Shop where teachers get wholesale supplies

I recently discovered the source of the whimsical materials used to construct one of my favorite works of art.

The white canvas, which hangs in my cubicle at work, is smeared with teal glitter paint and accented with glued-on feathers and plastic gems. My 4-year-old daughter made the masterpiece at her preschool.

The teachers purchase their cheerful supplies, including bags of glimmering gems and jars of glitter, at wholesale prices from the Star Beacon Product Co. in Grandview Heights.

Founded in 1936 in Columbus, the business sells arts, crafts and office supplies to local schools and daycare centers. Customers also can visit the store at 1104 W. Goodale Blvd. to get the same deals from the second-generation, family-owned business.

I made my first visit to Star Beacon during my lunch hour to see if I could find an educational toy for one of my daughter’s classmates. Entering the store felt like returning to the now defunct Yankee Trader, a landmark party and novelty store that closed in 2010 after 44 years of business in downtown Columbus.

Although smaller, Star Beacon offers the same type of warehouse environment, with bulk items stocked on shelves in a dizzying array of strange, but wonderful merchandise.

I found bags of plastic googly eyes, pipe cleaners and yarn pompons, just like the stuff I’ve seen at Rosie’s preschool.

I also found items that brought back memories of my childhood art classes – reams of colorful construction paper, sheets of felt, boxes of popsicle sticks and bags of Styrofoam balls.

In addition to bulk items, Star Beacon carries a small selection of gift items, such as a line of Melissa & Doug products, making my gift-seeking outing a success with an extra helping of nostalgia.

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