As Destination Dayton continues to celebrate our 30th anniversary as an organization we continue our theme of monthly "30 things" blogs.  This month, exploring Dayton's vibrant local scene reveals a tapestry of unique businesses that define its character and charm. From historic landmarks to contemporary hubs, here are 30 establishments that showcase Dayton, Ohio's spirit of innovation and community:

1. Esther Price Candies

Esther Price Candies has been a pillar of chocolate craftsmanship since the 1920s, when Esther herself began making fudge to support her family. What started as a humble kitchen endeavor grew into a beloved Dayton institution, renowned for its commitment to quality and tradition. Today, Esther Price's factory on Wayne Avenue in Dayton, Ohio continues to produce handmade chocolates using Esther's original recipes. Each batch is meticulously crafted with premium ingredients like local milk, butter, and choice nuts and fruits, ensuring every bite of Esther Price chocolate is a testament to decades of dedication.

2. BRIM 

Brim is a hat lover's paradise, boasting a vast inventory of thousands of hats for every style and occasion. From classic fedoras and pork pies to elegant fascinators and cloches, our collection includes a wide array of womens, mens, and gender-neutral hats. They take pride in offering the Midwest's finest selection of caps, ranging from newsboys to ivy hats, alongside renowned brands like Stetson, Dobbs, and Bailey, as well as exclusive European millinery names. At the brick-and-mortar store, the dedicated team provides personalized service to help you find the perfect hat that complements your face shape and suits your unique taste.

3. Luna Gifts & Botanicals

Luna Gifts and Botanicals blossomed from the shared vision of six best friends, drawn together by their love for the Oregon District in Downtown Dayton. When the perfect storefront became available, their passion for curating beautiful things and creating a welcoming space led them to launch Luna. From hand-picked plants renowned for their quality to an array of jewelry, books, mugs, stickers, and more, Luna offers a diverse selection that reflects their dedication to uniqueness and charm.

4. 2nd Street Market

The 2nd Street Market, housed in a charming historical freight house, is a bustling hub in Dayton that echoes the vibrant spirit of European markets. Local growers, bakers, culinary specialists, and artisans converge here, creating a lively atmosphere filled with diverse offerings and bustling activity. With over 40 vendors, the market delights visitors with everything from delectable lunch options to fresh produce, meats, eggs, artisanal breads, cheeses, and an array of unique treasures. It's a place where community thrives, and each visit promises a delightful experience of local flavors and crafts.

Boston Stoker Grogg

Pictured: Boston Stoker Bagged Coffee

5. Boston Stoker Coffee Co.

Since 1973, Boston Stoker has been Dayton's hub for exceptional coffee and community. Founded by Don and Sally Dean, it began as a pipe and tobacco shop in Englewood. Their offer of free, freshly brewed coffee quickly became a hit, leading them to invest in a Probat roaster in 1983 and later a larger Gotha roaster to keep up with demand. Joining the Specialty Coffee Association of America in 1986, they pioneered direct trade relationships, starting with Costa Rica's Hacienda LaMinita. Today, led by Henry Dean, Boston Stoker continues its legacy of quality and community support, including initiatives like Heart to Honduras. You can't go wrong with a cup of Boston Stoker, hot or iced!

6. Requarth Co.

Since 1860, Requarth Co. has been at the heart of Dayton's building community. Founded by Henry W. Meyer and Frederick August Requarth, they've grown from a small turning shop to a cornerstone of custom millwork and quality building materials. Located on Monument and Sears Street since 1895, the legacy includes supplying spruce to Dayton's own Wright Brothers for their pioneering flights. Today, Requarth Co. continues to serve homeowners and contractors alike with handmade cabinets, custom kitchen designs, historic moulding, windows, flooring, and more.

7. Heart Mercantile

Heart Mercantile is more than just a boutique in Dayton's Historic Oregon District—it's a heartfelt dream realized. Founded in October 2015 by Brittany and her friends Carly and Kait, Heart Mercantile offers a curated collection of gifts, handmade goods, and unique items, both locally crafted and sourced from around the world. Inspired by a literal dream and personal experience, Brittany envisioned a store adorned with an anatomical heart—a symbol of love and resilience. This heart symbolizes not only Brittany's journey with her son Mason, who was born with congenital heart defects, but also their deep connection to the Dayton community.

pine club

Pictured: One of The Pine Club's Signature Meals

8. The Pine Club

Since 1947, The Pine Club has been a beacon of culinary excellence in Dayton, Ohio. Renowned for its aged and expertly prepared steaks, The Pine Club has garnered national acclaim for its unwavering commitment to quality and flavor. Originally transformed by Jim Sullivan and later expanded by Lloyd Meinzer, the restaurant was meticulously curated for decades under owner David Hulme, prior to its current ownership. With accolades from esteemed publications like The New York Times and Gourmet, The Pine Club remains a beloved institution shaped by its loyal patrons over seven decades.

