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Dance, movement, art shape The Shakti Factory

Looking for a place to let loose and dance? Then The Shakti Factory is for you.
 
The Shakti Factory is a movement studio, gathering place and dynamic learning community that is focused on creativity, freedom, embodied spirituality and evolutionary human potential. Owners Meredith Hogan and Lisa Stegman wanted a place for themselves to dance and gather, but they couldn’t find anywhere that fit their needs in Cincinnati. They opened their business in December near Xavier University.
 
“We want to continue to build a tribe of dancers and help set our bodies into a healing, natural rhythm,” says Hogan.
 
“Shakti” is defined as the divine, feminine power that animates and brings life to everything that is.
 
But The Shakti Factory isn’t just a place for performance artists. The studio is currently displaying a print show by Hans Waller; he also painted a mural on one of the walls. In the future, Hogan and Stegman want to host art shows regularly.
 
“It’s about pushing boundaries, and offering things that aren’t found elsewhere in town,” says Stegman. There are plans for salons that will create conversation about subjects like sexual health.
 
The Shakti Factory currently offers three dance classes each week. In July, Hogan will be adding a yoga class to the studio’s offerings. There will also be one-time workshops, such as the Warrior 101 yoga class in August that will be taught by a friend.
 
“Our vision of the space is a flexible concept that is always evolving,” says Stegman. “It might not be the same next year because it will always be changing.”
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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NKY design and fabricating studio lends a hand to artisans

Rash, LLC, a design and fabricating studio in Bellevue in Northern Kentucky, offers a 360-degree cycle of design-related services to local artisans. Rash helps with everything from consultation to concept to construction.
 
Rash was founded in 2012 by Timothy Rives Rash II. He received a BA in architecture form the Architecture School of Design at the University of Virginia and a masters in architecture from Southern California Institute of Architecture. For the past 10 years, Rives has worked on similar projects with other companies and partners. He’s also currently teaching at the University of Kentucky’s College of Design.
 
Mostly, Rash completes the projects for clients, including drawings and any necessary extra design, says Myra Rash, Rash’s media manager. “But there have been a few times where the client is crafty and will help out to learn, or to just get dirty.”
 
The majority of Rash’s projects have been out-of-state, but they did complete the large red oak cross for Belleview Baptist Church’s façade. Rives also collaborated with students from UK’s College of Design and St. Elizabeth Hospice Center in designing and fabricating a concrete base for an I-beam from the World Trade Center to commemorate the 10th anniversary of 9/11.
 
“We hope to bring eye candy to the area, plus some good designs of our own and, most importantly, great collaborations with local firms, contractors, artists and designers,” Myra says.
 
Rash is currently working on the Speechbuster for the Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York City. It’s a 54-foot long table that is put together like a giant jigsaw puzzle and upholstered with neoprene with a rainbow gradient for indexing the 36 parts that make up the table.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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Montgomery knitting store moves to OTR

On April 3, former Montgomery knitting store Fibergé moved to 1407 Vine Street in Over-the-Rhine. It will be hosting its grand opening event May 17.
 
In September of 2010, the year Fibergé owner Norma Lawrence Knecht moved to Cincinnati, she left her corporate job and opened the Montgomery location. She decided to move her store to OTR because she wants to contribute to the revitalization efforts in the neighborhood, says Margaux Ayers of MCA Marketing.
 
“Norma wants to contribute to the arts community in OTR,” Ayers says. “She likes OTR because of the established arts community. People already have an appreciation for the arts here.”
 
Lawrence Knecht started to knit a few years ago and found she was good at it. The artsy craft also helped her better control her anxiety and quit smoking, Ayers says.
 
Ayers says Lawrence Knecht is excited to bring beginning knitters into Fibergé and help people understand the art of knitting. Beginning knitting kits start at $20.
 
