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Noble Denim founders open Victor Athletics storefront, partner for Brush Factory launch

Noble Denim clothing has been sold online and exclusively at Article in Over-the-Rhine since 2012, but on Nov. 21 its founders will open a nearby storefront for their denim as well as for their new brand, Victor Athletics. This next step was made possible due to a Kickstarter campaign that launched in the spring and raised over $120,000.
Like Noble, Victor will offer American-made, organic clothing — specifically athletic-based items like sweatshirts, jogger pants and T-shirts. The Noble team focuses on organic clothing because, just like food, cotton is grown using a number of pesticides that can damage clothing in the long run.
Although the average consumer’s buying habits haven’t changed as much when it comes to purchasing organic clothing, Noble and Victor hope to shine a light on the benefits of organic clothing. They’re interested in sourcing cotton that lessens the impact on workers and is grown without pesticides and other chemicals.
Noble and Victor are also committed to American-made products.
“Victor really came to be because our factory in Tennessee wanted more work and wanted to grow their workforce and Noble Denim customers were looking for items at a lower price point than our jeans,” says co-founder Abby Sutton, who started Noble with her husband, Chris.
The 987-square-foot Victor Athletics Club is on the ground floor of Beasley Place, a mixed-income apartment project at Republic and 14th Streets developed by Over-the-Rhine Community Housing. The majority of Victor’s clothing is under $100, including a crewneck sweatshirt for $30 and a hoodie for $70. The storefront will also have a sewing area where workers will make totes in-store from American-made canvas.
Although Noble and Victor will both be available at the new store, the team’s primary goal is to grow Victor online.
“Our generation goes online first,” Sutton says. “But that in-person experience is so important, especially for a brand that wants to grow online.”

Noble/Victor is partnering with another successful startup, Brush Factory, to sell that company’s first collection of solid hardwood furniture, BFF. A soft launch of the furniture line is scheduled for 4-10 p.m. on Black Friday (Nov. 27) at Victor Athletics Club.

Brush Factory won the 2015 ArtWorks Big Pitch competition in August, while Noble Denim won the same competition in 2014.
Once open, Victor Athletics Club hours will be 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday.

New contemporary art gallery opens in Over-the-Rhine

Art enthusiast Rachael Moore has opened Cincinnati Art Underground, a contemporary art gallery, at 1415 Main St. in Over-the-Rhine. The gallery’s first show, Delicate Fractures, debuted Nov. 13, featuring work by glass artist Jacci Delaney, ceramics artist Didem Mert and painter Katie St. Clair.
“Cincinnati is so full of artists, and I wanted to be another space for artists to show their work and help start conversations with other artists,” Moore says.
Before opening a physical space, Moore held two pop-up galleries that allowed her to work closely with artists and bring a collaborative environment to the events. She wanted to open a storefront because it would make it easier for people to find the gallery.
Moore describes the 800-square-foot Cincinnati Art Underground space as a boutique gallery rather than a typical white box gallery. Its colorfully painted walls help accent the artwork and draw in the viewer’s attention. Shows will change every six to eight weeks, and every piece on display is for sale.
“There’s this dichotomy between serious and beautiful art, and I’m trying to go down the middle with approachable art,” Moore says. “I want to inspire people to learn more. Not everyone will like every piece of art they see, but I want to help people find what they like.”
To help with that, Cincinnati Art Underground will host studio talks to give artists a chance to mingle with art lovers and potential clients and share their process and inspiration. Moore also plans to offer concierge art services and work with interior designers to help customers find the perfect piece of art for their space.
“I really want to connect more people with art,” she says. “The community is so involved in the arts, whether it be through theater, music or physical art. I want to help bring more people to visual art and educate them about visual art.”
Cincinnati Art Underground’s hours are 12-6 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday or by appointment. Delicate Fractures runs through Jan. 2.

Cincinnati Shakespeare Company sets the stage for new OTR theater

The Cincinnati Shakespeare Company has started a $17 million capital campaign to construct a new theater/rehearsal/office complex at the site of the former Drop Inn Center at 12th and Elm Streets in Over-the-Rhine, increasing programming from 272 days and nights per year to 360 days and nights per year. CSC has been renting theater and office space at 719 Race St.
The theater — which is being named for Otto M. Budig, a longtime CSC patron — will add one more piece to OTR’s arts corridor around Washington Park, joining Music Hall, Memorial Hall and the School for the Creative and Performing Arts.

