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Over-the-Rhine : Development News

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Park[ed] creates permanent food truck venue in OTR

As crowds soak up free concerts, performances and movies in the new Washington Park, starting this Friday night, they’ll be able to soak up their favorite food truck fare there, too.


That’s when, during the Friday night concert, the parking lot for the non-profit Emanuel Center on Race Street will transform into the inaugural Park[ed], by The City Flea, starting at 7 pm. 


Located just across the street from the Park’s main stage, the lot typically sits empty after business hours and on weekends. During Park[ed], local food truck vendors will set up shop there and sell menu items perfect for taking right back to the park.


“There’s huge demand for something to eat,” says organizer Nick Dewald, half of the dynamic duo behind The City Flea  (with his wife Lindsay). Once he learned that Emanuel staff was interested in finding new ways to connect more with Washington Park and the community, he set out to create Park[ed].


While he loves the restaurants on Vine and Main streets, he notes the lack of “grab and go” foods that would be ideal for park events like the Over the Rhine concert that drew thousands of fans to the Park.


“This is giving people a quicker option,” he says. “If you leave the park to go find food, there’s a decent chance you won’t come back.”


Since he was already connected with nearly all of the city’s food truck vendors through The City Flea, he asked owners what they thought of the idea. “Everybody was on board,” he says. 


From staples like Café de Wheels and Turophilia to newcomers like C’est CheeseQueen City Cookies and Eat Mobile, the options will vary from event to event and night to night. “We’re open to having every mobile vendor in the city take part in some way or another,” says Dewald.


Offerings will vary based on the occasion, the size of crowd expected and the availability of vendors, Dewald says, but high demand could dictate more hours and more options. 


“It could turn into a nightly thing,” he says. “It’s all about making it work for the vendors as well.”


For his part, Dewald will set up a calendar for the space and publicize it, using a new Twitter handle to announce which trucks will be on site for specific events. Plans also include adding some atmosphere—some lighting, a couple of tables, music and maybe even a cornhole set or a ping pong table to keep patrons occupied while they wait for their orders. 


“We’re not looking to become a place to come and hang out,” Dewald says. His goal is to provide a consistent space for food trucks to vend while satisfying the hunger of Park guests and neighbors in Over the Rhine. 


“We like this proximity to the park so much,” he says.


Since alcohol sales in the park help pay for its operations, he has no plans to add alcohol to Park[ed]’s offerings. Dewald says the trucks will be set up and serving by 7 pm, and plans to keep them running till 10 pm on nights when events occur in Washington Park.


Find out the schedule and day-by-day options by following @eat_PARKED on Twitter.

By Elissa Yancey
Follow Elissa on Twitter.

Downtown boutique hotels offer new views

What do art installations, European-inspired cuisine and rooftop bars have in common?

They are amenities in new boutique hotels coming to downtown Cincinnati.

Boutique hotels – which tend to be smaller, offer unique rooms and specialized services - have long been a European mainstay and have increased in popularity in large metropolitan cities like New York, Chicago and Boston.

In Cincinnati, three historic buildings have been or will be renovated into boutique hotels to provide more rooms, more retail space and more culinary choices for both out-of-town travelers and local residents who choose to stay closer to home and “staycation,” officials say.

Last week, the City of Cincinnati approved a deal that would convert the former Cincinnati Enquirer building at 617 Vine St. into a $27 million hotel. SREE Hotels LLC of North Carolina said it plans to open the 238-room hotel and 12,000 feet of retail space on the street level by the end of 2014. Full details of hotel amenities have not been disclosed. The company operates 30 hotels in four states and is franchised with Marriott International, Hilton Hotels, Intercontinental Hotels and Starwood Hotels.

The hotel would add 35 full-time and 20 part-time employees.

“It is always great when we can preserve and restore one of our historic, old buildings in Cincinnati,” Mayor Mark Mallory says. “The deal also illustrates the increasing demand for more hotel rooms in Cincinnati. We have been focused on creating providing a great visitor experience for all of our guests, and that is paying off with increased tourism and convention business.”

The 21c Museum Hotel, on schedule to open by the end of this year, will add 156 hotel rooms and suites to the former Hotel Metropole as well as an 8,000-square-foot contemporary art museum.