Fibergé sells Spud & Chloe, Blue Sky Alpacas and Rowan yarns, and offers hundreds of patters for one-of-a-kind garments and accessories. Lawrence Knecht also offers knitting classes, private lessons and daily project assistance—no appointment needed.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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'Disruptors' descends on Covington with mixed media message

Art appraiser and entrepreneur Morgan Cobb has a vision to turn innovation into an art form. What does that look like?

Imagine a sort of startup pitch day held at an art gallery with photo portraits of entrepreneurs overlaid with QR (Quick Response) codes that link viewers virtually to company founders. Imagine the real-time exchange of art, business and support.

That’s the idea behind “Disruptors, QRtifacts by Peiter Griga,” curated by Cobb, which opens April 26 at Covington’s Artisan Enterprise Center.

“The whole event was designed to encourage collaboration, participation and appreciation,” says Cobb, 28, who founded Newport’s Bryson Appraisals four years ago.

The exhibit started with a conversation between Cobb and fellow curator Cate Yellig, who took over as the city of Covington’s art director earlier this year. Yellig, who works at the intersection of economic development and arts programming, was in search of a way to bring together local entrepreneurs and artists, groups she believes have much in common.

“It was really kind of serendipitous,” Yellig says of the exhibit, which features 10 local startups that have a total of 12 founders, including nugg-it, BlackbookHR, Earthineer and GirlDevelopIt.

Cobb, who has degrees in art history and economics, had become engaged in the local startup ecosystem. She welcomed a chance to connect her two passions.

“Entrepreneurs face the same challenge as contemporary artists,” Cobb says. They strive to remain creative, relevant and “hip.” 

The startups featured in 'Disruptors' are in various stages of development. Some, like We Have Become Vikings, have achieved a level of notoriety, while others, like GamiGen, are less known. 

“They haven’t arrived yet, but they have all this potential to be cutting edge,” Cobb says.

In order to fully experience the opening, Cobb urges potential visitors to bring their smartphones. It will also help to visit
'Disruptors' online in advance and to download QR and Twitter apps. The event also includes a projection of a live Twitter feed.

“The Twitter feed is to encourage feedback and to broadcast the event to an audience that can’t be there,” says Cobb, who has invited venture capitalists and angel investors, as well as a DJ and performance artists, to the opening. 

Even as she works to give entrepreneurs a new platform to communicate their ideas, Cobb also incorporates artistic innovations that have already drawn interest from venues in Austin, Texas. Photographer Peiter Griga, a personal friend, started by photographing each of the entrepreneurs the old-fashioned way—on film.

He then prints the images by mixing silver nitrate with organic honey, which is, at the microscopic level, a living thing. The print process then mirrors how technology and life intertwine. “The media was an important component to the concept,” Cobb says. “It’s an artifact, but it’s still a living thing.”

Most of all, Cobb hopes the exhibit helps foster an understanding of the struggles and challenges faced by both artists and entrepreneurs, and an appreciation for their work.

“At the end of the day, isn’t that what we all want?” she asks.

By Elissa Yancey
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DAAP grad starts clothing line for kids

When it came to starting a career, Mary Helen Boeddeker, 24, knew exactly what she wanted to do. As soon as she graduated from the University of Cincinnati’s DAAP program in June 2012, she started her own clothing line for kids.
 
“I knew I wanted to start a brand in Cincinnati to make kids feel great, make moms happy and to bring manufacturing and design back to the United States,” says Boeddeker.
 
Today, much of the clothing bought and sold in the U.S. is created overseas, but Boeddeker didn’t want that for her clothing line, Mary Helen Clothing. She does everything from designing the garments to sourcing fabric, to patterning and creating the clothing.
 
Boeddeker was inspired to start Mary Helen Clothing by her late grandmother, Mary Helen. “She was all about being positive and being yourself,” she says.
 
Mary Helen Clothing isn’t sold in stores. It’s available online and at trunk shows, where Boeddeker goes to customers’ houses and puts on fashion shows with their children.
 
“I love when the girls put on my clothes and their faces light up,” Boeddeker says.
 
