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CincyLocals travel advice app launches for All Star Game test run


Jordan Axani posted a note on Reddit six months ago, looking for someone who had the same name as his ex-girlfriend to take her ticket and go on a trip with him. The story went viral, and the experiences of the trip helped him come up with the idea for Triplust, a mobile platform that asks locals for travel insight.
 
“Whenever Elizabeth and I checked our phones, we had hundreds of messages from locals who were giving us travel tips and ideas and inviting us out to dinner,” he says. “It was very cool to have this experience of seeing and doing things that not a lot of people get the chance to.”  
 
Unique, off-the-beaten-path places aren’t usually on Yelp and Trip Advisor. Those are the things the locals know about and want to help others find.
 
Axani and his business partners, Sebastien Filion and Andrew Vine, started their business mentoring class at The Brandery on June 16. Axani says they applied to a number of business accelerators but The Brandery really understood the opportunity of a product like Triplust.
 
“We’ve all been very fortunate to live all over the world, but we’re having an incredible time here,” Axani says. “There’s this amazing sense of hometown pride here, and we’ve been discovering so many things because we’re hanging with locals every day.”
 
Triplust launched last week as CincyLocals, a simplified version of the app designed specifically for the All Star Game.
 
“There’s so much more going on this week outside of the All Star events downtown,” Axani says. “The city wants to throw an amazing experience, and we want people to have that experience.”
 
Twenty locals are volunteering their time to give visitors free travel information. The volunteers specialize in food and beverage as well as baseball trivia and history.
 
“We hope that CincyLocals is as much a local thing as it is for visitors,” Axani says. “We want people to feel like they have a trusted friend with them everywhere they go.”
 
It’s a free app, but people are generous and willing to pay for insider travel information. For that, there’s a tipping functionality built in and users are given $10 of free tip money.
 
The app will be live through Wednesday, July 15, and then will be taken down to assess its success. It will be relaunched as Triplust in August, when it will go live in a number of domestic and international cities. At relaunch, the app will be available in the iTunes store and on the web, and it will have a personality matching algorithm that pairs users with a local with the same interests.
 

Local vintage outfits host popup shop at Brick OTR during All Star Game week


Two local vintage stores, Flying V Vintage and Mike’s Vintage Toys and Collectibles, will host a popup shop at Brick OTR during All Star Game week. The shop will be open 11 a.m.-7 p.m. July 13-14 to sell items from the ’80s and ’90s.
 
Up to this point, both operations have sold exclusively online and through direct sales models. Jason Helferich, owner of Flying V Vintage, says the popup shop is an experiment in the feasibility of having a permanent brick-and-mortar store in the future.
 
“Both myself and Mike Patterson (owner of Mike’s Vintage Toys and Collectibles) were looking for a way to engage customers in an offline setting and generate awareness of our businesses and the type of products we sell,” Helferich says.
 
The popup will feature vintage sports apparel such as T-shirts, jackets, jerseys and snapback hats, with an emphasis on baseball apparel since it’s All Star weekend.
 
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, The Real Ghostbusters, GI Joe, WWF and WCW action figures and toy playsets will also be available for sale. Helferich says that the most desirable items might be be a Chalk Line Chris Sabo Fanimation jacket and the original prototype toys from the ’90s Jim Carrey The Mask animated series toy line. Items will range from $10 to $150.
 
“We hope to bring something unique and different to the weekend,” Helferich says. “We know that many are fond of the ’80s and ’90s, and I’m sure they will find something they remember or had as a kid. From the unique merchandise to the limited engagement, this isn’t something you see every day.”
 

Gilpin's opens third sandwich location, providing late-night dining option in Mt. Adams


Frequent visitors to Clifton Heights and downtown are sure to have visited Gilpin’s Steamed Grub for late-night food runs, but owner Brad Gilpin isn’t stopping at just two locations. He’s partnered with Quincy’s Bar and Lounge in Mt. Adams to open a third Gilpin’s.
 