The hotel will also feature a rooftop bar and spa. The restaurant and bar, which will be named Metropole, will emphasize Cincinnati’s Germanic beginning and will use local ingredients. ?

The Neoclassical-styled Metropole, which first opened in 1912, was added to the National Register of Historic Place in June 2009.

The hotel recently began accepting reservations online at www.21cmuseumHotels.com beginning in January 2013 and beyond, says Molly Swyers, spokeswoman for Louisville-based 21 C Museum Hotels.

“In our minds, there isn't a more ideal location for 21c than in the heart of a city's cultural district, and so we are thrilled to have the Contemporary Art Center next door, the Aronoff Center across the street, Fountain Square just a block away, and many other cultural institutions nearby,’’ Swyers says. “We are very excited to do our part to contribute to the growing vibrancy of downtown Cincinnati.”

She says the company anticipates hosting job fairs in September.

The Eagle Realty Group renovated the historic Phelps Apartment building, across from Lytle Park on East Fourth Street, into a 134-room Residence Inn, which opened in March 2011. The Phelps runs at about more than 80 percent occupancy and is among the top-ranked Residence Inn extended stay hotels in their system, Eagle Realty officials say. The Phelps bar offers craft cocktails and small bites. It was the first new hotel in downtown Cincinnati in 30 years.

Across downtown and tucked away is the Symphony Hotel Bed and Breakfast, which is likely more known locally for its nightly five-course dinners. The hotel, across the street from Music Hall, is a restored mansion that offers just four rooms, all of which are named after composers. Rooms are decorated with antiques and have a European flair.

While each hotel will have unique offerings, they all will showcase a slice of Cincinnati’s rich history, architecture and influence – which just may be the true definition of boutique.

By Chris Graves

Chris Graves, is the assistant vice president of digital and social media at the Powers Agency, and would love to know of other Boutique hotels in the city. (Follow her on Twitter)

DAAP first-year fuses design brand of her own

How do you wear beauty? Fuse Theory has some ideas…

University of Cincinnati College of Design Architecture Art and Planning (DAAP) student Alexandra Scott has an eye for beauty found in the “ugly and unusual” and some inspired ideas about the expression of individuality.

That’s why only a year into her college career, she decided to launch her own line of hand-designed, dyed and screen printed apparel and accessories based on the premise that “everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.”

Scott is the creator, owner-operator and designer for her brand, Fuse Theory, a line of clothing and accessories for men and women that she developed after just one year in the DAAP program’s fashion design and product development track.

A native Cincinnatian and graduate of Walnut Hills High School, Scott says she has always been interested in art and fashion, but wasn’t sure at first how to combine the two.

“I wanted to find a way to open people’s eyes to the beauty found in the unexpected,” she says.

Scott derives inspiration from the fusion of ideas and concepts into an aesthetic that reaches a little deeper to connect beauty with individuality.

The brand name Fuse Theory unifies this connection with wearable pieces of art that are as comfortable as they are interesting. The brand seeks to combine color, texture and emotion to find beauty in life’s imperfections. Her trademark eye image, which can be found on her designs, symbolizes both her aesthetic and philosophy.

Although Scott’s designs are grounded in the basics, they’re far from unremarkable.

“My designs are not about impressing others,” she says. “It’s more about expressing the emotional side of fashion.”

She focuses on comfortable pieces that allow the wearer to be creative. “I don’t want my customers to be walking billboards for my brand,” she says. “I want them to buy my designs because they mean something.”

Both artisan and entrepreneur, Scott’s merchandise is a work of art from the initial design concept to the hand dying and screen-printing that bring pieces to life. Any flaws in the process contribute to the individualistic and emotional intent of her work.

Currently, Scott is collaborating with local graffiti artists on a new collection that incorporates street art onto men’s and women’s apparel. Look for these new designs online in late August.

In the meantime, Scott’s handiwork can be found online at fusetheoryapparel.com, or in the community on Aug. 25 at the Price Hill Cultural Heritage Festival, at Second Sunday on Main in Over-the-Rhine or at the West Chester Art Market every other Saturday.

