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Athens businesses anticipate incoming freshmen class

There are many local businesses in Athens for incoming Ohio University students to be on the lookout for. From food to clothing, these local businesses help make Athens stand out. The community of Athens thrives off the small businesses, which are great for incoming students to be familiar with during their time at OU. 

Donkey Coffee and Espresso is a coffee shop located at 17 W. Washington St. and is a local business many OU students support year-round. Donkey has won many awards and recognitions, one of which is an award from the Great American Coffee Tour, naming it the third-best coffee shop in America. 

The Daily Meal also named Donkey in the top 50 coffee shops in America on a college campus. The shop’s mission on its webpage is to love the world through fair and just business practices, which translates into selling Fair Trade coffee by providing exceptional hospitality and celebrating music and art throughout the shop.

Liz Blazer, a recent OU graduate working at Donkey, said the vibe at Donkey over the summer is more relaxed versus the school year. 

“I see a lot more townies and I get to sit and chat a lot more,” Blazer said. “But toward the middle of the summer, we get a lot of high schoolers coming to visit OU, so that's really fun. So I get to tell them about Donkey.”

During the school year, the shop also hosts events like Designated Space on Tuesdays and Donkey Musicians Open Stage on Thursdays, both starting at 8 p.m. Designated Space is a night where the stage is open for poetry slams, and the Musicians Open Stage is for local bands to perform and karaoke. Donkey also hosts events Fridays and Saturdays with the updated events posted to the Facebook page. 

Whether locals or students are looking for a cozy studying location, a cup of coffee or a performance, Donkey is a great local business for incoming OU students to be familiar with.

“I just hope to see people coming and getting involved,” Blazer said. “Everybody here is so welcoming and nice and it can be a lot to transition to college. But definitely just coming and sitting down and chatting with everybody who comes here.”

Little Professor Book Center is a local business that serves as a bookstore for locals and students to enjoy shopping at. Located at 65 S. Court St., Little Professor is across the street from Chubb Hall on College Green. The store has been locally owned and operated since 1974. 

The store offers many different services and sales for all book and game lovers. According to the website, if someone is looking for a specific book and it cannot be found on the shelf, Little Professor can have it within two to three days and no added costs for in-store pickups.

Celeste Polsinelli, a co-owner of the store, has owned the store for about six years and has worked inside the store full-time for a year and a half. 

“About six years ago, we purchased it from the original owners,” Polsinelli said.  “My husband actually used to work for them, and then they decided to retire. So we purchased the store from them.”

For those seeking games or merchandise over books, Little Professor carries other items such as board games, puzzles, Magic the Gathering products and card sleeves. 

“We also do some board game events and then also some role-playing game events,” Polsinelli said. “Dungeons and Dragons, that kind of thing.”

Polsinelli hopes to expand gaming nights and add book clubs for next school year to get more students involved. 

There are many other small businesses for incoming students to discover during their college career at OU. Some of these other businesses are Bagel Street Deli, Blue Eagle Music, Casa Nueva, Passion Works Studio and Ohio is Home.   

“We are a very friendly establishment to everyone,” Polsinelli said. “We welcome people of all types to come in and hang out or play games or read books.” 


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