A large portion of the necessary capital funds were raised during the private portion of the campaign, with only about $4 million still needed to move the project forward.

Plans for the 27,855-square-foot-theater have been about two years in the making and include adding about 100 seats, increasing current capacity from 150 to 244. The thrust stage will jut out into the audience, and the aisles between seats will allow actors to move among the audience during shows. A balcony is planned, but no seat will be further than 20 feet from the stage.
On the outside, the building will resemble the National Theater in London with glass walls facing the street, allowing passersby a look inside. The actors’ rehearsal space will also serve as a second theater for smaller performances or special events.
The inside will be modeled after the Globe Theater, which was designed by Shakespeare himself. Indoor lighting will mimic starlight, and there will be 38 steps connecting the two floors to represent each of the Bard’s plays.
The theater ceiling will be tall enough to allow for multi-level seats and scenery. Currently, sets are constructed outside of the Race Street theater, disassembled and reassembled once they’re inside. There will be an on-site scene shop in the historic Teamsters building that adjoins the Drop Inn site, and the theater will include an actual backstage area, trap space under the stage and wing space with lighting as well as a classroom for educational programming.

For patrons, the Otto M. Budig Theatre will feature a more spacious lobby than CSC’s current location, additional restrooms, a separate box office and a bar. All patron amenities will be in full ADA compliance.
Three buildings stand at the site of the Drop Inn Center, which will be demolished at the beginning of the year to make way for Cincinnati Shakespeare’s new home. Construction is projected to begin in April, and the troupe should be able to take possession in July 2017, just in time for the start of its 24th season.

Cincinnati's first streetcar begins testing phase this weekend

Now that Cincinnati’s first streetcar has arrived in town, what’s next?
The initial vehicle, which arrived Oct. 30, will be put through its first “dead pull” on Sunday, Nov. 8, meaning it will be towed through the motions, ensuring that the mechanics, wheels and rails are working correctly. Assuming all goes well with that testing, the next step is operating under its own power.
Both series of tests will be done on the Over-the-Rhine loop around Washington Park north to Findlay Market.
“The arrival of the streetcar represents a big milestone for the project,” says Rocky Merz, director of communications for the city. “It also represents the turning of the page and a new phase of the project. There is much that needs to happen before passenger service.”
As the streetcar starts moving along the tracks, pedestrians and drivers have to get used to having the streetcar around. The transportation infrastructure of Cincinnati is changing, which means that other things need to change too. Signage will soon be added along the 3.6-mile loop throughout OTR and downtown to help Cincinnatians navigate with the streetcars.
In total, there will be five streetcars. The next two are expected to arrive before the end of the year, with the final two vehicles arriving in the spring. Each streetcar vehicle will go through the same testing processes, logging 300 hours of safe travel before passengers are allowed to ride.
The Cincinnati Streetcar project is currently on time and on budget, though delays could arise once the cars are put on the rails. Passenger service is expected to begin in September.

New Cincinnati development company planning townhouses in OTR

Karvoto, a new Cincinnati development company, is planning to renovate four existing buildings and construct five new townhouses in the heart of Over-the-Rhine. The nine units will become part of Hillman Point OTR, a multi-phase residential development.
Existing buildings at 221 and 229 Kemp Alley and 206 and 212 Wade Street will be renovated, and new townhouses will be constructed at 223, 225 and 227 Kemp and at 208 and 210 Wade. An existing building at 214 Wade will be renovated as part of the development’s proposed second phase.
Karvoto purchased most of the properties from an affiliate of Urban Sites in February, while 208 Wade, which is the last piece of the puzzle, is owned by an affiliate of 3CDC and is currently under contract.
The townhouses will range in size from 2,050 to just over 2,700 square feet and cost between $500,000 and $600,000. Each unit will have three bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms, with open main floors, gourmet kitchens, balconies, rooftop decks and hardwood and tile throughout.
Karvoto plans to break ground on the $4 million development after the first of the year.
Karvoto was founded in early 2015 by Luke Bennett and his brother, Rob, who also own Custom Carving Source, a Cincinnati-based contracting company.