Scott says she would like to feature her brand with local retailers and eventually open her own store. She will graduate in 2014, and the possibilities are likely to expand. We can’t wait to see what’s next.

By Deidra Wiley Necco


New single-family units coming to Pendelton District in OTR

A year ago, Chris Lacey moved from Maderia to the Pendleton District of Over the Rhine to live in one of the six new single-family homes he built on Dandridge Avenue. 
 
The town homes sold out within three months of completion and Lacey saw the opportunity to help turn the neighborhood. At the intersection of Pendleton Street and Dandridge, Lacey now owns six other buildings and is in the process of rehabbing them into single-family homes. Some will even have rental units in the building that when rented, will pay the mortgage of the home. The reason for creating single-family houses is to draw homebuyers to Over the Rhine, something that will ultimately help change the neighborhood. 
 
"Homebuyers drive change," Lacey says. "Sure, just having people renting in a neighborhood and having a presence helps, but if a momma bear is somewhere, she is going to make sure her and her kids are safe. Families also have necessities they need nearby. If families are around, businesses will come in." 
 
Lacey, who has been in development for over 30 years, says that many young professionals that move downtown after college or obtaining a job will likely move out once they have children, looking for better schools and safer neighborhoods. The new homes will have yards, parking, in-home washer and dryers and other amenities that are usual in suburbs, but not as often in urban areas. 
 
Adjacent to the buildings Lacey owns is an acre and a half lot he also owns. Right now, the lot is filled with a community garden and the rest is filled with hundreds of sunflowers, which Lacey planted to brighten up the area. 
 
"I've done it in other places it really helps liven it up," Lacey says. "I cleaned cars, sofas and tons of garbage out of the lot, now it's pretty much a community park." 
 
Lacey plans on building  10 to 12 more homes in the lot within the next year or two. The units that are currently being worked on will open in October and continue through the next months. After all of Lacey's current land is developed, he will have 30 completed units within one block.
 
Before moving downtown, Lacey and his wife contemplated moving out of town, but instead moved downtown and Lacey says they couldn't be more happy about the decision. 
 
"It's rewarding to help fix something that is broken," Lacey says. "Both the buildings and the neighborhood are turning around." 

Lacey says he has his eye on 14 other buildings in the Pendleton District.
 
By Evan Wallis

Baker-Gibboney makes most of cool beans

Jill Baker-Gibboney has been making coffee professionally since she was 16. Originally from western Pennsylvania, she moved to Cincinnati with her parents as a teenager.  

“I spent a lot of time saying that I was going to leave,” she says of her teenage ennui. But after having a child herself and moving over a decade ago to Northside, “I knew I was staying.”

Although she no longer lives in Northside proper (she thinks Cincinnati has a lot of “best kept secret” neighborhoods), Baker-Gibboney now slings a wholly different kind of cup of joe at farmers markets and small independent businesses around town.  

Her current endeavor is bottled iced coffee: Coffee Cold—named for the eponymous song by jazz composer/pianist Galt MacDermot.

With the help of her friend of nearly two decades, Chuck Pfahler of La Terza Artisan Roasterie, Baker-Gibboney wants to revolutionize the way Americans—or at least Cincinnatians—drink coffee.  

The cold-brewing process creates a slightly sweeter cup, Baker-Gibboney says.

“My hope is that folks will at least try it first without their normal doctoring of the cup,” she says. “What’s the point in demanding a better product if you’re still going to treat it the same as a bad one?”

Her reasoning is valid. Coffee brewing technology has improved by leaps and bounds, and independent roasters like La Terza use responsibly sourced beans that are single origin and locally roasted in small batches, so the coffee is as fresh and customized to taste as possible.  

The process of cold brewing adds to the intensity.

“When you ice a bean, you can taste everything,” says the coffee lover. “There’s no hiding behind temperature—every flavor, good or bad, is present.”

So far, the verdict has been sweet. After testing several batches at Hyde Park and Wyoming farmers markets, they’ve sold out of each case nearly every time.  

A mere week after the launch, the fledgling company was contacted by six different retailers about selling wholesale. Expect to see Coffee Cold on the shelves of area markets like Park + Vine, Picnic & Pantry and Clifton Natural Foods, as well as specialty shops that carry alcohol like the Listing Loon and local pubs like the Comet.