“I’ve always wanted to be in Mt. Adams, and the timing is now right,” Gilpin says.

He says Gilpin's will offer something that he feels is missing in Mt. Adams, a late-night food option. A majority of the neighborhood’s restaurants stop serving food at about 11 p.m., and Gilpin's will cater to those who have the munchies beyond that.

Gilpin's partnership with Quincy's also allows customers to grab a bite to eat along with a beer.
 
The Mt. Adams location will serve Gilpin’s new late-night menu, which features sandwiches that can’t be found anywhere else, out of the window behind Quincy’s, 1101 St. Gregory St.
 
The menu includes favorites like the Doritos, which is turkey, steam melted cheddar and lettuce topped with crushed nacho cheese Doritos and a parmesan peppercorn ranch honey mustard, all on a pretzel bun; and the Pride of Porkopolis, smoked pulled pork, bacon, BBQ sriracha mayo and lettuce topped with crushed BBQ chips.
 
A new sandwich on the menu is the Nutella Fluffernutter, Gilpin’s first venture into a sweet sandwich. Nutella, peanut butter and marshmallow fluff are all steamed together to create a melty, delicious mess.
 
Gilpin’s in Mt. Adams opened July 3 and serves 10 p.m.-3 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. Depending on its popularity, hours could expand in the near future.
 

Newport Intermediate School to become 200 apartments in 2016-17


CRG Residential has plans to replace Newport Intermediate School, 101 E. Fourth St., with a development featuring about 200 apartments.
 
Based in Carmel, Ind., CRG specializes in the renovation and redevelopment of multifamily housing properties. The company worked on One Lytle Place on the Cincinnati riverfront.

The Newport project is still in the early design stages, but CRG Vice President of Development David George says that they’re excited about the coming development.

"We really like Newport, and it has lots of amenities with the movie theater, aquarium and Hofbrauhaus," he says. "It’s an exciting place to live. There’s also a growing job base, and all of those people need somewhere to call home."
 
The apartments will be one- and two-bedroom units geared toward millennials and empty-nesters who are looking to move closer to the urban core or out of busy downtown Cincinnati. Units will be similar in size and pricing to those at Monmouth Row, a Towne Properties project. CRG also plans to have first-floor retail space along Monmouth Street.
 
Newport School District will continue to use the Intermediate School building through the 2015-16 school year, and CRG will then purchase it for $2.6 million. The deal is scheduled to close Aug. 1, 2016.
 
An architect hasn’t yet been chosen for the project, which will demolish the school building and replace it with new construction. Barrett & Stokley will own and manage the apartments, and they should be move-in ready by the end of 2016 or early 2017.
 

Tristate celebrates 4th of July with variety of events, music and fireworks


Looking for a way to celebrate America's birthday? Check out the variety of events around town to honor the 4th of July.
 
Thursday, July 2
American Salute
6 p.m., Burnet Woods, Clifton
Music from the Cincinnati Contemporary Jazz Orchestra's Little Big Band and the Cincinnati Chamber Orchestra’s string quartet will be followed by fireworks at 9 p.m.

Northside Rock n’ Roll Carnival
Music, food and craft beer fills Northside’s Hoffner Park all weekend. The event itself is free, and you can purchase drinks and food from a variety of vendors.
 
Friday, July 3
Cincinnati Reds Fireworks Friday
Game at 7:10 p.m., Great American Ball Park, Downtown
Fireworks will follow the game, with a live soundtrack provided by the Cincinnati Pops Orchestra. If you don’t go to the game, you can still catch the fireworks from points along the river, including Smale Riverfront Park and Newport on the Levee.
 
Fireworks at Kings Island
10 p.m.
The park itself is open until midnight. Fireworks show comes with price of admission.
 
