words and photos by Megan Combs
When Copley’s Community Improvement Corporation (CIC) approached Jodi Ashe-Crossley about moving The Sassy Sunflower, her boutique, to Copley Circle, she wasn’t sure she was ready. She was comfortable tucked away in her Walterville location on Cleveland-Massillon Road.
“But they said they wanted me to be the anchor store of Copley Circle, and they wanted any other businesses that come in to complement me,” Jodi says. “That felt really special.”
As attached as she was to her Walterville location, Jodi knew Sassy was outgrowing the space. She was selling more items, hosting more art classes and getting more customers. It was time for Sassy’s next chapter.
Jodi celebrated her grand reopening and new location on Copley Circle on Feb. 14. She moved into the former Just That Twist house across from Circle K.
Jodi describes The Sassy Sunflower as a vintage glam boutique that values “resale over retail.” She aims to keep as many items from the landfill as possible by selling upcycled furniture, clothing, jewelry and more. She also hosts all-ages art classes once a month called Canvas and Clay.
“I am adamant about reusing things,” Jodi says. “A lot of what we sell is upcycled, and I paint on just about everything. We don’t need to kill the earth.”
Jodi caught the business bug when she was little, having watched her father own a business for 40 years. On top of being an art teacher at Akron Public Schools for the last 20 years, she has always had some sort of hustle on the side. But the timing was never quite right to open her own shop. After years of renting studio space in other people’s buildings and being forced to follow their rules, Jodi started to feel like it was her time to shine.
When she stumbled upon a location in Walterville, a small business complex off South Cleveland-Massillon Road, and toured the space, she fell in love. She stayed in that location for two years.
“I could just see it,” she smiles. “I didn’t want just a classroom or just retail. I wanted both. I’m an all or nothing person — I mean, I work seven days a week — so I went all in, and I just grew and grew.”
In her new location, her classroom space is bigger and she has several rooms filled with merchandise.
The name The Sassy Sunflower comes partially from Jodi’s love of sunflowers and from a nickname her uncle gave her.
“Growing up, I was surrounded by boys and they liked to tease me, so I had to fight back,” she laughs. “My uncle used to say, ‘You’re mean as a rattlesnake and sassy as a sunflower.’ And I still am. Being sassy is a lifestyle.”
With the popularity of her Canvas and Clay classes and the growth of her shop, Jodi has become something of a celebrity in the Copley/Fairlawn area. With her new location, she looks forward to having more foot traffic and being a destination spot when people pass through the township.
“People will see me out and about and yell ‘hey, sassy,’ like it’s my name. It’s such a trip,” she says. “Sassy has brought such wonderful people into my life and that’s what it’s all about. We’re one big sassy family.”
Visit The Sassy Sunflower at 1463 S. Cleveland-Massillon Road in Copley on Fridays from 11 am-5 pm and Saturdays and Sundays from 11 am-3 pm.
Follow Sassy on Instagram @1sassysunflower and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/1sassysunflower.
In addition to having a sassy hairstyle, Megan has been called a Sassy Sally a time or two in her life. She felt right at home with Jodi.