DesignBuildCincy event expands, makes improvements for second year

In its second year, DesignBuildCincy has made some changes to add to the event’s overall experience. The biggest change is that the design showcase will now be held over three days instead of just two, which gives more people a chance to come see what it’s all about, says organizer Doug Hart.
“We still want the show to be manageable for vendors, but we also want to give people a chance to step outside of the event and really enjoy Over-the-Rhine, which has some beautiful architecture and design elements itself,” he says.
DesignBuild will be held at Music Hall over Halloween weekend. Music Hall’s ballroom is a more intimate venue when compared to large convention centers where trade shows are traditionally held.
“The most important aspect is the content of the show and how diverse it is,” Hart says. “It’s very rare to see a show in this small of a space with so many vendors.”
There will be about 130 vendors this year, with 25 percent of them new to the event as well as more than a dozen companies that call OTR and downtown home, showcasing everything from masonry and metalwork to cabinetry and restoration. But DesignBuild isn’t just about Cincinnati — there are also companies from Dayton and central Ohio.
DesignBuild helps to showcase the rebirth happening in OTR, and Music Hall is right in the middle of it. More and more companies are coming to the neighborhood because they want to be part of that rebirth, so those working on restoration projects no longer have to look to cities like Chicago and New York for talent because it’s already here.
There also won’t be featured speakers this year, but instead two exhibits from the show’s sponsors, Rookwood Pottery and Keidel Supply. Hart says he hopes to add to the experience of DesignBuild in the future with pop-up presentations and talks at other locations throughout the neighborhood.
“For those who are interested in architecture and design, all you have to do is take a walk around the neighborhood,” he says. “It will provide as much content and enjoyment as any presentation.”
DesignBuild will be held 5-8 p.m. Oct. 30 and 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 31 and Nov. 1. Tickets are $8 for everyone 13 & up and are available online.

Newly renovated OTR church is The Transept event space and bar

The former church at the corner of 12th and Elm streets in Over-the-Rhine is now home to the neighborhood’s newest event space and bar, The Transept. The facility is already hosting events, and the bar debut and grand opening celebration are still a couple weeks away.

The $4.7 million renovation of the 150-year-old building had been in the works for many years. Michael Forgus, manager of Funky’s Catering, and business partner Josh Heuser, who heads the AGAR promotions agency, have been working on their idea for The Transept since the early 2000s. They took their concept to 3CDC in 2011, and the nonprofit developer bought the building in 2012 with an agreement that within a year Forgus and Heuser would buy it back.

The historic 1868 structure is one of a number of abandoned local churches that have found new life in recent years.
The former German Protestant church has sat vacant since 1993 and was in dire need of repairs. During the renovation process, all of the church’s original wood floors were refinished and the building’s 89 stained glass windows were preserved and repaired.
On the inside, the building is much the same as when it held church services. There are several different rooms that all flow into the transept, dividing the building in half. Now that area will house restrooms and will allow a number of events to be held in the building at once.
The South Tap Room at Transept, the event center’s bar, has a street-level entrance accessible from 12th and Elm. The 1,200-square-foot space will offer a small food menu when it opens Oct. 8 as well as a craft beer and cocktail program run by a local bar operator. It will be open to the public seven days a week.
The main part of The Transept is upstairs and has its own entrance off of Elm. The Assembly is the main floor of the church, and the Gallery is the former church’s balcony. Both spaces are perfect for weddings or concerts, with enough space to accommodate up to 600 people standing.
All of the events held at The Transept, including the bar’s food menu, will be catered by Funky’s.
The Transept hosts a grand opening event Oct. 8 to show off its event spaces, open the bar and raise funds for the Over-the-Rhine Chamber of Commerce. The event is $15 for OTR Chamber members and $20 for non-members and includes appetizers and two drinks. Tickets can be purchased here.

Fall festivals kick into gear this weekend

Now that the region's big-name September celebrations are over, Greater Cincinnati’s events calendar still has plenty to offer on the first weekend of October. And it might just start feeling a little like fall.

