One thing you should know about me: I am super passionate about supporting local businesses! Perhaps it stems from the fact that my dad is a local small business owner for 40+ years.
So, when it comes to birthday party planning for my son, I try to keep myself focused on as many ways as possible to incorporate local businesses.
When selecting a location for your party, keep in mind local play places, museums, and other venues for your event. We hosted Jeffrey’s second birthday party at the Lake Metroparks Farmpark, which provided our guests with admission to the Farm Park for the day, turning a party into an entire family outing.
This year, we hosted the party at Mitchell’s Homemade Ice Cream in Ohio City. The Rialto Room (upstairs) is a beautiful spot for a party and looks down on the Willy Wonka-style ice cream factory. Plus, I cannot say enough about the helpfulness of the Mitchell’s staff before, during, and after the party!
We’ve also been to great parties at Cafe o’Play, Playground World, and the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. Many of your favorite play spots to take your child can host a party and, when you choose a Cleveland-based venue, you support a local business, usually receive superior service, and perhaps even introduce your guests to a someplace new to go back to after the party.
Now that you have your location, you need to think about what you’re going to eat. Pizza and cake are perennial favorites for us. But I make sure to find a local pizza place that can handle our order (for example, we used Rascal House for this year’s party), as well as a local bakery (this year, Luna Bakery.)
I have never been disappointed with the quality when choosing a local venue over a national chain and, again, I’ve found that our guests will discover a new place to try, too.
The one thing I find to be tricky to find on a local business level is decorations, especially for theme parties (Elmo, Thomas the Tank Engine, Paw Patrol.) If any of my local-shopping savvy parents have any suggestions, please share!
So, the next time you’re planning a birthday party, remember to think local first. The venues where you love to visit and eat on a regular basis can also make awesome choices for a special day. Plus, you’re supporting real life people right here in our community!
From Cleveland that I love,