LaRosa’s Balloon Glow at Coney Island
10 p.m.
Head over to Coney Island for a day of nostalgic rides as well as LaRosa’s 15th Annual Balloon Glow, which begins at 8 p.m.; fireworks will follow the Balloon Glow. Tickets are $10.95 and up for Coney Island rides and the Sunlite Pool, but the Balloon Glow and Fireworks are free with the price of parking.
 
Independence Day Celebration on Fountain Square
9:45 p.m., Fountain Square, Downtown
After the MidPoint Indie Summer Concert Series, the fireworks show will begin from the roof of Macy’s downtown store.
 
Saturday, July 4
4th of July Jam
3-10 p.m., Washington Park, Over-the-Rhine
Enjoy live music from The Almighty Get Down, The Infinity Project and Ray’s Music Exchange as well as a simulcast of The Grateful Dead’s “Fare Thee Well” concert at Chicago’s Soldier Field on a large LED screen. The free event will end with fireworks and will also include food, craft beer, carnival games and face painting.
 
Ault Park Independence Day Fireworks
11 a.m., Ault Park, Mt. Lookout
A children’s parade will begin the day of festivities, food and music. A fireworks show will end the day at 10 p.m.  
 
Cincinnati Reds Independence Day Fireworks Show
Game at 7:15 p.m., Great American Ball Park, Downtown
Fireworks to follow the game.
 
Covington Neighborhood Bicentennial Independence Day Parade
10:30 a.m.
Stake out a spot along the Peaselburg neighborhood parade route (Euclid to 16th Street and up Russell) and join the rest of Northern Kentucky for an after party at St. Augustine Church.
 
Fireworks at Kings Island
10 p.m.
The park itself is open until midnight. Fireworks show comes with price of admission.
 
Northside Fourth of July Parade
12 noon
Northside businesses, organizations and residents show off their creative sides with a variety of floats. The parade route is down Hamilton Avenue, beginning at the corner of Ashtree and Hamilton and ending at Hoffner Park.
 
Red, White and Blue Ash
4-10:30 p.m., Blue Ash Summit Park
Lots of free entertainment, including The Doobie Brothers at 8:15 p.m. and fireworks at 10 p.m.
 
Red, White, and Boom!
8 p.m., Riverbend Music Center
The Cincinnati Pops will play patriotic favorites, accompanied by the May Festival Chorus and the USO Show Troupe. Tickets are $15-35; ticketholders can visit Coney Island for free on July 4 (excluding Sunlite Pool).
 

Kenwood-based bakery to open location in OTR


Lisa Ebbert comes from a long line of bakers, and the success of her homemade cupcakes led her to open 3 Sweet Girls Cakery in Kenwood in 2012. In mid-July she and her two daughters, Kristen and Lauren, will open their second location at 29 E. 12th St. in Over-the-Rhine.
 
Over the past few years, the bakery has had customers come out to the Kenwood location from downtown to pick up sweets for parties and meetings. It seemed like a logical next step to take the bakery closer to those customers.
 
“We’re very excited to see the growth downtown and want to be part of it,” Ebbert says. “We love Over-the-Rhine, the people and the energy and diversity of the neighborhood.”
 
Ebbert and her daughters are currently renovating the 500-square-foot space to be a mini version of their Kenwood location, with turquoise and pink walls and a whimsical mural. The OTR location is considerably smaller than the original and doesn’t have a kitchen, so they will be bringing everything to OTR from the main bakery.
 
3 Sweet Girls will offer a daily selection of eight cupcake flavors and about 15 flavors of cake pops, including their specialty Flying Pig Cake Pops. The bakery will also have custom decorated cookies, chocolate pretzels and Oreos, cake push-ups and cupcakes in a jar as well as homemade dog treats and pup cakes.
 
“We hope to bring a fun, creative energy to Over-the-Rhine and hope to satisfy everyone’s sweet tooth and bring a little joy to people’s days,” Ebbert says.
 
The Ebberts are currently hoping to be open before the July 14 All Star Game and plan to have a variety of baseball-themed treats.
 