Right now, Boeddeker’s main focus is clothing for young girls. But in March, she started a small collection for boys, and she has plans for a collection for moms as well. She also has a collection of unisex clothing in the works.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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Emery lights back up April 12-14

Dance, art and music fill the Emery Theatre in Over the Rhine this weekend to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Contemporary Dance Theatre as well as the return of MusicNOW.

The theatre, which was donated to the city in 1908 thanks to the charitable trust of Mary Emery, is currently owned by the University of Cincinnati and leased to the Emery Center Corporation, which manages the Emery Center Apartments. The theater, a replica of Carnegie Hall, is one of only three remaining halls in the nation designed with perfect acoustics. The Requiem Project: The Emery, a site-specific 501c3 founded in 2009, is working to re-establish the historic space as an event venue and interdisciplinary arts and education center. 

After going dark for the winter months as negotiations continue over the building's future, the theater hosts two major public events this weekend.

MusicNOW's first-ever art show runs in the Emery's gallery spaces through the weekend. It features pieces by Cincinnati natives Jessie Henson and Nathalie Provosty, both of whom currently work out of New York. Sunday, MusicNOW founder and The National member Bryce Dessner makes a special appearance at the Emery for a performance during a gallery party from 4-6 pm.

In addition to the MusicNOW events, the Emery also welcomes the April 13 anniversary gala for the Contemporary Dance Theatre, which was founded in 1972 by current artistic director and local dance icon Jefferson James. David Lyman plays host during the celebration, which features video, photography, costumes and more. 

While the future of the Emery and efforts to revive it remain unclear, at least for this weekend, there's a chance to enjoy an amazing local space being used for all the right reasons--to celebrate the local arts community and its connection to the broader artistic and cultural landscape of our time.

The MusicNOW exhibit and Bryce Dessner performance are free and open to the public.

Tickets for the CDC gala available here.

By Elissa Yancey
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Just three units left in award-winning Schickel Design Company's Bakery Lofts in OTR

Schickel Design Company recently won a Star Award from the Over-the-Rhine Chamber in recognition of its architecture projects in OTR. The firm’s most recent project is Bakery Lofts, which is located at 1421 Race Street.
 
“It’s wonderful to be recognized for our overall work in Cincinnati and OTR,” says Martha Dorff, Bakery Lofts’ project architect.
 
Bakery Lofts was built in the mid-1800s, and housed a bakery for about 100 years. It was originally a mixed-use building with first-floor commercial space and residential units above, but Schickel Design, 3CDC and Graybach Construction have redesigned the building and turned it into nine condos.
 
The one- to three-bedroom condos range in price from $155,000 to $350,000; and although most of the units are under contract, there are still three available.
 
William Schickel started the firm in Loveland in 1948; it moved to its current location in OTR in 2005. Schickel Design is known for renovations and new construction projects, architecture, space planning, development, interior design, stained glass, environmental graphics and art consultation.
 
Other projects completed by Schickel Design include the City Home Cincinnati project, City Home Race, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Chapel of the Holy Child and Peace Place at the hospital’s Liberty Township campus, Good Samaritan Hospital’s Dixmyth Lobby and Main Street.
 
“As a company, we see a bright future for Cincinnati, and great growth for it and cities like it,” Dorff says. “It’s geographically beautiful and a great place to live and work. It’s a city that people want to move back to and raise a family.”
 
The city is hosting a ribbon cutting for Bakery Lofts on Thursday at 10 a.m.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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MOTR owners plan to turn Woodward Theater into music venue

About six years ago, the owners of Over-the-Rhine’s oft-frequented MOTR began looking for a larger space for concerts. And they found one right across the street: the Woodward Theater.
 
“When we brought MOTR to OTR, we wanted to insert the local music community into the arts and culture discussion in Cincinnati,” says MOTR co-owner Dan McCabe. “By expanding across the street, that discussion gets a little louder.”
 
MOTR has been the OTR hotspot for free music for the past few years, and the Woodward will help attract larger bands that are too big to play MOTR. The concerts at the Woodward will be ticketed, with advance tickets available.  
 
