As many Akron business owners are cultivating new experiences for the public, the expansion of Lauren Ward’s local women’s boutique has elevated her role in the commerce arena of 2016 in downtown Akron.
NOTO’s journey has come full circle, as the entrepreneur is returning to the area where her prospective fashion empire began in 2008. Her new store, NOTO North, will open for business Aug. 6 in the Northside District, offering fresh opportunities on consumer pieces.
Ward is known for embracing her Akron roots by incorporating several collaborative projects with local business owners to invigorate the downtown business community. For years, Ward has painted the town red with whimsical fashion shows and has renewed the intimacy that small businesses offer with her in-store vintage trunk shows. With several other projects on the horizon, Ward has never fallen short of being a community leader.
She speaks with gratitude about the location where she opened her first shop, as NOTO boutique originated at Northside District inside of The Red Light Gallery. “It was a really cool, old gallery, with a dozen rooms that artists occupied right above The Northside Bar,” Ward says. Eight years later, NOTO’s owner will return to the area, housing her new venture, NOTO North, at 106 N. Main St. (previously Akron Glass Works).
NOTO North proposes a wide spectrum of all things favored by consumers. The new shop will offer both apparel and lifestyle items. Housewares, vintage and second-hand items will ensure options from every category. Ward says her customers can anticipate both men and women’s apparel at the new location.
T-shirts and denim pieces will reflect Akron’s artful and trendy styles. “My hopes are that it will develop and evolve into its own mini-department store here in downtown Akron,” Ward says, while describing her aspirations for the new store. “I want it to be a destination where everyone can find what they’re looking for.”
The grand opening of Noto North will function as a trolley stop for Akron’s Art Walk in the evening on Aug. 6. “People can get off (the trolley) right at the door of the store.” Food, drinks and fabulous merchandise will set the tone for the delightful new pillar of business in Akron.