9. Dorothy Lane Market

Dorothy Lane Market has been synonymous with quality and community since 1948. Founded by Calvin Mayne and Frank Sakada, the first market at Far Hills Avenue and Dorothy Lane began with a humble focus on fresh produce and personal service. Over the decades, under the stewardship of Calvin's son Norman and later Vera Jane Mayne, Dorothy Lane Market expanded its offerings while maintaining a commitment to integrity and exceptional customer service. Today, still family-owned and operated by Calvin and Vera’s descendants, Dorothy Lane Market has grown to multiple locations in Southwest Ohio and a thriving online presence. Known for its gourmet touch and dedication to wholesome products, Dorothy Lane Market continues to receive acclaim from national publications like The Wall Street Journal and Gourmet Retailer.

10. The Contemporary

Founded in 1991 as the Dayton Visual Arts Center (DVAC), and now known as The Contemporary Dayton (The Co), this vibrant art center is at the heart of Dayton's cultural scene. Dedicated to showcasing contemporary art that addresses social justice issues, The Co hosts original exhibitions, community events, and artist opportunities. Its three galleries are open to all, offering free access to dynamic exhibitions by local and national artists. The CoSHOP supports Ohio artists by selling their work, furthering the center's mission of accessibility and community engagement through art.

11. Cassano's

Dayton’s first Cassano’s pizza restaurant opened in June of 1953.  It all began in a 20’ x 15’ room adjoining a small grocery store on Schantz Avenue in Kettering, Ohio.  Vic Cassano Sr., along with his mother-in-law Mom Donisi, took the advice of a family friend who owned a party supply store in which they began selling their Cassano family treat, pizza, in the back of the store. Cassano’s was Dayton’s first taste of pizza, and on their opening day they sold 400 pizzas.  Now a popular and extensive chain of Cassano’s restaurants keeps pizza lovers happy in Greater Dayton! 

Don Boeke's 1957 Ford Convertible

Pictured: Don Boeke's 1957 Ford Convertible

12. The Egyptian Custom Body & Paint

The Egyptian Custom Body and Paint is more than just an auto body shop; it's a tribute to the legacy of Don Boeke, a legendary figure in the world of custom car building and painting. Affectionately known as 'The Egyptian' after his birthplace in Egypt, Ohio, Boeke's workshop is a haven where automotive artistry comes to life. Boeke's journey began in high school, where his passion for customization started with a '51 Ford Convertible and grew through his service in the U.S. Navy. After refining his skills in California, Boeke returned to Dayton in 1966 to establish his own shop, dedicated to transforming vehicles into personalized masterpieces. Today, housed in a sprawling 60,000 square-foot facility, The Egyptian Custom Body and Paint continues to uphold Boeke's commitment to craftsmanship and creativity, offering a unique blend of automotive repair and artistic expression.

13. Omega Music

Omega Music stands as a beloved institution renowned for its deep catalog of records and unwavering dedication to music enthusiasts. Since 1983, this family-owned and independent store has been a pillar in the community, offering a treasure trove of music spanning genres from funk to indie, rock to jazz. With its rich history and commitment to music culture, Omega Music remains a go-to destination for collectors and audiophiles alike, fostering a vibrant appreciation for music in the heart of Dayton.

14. Marion's Piazza

Since 1965, when founder Marion Glass introduced the city to his innovative "Dayton Style" thin crust pizza, the business has been cherished by locals and visitors alike. With a vision to bring the outdoors inside, Marion created an inviting Italian piazza atmosphere, a concept that set Marion's Piazza apart as the first local pizza joint to offer seating for over 200 guests. Marion's commitment to quality and value quickly made it a Dayton favorite, earning numerous accolades including "Dayton's Best Pizza" in over 37 local surveys. Today, Marion's Piazza remains a family-owned business, continuing Marion's legacy of bringing exceptional 'square cut' pizza and community spirit across nine locations in the Dayton area.

15. Surf Dayton

Surf Dayton isn't just about catching waves—it's a community hub dedicated to river surfing and paddleboarding in Dayton, Ohio. Established as a local information source, Surf Dayton has grown into a full-service retail shop offering surf and paddle board rentals, lessons, and repairs. Whether you're a beginner looking to learn the basics or an experienced paddler seeking new challenges, Surf Dayton provides professional instruction and guided river trips to enhance your water sports skills. Embracing a surf culture vibe in a landlocked setting, Surf Dayton fosters a community passionate about clean water and environmental values, making waves both on and off the river.

