Like so many of us, Helen Winnemore was an artist at heart. Through various avenues, she came to know many artists and craftspeople. Finding great value in their work, she invited friends to her Grandview, Ohio home to view the art, and called it “The Afternoon Shop”.
A gracious hostess, guests were served coffee or tea, and invited to peruse the cabinets and drawers where Helen stored the artists wares.
Eventually, “The Afternoon Shop” became Helen Winnemore’s, and an official storefront was opened at Broad Street and Parsons Avenue near downtown Columbus. The shop remained there until 1966, when Helen moved the shop to its home in Historic German Village, in downtown Columbus.
The traditions born in Helen’s home continue today. Guests are still served coffee or tea, and invited to explore items tucked into drawers about the shop, including the 40 jewelry drawers that are always a guest favorite.
Sarah Kellenberger Harpham
As a little girl, I visited Helen Winnemore’s with my Mom. I found it a magical place. I loved peeking into all of the jewelry drawers, and felt as though I’d discovered the treasures all on my own. Though my family moved from Ohio, gifts from Helen Winnemore’s made frequent appearances on special occasions, and when I saw a HW gift box, I knew there was something special inside.
I returned to Ohio to attend OSU and found Columbus a happy home. My connection to Helen Winnemore’s took a new turn when my Mom came for a visit in 1997. She stopped by the shop en route to meet me, knowing that a gift from Helen Winnemore’s would be the most wonderful greeting. While at the shop, she was told that the business was for sale. The longtime Manager and successor to Helen, Jack Barrow, was ready to retire, and was looking for the next person to carry on the shop. My Mom gave me the news, my eyes went wide and my jaw dropped. I began wondering aloud about how one goes about buying a business, and my Mom encouraged me (as moms do) to inquire about the possibility.
One serendipitous thing after another occurred, and everything fell into place. On November 17, 1997, I signed lots and lots of papers, and became the owner of my most favorite place. That was all a while ago now, but I feel like I need to pinch myself. I can’t believe I am so lucky. Day after day, year after year, the most lovely people come to Helen Winnemore’s to enjoy inspired work from America’s finest craftspeople.
In operation since 1938, Helen Winnemore's focuses on the work of American Artisans. What does this mean? It means that our shop is like an arts festival… all year round. We believe that art should be accessible and isn’t limited to items that hang on walls or sit on pedestals.
Art can be usable. Art can be wearable. Art can be -- well, ART!
The work of our American Artisans shows that beauty can be found in everyday objects. Daily routines are made rich and personal through usable, wearable art. Consider the ritual of choosing your favorite mug from the cabinet on a Saturday morning, putting on your favorite pair of earrings, using a wooden salad bowl given to you for your wedding. These everyday items are connected… to the artists who conceive of them, using their talent and energy in the making. They are connected to the moment they were chosen for you, and the person who made them a gift for you.