Although Coffee Cold is the first and only locally roasted/brewed/bottled iced coffee in the Tri-State, they’ll still have to contend with the hyper-sweet “frappe-latte-smoothies” of their corporate competitors.

From the sound of it, Coffee Cold will rely more on the depth of their beans than artificial flavors and sweeteners. “If you start with great beans, and you prepare them carefully, you don’t need anything at all,” Baker-Gibboney says.

By Maria Seda-Reeder

Pedal Wagon doubles fleet, adds Reds to tour partner list

Since the beginning of the year, Jack Heekin and his business partner, Tom O'Brian, have been steering their Pedal Wagon around Cincinnati, putting smiles on the faces of their customers and bringing business into local bars. 
 
The 15-person, pedal powered machine, has been booked with four pub crawls on Friday and Saturday nights as well as several on weekdays. With business continuing to grow, Heekin and O'Brian are adding a second Pedal Wagon to their fleet. The second wagon will allow for more tours and new promotions, including a deal with the Cincinnati Reds. 
 
Heekin contacted the Reds about collaborating on a home game promotion that will sell group tickets to Pedal Wagon riders and give them a five-stop pub crawl before the baseball game. Heekin notes that some Reds fans may already have season tickets and still be interested in the Pedal Wagon pub crawl, so it will also be available without the discounted Reds tickets. 
 
"It's just another way to get people downtown and into local businesses," Heekin says. "That was our goal from the start." 
 
Heekin hopes the partnership will also bring a more festive atmosphere to the Banks during home games and will also give Pedal Wagon riders discounts at the selected stops. 
 
"All the businesses we've worked with so far have been very thankful for the business we bring, and we feel the same way," Heekin says. "This will help us do more of that." 
 
Heekin and O'Brian hope to have three pedal wagons on the streets of Cincinnati by the end of the year, and their second one will be on the streets in three to four weeks. Another goal the pair has, to obtain an open container license for the Pedal Wagons, will have to wait for the winter months.
 
"As much fun as it would be to get the license, we don't want that to be the focus," Heekin says. "We really just want to get people out to enjoy the city. The more wagons we have, the more we can do that." 
 
By Evan Wallis

Columbus' clothing store expands to OTR

What started as a web-based clothing store out of a Tennessee home is now opening its second location at 1435 Main Street in Over-the-Rhine. 
 
Substance, the clothing store started by Christina Getachew, was founded in 2002 online. When her husband's job took her from Tennessee to Columbus, Ohio, she decided to open up a storefront in the Short North District in 2006. 
 
Substance is a women's clothing store that focuses on sustainable and organically manufactured clothing with a mission to show that substance and style can go hand in hand.

Substance carries both in-house designed products as well as product lines that have the same sustainable mindset. Getachew and her team even design some products in the store's design lab where they repurpose out-of-season garments. 
 
"It's all about repurposing. We use garments from previous years and turn them into something new," Getachew says. "It's a small collection, but we like people to see the creative process so they can appreciate it."
 
Three years ago, Getachew began to think about expanding her business, and when another move landed her in Cincinnati, she began to look for a second storefront.

Getachew says that a creative atmosphere is a must for her stores and that Over-the-Rhine reminded her of what the Short North District was like when she opened her first store. She also found the creative, supportive atmosphere she was familiar with in Over-the-Rhine. 
 
"It was difficult to find places where business owners understand that the more businesses, the better for everyone," Getachew says. "Main Street was the complete opposite. It was inviting and it seems like the businesses really collaborate and help each other out." 
 
Getachew plans on growing her business through franchises once she gets her second store up and running. Substance will have a soft opening June 29, but will plan a bigger grand opening with the introduction of fall products in August. 
 
By Evan Wallis

Design challenge yields implementable ideas

In April, MSA Architects launched The Five Design Challenge, and now, after sorting through more than 40 entries, from as far away as China and Portland, Oregon, the winners have been chosen. 
 
The challenge was to choose one of five unused spaces around Cincinnati and come up with an idea to transform the space into something useful. The spaces ranged from empty lots to a space underneath a highway.
 