Stockslagers Greenhouse

Pictured: Stockslagers Greenhouse & Garden

16. Stockslagers Greenhouse & Garden

Stockslagers Greenhouse & Garden has been a staple in the Miami Valley since 1958, when Ray Stockslager embarked on his journey into farming with a greenhouse and a dream. What started as a part-time venture alongside his job at Ohio Bell blossomed into a family business known for its dedication to quality and service. Today, spanning over nine acres of indoor and outdoor growing space, Stockslagers continues to thrive year-round. From vibrant spring bedding plants to festive Christmas poinsettias, every plant is nurtured with care by a passionate team. With deep roots in the community and a commitment to customer satisfaction, Stockslagers remains a beloved destination for all things green and growing.

17. Dayton Nut Specialties

Dayton Nut Specialties traces its origins back to 1920 when Jesse Primer embarked on a journey into the peanut roasting business, guided by federal government advice during the rise of peanuts in American cuisine. Originally housed in a small storefront on North Main Street, Jesse quickly expanded, constructing a brick-by-brick factory across the street which opened in 1923 as The Dayton Nut Products Company. Today, Dayton Nut still operates from Jesse's original building, a testament to its long-standing presence in the community as one of America's oldest nut processors. Since 1977, the Maschino family, led by current proprietor Stanley Maschino, has continued Jesse's legacy, maintaining the company's commitment to quality and tradition established over a century ago.

18. Belle of Dayton

Belle of Dayton Spirits, founded by brothers Murphy, Mike, and Tim LaSelle, embodies a deep reverence for Dayton's rich distilling history. Inspired by the century-old tradition of crafting fine liquors, the LaSelle brothers honed their skills under master distillers, blending modern techniques with artisanal craftsmanship. Named in homage to the pre-Prohibition era when local grist mills and distilleries flourished in the Miami Valley, Belle of Dayton embraces the region's mineral-rich water from the Great Miami Buried Valley Aquifer. Each bottle proudly bears the Belle of Dayton label, a symbol of quality and a tribute to America's distilling heritage. With dedication and a hybrid copper pot still, Belle of Dayton continues to produce exceptional small-batch spirits that capture the essence of Dayton's distilling legacy.

Bonnett's Book Store

Pictured: Bonnett's Book Store

19. Bonnett's Book Store

Bonnett's Book Store has been a staple in the community since 1939, specializing in used comics, magazines, and books. Born out of the Great Depression with a commitment to frugality, Bonnett's motto "waste not, want not" has guided its offerings through decades of change. From expanding into books during WWII to embracing the VHS and modern disc-based movie eras, Bonnett's has evolved with the times. Kevin Bonnett has been integral to the store's continuity, having dedicated himself to the family business after considering other paths, including a potential career in the Air Force.

20. Furst The Florist & Greenhouses

Furst The Florist & Greenhouses is a family-owned and operated florist and greenhouse located in Dayton, OH. Five generations of the Furst family have been serving the Dayton community since 1905. With a rich history and expertise in floral design,they are committed to providing exceptional service, quality products, and a wide variety of floral arrangements and plants.

21. The NEON

THE NEON is a vibrant hub of cinema, culture, and community in Dayton. Since their inception, they've championed international and independent films that provoke thought and inspire dialogue. More than a movie theater, THE NEON is a cultural beacon, partnering with diverse organizations and curating festivals that enrich our community. They pride themselves on inclusivity, welcoming everyone to experience the magic of film in a safe and respectful environment.

22. Gem City Market

Gem City Market stands proudly at the corner of Salem and Superior Ave., offering more than just groceries—it's a testament to community strength and resilience. Their worker-owned cooperative is dedicated to providing affordable, high-quality food in a welcoming environment. From fresh produce and organic products to deli sandwiches and specialty items, they prioritize excellence in every aisle. Beyond groceries, the market features a teaching kitchen for nutrition classes, a community room, a mini health clinic, and a cozy coffeehouse. Every purchase supports local partners and fuels collective growth.

23. Smales Pretzel Bakery

Smales Pretzel Bakery, a Dayton institution since 1906, continues to twist tradition with every batch. Founded by German immigrant Rudie Schaaf as Gem City Pretzel, the bakery found its permanent home on Xenia Ave in 1926 under Emma Smales' stewardship. From the bustling downtown Arcade to local groceries, Smales pretzels have nourished generations. Through wars and expansions, from Charles Smales to Chuck and now under fifth-generation owner Emma, the bakery's legacy of handcrafted pretzels remains a beloved part of Dayton's culinary tapestry.