Enjoy the last of the season’s Oktoberfest celebrations this weekend and start gearing up for pumpkins, costumes and candy. Or if getting scared is more your speed, head to one of the region’s haunted houses: Dent Schoolhouse, King’s Island Halloween Haunt, Land of Illusion Haunted Scream Park or U.S.S. Nightmare.
Donauschwaben Oktoberfest
6 p.m.-midnight Oct. 2; 2 p.m.-midnight Oct. 3; 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Oct. 4
Donauschwaben Park, 4290 Dry Ridge Road, Colerain Twp.
Cost: $3
Like most traditional Oktoberfests, the Donauschwaben event features German music and dance, plus a pit-roasted Bavarian pig and chicken and sausage as well as over 25 German and domestic beers.
Friday Fright Nights
7 p.m. Oct. 2
Washington Park, OTR
Bring a blanket along for a horror show double feature of Scooby Doo: Spooky Space Kook and Mars Attacks! A full bar and concessions will be available.
Sunflower Festival
10 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 3-4
Gorman Heritage Farm, Evendale
$8 for adults, $5 for kids
In its 12th year, the Sunflower Festival is about all things fall. Take a stroll through the fields of sunflowers or take home a bundle of fresh-cut flowers. There’s also a pumpkin patch, where you can pick up a pumpkin to carve at home or to launch in the pumpkin fling. A hayride, carriage rides, a corn maze, face painting and food trucks round out the fun.
Weekend of Fire
11 a.m.-7 p.m. Oct. 3; 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 4
Jungle Jim’s, Fairfield
$10 for adults, $1 for kids, ages 5 and under are free
Make sure to bring some water, because this event will set you on fire. There will be hot sauces from all around the country, ranging from mild to wild. If you dare, try the hottest sauce that you can find.
12-5 p.m. Oct. 3-4 (and every weekend until Oct. 26)
Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden, Avondale
Regular zoo admission
Don your costume and go trick-or-treating among the animals. The zoo’s two rides, the carousel and train, will transform for the Halloween season into the Scare-ousel and the Hogwarts Express.
Bend in the River Music Festival
5-11 p.m. Oct. 3; 12-6 p.m. Oct. 4
The Sanctuary, 2110 St. Michael St., Lower Price Hill
$7 for one-day passes, $10 for two-day passes, free for Lower Price Hill residents and Oyler School students
The two-day festival has a lineup of 12 bands, including Michael Moeller, Sassafras Gap, Royal Holland, Pike 27 and Part Time Gentlemen on Saturday and Todd Lipscomb, Gypsy Stone, Buffalo Ridge Band, Noah Smith, Billy Brown Band, Phoenix and The Almighty Get Down on Sunday. No Cincinnati music festival is complete without food trucks and craft beer, which will be served up by a number of city celebrities.
Hyde Park Art Show
10 a.m.-5 p.m. Oct. 4
Hyde Park Square
Cincinnati is known for its arts scene, and Hyde Park hosts the largest one-day art show in the city. This year, 207 exhibitors will be showcasing their wares, everything from paintings, sculptures, photography, ceramics, jewelry, fiber, crafts and multi-media art. After you walk among the artists, grab a meal or a pint at one of the restaurants on the Square.
Art on Vine
12-6 p.m. Oct. 4
Fountain Square, downtown
Held once a month, Art on Vine is another chance for local artists to get their names out there. This is the final one this year to be held on Fountain Square; the event will move indoors on Nov. 8 to its winter location at Rhinegeist Brewery.

Alternative transportation options improve with Jungle Shuttle, Red Bike and Uber

Transportation isn’t limited to just buses and taxis anymore.
Urban living means relying less on cars and more on public transportation, walking and bicycling. Neighborhoods all over the Greater Cincinnati area are becoming more bike-friendly and, as in most large cities, are constantly investigating new modes of transportation.
We all know about Metro and TANK, but what other options are out there?

Cincy Red Bike
In operation for a year, Cincy Red Bike offers a bikeshare program on an hourly, daily and monthly basis. For only $8 a day, you can pick up a Red Bike at any of its 50 locations throughout Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky and ride to and from your destination. Annual memberships are also available.

Cincy Red Bike celebrated its one-year anniversary Sept. 15 by revealing numbers that show a total of 88,408 rides over the first year, an impressive 70 percent ahead of its projected 52,000 rides. There were 1,331 annual members, 42 percent over the projected 935 annual members, and a total of 14,767 unique users.

Check out Red Bike’s website for a location map and details. 