The entires were judged by Tamara Harkavy of ArtWorks, Chad Munitz of 3CDC, Leah Spurrier of High Street, William Williams of DAAP and City Council member Wendell Young. Nick Dewald and Chris Rohs, employees at MSA, say all the judges picked ideas realistic and implementable. 
 
"We don't push the judges in any way," Rohs says. "All the judges seemed to be more interested in the ideas that could actually happen, instead of the pie-in-the-sky sort of stuff." 
 
The top prize was split among three entrants:

• SEED, Sustained Employment & Entrepreneurship Developmen,t was a proposal for a small business incubator with short-term lease spaces and start-up support services. It used several of the under-utilized spaces in Over-the-Rhine: vacant lots, empty buildings and alleyways. These stereotypically ‘bad’ spaces are reinterpreted to create a 24-hour mixed-use building that serves as a catalyst for the neighborhood, creating local jobs, promoting a start-up culture, and improving perceptions of safety. 
 
• Loop Cincy took all five sites and connected them with a bike path and to Cincinnati landmarks and attractions to create a more connected city. The five sites were designed into an outdoor gym, a small park and even a small concert space.
 
• 4Hostel created a hostel on one one of the spaces, which was an empty lot, providing low-cost accommodations for travelers.
 
MSA plans on hosting the competition each year, but changing the theme. 
 
"We want to keep the theme pretty broad," Dewald says. "Instead of focusing on one building, like many architectural challenges do, we want to focus on improving Cincinnati in a more general way." 
 
By Evan Wallis

Segway store expands downtown

Shawn Jenkins opened Segway of Cincinnati on Reds Opening Day in 2008. Jenkins had already been offering Segway Tours in Eden Park for about a year and decided to set up shop on Central Parkway and Vine Street to be able to do more downtown tours, as well as sell and service Segways. 
 
After adding electric bikes, several models of Segways, motorized skateboards and other equipment, the small showroom grew cluttered, so Jenkins decided to expand into an adjacent space and offer bike repairs and other services. 
 
"We were losing the showroom feel," Jenkins says. "Our hand was kind of forced to get more space, but looking back, I don't know how we managed to run everything out of one space." 
 
The new space, The Garage OTR, is next door to the Segway Shop and will repair both electric and traditional bicycles, as well as all Segways. The additional space allows Jenkins to sell more bike and Segway accessories, including locks, helmets and lights, in the showroom, meeting a growing customer demand. Jenkins says without any advertising, the shop has already been busy with bike repairs.
 
"We're not trying to be a bike shop," Jenkins says. "But there are so many bikes in this city right now, we are flying through tubes. We're happy to be here to help the community." 
 
While he opened up shop to highlight the Segway as a low-energy transportation option that reduces riders' carbon footprints and is especially practical for urban residents. 
 
"Seventy percent of American's trips are three miles or less, and 70 percent of those are one mile or less," Jenkins says. "So if you use any of these types of transportation, in lieu of a car, it can be a big change." 
 
By Evan Wallis
 

New Pet Wants location lets owners shop for, dine with pets

Pet Wants opened in Findlay Market two years ago and now sell 15,000 pounds of their own gluten-free formula pet food each month. On Final Friday, June 29, the owners open a new storefront at 1409 Vine Street. 
 
Amanda Broughton and Michele Hobbs, both OTR residents, developed their own dog food after they discovered their dog, Jackson, has severe allergies. After looking around and only finding expensive alternatives and rarely purchased dog food options, Hobbs and Broughton knew they could develop a better recipe. 
 
"We wanted something that was manufactured every month and could give people a fresh alternative to all the expensive pet foods," Hobbs says. "Business has been great. Finding out Jackson had allergies turned out to be a pretty good thing."
 
To get a little help building out their new Vine Street store, Hobbs contacted UC about using engineer students to help as part of a class project. She eventually got three UC engineering graduate students to help.

The students helped plan and build two storage and dispenser devices which hold three different types of food each. The devices have turn-cranks to dispense food by the pound.

Pet Wants is the only company in the area to sell dog food by the pound.
 
"We're all about using local everything," Hobbs says. "We even make sure our drivers use Ohio trucks so we know they will contribute to the state's economy."
 
