Drinks? Check. Music? Check. Local vendors and student entrepreneurs? Check.
For those who were looking for a more relaxed way to spend their Saturday in Oxford, stopping by a Saturday Shop and Sip at Bar 1868 might be just what the doctor ordered.
Saturday, March 14 marked Bar 1868’s first-ever Saturday Sip and Shop – an event designed for local vendors and student entrepreneurs to showcase their products and have an opportunity to gain more recognition in Oxford.
It’s uncertain, however, when these weekly events may resume, following Gov. Mike DeWine’s closure of all bars and restaurants in the state the day after.
Bar 1868 posted on their Instagram page they would be temporarily closing shortly before DeWine’s announcement on Sunday.
But on Saturday, even though several students headed home amid fears about the spread of the novel coronavirus, many still attended Sip and Shop. Two vendors made it to the event, but a pottery vendor who was scheduled to attend couldn’t make it because Miami University facilities closed, making it impossible for her to finish glazing the pieces.
Despite the fact that Oxford was a bit emptier Saturday afternoon, there was still a constant flow of people enjoying drinks, socializing and browsing the products of new and emerging entrepreneurs.
“I think there’s a lot of student entrepreneurs on campus and ... it is oftentimes difficult to get a venue to really get face-to-face with customers and get that experience,” said Lee Ann Shoker, Saturday’s event organizer.
Sophia Blasi, a first-year fashion and entrepreneurship major and the founder of Urban Luxe, a trendy womens’ clothing and accessories company, had a set up at the Shop and Sip.
“It’s just different from any other event, really,” Blasi said. “I’ve never really heard of a sip and shop on campus or in Oxford, so I just think it is a fun concept.”
Events like these allow students like Blasi, whose business is primarily online, to bring products into spaces and provide the customer with the physical shopping experience.
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Ian Standbridge was another student entrepreneur at the event. He, too, was glad to get the face-to-face exposure the event provided.
“We were very happy to do it,” Standbridge said. “We got a lot of samples delivered here for people to actually try on because our business is mostly online.”
Standbridge was there representing Offcmps, a relatively-new brand selling Green Beer Day sweatshirts, though they are looking to expand their merchandise in the coming months.
“We have some friends who work here at 1868 and I think people found out about our company through social media and they reached out to us because I think they wanted more male-friendly clothing companies,” he said.
Shoker hopes to host the event once a semester next year, as well as increase the number of businesses present and expand the product type as well.
“We have another side where we could set this up and make it a whole Saturday morning thing,” she said.
Entrepreneurs who would like to participate in a Shop and Sip Saturday next semester can reach out to Bar 1868 by emailing info@bar1868.