Prepping for your holiday party? Memorable, fun, stylish, and creative are suitable adjectives to describe anything, including parties, originating from the Short North Arts District. Between 2nd Ave and Price Ave, next to Northstar Café, you will find yourself walking into a beautifully curated, modern-yet-quirky party supplies store where collections of items exhibiting those classic Short North descriptors are housed. This is Surprise! Modern Party + Cocktail Goods, here to help you bring your party visions to life.

A bounty of goods for general parties, holiday events, birthdays, babies, and everyday entertainment including balloons, napkins, banners, wrapping paper, décor, dishware, barware, and so much more can be found at Surprise. Owner Olivera Bratich knows party supplies don’t have to be cheap and ugly, whether they’re disposable or not. “Just because something is temporary doesn’t mean it can’t be beautiful,” she said. “We appreciate good design and the small touches that make a table or party setting look special.” Additionally, the store prides itself in its unique concierge-level customer service when it comes to shopping for party supplies.

Bratich is not new to the small business world. In 2005, she created Wholly Craft, a Clintonville shop that sells fun and ethically produced gifts now from the hands of over 400 independent vendors. She didn’t want to simply replicate its model in a different neighborhood – she wanted to challenge herself and try a new retail concept. Then one day, Bratich saw a window of opportunity and took action. “I had a terrible shopping experience trying to put together a themed event at [Wholly Craft] and immediately saw that gap in the retail market for a party store that was actually fun and helpful. I realized with our dedication to customer service and our fun sensibility, we could do a lot to help people throw awesome events and parties.”

Wanting to be part of a neighborhood that celebrates creativity, life, and connection, Bratich and her team settled their new venture in the Short North, a neighborhood which “throws the best parties in Columbus” – and she’s glad they did. “Everyone has been extremely welcoming and we definitely feel like a part of the neighborhood already,” she says. “The Short North is infused with a celebratory spirit that inspires us to open up the door every day. People visit and live in the Short North to experience art, culture, city life, and night life. We share this sense of creative exploration with our customers and hope to help bring that sensibility to their celebrations.”

For this holiday season, Bratich suggests building a photo booth into your décor. Perhaps utilize one at your office holiday party, which Bratich believes is a great opportunity to build fun memories with staff. She also says that New Year’s Eve parties at home are her favorite because they “mix pure fun and celebration with optimism and well-wishes for the future,” and there are so many accessories available now to put together a great time.

Surprise! further engages the Short North community by hosting workshops. Every month, join Surprise! and Wholly Craft for a “Mix & Make” event, where you make a craft and learn to mix a cocktail. The next Mix & Make will be Thursday, November 30 at 7:00pm, where attendees will be making ugly Christmas vests and learning how to mix a holiday punch. For more info, contact

Additionally, on Wednesday, December 17, Surprise! will be co-hosting a DIY gift wrapping event in collaboration with Creative Babes. More details will be announced soon, so keep an eye out on the Events Calendar.

You can see Surprise’s handiwork in action when you visit the Holiday Hop Pop Up Shop, which will be open at 873 N. High St during Holiday Hop on December 2, 2017 from 12:00pm – 9:00pm; stop in and marvel at what you could take home as inspiration for your own holiday party. This space will further be used as the Short North Arts District Holiday Headquarters on December 9, 16, and 23 for Wrap it Up Saturdaze; more information coming soon.

Looking for venues as you plan your holiday festivities? Check out the Short North Arts District Event Venue listing here.


– Ann Faris