North Dayton Garden Center & Nursery

Pictured: North Dayton Garden Center & Nursery

24. North Dayton Garden Center & Nursery

It all began in 1963 when owner and founder, Pete Kossoudji, and his wife Shirley, who had always been avid gardeners, opened the doors to North Dayton Garden Center.  For several years, Pete and Shirley worked tirelessly to build up the business, while Pete also held down two factory jobs during the early years. The hard work paid off, and during the 1970’s they established themselves as one of the premier garden centers in the Greater Dayton area. Still family-owned and open seven days a week, their location at 1309 Brandt Pike has over 10 acres for visitors’ viewing pleasure. With around 15 greenhouses and 20 Hoophouses including state-of-the-art climate-controlled vegetable and perennial greenhouses there are an abundance of shopping opportunities. Enjoy North Dayton Garden Center & Nursery featuring over 50,000 Trees and Shrubs and A Million Plants A Year.

25. Whitewater Warehouse Inc.

Proudly serving Dayton and the surrounding areas since 1914, Whitewater Warehouse is a Paddlesports Specialty Store located on the Mad River in Dayton, Ohio.  They carry a full range of whitewater, recreational, touring & fishing kayaks, as well as stand up paddle boards that can be purchased or rented for use on Greater Dayton’s numerous waterways and lakes.  Consumers can test their skills on the man-made whitewater features in Dayton on the Great Miami and Mad Rivers.

26. Oberer's Flowers

Oberer's Flowers began in the 1920s as a humble vegetable farm but quickly bloomed into the city's premier florist. Founded by Carl Oberer, an immigrant with a knack for growing exquisite vegetables, the business shifted focus to flowers in 1921 due to high demand. Through generations of family dedication, including Richard Oberer's pioneering innovations and Randy Oberer's visionary leadership, Oberer's Flowers expanded across Ohio, Indiana, and Kentucky, becoming one of the largest florists in the United States. Today, under new leadership, Oberer's Flowers continues to honor its legacy of excellence, creativity, and customer satisfaction, ensuring each bouquet is crafted with the same care as their very first.

27. K12 Gallery & TEJAS

K12 Gallery & TEJAS is a vibrant hub of creativity and community in the heart of the Miami Valley, Ohio. Since its inception, they've been dedicated to providing innovative visual arts programs for all ages. From art classes and summer camps to professional exhibitions and public art installations, they strive to make art accessible to everyone. Their mission extends beyond traditional boundaries, reaching low-income students, youth on probation, adults with disabilities, prisoners, and survivors of violence, offering them the transformative power of artistic expression. TEJAS, the Teen Educational Joint Adult Studio, expands their reach to young adults, fostering creativity and leadership through the arts. K12 Gallery & TEJAS, believes in the power of art to inspire, heal, and unify our diverse community.

28. Siebenthaler's

Founded in 1870, The Siebenthaler Company has been beautifying homes and industries in the Miami Valley for six generations. The Siebenthaler Company was founded by John Siebenthaler with the help of his father Georg. The company has continued to have a major impact on the Dayton community to present day, serving the community through two year round garden centers and a landscape and maintenance division. Two outstanding characteristics have remained true throughout the company’s history – high quality plant material and unmatched customer service.

Strawberries from Monin's Fruit Farm

Pictured: Strawberries from Monin's Fruit Farm

29. Monin's Fruit Farm

It all started when Phyllis and Roger Monnin bought a farm on the outskirts of Vandalia. They had ambitious dreams for the farm, and they also had ambitious dreams for a family. Together not only were they blessed with good fortune of the farm, they were also blessed with seven children, all of which helped out on the farm at one time or another. Since 1961, the extended family still owns and operates the fruit farm. The family owned Monnin's Fruit Farm offers freshly picked fruits and vegetables, U-pick seasonal fruits, and a market full of Amish baked goods including jams and jellies.

30. Ed Smith Flowers & Gifts

This long-standing local florist was founded by Ed Smith who operated the shop for almost 50 years. His son Brian Smith then ran the shop for decades and in 2023 sold it to partners Conner Smallwood and Steve Bower, long-time friends who left the corporate world to pursue their true passion.  Their energy, creativity, vision and customer service background have proved them worthy to carry out the Smith family legacy.  Customers’ experience is their priority and the flower shop staff is their family. 


These businesses not only contribute to Dayton's economy but also enrich its cultural fabric, offering residents and visitors alike a taste of the city's creativity, history, and community spirit. Whether you're exploring the vibrant Oregon District, discovering hidden gems in downtown Dayton, or looking for something to do in our surrounding communities, these establishments showcase diverse offerings and passionate entrepreneurs. Download our all-new Destination Dayton App and use it's mapping features to explore these and other businesses throughout Dayton!