Red Bike becomes first public bike share in Kentucky


With the official opening of six stations in Covington this week, Cincy Red Bike became the first public bike share in Kentucky. Red Bike recently opened stations in Northside and near Cincinnati State, too, and there are plans to expand soon into Newport and Bellevue.

There are currently 50 stations across the city of Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.
 
Red Bike opened 30 bike share stations in Cincinnati last fall with funds that totaled $1.7 million. Partners include the city of Cincinnati, UC Health, Interact for Health, Haile/U.S. Bank Foundation, Procter & Gamble, Duke Energy and the Otto M. Budig Family Foundation.

Red Bike has 955 members to date, and the bikes have gone on more than 46,000 rides.
 
A Google map of the new Covington stations show the stations:

• W. Rivercenter Blvd. and Madison Avenue near the Northern Kentucky Convention Center
• Greenup and E. Third streets near the Roebling Suspension Bridge
• W. Third and Bakewell streets
• W. Seventh St. and Washington Avenue near Braxton Brewing Company
• E. Fifth and Scott streets near the Kenton County Public Library/Gateway
• MainStrasse Village near Sixth and Main streets
 
Passes are $8 for 24 hours of use, and annual memberships are $80. Each bike has a 60-minute limit and can be returned to any Red Bike station in Cincinnati or Northern Kentucky.
 

Covington's Licking Riverside neighborhood home & garden tour celebrates bicentennial, All Star Game


The Historic Licking Riverside Civic Association last hosted a home tour five years ago, in September 2010. The association will revive the tradition — and add gardens — on July 11 in conjunction with the MLB All Star Game weekend and in celebration of Covington’s bicentennial.
 
American Legacy Tours will lead 90-minute guided tours of the homes every half hour. Tour guides will be provided with homeowner-vetted scripts to highlight each house’s historical significance, original builder and items of interest. One of the homes has the original bar from the Latonia Horse Race Track.

The event follows last weekend’s revival of a garden tour in Covington's Old Seminary Square and Westside neighborhoods, their first in 14 years.
 
The homes included on the Historic Licking Riverside tour have a direct connection to Covington history, such as those owned by Amos Shinkle, who financed the Roebling Bridge, and by Daniel Carter Beard, who founded the Boy Scouts of America. All of the houses also have private gardens with highlights like water features and patio gardens.
 
“We often talk about progress with preservation, and we hope that the tour gives people an appreciation of beauty and value that a historical neighborhood can bring to an urban environment,” says Steven White, a resident of Historic Licking Riverside.
 
The six featured houses are the Amos Shinkle House, circa 1854 (215 Garrard St.); the Shinkle Row House, circa 1880 (125 Garrard St.); the Kennedy House, circa 1847 (124 Garrard St.); the Daniel Carter Beard House, circa 1821 (322 E. Third St.); the Merchant House, circa 1860 (412 Riverside Drive); and the Porter-Fallis House, circa 1852 (412 E. Second St.).
 
The home and garden tour is 10 a.m.-6 p.m. July 11. Tickets are $40 per person and can be purchased on American Legacy Tour’s website; proceeds benefit public space beautification programs in Historic Licking Riverside. On the day of the tour, check-in will be at the Church of Christ, 218 Garrard St.
 

Price Hill initiative focuses on prenatal, childhood health


Four years ago, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital helped launch a national program to ensure that every child was prepared for kindergarten. From that, Children’s turned to East and Lower Price Hill to look for a holistic approach to that goal and teamed up with Santa Maria Community Services for the Block by Block program.
 
The initiative utilizes residents from the community to help identify and support the most at-risk families in East and Lower Price Hill. A team of 11 Block Captains — mothers who have been successful in other Santa Maria programs — go out and talk with other mothers within five blocks of the two neighborhoods.
 
“They’re looking for ways to support other moms through their pregnancies or with their young kids,” says Chellie McLellan of Santa Maria. “This program is about building a community and finding moms who live in the community who have had the same experiences as other moms.”
 