“We want to see people from outside Cincinnati to see what OTR is,” says McCabe. “Musicians that play the Woodward will be coming from cities like New York, where the cost of living is high. They might consider relocating to Cincinnati, which has a great support base for musicians and the platform to build a crowd base. It’s also centrally located for touring.”
 
The Woodward’s new owners also want it to be used as more than a music venue. “I’d love to show films and host private events too,” says McCabe. “OTR is an event-driven neighborhood, and we want the Woodward to be a resource to the community.”
 
The Woodward has been used in recent years as an antiques warehouse, and hasn’t been an active storefront for a long time, says McCabe. In the next few weeks, construction will begin on the theater’s façade, including getting the lights on the outside working.
 
McCabe and his business partners are still working on plans for the inside. “We basically have a white box on the inside with a balcony, and there’s a lot of work that needs to be done.”
 
This year is the Woodward’s 100th birthday—it opened on June 18, 1913. The guys of MOTR have a big event planned for the building’s birthday, so keep your eyes and ears peeled for more information.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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Mason design firm sets up office in Over-the-Rhine

For 45 years, Bayer Becker’s civil and transportation engineers, landscape architects, planners and land surveyors have served the Tri-State area. And last month, the design firm opened an office in Over-the-Rhine.
 
“There’s a commitment to the urban core here in OTR, and we want to be part of it,” says Mike Dooley, an associate at Bayer Becker. “We want to be closer to the clients we work with and new talent.”
 
Founded in 1968 by Joseph Bayer and Keith “Sandy” Becker, the firm has served a variety of local and national clients and has consulted on projects in the public and private sectors. The OTR office is Bayer Becker’s fourth office in the Cincinnati area (its home office is in Mason, and there are smaller offices in Fort Mitchell, Ky., and Oxford, Ohio).
 
Bayer Becker’s new office is in the historic Saengerhalle building next to 3CDC and across the street from Washington Park. The firm looked at buildings in the Central Business District, but the opportunity arose in OTR to be near local architects and other design firms, says CFO and Vice President Tim Bayer, who is the son of founder Joseph Bayer.
 
“There are lots of businesses and entertainment here, which was very appealing to us,” Bayer says. “We want to be part of strengthening the community’s employment and aesthetic aspects.”
 
Currently, Bayer Becker is doing land surveying on several properties for 3CDC; they’re in the middle of the bidding process on a property in OTR near the casino. Yard House at The Banks was also a Bayer Becker project.
 
Bayer Becker wants to be a good business citizen and be active in the OTR Chamber of Commerce and be part of other business associations and endeavors in the business community, says Bayer. “Our goal is to continue to strengthen the community through employment, be part of celebrating client success and help improve downtown Cincinnati.”
 
The firm wants to help continue enriching the community, and later this month, they’ll be sponsoring the Urban Awakenings series, which focuses on four Cincinnati neighborhoods that are dedicated to revitalization and rejuvenation.
 
“We want to help OTR be a model for other communities,” Dooley says.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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Neltner Small Batch launch fueled by art, passion, family

Good things come in small batches, whether its bourbon, beer or branding, says Keith Neltner, the native Kentuckian who has made a name for himself as a designer and filmmaker and darling of the latest Cincinnati ADDY Awards. (Soapbox profiled him last year.)

On the heels of winning an unprecedented three out of four Judge’s Choice awards at this year’s ADDY Awards, he's launching Neltner Small Batch, a venture that allows him to base all of his operations out of his renovated farmhouse studio next door to his home and two doors down from his family’s farm in Camp Springs, Ky.

It also allows Neltner to become a work-at-home dad for his 7-year-old and 3-year-old.

"I've noticed 'family' being a theme in a lot of my work recently," Neltner says. "They're little for such a short time."

Neltner Farms has been his home for his entire life and plays a large role in his identity. The land has been in his family since before the Civil War. That history inspires Neltner Small Batch’s manifesto: “Farming is hard. Sweat is religion. Art is blood.”

