After visits to dozens of uptown businesses, the Hamilton County Development Company
(HCDC) has launched a series of seminars designed to meet the immediate needs of local businesses.
It's part of the Consortium's business retention efforts. The first workshop, on business redesign, came after one-on-one meetings in Clifton, Mt. Auburn and Clifton Heights, University Heights and Fairview (CUF). The Consortium will meet with business owners in Avondale and Corryville, says Janelle Lee, director of business and community affairs at Uptown Consortium.
"We've decided to hold quarterly workshops on different topics, based on our meetings. Our next one is on marketing, and how to best reach your customers. What keeps our communities thriving, safe and clean are our small businesses, and we want to keep them in business," she says.
The Uptown Consortium is a non-profit community development corporation supported in part by some of Uptown's major employers, including Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, UC Health, TriHealth, the University of Cincinnati the Cincinnati Zoo. Those organization employ more than 50,000 people and have an annual economic impact of $3 billion.
HCDC is nonprofit business incubator and economic development agency aimed at retaining and creating jobs.
The design workshop featured local expert Andrew McQuilkin, chief strategic design efficer at BHDP Architecture
, which specializes in retail design, store planning and branding. He was joined by Diane Agricola, an experienced interior redesigner and owner of Agricola Redesign
"They gave tips and trends on revitalizing your storefronts and entrances, and making small changes like updating hardware or painting. They also talked about branding concepts, or changing your awnings or windows to attract customers," Lee says.
Afterward, a local business, jewelry store D Raphael in Clifton, was chosen for a free redesign. The redesign took an afternoon and gave the business a more updated, sophisticated look, which better highlights owner David Raphael Brine pieces, he says.
"I've been in the store for so long that I no longer had a good perspective, and I was willing to trust in them to change things for the better," says Brine, who has been in is current location since 1981. "Right away people who owned stores nearby told me how great it looked, and another young man on his way to a yoga class came in specifically to tell me how much he liked it. It was totally unsolicited and gratifying."
To find out more about the outreach, go the the Uptown Consortium
By Feoshia Henderson
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