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  • Writer's pictureVariant Magazine

6 Must-Visit Local Businesses in Athens, Ohio

By Emily Squance, Blogger

In honor of National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day on March 29, there are many ways to support the family-owned small businesses in your community. If you’re in Athens, Ohio, there may be a lot more small businesses in your area than you may think! Here are 6 small businesses you should check out in Ohio University’s college town.

Jackie O’s Pub & Brewery

Located at 22 West Union Street, Jackie O’s is the place to go if you’re new to Athens. The pub has a few locations but this location is their public restaurant. This restaurant makes you feel right at home by providing a fun, safe space for family and friends. Jackie O’s was founded by two men with a dream and passion for beer and family. Owner Andrew Arthur Oestrike decided to name the pub after his mother, Jackie Oestrike, who passed before the pub was officially open. The Jackie O’s staff lets newcomers feel right at home, making it the perfect place to take your friends and family from out of town.

Photo from @jackieosbrewery on Instagram

Blue Eagle Music

Blue Eagle Music is a vintage instrument shop that offers banjo, bass, fiddle and guitar lessons along with musical merchandise. Even if you’re not taking up guitar lessons anytime soon, the shop offers good vibes and a story on the art of music. The shop has been serving the Southeast Ohio region from the same Court Street location since 1971 and is the perfect place to showcase the thriving local music scene in Athens.

Photo from @blueeagleguitars on Instagram

Brenen’s Coffee Cafe

Brenen’s Coffee Cafe is located on Court Street and is the perfect walking distance for local university students. Owners Josh and Jessica Thomas are both Ohio University alumni and have lived local ever since. The shop offers customers a wide selection of coffee along with a bakery that serves sandwiches and pastries. This lighthearted, cozy shop is often filled with local students, making it the perfect place to introduce out-of-towners to the university and its student life.

Photo from @brenens_coffee_cafe on Instagram

Casa Nueva

Casa Nueva is a Mexican restaurant located on West State Street and its story is unlike others. In 1985, eight unemployed restaurant workers formed the business and helped create the foundation for the current state of the establishment. Casa Nueva has developed since then, creating its own salsa and expanding to a full-service bar. They have been a provider of local, sustainable, Mexican-inspired food for the Athens community for the last 30+ years. The cantina also frequently hosts art and live music shows for customers and staff to enjoy.

Photo from @casanuevaathens on Instagram

Uptown Dog T-Shirts

Uptown Dog T-Shirts offers shoppers customized designs; some of which are Ohio University-themed. The store has been operating since 1988 and is located on West Union Street. Not only is this shop local, but it’s the perfect place to stop if you’re looking for a gift for someone back home. Owner Mary Cheadle purchased the company from her brother Kevin Morgan in 1998. This shop emphasizes that it’s more than just a t-shirt shop — it’s a shop that allows anyone to see their unique vision on a t-shirt.

Photo from @uptowndogts on Instagram

Fluff Bakery

Fluff Bakery was officially started in 2010 on Court Street and intends to attract dessert and bakery lovers in the area. The bakery menu includes brunch favorites like breakfast tacos, sandwiches, salads, wraps and even rice bowls. The business has a mission of introducing its version of comfort food to the people of Athens and strives to support community members, businesses and nonprofits in the process.

Photo from @fluffbakeryathens on Instagram

There are many ways to support the mom-and-pop businesses near you. Although the official day of celebration has passed, there’s always a good reason to adventure around your town and see what the local shops near you have to offer.

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