the perfect bar of natural soap. After spending eight months experimenting in their Lakewood home, they finally completed their quest. But they didn’t stop at soap—they’ve made countless all-natural skincare products, ranging from body butter to calming aromatherapy products using essential oils.

Their inventory quickly overtook their basement, so they opened two STEM Handmade Soap stores—one in Lakewood and one in Shaker Heights.

Need another stocking stuffer for your daughter? Check out STEM’s wide selection of lip balms  in various flavors. Is your mother-in-law looking to expand her candle collection? STEM sells all-natural candles with scents fit for any season.
STEM Handmade Soap, 12405 Madison Ave., Lakewood. (216) 505-5531; Van Aken Market Hall, 3441 Tuttle Road, Shaker Heights. (216) 417-0005.

Pope's KitchenPope’s Kitchen
There’s no better way to kick back and enjoy the holiday season than with a cocktail. You can buy hand-crafted cocktail mixes, syrups, and sauces from Pope’s Kitchen. Have a friend who loves playing bartender? Check out founder Clark Pope’s mixology guides and barware before buying that mixologist a Christmas gift. Does your brother like extra spice with every meal? You can pick up  hot sauces in different flavors, including Burning River, Whiskey River, and Local Hotness.

Pope first started his business in 2010 with his popular bloody Mary mix, which he now offers in Traditional and bold & Spicy varieties. He has since expanded into cocktail syrups to craft various cocktails and barbeque seasoning and sauce.  While he sells his products out of the Merchants Mrkt in Legacy Village, you can find his products in shops across Northeast Ohio. For those wanting to enjoy a craft cocktail without the work, Pope’s pre-mixed cocktails—sold in pouches for easy on-the-go transport—come as mojitos, blueberry lemonade, and whiskey smash. The cocktails are available through the region, or you can order them online.
Pope’s Kitchen, 25001 Cedar Road, Legacy Village, Lyndhurst, [email protected]

Anne CateAnne Cate
From wristlets to pillows and everything in between, you’ll find just the accessory you’re looking for at Anne Cate in Lakewood. Not sure what to buy for the picky college student in your life? The store has designs dedicated to local college towns. Is your favorite wine connoisseur asking for a new tote this year? Anne Cate has a wide selection of tote designs as well.

Specializing in everyday accessories, owner Anne Skoch first opened her Lakewood storefront in 2016. Her skyline collection, which features pillows and purses with city silhouettes, was an instant success. The best part of it all? Her entire inventory is handcrafted in Cleveland. So even if you’re buying one of her famous skyline purses for your friend in New York City, you’re still supporting the CLE.
Anne Cate, 10307 Detroit Ave., Lakewood. (440) 954-1742.

Woof Gang BakeryWoof Gang Bakery
Don’t forget about the furry friend in your life this holiday season. Whether you want to pamper your dog at the groomer or give your cat an extra special treat, Woof Gang Bakery has just what you’re looking for. Thinking about starting your pet on a healthier food plan? The staff also offer customized nutritional counseling.

With nutrition plans made specifically for senior pets, puppies and kittens as well as pregnant dogs, Woof Gang makes health a top priority at every stage of life. Trained staff members also consider your pet’s breed, size, and activity levels before setting nutritional requirements. Rather than relying on labels from dog and cat food brands, get customized advice from true animal experts and lovers.

But even if your pets are hopping on the health and wellness train next year, you should still treat them to gingerbread dogs this season.

Located in the Van Aken District, Woof Gang Bakery has served cats and dogs on Cleveland’s east side since 2019. After spending 27 years in the pet industry, Natalee and Joe Gilk finally decided to open their own franchise. Their goal? To keep Northeast Ohio’s pets happy and healthy! Rather than buying bland biscuits from a box, give your pet a homemade treat from the heart.
Woof Gang Bakery, 20075 Chagrin Blvd., Shaker Heights. (216) 716-8004, [email protected].

SoCo Tahini on Sweet Potato.SoCo Tahini
Growing up in Israel, Dana Harary was accustomed to creamy, dreamy tahini that folks use in just about everything. So, when she moved to Northeast Ohio three years ago, she got tired of searching for the quality tahini she craved. So she and her partner, Goni Light, two years ago started Seeds of Collaboration (SoCo) Tahini and the product line has taken off

The three tahini varieties–Artisanal Tahini, Tahini & Pesto, and Tahini & Dates–are so tasty and popular, the Cleveland chef Doug Katz even began using the line at his popular Zhug Mediterranean restaurant in Cleveland Heights.

Harary even offers a list of recipes on her website (it’s not just for making hummus), and the varieties can be purchased online, or can be bought locally at Heinen’s, Murray Hill Market, or Gingham Market in Lakewood, among other places. 
SoCo Tahini, [email protected], (718) 673-8189.

Heights ArtsHeights Arts
Heights Arts’ annual Holiday Store features more 120 Cleveland area creators, and you can take home locally crafted gifts knowing that you have supported your creative community and given a gift that is unique and meaningful. The options are virtually endless, ranging from glass sculpture and ornaments, to wooden cutting boards and fiber art, to all kinds of unique stocking stuffers. The holiday store runs through Friday, Dec. 30.
Heights Arts, 2175 Lee Road, Cleveland Heights. (216) 371-3457.

Read more articles by Dana Shugrue.

Dana Shugrue is a graduate of John Carroll University, where she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Digital Media and Professional Writing. She is a full-time Content Specialist at Budget Dumpster, and part-time freelance writer for FreshWater Cleveland. When she’s not writing, you can catch Dana taking a run through the metros or sipping a latte at her favorite local coffee shop.