This year, the goal is to have 15 blocks participating in the program with 15 Block Captains. Block by Block recently received a $40,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, which was made possible through a presentation at Children’s.
 
Block Captains take Change Packages on their walks and hand them out to other moms. The packages contain things like children’s books and information about sleep safety for infants. The Block Captains also check to make sure that soon-to-be-moms are attending their regularly scheduled doctors visits and following up with their postpartum and well-child visits.
 
Currently, about 87 percent of the five blocks have received the packages and are implementing the materials in their homes.
 
McLellan says the most important thing about Block by Block is that the program goes out into the neighborhood rather than requiring people to walk through a door in order to utilize its services.
 
“We walk when it’s warm and the weather is nice, but in the winter we host community engagement events,” McLellan says. “We want to do more events this winter and get people more involved.”  
 
Block by Block also puts time and resources into its Block Captains, who receive training from a variety of organizations that helps prepare them for a future in the community health field if they wish.
 
“If the Block Captains are thriving and their families are thriving, it’s a great testament to the program,” McLellan says.
 

Bouquet Restaurant owners opening second fresh & healthy spot in MainStrasse


Stephen Williams, chef and owner of Bouquet Restaurant & Wine Bar, and his wife Jessica are planning to open another restaurant in Covington. Son & Soil will occupy in the former Cake Rack Bakery space at 627 Main St. in mid-August.
 
As a busy entrepreneur and father, Williams is always looking for something quick and simple but still fresh and healthy. He saw a need for healthy, fast option in MainStrasse and went with it.
 
“We’re going in a healthy direction, and sun and soil are two of the main components for growth and nourishment,” Williams says.
 
Like Bouquet, Son & Soil will feature local, fresh ingredients sourced from local farms and farm market partners.
 
The menu will include freshly-pressed juices, smoothies and organic wraps and sandwiches. Specific menu items are still in the works, but Williams plans to build his sandwiches on Sixteen Bricks bread and to serve coffee from Lookout Joe from Mt. Lookout.
 
“We love being part of the MainStrasse community,” Williams says. “We live here, and we’re raising our family here. With Bouquet right down the street, it just makes sense for us. Almost eight years ago, the community welcomed Bouquet with open arms, and we really didn’t consider opening our second venture anywhere else.”  
 
Son & Soil hours will be limited at first: 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Saturday.
 

Covington neighborhoods partner to resurrect garden tour June 20-21


It’s been 14 years since Old Seminary Square last held a garden tour, and this year the Covington neighborhood is teaming up with the Westside Action Coalition to host a 27-plot tour. It will be held 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on June 20 and 21 and span across the two historic neighborhoods.
 
For the past 50 years, many Covington neighborhoods held garden tours. Holly Young, organizer of this weekend’s garden tour and vice president of the Westside Action Coalition, says the tours were widely publicized and drew attention from garden magazines, and not just because of the gardens.
 
“They were a huge draw because of the pre-Civil War and Civil War architecture in the neighborhood,” she says.
 
The picturesque images you see of wrought iron fences in New Orleans were inspired by Covington architecture. The iconic look originated here and came down the Mississippi River with riverboat passengers.
 
Gardening and the garden tours have fallen by the wayside over the past 10 years or so due to harder economic times, Young says. People haven’t had the time and money to garden, but the Westside Action Coalition wants to bring this pastime back to the people of Covington.
 
Over the past year, the Westside Action Coalition hosted a seed and plant sale and received a grant from the Center for Great Neighborhoods to help encourage gardening.
 
“There’s been a lot of development and advancement in the past five years,” Young says. “People weren’t walking down the street 10 years ago, but now they are. The neighborhood has really turned around, and now it’s time to celebrate that cohesive neighborhood.”
 
The garden tour will feature three public spaces in the Westside — Orchard Park; Shotgun Row’s park; and the Riddle-Yates Garden, which is the longest-run community garden in Northern Kentucky. The other 24 locations on the tour will be gardens at private residences.
 