Jungle Shuttle
Taft’s Ale House and Cincy Brew Bus recently teamed up to offer a shuttle from Over-the-Rhine to The Banks and back for select Cincinnati Bengals home games. Mike Stokes, owner of Cincy Brew Bus, sees it as an opportunity to teach people about Cincinnati’s beer history and culture as well as a way to bridge OTR and downtown.
On game days, the shuttle will leave from Taft’s at 10:40 a.m. and will make trips every 20 minutes to O’Malley’s in the Alley near Paul Brown Stadium. O’Malley’s is the first bar to offer Taft’s beer outside of the actual brewery, and current offerings include Nellie’s Key Lime Caribbean Ale on tap and Cherrywood Amber in cans. Each shuttle rider will receive a wristband for $1 off Taft’s beer at O’Malley’s on the day they ride the shuttle.
The shuttle had its first run Sept. 20 and will operate on Oct. 4, Oct. 11, Nov. 29, Dec. 13 and Jan. 3. It’s free, but you have to register beforehand at Taft’s.

Available in 60 countries around the world, Uber offers rides at lower costs than most taxis. Drivers are contracted and can pick you up and drop you off wherever you need to go.

Download the Uber app on your smartphone, plan out your route and a driver will be along to pick you up. And you don’t have to worry about carrying change or tip money with you — payments are done via the app.   

Coming soon: Cincinnati Streetcar
Streetcar construction is slated to be completed by the end of October in downtown and OTR, just in time for the delivery of the first streetcar vehicle around Oct. 30. The second vehicle will arrive Dec. 11, with the third, fourth and fifth coming afterwards.
Cincinnati Streetcar is a $133 million project featuring 18 stops along a 3.6-mile loop through downtown and OTR. The route connects Second Street at The Banks to Henry Street near Findlay Market. Stops along the way include Government Square, Fountain Square, the public library, Aronoff Center for the Arts, the Gateway Quarter, Music Hall and Washington Park. Plans are for the streetcar to run 18 hours a day 365 days a year.

Roundup of neighborhood festivals through the rest of September

The temperature is finally starting to drop, and signs of fall are just around the corner. In response, Cincinnati gears up for the season with a plethora of arts, beer and music festivals.

Here’s a quick roundup of some of our September favorites!
Oktoberfest Zinzinnati, Sept. 18-20
Grab your lederhosen and a stein and head downtown for America’s largest Oktoberfest, which was first held in 1976. The celebration of German-style beer, food and music begins Friday with the Running of the Wieners and includes other events like the Gemuetlichkeit (Goodwill) Games and the World’s Largest Chicken Dance.
Fifty Fest, Sept. 19
Fifty West Brewing Company hosts its third annual festival that celebrates not only its beer but beer from all over Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky. For a $10 entry fee you can hear 10 bands on three stages and try beers from 20 local breweries. The event is noon to midnight at Fifty West HQ outside of Mariemont.
CliftonFest, Sept. 25-27
There are several new features for this year’s CliftonFest, which has been held along the Ludlow Avenue business district for the past four years. Food trucks, local restaurant specials and kids game areas have been added to the traditional lineup of live music, West Sixth craft beer, arts vendors and fun activities for the whole family. Plus it’s free!
MidPoint Music Festival, Sept. 25-27
Tickets are still on sale for MPMF, celebrating its 14th year in Cincinnati. The music fest takes place over three days on 10 stages in Over-the-Rhine and downtown, four of which will host all ages shows. Daily passes are $40 and are available on MPMF’s website and on site.
Cincy Summer Streets, Sept. 26
For the first time, Cincy Summer Streets will be held in OTR; there have been two events this summer already, one in Northside and the other in Walnut Hills. Pleasant Street will be car-free between Washington Park and Findlay Market 11 a.m.-3 p.m. and feature fun outdoor activities for the whole family as well as food and drinks.
Cincinnati Street Food Festival, Sept. 26
Food trucks have become the norm in Cincinnati, and Walnut Hills knows how to celebrate mobile food in style. The fourth annual event will include a number of local food trucks, live music and local craft beer. Keep tabs on the event’s Facebook page for up-to-date vendor information.
Art Off Pike, Sept. 27
Covington has become known for its growing community of artists, and the rest of the Tristate is taking notice. Art Off Pike allows art-lovers the opportunity to browse and shop the works of more than 60 local artists and creatives 11 a.m.-5 p.m. as well as join in on the art making. The event had been centered at Madlot at the corner of Seventh and Washington streets, but this year it’s expanded to the Duveneck Triangle and the Pike Street Overpass.