Known for his rustic aesthetic and acclaimed work with a wide range of artists (Hank Williams III, Shooter Jennings) and brands (Procter & Gamble, Wrigley’s), Neltner remains true to his well-established roots. “My dad taught me to work hard and be honest,” he says.

One of Neltner Small Batch’s first projects illustrates the connections Neltner continues to make between art, life, hard work and passion. “Black Mule is a brand we're developing in Camp Springs that will release limited edition products,” Neltner says. “Farm tables, pottery, apparel...all made in Kentucky, sourced by local artisans.”

By Sean Peters

Feel-good, comfort food in O'Bryonville at Eat Well Cafe

The brightly lit restaurant welcomes customers when they walk in. Mismatched coffee mugs, cookbooks and a mural—which was done by chef Renee Schuler's sister, Michelle Heimann—above the lunch counter add a homey feel to Eat Well Café and Takeaway, which is exactly what Schuler was after.
 
“I wanted the restaurant to be like a living thing, which is why there’s so much green,” she says. The café seats about 35 people, and is described as fast casual—instead of table service, customers order at the counter and take a seat or, if they’re in a hurry, take their food with them.
 
Eat Well Café opened Jan. 9 in O’Bryonville in the old What’s for Dinner? space, between The BonBonerie and Enoteca Emilia.

“The neighborhood is full of positive energy,” says Schuler. “There are so many creative people doing what they love in this area, and I wanted to be part of that.”
 
When looking for restaurant space, Schuler searched all over Cincinnati. She decided on O’Bryonville because the community is interested in feeling good and living well, and that’s what food is about, she says.
 
Before opening her catering business, Eat Well Celebrations and Feasts seven and a half years ago, Schuler spent years working in restaurants and catering in New York City. When she came back to Cincinnati, she worked as the executive chef at Murphin Ridge Inn in Adams County for three years.
 
“It was a huge change,” she says. “I went from living in the city to picking out what types of cabbage our gardener would grow for the restaurant.”
 
She loves to help people plan events and create something dramatic (her second major is in theater), but she also wanted to create something accessible to people on a daily basis. Eat Well Café allows her to see some of her regular customers outside of planning events.
 
Eat Well Café’s menu was created with everyone in mind, Schuler says. There are vegetarian and vegan options alongside items like the Dr. Meat, which is a braised beef short rib sandwich. The menu will change seasonally, with spring items set to be added in two or three weeks.
 
“America is a melting pot, and American food is influenced from all over,” says Schuler. “Our menu is a mix of flavors to create something new.” Vietnamese summer rolls and pesto pasta are both menu staples, along with salads and soups.
 
The “takeaway” menu changes daily, and is based on Schuler’s mood, the weather and what she thinks would be good to eat that day. On dreary days, items like soups are takeaway staples.
 
Schuler tries to source most of Eat Well Café’s ingredients from local farmers. She uses a local, family-owned company who gets eggs for the café from an Amish farm in Northern Ohio; the bread is from Blue Oven Bakery; dairy products come from Snowville Creamery; Eckerlin Meats at Findlay Market supplies chicken and other meats. 
 
“I try to keep it as local as that makes sense,” she says. “It’s a constant challenge, especially this time of year.” Schuler’s dream is to have an Eat Well greenhouse down the street to grow all of the restaurant’s salad greens and herbs, but that’s a ways down the road.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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Two locals 'frame' OTR in new ways in new shop

Imagine the walls from Professor Dumbledore’s office in the Harry Potter movies—space covered with framed photographs. That’s what the four walls of Over-the-Rhine’s newest business, Frameshop, will look like, but they’ll be covered in framed posters, neon signs, taxidermy and other oddities.
 
“We want customers to get creative, and we’re trying to do that with a more creative space,” says Frameshop co-owner Jake Gerth.
 
Frameshop happens to be across the street from Gerth’s apartment. “I wanted a business that would be part of the community,” he says. “We want to let Cincinnati know that people are moving to OTR, that it’s a good place to be.”
 
