A number of new stores have moved into The Short North and I visited a few of them recently, along with some old favorites, to see what they had to offer.

Short North shops

• Big Fun

There used to be a Big Fun in Columbus near campus, but it closed years ago. I've been to both of the Big Fun stores in Cleveland and they're a little bit bigger than the Short North store and have most of the same items. The store has many new items, but it also has a wide array of older toys and collectibles for sale. For example, they have vintage lunch boxes, numerous Star Wars items from the 80s, Hot Wheels, Care Bears, Smurfs, collectible cards from the 80s (E.T., NKOTB, Trolls, Pee Wee Herman and many others), older legos/lego people, Star Trek items and some more unusual stuff like a Dr. Who game.

Although some items are more than $10, there's quite a bit for less than that. Magnets (prices vary), hula hoops ($6), Snoopy Harp ($6), Travel Etch-A-Sketch ($10), Echo Mic ($3) and bacon strips/other themed band-aids are all $10 or less.

Some other classic toys such as Duncan yo-yos, frisbees and kites are sold at the store.

The store would also be a good spot to pick up some gag gifts and possible Halloween stuff. Among items for sale at the store are fake tattoo sleeves and wacky sunglasses.

If you're visiting the store with friends, consider getting a fun photo strip of various looks taken in the booth in the back of the store for $3.

The store is located at 672 N. High St. and has a Facebook page athttps://www.facebook.com/BigFunColumbus?fref=ts if you'd like to follow them to see some of the new items they have in the store.

• Bink Davies

Located next door to Big Fun, this store has some of the same trendy stuff (think mustaches) and a large assortment of gift items. Although small, they have a large enough selection that one should be able to find something your friends and loved ones will like receiving. From super soft Cbus T-shirts to knit beer bottle holders to cute jewelry has lots to offer. It's also very bright and cheery.

• Bungalow Home

I've been driving by the store in downtown Powell for quite some time and admiring the outdoor furniture and planters during my commute. I was excited to see they put a store in the Short North. Although it's mainly a home decor store, they have some other items for sale. I really like the jewelry selection and if I had lots of money would have bought the boiled wool and leather iPad sleeves. The furniture is pretty much similar to what's for sale at Restoration Hardware. Think leather, linen and old world looks. If you like those cool vintage-looking Edison filament light bulbs like me, they have those for sale there.

• A Girl Named Cinda Lou
I was excited to learn this new store, which like Bungalow Home, has another outpost in a downtown suburb (Westerville), had opened. However, it's pretty small and I was hoping to see more Mid-Century Modern furniture there. They have a few pieces, but not much. The prices are reasonable and they have home decor items and vintage clothes. My top picks for the store are the super cute vintage glassware sets, pieces of coral, vinyl bowls (made from vintage records) and air plants for $3. There's also some cute original artwork and screen-printed bags and T-shirts.

A few of the stores in the area that are fun to visit, but not new include Posh Pets, Tigertree, {Milk Bar}, Rowe, Candle Lab, On Paper and Sole Classics.

*** The Short North Summer Sale is Friday, July 19, through Sunday, July 21. ***

Once a month on the first Saturday of the month, most of the stores, restaurants and galleries stay open a little later and have specials during what is dubbed The Gallery Hop. For more information on The Gallery Hop and the Short North, visit http://www.shortnorth.org/