Tour to highlight OTR's beautiful, historic churches

Over-the-Rhine is home to 11 historic churches, including St. Paulus Kirche, Cincinnati's oldest Protestant church. To honor that legacy, Taft’s Ale House — itself located in a renovated historic church — is teaming up with American Legacy Tours and the Over-the-Rhine Foundation to offer guided tours of neighborhood churches.
American Legacy Tours will lead two 90-minute tours of five historic OTR churches on Sept. 9: the former St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, which is now Taft’s Ale House, at 1429 Race St.; St. Francis Seraph, 1615 Vine St.; First Lutheran, 1208 Race St.; Nast Community (formerly known as Nast Trinity United Methodist Church), 1310 Race; and Old St. Mary’s, 123 E. 13th St.

“Each church included on the tour is currently serving the OTR community in one form or another,” says Erica Spitzig, attorney at Graydon Head. “The tour will serve to engage participants in the history, character and beauty of the OTR neighborhood while highlighting some of the amenities it has to offer its residents.”
The tours will help continue the OTR Foundation’s mission of teaching potential property owners how to successfully redevelop owner-occupied properties in Over-the-Rhine. The Foundation started a program in 2014 that covers property selection, financing opportunities and guidelines for working with historic properties and neighborhoods.
The Foundation hosted a Lessons Learned Workshop in June that featured three property owners whose buildings were at various stages of redevelopment. The first-hand accounts helped others who are interested in buying, rehabbing and living in OTR.
Tickets for the church tours are $30 and can be purchased on American Legacy Tours’ website. The first tour begins at 6:30 p.m. and the second at 7 p.m.; both tours start and end at Taft’s, where attendees can enjoy a pint as part of their ticket price.

Transform Cincinnati announces six finalists, puts them in front of potential funders

Transform Cincinnati, an initiative that connects people with great ideas to those who have the money to make the ideas happen, held its first call for submissions in June. Each submission had to have a measurable, long-lasting impact on Cincinnati, be sustainable, be large enough in scale to be truly transformational and be supported by a group or organization that could see it through.

The program was developed by businessman and arts patron Richard Rosenthal, who realized that since the early 1800s Cincinnati has benefited from the engagement of community “investors,” or people who gave of themselves and their resources to elevate the region.

“While we are fortunate to continue to have many generous individuals, there is a need and an opportunity to enhance the ranks of these significant, individual funders of regional initiatives and to facilitate the development of ideas that inspire, engage and involve new generations of funders and investors,” Rosenthal says.
Six proposals were recently announced as Transform Cincinnati finalists from a pool of 150 entries, and those six groups now will pitch their ideas to investors. On Sept. 30, Transform Cincinnati hosts a Marketplace event that will be much like the TV show Shark Tank, where the six finalists will present to a group of investors who could make those ideas become reality.
The finalists are:

A Down Payment on the Preschool Promise
4C for Children wants to create a foundation for the educational future of children through Cincinnati Preschool Promise. The program, still in development, aims to ensure that every child in the area has access to two years of high-quality, affordable preschool regardless of income.
Activate Ziegler Park
3CDC plans to expand Ziegler Park on Sycamore Street in Over-the-Rhine. The existing park would be renovated into five acres of community space to include a neighborhood green space, a new deep-water swimming pool, a multi-use recreational field and a playground.
Cincinnati Neighborhood Equity Fund for Walnut Hills
The Cincinnati Development Fund plans to create a fund to accelerate jobs and redevelopment in urban communities beyond Over-the-Rhine, beginning in Walnut Hills. CDF would support the idea by advising on financing, investing its own money and leveraging other funding sources to complement the initial investment.
End Youth Homelessness in Cincinnati by 2020
Lighthouse Youth Services plans to develop a multipurpose center in Walnut Hills that would provide housing and services for youth, including an emergency homeless youth shelter and new units of permanent supportive housing as well as a range of services that are meant to get youth off the streets. The ultimate goal is to eradicate youth homelessness in Cincinnati.
Precision Cancer Care
UC Health and its cancer institute want to revolutionize cancer outcomes in Cincinnati by leveraging breakthrough discoveries in genomics, drug discovery and biological model systems. UC’s goal is to rank the city among national leaders in new and personalized cancer-care advances, then spread those discoveries across the world.
Venture Building Studio and OPA! Labs
Cintrifuse, in partnership with the Health Collaborative, plans to establish a consumer healthcare venture studio that will be dedicated to attracting the best health innovators and talent to the area in order to incubate, nurture and commercialize ideas.