The storefront was in pretty good shape when Gerth and his business partner, Jake Baker, rented it—the floors, walls and hand-painted ceiling tiles are all original. The front of the store is the retail floor, where Baker and Gerth will showcase their talents, and their shop is in the back of the building.
 
While Frameshop isn’t quite finished, Gerth and Baker are excited for their Final Friday opening Feb. 22. They’re going to have a grand opening party that night, and start taking framing orders from customers.
 
The two Springdale natives have been friends since first grade. After college (Baker went to Ohio University; Gerth went to AIC College of Design in Springdale), they decided to open a business together. They had lots of ideas, but their experience in framing lead them to Frameshop—Baker worked in retail framing for a brief time; Gerth has a creative background.
 
“You can’t get what we do at Michael’s,” Gerth says. For example, they have an OTR print in a black wood frame made from 100-year-old reclaimed wood from OTR.
 
All Frameshop pieces will be custom, and the owners plan to turn around orders faster than a typical frame shop that takes about two weeks to complete a job—Baker and Gerth will have orders finished in about an hour.
 
“Our goal is to have customers come in, drop off a piece, go have dinner and then come pick it up,” Baker says.
 
Frameshop opens at 6 pm on Final Friday. There will be a DJ, food and tours of the store. Plus, customers can start placing orders that day.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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S&J Bakery Cafe updates name, plans for Findlay Market

With a new business name, a liquor license and sole ownership of S&J Bakery Café in Findlay Market, Stefan Skirtz is about to get even more creative with his offerings. Which is saying something for a baker who already serves a blueberry pancake cupcake with maple buttercream icing and topped with a garnish of chocolate-dipped bacon. Mmmm, bacon.

As his storefront nears its third anniversary at the Over-the-Rhine landmark this May, Skirtz remains dedicated to keeping things local and making a stop at his flourishing shop just one part of a varied market experience. 

“The reason why I wanted to come to Findlay Market was to strengthen the Findlay Market experience,” says Skirtz, 44, who grew up in Clifton Heights. “I go out every Saturday and buy our produce for the week.”

Skirtz, who opened the shop with a partner, reports that they spent 96 percent of the capital costs for the business within the 45202 zipcode. After making it through the first year in business, sales doubled in year two. He’s hopeful about the prospects for year three, during which he opened a second location—the S&J Café in the Main Library downtown.

“The sales have been very strong,” Skirtz says. “It’s given us an opportunity to constantly adapt and adjust.”

Adapting and adjusting comes naturally to the entrepreneur who started his working life far from a kitchen. He worked summers at Kings Island, then stayed with the park as its owners shifted from Kings Productions to Paramount and Viacom, where he produced live shows and planned events. 

But the Cincinnati native, who once again lives in Clifton Heights, grew tired of constant travel. He decided to pursue his lifelong love of cooking at the Midwest Culinary Institute, where he could turn his hobby into a career.

Skirtz’s theme park background makes him particularly sensitive to his customers’ feedback, which he has already incorporated into his business plans. For example, the dining room section of the Findlay store was intended for storage, but customers enjoyed having a place to sit and enjoy breakfast and lunch so he made the cheerful space permanent.  

“People instantly started coming down and starting their Findlay Market experience with us,” Skirtz says. Regulars bring their own coffee mugs, cloth napkins and silverware. Some stop in for the same menu items every Saturday at 8 a.m. sharp; others make S&J a midway break during their trip; still others end their shopping with a leisurely lunch. 

“It’s really about listening to your guests,” says Skirtz, who works with a wide range of market and local vendors, from Coffee Emporium (which created a special blend for S&J) to Bender and Eckerlin Meats for sandwich fillings.

Feedback has also led Skirtz to sell his bread in demi-loaves—customers told him that whole loaves were too big for them to finish. He’s also expanding the shop’s weekday hours to 6 p.m. to accommodate a second baguette baking in the afternoon; baguette-lovers pushed for an option to stop by S&J on their way home from work to buy a warm loaf.