"Findlay Market has a sort of tourist vibe, but we have a lot of local support," Hobbs says. "So to support the community and revitalization coming in down here, we are moving in, too."
 
The Vine Street store will sell Pet Wants dog and cat food, as well as all-natural snacks like jerky and Pet Wants' signature 'Pawsicles,' a popsicle-like dog treat. 
 
"We're going to have some tables outside so you can bring some food from down the street and have menus for the dogs," Hobbs says. "You'll be able to come and order a fresh Pawsicle for your dog while you eat dinner."
 
By Evan Wallis
 

Brandery lures young, coastal talents to Cincinnati

What do a former Indian national tennis champion, a former metal band drummer, the founder of DUMBO start-up lab in Brooklyn and three teenagers on leave from MIT, Harvard and Princeton have in common?
 
They’ll all be sharing space at The Brandery in Over-the-Rhine, where they’ll begin 14 weeks of classes, mentoring and accelerated business development this summer.
 
The new Brandery class is more about people than specific ideas, according to Brandery General Manager Mike Bott. He expects their business designs to evolve and clarify through their work in Over-the-Rhine.
 
In all, the class of 11 new start-ups includes entrepreneurs from Chicago, San Francisco, New York City, Seattle and Cleveland. They bring experience from Google/You Tube, Goldman Sachs and Beerology. Go ahead, look it up.
 
Like other Brandery newbies, they’ll get $20,000 and 14 weeks of support, guidance and access to mentors. After they, they’ll have a chance to pitch their business ideas to a room full of investors at Demo Day.
 
Stay tuned for more stories from this new Brandery crew in the weeks and months to come.

Branding 'Vikings' land in OTR

The Vikings are coming to OTR, and you'd better get ready. 
 
Jason Snell and Mike Gibboney, two veterans of the branding and marketing world, are opening up a storefront office for their "creative house", We Have Become Vikings, on 1417 Vine Street. Until now, Gibboney and Snell have been working remotely on both national and local products, but decided it was time to build more of a presence in Cincinnati.
 
Snell, a former employee at Lightborne and Possible Worldwide, decided he wanted to stick around Cincinnati and build his own company. In 2007, when his focus on clients in New York, Austin, Los Angeles and Portland, almost led Snell to skip town and set up shop elsewhere. But friends and family anchored him in Cincinnati. Gibboney left his job as a higher-education administrator last year to pursue a career in advertising; he freelanced for Empower MediaMarketing and started conversations with Snell about working together. 
 
The first large project the two worked on was a campaign from Cincinnati to Austin for South By Southwest. They called it "Down." WHBV worked with Landor to create a day party full of Cincinnati bands, and even drove a flatbed truck into downtown Austin from which they gave away 100 guitars.. 
 
"We just wanted to make a big splash," Snell says. "After that went well, we decided it was time to open up a storefront." 
 
But what about that name? We Have Become Vikings doesn't exactly roll off the tongue easily. Snell says it was inspired by small ad firms in New York with eye-catching names--and the ubiquitous nature of advertising.
 
"As a society, branding and advertising has kind of taken over the world, just like Vikings," Snell says. "It's come into everyone's life, whether you like it or not. [The name] also makes for some badass graphics." 
 
Just take a look at the faceless Viking decal on both the storefront windows. 
 
The duo's website lists six areas of expertise, ranging from animation to branding, but Snell says he wants to be known as a full-service branding agency. 
 
"With branding, you can really make someone and their company realize their full potential," Snell says. "We can help people portray exactly what they want to be."
 

Night market to provide late night NOMs

Over the Rhine is about to get some new late night food options, in the form of a night market, Night Owl Market (NOM), set up in the parking lot at the corner of Central Parkway and Main Street.
 
Nadia Laabs and Sally Yoon, two Procter & Gamble employees, turned their late-night frustration into a new business opportunity. When they were out late one night and could find nowhere to eat, they saw a hunger to fill a gaping hole in the downtown food market. So, they decided to try to fill it themselves. 
 
The two first looked at the alley on Walnut Street adjacent to Nicholson's Pub, but the space was being used for the construction of the new 21c Museum Hotel. So they finally settled on the OTR location. 
 