“We hope that together we can think bigger and do more than we have before,” Rosenthal says. “Transform Cincinnati is working hard to identify and facilitate connections between organizations with big ideas and the investors and funders with between $1 million and $10 million who can help make them happen. We’ve heard from organizations that the process has already helped them to seek new collaborations and to become more focused on how to bring their ideas to life. We’ve heard from investors who never before thought of themselves as having the wherewithal to invest in bigger ideas and now recognize they can do so.

“It’s both gratifying and motivating to recognize that Transform Cincinnati has unlocked a new way to help the region become one of the best places in the country to live, learn, work and play.”

Transform Cincinnati has drawn on the experience and involvement of leading community organizations such as ArtsWave, the Greater Cincinnati Foundation, Haile/U.S. Bank Foundation, Interact for Health, the Jewish Federation and United Way.
If you’re interested in investing in one of these six ideas, register here before Sept. 28.

Business grants aim to help OTR entrepreneurs grow customer base

Four Over-The-Rhine businesses recently received funds through the Business Innovation Challenge Grant and the Business First Grant, both of which aim to help local businesses grow and help strengthen OTR’s economy.
“The Business Innovation Challenge supports existing OTR businesses by helping them flourish, expand and ultimately grow new products and services,” says Emilie Johnson, president of the Over-the-Rhine Chamber, which helps facilitate the grants. “The mission of the Business First Grant is to help benefit the city by strengthening the local economy, increase business and employment opportunities and animate the sidewalks of OTR.”
The Business Innovation Challenge Grant launched in April 2014 to focus on existing businesses. Segway Cincinnati/The Garage OTR, MOTR Pub and Cincy Shirts each received $1,000 from Fifth Third Bank to develop their new business strategies over the next six to eight months.
Segway Cincinnati/The Garage OTR plans to create a new guided Segway tour of OTR and downtown to feature public art and art institutions. MOTR Pub is interested in creating and hosting an online OTR interactive parking map. And Cincy Shirts hopes to create a wall of stadium seats for their in-store T-shirt display as well as develop a line of stadium seat furniture.
Artichoke, a new kitchenware store planning to open at 1824 Elm St., received a $10,000 Business First Grant. The grant offers unique businesses that are new to OTR the opportunity to open, expand or grow their services in the neighborhood.
Artichoke will be housed in a renovated, historic brick Italianate building near Findlay Market. The store will offer cookware and have a demo kitchen to showcase recipes featuring produce from market vendors.

Over-the-Rhine continues to boom with new businesses

A number of new businesses have opened in Over-the-Rhine over the past few months, especially in the Findlay Market area north of Liberty Street as residential developments continue to crop up. We’ve rounded up a few of the neighborhood's newest and provide the low-down on what you’ll find.

Dirt: A Modern Market at Findlay Market, 131 W. Elder St.
Hours: 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday

Dirt brings a year-round marketplace to Cincinnati that will help connect consumers with local producers. The full-time retail store sells only locally produced fruits, vegetables, meats, cheeses and dairy products along with a number of other goods.
Dirt also functions as a consignment store where growers and producers can rent space on a weekly or monthly basis. They keep 70 to 80 percent of their gross sales, construct individual displays and set their own prices. It gives producers the opportunity to continue selling their goods even when they aren’t physically at Findlay Market.

OTR Candy Bar, 1735 Elm St.
Hours: 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday

Co-owner Mike Petzelf’s brother purchased the building on Elm Street, and then the family came up with the idea for a candy store. After renovations and build-out, they opened the doors in April.  
OTR Candy Bar offers a large variety of bulk candies, which are locally and nationally sourced, as well as more than 50 soda flavors. Customers can mix their own 4-pack to take home or enjoy one while they’re strolling through Findlay Market.

3 Sweet Girls Cakery, 29 E. 12th St., Over-the-Rhine
Hours: 10:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday

This Kenwood-based bakery opened its second location in OTR just in time for the All Star Game. The shop offers a variety of items to satisfy your sweet tooth, including eight cupcake flavors and 15 cake pop flavors; their specialty is a Flying Pig Cake Pop.

