Sarah Kellenberger Harpham said that when she was a youngster, a trip to Helen Winnemore's in German Village was always a treat.

The arts-and-crafts store was fascinating, with its shiny homemade trinkets, contemporary clothing, pottery and other assorted gifts -- all made in the USA.

"The most special gift under the Christmas tree was from Helen Winnemore's," said Harpham, now the owner of the store, which is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year.

The store, 150 E. Kossuth St., is part of a cluster of restaurants and retail businesses -- The Old Mohawk restaurant, The Red Stable, Schmidt's Fudge Haus and Schmidt's Sausage Haus und Restaurant -- on Kossuth, east of busy South Third Street.

Harpham said when she was 8 years old, the family moved to Alabama, and Helen Winnemore's was in the rearview mirror -- but was never far behind in thought.

She returned to Columbus to attend Ohio State University. When she graduated, Harpham knocked around from job to job, but none sparked her passion.

In 1997, when her mother told her the business was for sale, Harpham, then 28, jumped at the chance to buy it.

"I've been coming here since I was a little girl, and it was always my happy place," she said.

Winnemore, who died in 1996 at the age of 95, started the business in Grandview Heights and later moved it to Broad Street and Parsons Avenue before settling into German Village.

Harpham, a Clintonville resident, said she works with hundreds of artists from throughout the country who fill the various rooms with one-of-a-kind knickknacks as functional as they are eye-catching.

"The 'anytime' can be beautiful," she said. "The daily doesn't have to be ho-hum."

The selection is extraordinary and diverse, she said.

Wooden bread bowls, hoodie scarves, pottery, three-dimensional wooden animal puzzles, dog and cat clocks with wagging tails and Christmas ornaments line the walls and shelves of the 1,984-square-foot, two-story building, constructed in 1922, according to the Franklin County Auditor's Office website.

The location has six rooms, including one dedicated to children's merchandise.

A jewelry cabinet on the first floor re-creates some of the spirit of the original store.

When Winnemore started out, customers would come into her shop -- then located in her house -- and enjoy searching through the drawers for prized trinkets.

Harpham said she's tried to keep up with evolving trends.

"You learn as you go, or at least I did," she said. "It took me about five to seven years to feel like I knew what I was doing."

Cindi Gahris Snyder, an administrative assistant who's worked for Harpham for 10 years, said Helen Winnemore's is "very much a community place."

"It's very much a sense of family here," Snyder said. "All of us who work here have an appreciation for art.

"Some of us not only have an appreciation, but are also artists," Snyder said, noting she is not one of the artistically inclined.

She said the artists whose works are for sale are gracious, friendly and environmentally conscious, as much of the merchandise is made of materials that's recycled, repurposed or sourced in the United States.

Winnemore's tradition is being honored by Harpham, Snyder said.

"Helen was such a visionary woman," Snyder said. "Helen had a real appreciation for American crafts and she wanted to bring American crafts to other people who appreciated it, and that was her philosophy. And Sarah is carrying on her vision."

gseman@thisweeknews.com

@ThisWeekGary