The Over-the-Rhine Chamber of Commerce
holds its 2015 Annual Meeting and Star Awards
luncheon April 7 to celebrate the individuals and organizations who are leading efforts to improve the neighborhood.
The awards recognize individuals and businesses in 10 categories, including New Business, Nonprofit, Entrepreneur and Community Impact of the year. Nominations were solicited at the start of the year from the public through Facebook, Twitter and outreach to Chamber members, stakeholders and the media.
“We are really fortunate to have a neighborhood full of stakeholders who are truly passionate about Over-the-Rhine and excited about the momentum,” says Chamber President Emilie Johnson, “as well as the opportunity to nominate and potentially be awarded a Star Award.”
In addition to the Star Awards, the luncheon will feature Cincinnati Reds CEO Bob Castellini
as keynote speaker.
“We always try to find someone who can share some unique insight and experience with the neighborhood for the keynote,” Johnson says. “This year Bob Castellini will give the big picture of things going in the neighborhood.”
Johnson will highlight the Chamber's accomplishments in the past year, including an update on the Business Innovation Challenge
, a new Chamber program launched in 2014. The Chamber received 17 applications last year and awarded $1,000 grants to Steam Whistle Letterpress
and We Have Become Vikings
At the luncheon, Johnson will announce the opening of nominations for a second round of the Business Innovation Challenge.
“We have received some fantastic support, including from Fifth Third Bank, who will be a presenting sponsor for the program,” she says.
This as been a busy spring for the OTR Chamber, which recently moved its office from 13th
and Clay to 14th and Walnut. The new office is located within one block of Vine, Main and Liberty streets.
The move was prompted, in part, by the Clay location becoming a “great connector corner,” according to Johnson.
“In any kind of urban planning or development the more active uses you can get on your corner, the more consumer-facing businesses, the better,” she says. “We were sitting on an important corner.”
The Chamber has moved offices several times over the years, responding to development needs in the neighborhood. Although a central location is ideal, the space the Chamber occupies within a building is even more important.
“We love to be on the street level,” Johnson says. “It's the nature of our work, and the stakeholders we support are also very much at street level.”
Members and neighbors will have an opportunity to check out the new Chamber office space at an open house later this summer.
The April 7 Annual Meeting and Star Awards luncheon begins at 12 noon at Music Hall, with doors opening at 11:30. Tickets
are still available, with reservations required by March 31.