Skirtz was also granted a liquor license this month as part of the newly formed Findlay Market Entertainment District, and is deciding how to incorporate it into his plans for rebranding, which will include a new menu, brunch, special programs and live entertainment.

One thing is for certain: Skirtz will continue to see Findlay Market as a “destination attraction,” reminiscent of his theme park days. “My goal is that anybody who comes in my door and eats my food, I want them to go into the Market House and start shopping,” he says. 

By Elissa Yancey
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Louisville startup brings culture club to Cincinnati

The Original Makers Club is a fairly new startup from Louisville—it was founded in 2011 by photographer Josh Merideth— but it already has branches in Lexington, Cincinnati and Brooklyn. OMC is an aesthetically minded brand and publication that curates, highlights and looks to elevate the culture, society and local business scenes of cities.
 
“A few years ago, Louisville was going through a similar revitalization to Cincinnati’s current one, which makes it a prime time to celebrate local culture,” says Mike Brady, managing partner and events director of OMC.
 
Comprised of design-conscious, forward-thinking local businesses, Cincinnati’s branch of OMC has about 60 members, including A TavolaEnsemble TheatreSloan Boutique21c Museum Hotel3CDCSmart Fish Studio5 Dot DesignBakersfield OTRPaolo Modern JewelersJapps4EGMiCaTaste of BelgiumDIGS and Jaguar Land Rover.
 
“We are less about adding anything than we are about showcasing the culture and talent that exists here,” Brady says. “We want to insure that those visiting the city get a real taste of her. We also wish that those currently living in Cincinnati are experiencing it to the fullest.”
 
On Feb. 8, OMC is hosting its launch event for the Cincinnati branch. Members of OMC will be providing appetizers, drinks, music and neat things to look at—including A Tavola, 5 Dot Design, Marti’s Floral DesignsParlourChristian MoerleinMatthew Metzger and Jaguar Land Rover.
 
Besides the launch event, OMC is working on creating a mural with help from Artworks and hopes to co-host larger events like a Dinner Series, which would showcase member chefs and entertain a group of people in an exotic location in or near the city, Brady says.
 
There are only a handful of tickets available for the launch event for non-OMC members, so get them while you can.
 
By Caitlin Koenig
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NKU students tackle real-world business challenge in 24 Hours of Mobile Innovation Contest

Northern Kentucky University students across disciplines will come together for 24 hours to tackle a real-world business challenge during the first 24 Hours of Mobile Innovation Contest.

Up to 70 students are expected to collaborate in this fast-paced tech challenge, starting the evening of Feb. 8 at NKU's Griffin Hall in the College of Informatics.

The event is being organized by the College of Informatics and the Haile/US BANK College of Business in partnership with businesses TechAllies and MindCrate.

Without spilling the secret of the exact challenge, NKU Business Informatics Professor Teuta Cata says students will work to solve an actual business challenge that could be put into use. Students will get some guidance as they begin to create, design and code the mobile app. Broad guidelines for the app are that it will improve daily activity and business processes or develop a new game idea.

"There will be teams of students who are earning a lot of different degrees here at NKU, because we need a variety of skills," Cata says.

There will be a mixture of graduate and undergraduate students who'll work on everything from the back end to the interface to marketing and communications. Each team member should have the following technology skills: Microsoft Excel, Word and PowerPoint; and experience with the Internet and different mobile devices. Each team should have at least one team member with a basic understanding of project management, database and data communication, among others skills.

They'll have 24-hours to meet the challenge. The awards ceremony starts at 6 p.m. on Feb. 9.

Cata says she got the idea for the event after watching a Cincinnati Startup Weekend event, where local entrepreneurs work for 54 hours over three days to create a startup company.

"I thought this was a great idea for students to get involved with," she says.

Outstanding students will have the opportunity to interview with TechAllies for a chance at a paid internship with the consulting company.

Written by Feoshia H. Davis
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