3 Sweet Girls also sells decorated cookies, chocolate pretzels and Oreos, cake push-ups and cupcakes in a jar, plus special treats for your furry friend.
Goods on Main, 1300 Main St., Over-the-Rhine
Hours: Thursday-Sunday, subject to change

Goods is a retail collective with an ever-revolving, themed inventory. It opened in June and currently has everything you would need for an adventure, whether that be outdoors or in the kitchen.   

The store also has an event space, which is used for special occasions in OTR like Second Sundays on Main and Final Friday. There are plans to expand Goods into that event space to become a much larger store.

Several local food truck owners taking next step and opening storefronts

Food trucks have become the meal-on-the-go option for Cincinnatians, whether it’s a business lunch or community event. After establishing themselves and their menu offerings, a number of those food truck owners are now expanding their businesses and opening brick-and-mortar locations.
Share Cheesebar
6105 Ridge Road, Pleasant Ridge
Emily Frank, owner of C’est Cheese food truck, is planning to open a cheese retail shop this fall in Pleasant Ridge’s Sixty99 development next to Nine Giant Brewing. The shop will be part retail and part cheese bar, with a large selection of products and a rotating variety of cheeses, wine, beer and fresh bread.
Frank started C’est Cheese in 2011, when there were about 10 food trucks on the streets of Cincinnati. Today there are about 60, and she decided to use her love of cheese to introduce another venture in the city.
“I’ve always been a huge lover of cheese but have always been a bit intimidated by most cheese shops,” she says. “There are so many choices, and sometimes it feels a bit overwhelming and I’m hesitant to ask questions in order to learn more.”
Share Cheesebar will have a relaxed atmosphere, where customers can come in and enjoy a cheese or charcuterie plate or a glass of wine. Cheese will also be available for purchase to take to a party or home for dinner.
“The name ‘Share’ is really what we want people to do in the space,” Frank says.
Even though Frank is starting another venture, she will continue serving up the cheesy goodness from Blanche, her food truck.

Urbana Café
1206 Broadway St., Pendleton/OTR
Daniel Noguera purchased a Vespa Ape in 2013 and converted it into a mobile espresso café that’s a Findlay Market staple on the weekends. Now Noguera plans to open a brick-and-mortar café in October next to Nation Kitchen + Bar in the Pendleton area next to Over-the-Rhine.
Urbana Café will serve high-quality espresso-based drinks as well as a limited food menu with both sweet and savory options.
Noguera plans to continue his mobile coffee business and currently has two Vespas roaming the streets of Cincinnati. He has plans to expand the mobile side of his business to a nearby city, such as Louisville or Columbus.
1342 Walnut St., Over-the-Rhine
Chef Alfio Gulisano and his partner Scott Lambert, owners of Alfio’s Buon Cibo in Hyde Park, recently started a food truck called Che Empanadas. They’re expanding on that concept and planning to open a restaurant based on the Argentinean staple of pizza and empanadas.
Che!, which means Hey!, will open its doors in Over-the-Rhine in the fall. The restaurant will feature a large bar with Argentine wines by the glass and craft beer options as well as an outdoor dining area with a parrilla, a large outdoor grill that will feature a rotating variety of grilled meats.
The restaurant will also have an ordering window that opens onto the street, where customers can get empanadas and pizza during late-night hours.
5164 Kennedy Ave., Pleasant Ridge
The owners of Catch-A-Fire Pizza opened a café inside of MadTree Brewing in February. It’s an extension of the food truck, and the menu features items infused with MadTree beer.
Dojo Gelato
1735 Blue Rock St., Northside
Dojo Gelato has been a staple at Findlay Market for six years, and next spring owner Michael Christner plans to open a stand-alone location in the old J.F. Dairy Corner in Northside.
Christner will continue to serve his gelato, which has become a Cincinnati favorite, but will also expand Dojo’s menu with twists on traditional ice cream favorites. That menu will eventually be served at the Findlay Market location as well, as all of Dojo’s production will be moved to the new Northside location.
O Pie O
1527 Madison Road, East Walnut Hills
While not a food truck, O Pie O will be expanding beyond its Findlay Market pop-up roots with a brick-and-mortar store opening soon at DeSales Corner. The store is currently hiring workers.
The pie shop will feature both sweet and savory options as well as a small menu of soups and salads. Wine, craft beer, coffee and ice cream will also be served as accompaniments.
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