The tour is a fundraiser for the Westside Action Coalition as well as for the John G. Carlisle School. There are plans to launch a garden-related project with the school’s students, but nothing has been set in stone yet.
 
The event will also include a raffle, silent auction and art exhibit. The exhibit will be on Robbins Street, which will be blocked off during the tour, and feature artwork specifically designed for the home and garden.
 
Tickets are available online at CovingtonGardenTour.com for $11 and day-of for $15 at the corner of Robbins and Russell. Parking will be available on the street as well as at John G. Carlisle School.
 

In-fill townhouse development is Towne's first OTR residential project


Towne Properties is working on its first townhouse project in Over-the-Rhine. The development will sit on half an acre along the streetcar route at the northwest corner of 15th and Elm streets.
 
The seven townhomes will be 2,800 square feet, each with a 900-square-foot, partially finished basement. Three-bedroom units will also have two-car detached garages and private backyards, which are hard to come by in OTR, and will be priced at $650,000.
 
The townhomes will have a similar look and feel to Towne’s Beacon Hill condo development in Deerfield Township, which was designed after neighborhoods in Boston.  

"This is a very unique product in that we're using high-end, long-lasting materials that will stand the test of time," says Towne's Chad Munitz.

He also says that the units will be about 25 feet wide, when typical townhouses and condos in OTR are about 17 feet wide.
 
As part of the project, Towne is also redeveloping the existing building at 1517 Elm St. into first-floor retail space with two condos above. New Republic is the architect for the rehabilitation portion of the project, and PDT Architects is working on the townhouses.
 
Towne took the plans before the Historic Conservation Board meeting on June 8 for a preliminary design review to gather feedback. The plans were well received, and after a few tweaks Towne will bring them back to the board in several weeks to get approval for construction.

Towne will also approach the city to have the land rezoned from commercial property to single-family.
 
If things go according to plan, construction will start on the project in July and could be completed by next spring.
 

College Hill's mid-business district getting a facelift


Over the next year, 17 businesses in College Hill will receive storefront updates thanks to the neighborhood’s facade improvement program that’s funded through a $175,000 Neighborhood Business District Improvement Program grant from the city and a $10,000 grant from the PNC Foundation. The grant money will also be met with private investment from the building owners and an 80/20 match from storefront owners.
 
College Hill saw $400,000 worth of facade improvements in 2006, when many of the well-established businesses received new windows and doors, updated signage and lights. But now that a number of years have passed, new businesses have moved in and properties have changed hands.
 
“With other neighborhood residents becoming property owners, it’s time for another round of improvements,” says Mike Cappel, president of the College Hill Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation (CHCURC).
 
All of the businesses in Phase II of the program are located on Hamilton Avenue in the neighborhood’s mid-business district. College Hill Coffee Company will soon have new awnings, Marty’s Hops and Vines will get a new sign and Silk Road Textiles will receive new windows and doors, just to name a few.
 
“You would be amazed at what new signage and lighting can do,” Cappel says. “It really helps to let people know the businesses are there.”
 
CHCURC has built a new parking lot at the corner of Marlowe and Hamilton Avenues, tearing down two dilapidated buildings in order to create about 90 parking spaces as well as new entrances, lights and landscaping. The organization had previously announced a $10.5 million mixed-use project for the area that’s dependent on receiving federal tax credits, which should be announced soon.
 

Paddlefest events to connect Tristate with the outdoors, promote healthy living


Part of Green Umbrella’s mission is to promote outdoor recreation and nature awareness for kids of all ages, and there’s no better example than the nonprofit’s annual Paddlefest, which returns June 18-20.
 
June 18 is the Paddlefest Kids Expo, 9:30 a.m-4:30 p.m. at Coney Island. The free event is divided into four villages: Let’s Splash, Let’s Be Green, Let’s Explore and Let’s Move. Each village teaches life skills that include everything from catching your first fish to how to paddle a raft and how to recycle and compost.
 
