HARTVILLE: Wine, handmade pottery, women’s clothing. I found a wide selection of each in shops in and near this village more known for its flea market, outsized hardware store and Amish roots.
Today, the Beacon Journal’s holiday business “It’s A Wrap” feature looks at holiday shopping in the Hartville area.
The wine is sold at the Maize Valley Market & Winery in Marlboro Township, close enough to Hartville to be included in today’s inaugural Hartville Holiday Shop Hop. The local chamber organized the event.
Bill Bakan, co-owner of Maize Valley, said it used to be the business would get a bit of a break after it wrapped up fall activities, including wagon rides and a corn maze.
Now, Bakan said, “we’re a holiday destination,” noting that the winery was added in 2005 to what was then only a farm and produce market.
With the addition of the winery, the family-owned enterprise has increased sales of its food/gift offerings, including salsas, dips and jams. Manager Scott Mann touts the home-baked items, including cookies, pies and pie bread, featuring pie filling, as well as crust, mixed in with the dough.
Of course, there’s wine, and for the truly indulgent, there’s chocolate-covered bottles of wine. “You can share the wine,” Bakan said, “and then break off the chocolate in pieces and share that.”
Last month marked the release of a holiday favorite — cranberry wine. The cranberries are brought in from out of state, but the winery’s other fruit wines — such as raspberry — are made with fruit grown on the farm.
From the winery, head west on state Route 619 (Edison Street), and you’ll land in downtown Hartville, where the old train station has been converted into Maple Street Art Gallery.
The gift shop is almost dwarfed by a huge vintage Pullman railroad passenger car, which gallery owner John Tarzan bought earlier this year, and had installed on adjacent track. He’s using it for his framing workshop.
Inside the former train station, old steamer trunks are used as display counters for pottery, glass balls and jewelry, among other gifts, made locally and by artists around the country.
“Everything’s American art here; no China,” Tarzan said.
Across the way, on Prospect Avenue, is the 103-year-old Hartville Elevator Co., featuring a big, bright yellow sign painted on its exterior.
The Elevator Co. is an old feed mill that, with the demise of many local farms, has branched into offering pet food, as well as feed for deer, squirrels and birds. The business continues to make and sell feed for steer, hogs and “pretty much any animal,” said co-owner Ed Ringer.
So what’s the place doing on the Holiday Shop Hop? Ringer said holiday shoppers come in to absorb a bit of local history and walk out with some bird feed or a birdhouse for a gift.
“We have our own private mix of bird feed … We have a lot of weird stuff you can’t find elsewhere,” he said, noting the rabbit hutches, doghouses and butterfly houses.
Nearby is the Hartville Chocolate Factory Co. The candy store is one of two retail outlets in the Barton family enterprise. Much of the family’s business is away from the store, at its nearby plant, making custom molded chocolate in the shape of company logos and event themes.
The candy store on Prospect Avenue brims with chocolate-covered cherries, chocolate-pecan turtles, fudge and other treats.
There are also more unusual goodies, such as the Bugeye, four buckeye chocolates joined together to look like a centipede.
Company founder Bob Barton said a popular stocking stuffer is a hunk of chocolate wrapped in black foil to resemble a piece of coal. Turns out that Barton’s son, Bobby Barton, who works for the family business, used a real lump of coal to design the mold used to make the treat.
West of downtown is Victorian Rose Apparel & Antiques in a nondescript shopping plaza on state Route 43 (Kent Avenue). The 17-year-old store, which began as an antiques emporium, is perhaps better known for its wide selection of shoes, along with formal and casual wear, that fill multiple rooms.
“You wouldn’t know this was all here from the store’s outside,” said manager Missy Marquardt as she stood on the side of the store that features antiques, porcelain, candles and home decor items.
Owner Patricia Fonda likes to point out to shoppers the 19th-century stained glass and wool patterned carpet she has installed to give the place a Victorian feel. The store’s weeklong open house, with various activities and munchies, wraps up today.
There are many other places to explore in Hartville, including Hartville Mercantile and Front Porch Corner Store, which sells items made by artisans in the GentleWorks program for people with developmental disabilities.
And for many, no trip to Hartville is complete without a stop at the new 305,000-square-foot Hartville Hardware, and the adjacent Hartville MarketPlace & Flea Market, the 100,000-square-foot shopping wonderland of new and used items. All are owned by the Miller family and are actually in Stark County’s Lake Township, just west of the village and not far from the Summit County line.
Katie Byard can be reached at 330-996-3781 or firstname.lastname@example.org.