"At first, Sally suggested parking lots, and I hadn't really thought about it," Laabs says. "But they turned out to be the best option because they are private property, and there are a lot less regulations and permits." 
 
After securing the parking lot for Final Friday in July, Yoon and Laabs began talking to organizers of events like the City Flea, Second Sundays on Main and the Asian Food Fest to get an idea of how to plan for the NOM. Next, they sent out surveys to test interest in the idea. After good feedback and requests for specific types of food, Laabs and Yoon began contacting vendors. 
 
NOM is currently ranked in the top 10 for the Cincinnati Innovates contest based on public voting. If they win, Yoon and Laabs would use the money for NOM start-up costs. 
 
NOM will be open from 10 pm - 3 am and feature up to 11 vendors, including food trucks and booths from local restaurants, complete with tables and chairs, live music and even security. 
 
"If it's successful, we'd like to do it every weekend," Laabs says. "We definitely think there is a need and interest."
 
NOM is tentatively planned for every Final Friday from July until November, based on vendor interest and overall business. Check the website for the latest news.
 
 

Rise of the cool kids in Cincinnati

Nathan Hurst founded Cincinnati Fashion Week in 2010, and as it rolls into its third year, more and more people are getting involved. 
 
One Cincinnati resident, who has worked with Fashion Week before, pitched an idea to Hurst about highlighting the young, adventurous and energetic street fashion scene growing in Cincinnati. That person, who wants to keep his name a secret for now, is creating a team to help him develop the event, "Rise of the Cool Kids."
 
"I don't want people to associate a person with this, but rather a movement or a kind of person," says the Cincinnatus Kidd, a moniker that has been created to promote the event. 
 
Street fashion at the event shows that all fashion doesn't have to be expensive and unattainable; it should be more of a personal expression.
 
"When people use the word fashion, they use it in reference to the highest forms of fashion, but fashion is an everyday thing," Kidd says. "There is a pretty good understanding now that art used to be a painting in a frame, but now it can be anything, including street art. I don't think that same idea has come across to fashion."
 
The event will be held Oct. 6, tentatively on the roof of a parking garage, and will highlight local boutiques in a runway fashion show. The parking garage will be transformed into a streetscape, complete with street signs, scale models of OTR buildings and even shoes hanging over wires highlighting some of the brands being showcased.

There will be local DJs, hip-hop artists, visual artists, dancers and skateboarders on site. Rise of the Cool Kids will also team with Original Thought Required, Corporate and Flow, all local clothing shops, to create preview events at each store. 
 
"Street fashion is getting noticed more around here, and it's time to recognize it," Kidd says. "This has been a very mall-driven city, but now people are expressing themselves differently."
 
By Evan Wallis
 

ThisIsOTR Instagrams Over-the-Rhine

"What's it really like?" That single question sparked a new photo-streaming website, ThisisOtr.com. 
 
The site automatically aggregates photos from Instagram if they are tagged with the hashtag #ThisIsOtr. The simple website was brought to life by two Urban Sites employees, Mia Carruthers and Michael Chewning. Carruthers, an OTR resident, says she was tired of answering questions from people who hadn't visited the neighborhood recently.
 
"I wanted a way to show people that don't live here and maybe don't know what is going on in OTR right now what this place really is," Carruthers says. "You can say it to anyone, but until they see it from people who enjoy OTR, they're not going to get it."
 
With that in mind, the two asked a friend if making the website was possible. Soon after, it was up and running. After posting the website on their Facebook pages, it quickly gained traction on social media. After launching last week, the website already has dozens of photos of the buildings, people and art in Over-the-Rhine. 
 
Urban Sites manages properties for more than 500 residents and will be opening up 23 new apartments on Walnut Street in the coming months. Chewning says they also thought of making the website as a way to give all of Urban Sites' residents a way to connect. With it already in the public domain, though, it can connect the entire community.
 
"We've seen pictures from a lot of people we didn't even know lived in OTR," Carruthers says. "Now I want to meet them all. I think it will be a great way for people to network, and it really showed us that there are people who feel the same way we do about OTR and want others to see that, too."
 
 
 
 
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