“It’s a chance to families to unplug from the digital world and plug into nature,” says Brewster Rhoads, the outgoing executive director of Green Umbrella.
 
Kids get passports and, if they get stamps from 10 different activities, receive a jump rope to take home. Rhoads says that at the end of the day each kid walks about 1.5 miles and goes home tired and excited about the world around them.
 
“This is all part of helping to grown the next generation of environmental stewards,” he says. “It also brings up adults’ awareness of the most important natural resource and helps boost Cincinnati’s green footprint.”
 
The Ohio River Music & Outdoor Festival is June 19 at Coney Island and provides Paddlefest participants an opportunity to register for the event and drop off their boat. The free event will also include boat demos, a gear swap, a kayak fishing tournament and live music. Bands go on at 5 p.m. and will play until midnight; featured acts include Rumpke Mountain Boys, The Hot Magnolias, Jake Speed & the Freddies, Michela Miller and East of Vine.
 
The 14th Annual Ohio River Paddlefest is June 20 and is open to paddlers of all skill levels, from the recreational paddler to the competitive racing paddlers. It’s the largest paddling event in the United States, with about 2,000 people working down the Ohio River together.
 
“This event gives people a personal and intimate experience with the Ohio,” Rhoads says. “It draws attention to the region’s biggest asset and helps bust myths about the river. People think the Ohio is dangerous and dirty, but during the event they realize it’s cleaner and safer than they imagined.”
 
Paddlefest has grown from a four-hour event to an eight-mile, three-day event for adults and kids. The event begins at Coney Island, stops at Smith Field and ends at the Public Landing downtown. There’s a shuttle at the end of the route that will take participants back to their vehicles.
 
Registration is $35 per person, and everyone gets a T-shirt. You can register for Paddlefest here.
 
For more outdoor recreation activities and events around the Tristate this summer, visit meetmeoutdoors.com.
 

Local musicians opening Northside Sound Factory this weekend


The papered-up windows of 4172 Hamilton Ave. don’t look like much now, but on June 13 Northside Sound Factory will open its doors at the storefront. Local musicians Clinton Vearil and Josh Pilot, formerly of The KillTones, wanted to bring affordable instruments and accessories and vintage pieces to the neighborhood.
 
“The area is growing rapidly, and we felt it’s something the town could really use,” Pilot says. “There are lots of musicians in Northside, so we knew it was something the community could use and appreciate.”
 
The space used to be a restaurant but has been remodeled to fit a musician’s every need. One of the two restrooms was soundproofed and will be a testing station for instruments, where customers can set up an amp or drum set to try it out.
 
Vearil and Pilot will sell new and used musical instruments and accessories as well as unique and interesting pieces the two have been collecting. In the next few weeks, Northside Sound Factory will also begin offering a consignment service for instruments. Besides instruments, the shop will also offer an instrument repair service and lessons.
 
Shortly after opening, the shop will offer a delivery service for bands and musicians who are ready to start their set and either forgot something or are in need of a replacement string, pick or strap.
 
“With Northside Tavern right across the street, a bartender will be able to call our delivery number and we’ll bring over whatever the bands need,” Pilot says. “It won’t be a huge thing for the shop, but we really want to help musicians as well as help the surrounding music scene.”  
 
Pilot says they also plan to donate instruments to a number of schools and other organizations that help kids get into music. The guys already have a number of guitars to donate and are looking for other instruments as well.
 
“Music has been such a great thing in our lives, and we want any kid who wants to learn to have that ability,” he says.
 
Northside Sound Factory will be open 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, but the shop will open at noon on June 13. The grand opening event will include music from The Good Morning Heartaches, Betsy Ross and The All Seeing Eyes featuring Johnny Walker. The bands will play in the alley next to the shop, and Lyric food truck will be set up on Hamilton Avenue. 
 
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