Columbus, Ohio USA
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Dis 'n' Data
By Margaret Marten, Editor
May 2009


There is joyful optimism in the midst of this grim economic climate – I’ve recognized after speaking with a number of new shop owners in the neighborhood.

Sherri Brunner, 41, is the enthusiastic owner of Go Figure Consignment, an apparel store for full-figured women that opened in April during the Gallery Hop. The shop, located at 988 N. High St. in the former space of Counter Culture next to Lindsay Gallery, specializes in full-figure/plus-size upscale, brand name and designer clothing and accessories, size 12 and up. Items are consigned for 30 days to ensure fresh inventory, and the sales are split 50/50. Brunner’s enthusiasm stems from her years of frustration as a full-figured gal shopping for clothing and her delight in finally bringing plus-size apparel to the neighborhood. “I was always thinking, I wish I could go into the German Village area, the Short North area, the Downtown area, and go shopping – because unfortunately a lot of the shops don’t carry full-figure, plus-size clothing,” said Brunner. “I would come down here with my girlfriends, and they are all smaller sizes and can buy really cute tops, dresses, and the only thing I could buy was a handbag or necklace.” And when Counter Culture’s co-owner, Mary Ellen Baker, a long-time friend, approached her and asked if she had any ideas for the upcoming-vacant space, “It was instant,” Brunner said. “I just thought it was the perfect product, perfect timing – and the economy, I wanted to bring some affordable options to the area.”
Fashion-deprived women unite. Store hours are Tuesday through Friday, 11 to 7; Saturday, noon to 5. For information about consignment, or to make an appointment, call 614-297-8070. Visit

East meets West at Mary’s Boutique, another women’s apparel shop that opened in the Short North (on March 7) at E. Russell and High. In addition to the new retail store, owner Mary Chen, 40, a clothes designer, runs a wholesale company for her design line, Luxury Fashion & Art. She received her education in fashion while living in Shanghai years ago, which not only encouraged her interest in design and fashion but a love of city life and an appreciation for vibrant neighborhoods like the Short North. Most of the merchandise in the shop is from her own line but other high quality labels are available. In addition to clothing, the boutique has leather purses, accessories, jewelry and artwork. “We have East to West,” Chen said, “the culture mixed, something I can share with this country.” She is also skilled in energy work (her husband is an acupuncturist) and has applied feng shui principles to the space to provide a comfortable atmosphere for shoppers. “It’s not like very commercial – you know, you have to buy and go. I try to be a little bit different so people feel this good energy here.” Mary’s Boutique is an elegant addition to the neighborhood. The store address is 642 B N. High. Hours are Tuesday through Thursday 1-5, Saturday 1-7, and by appointment. You can reach Mary at 614-220-0828.

The storefront at 772 N. High St., vacated when Cameo glass gallery closed in March, was swiftly occupied by a pair of savvy Grandview merchants on the lookout for a prime spot to relocate their business. Kate Wessendorf and Leigh-Ann Houchin, owners of Undone, had good fortune in finding an excellent location in the Short North for their women’s lingerie shop, and were equally fortunate in landing next to a business with a mutual passion for artful intimate apparel – Torso, a long-standing Short North shop in an adjoining suite is widely known for its men’s designer underwear. Wessendorf says she and her partner have received much encouragement from folks in the neighborhood. “We can’t help but be excited. We’re fighting as fast as we can to get things done because we want to be open as soon as possible down here. We see how beneficial it is, and how great the community is, how supportive they are.” Undone Lingerie & Shoe Boutique will open its doors on May 1. Call 614-299-8636 or visit their Web site at for more information and to view some of their inventory which includes some eco-friendly undergarments as well as maternity items for the more practical-minded. Shoes are another specialty, so check out those as well.

Yet another women’s apparel store is slowly settling into the area further north in the Garden District. Lai Boom, 1196 N. High, was open during November and December but closed when owner Lyn Sarvis, 27, came up with some last-minute changes that needed to be ironed out. The shop is scheduled to resume business in May. What is most intriguing about this enterprise is that Sarvis doesn’t have an agenda. She doesn’t pretend to be a fashion dynamo or claim to be on top of things or even to necessarily know what she’s doing other than the fact that she has travelled and continues to travel regularly to New York City to buy merchandise that sells and has spent enough time in nightclubs to have some aptitude for fashion. What she does clearly offer is the freshness of possibility. One senses that she is not driven by sale demands or unrealistic expectations but open to whatever the journey has to offer, and in this case, beauty and stylish surprise, we hope. Her children are her life, she says, and the name of the shop reflects terms of endearment for her young ones. The number for Lai Boom is 614-824-5093 or 975-7550. p

News about upcoming events in the neighborhood can be found in Community Events and the Bulletin Board.

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©2008 Short North Gazette, Columbus, Ohio. All rights reserved.

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