Free rent offered to small business owners in College Hill for vacations
CINCINNATI – At College Hill, several local business owners get the chance to operate their own retail space, just in time for the holidays.
Our boutique will be holding its grand opening on Small Business Saturday.
The six-month pilot program, which is run by the College Hill Community Urban Redevelopment Corporation, provides free rent and retail space to five small business owners.
“Our store is a new program we’re launching here at College Hill with the goal of bridging the gap between companies that have gone through incubators and have business plans, but are not quite ready to sign. a long-term lease in a storefront. . We’re kind of looking to explore what the post-COVID environment looks like, ”said Seth Walsh, executive director of CHCURC.
Walsh said more than 50 business owners have applied for the program.
Pop-up stores will open in two currently vacant storefronts on Hamilton Avenue.
Set The Vibez balloon and gift shop will operate at 5852 Hamilton Avenue. LAMA Herbal Solutions, Launch Party, DeeDee’s Butter Bar and Like Mom’s Only Vegan will operate at 5846 Hamilton Avenue.
Walsh said the program was a way to market these small businesses, while also connecting and activating the College Hill business district.
“The College Hill business district is six blocks,” he said. “You can’t have vacant spaces because when you start stringing one, two, or three vacant spaces together, nobody wants to walk past. Then all of a sudden, you cut off part of your business district. So, filling those vacant spaces with new businesses coming in allows us to start connecting the north and the south even more. “
While storefronts have yet to officially open, business owners are already feeling the impact.
“I invited three people to try and buy balloons,” said Erika Standifer, owner of Set the Vibez.
Standifer said that before that she ran her business mostly from her garage.
“With a storefront, I think people take your business a bit more seriously,” she said. “With the times that we are going through right now, with everything that is online, you never know who is scamming, who is not. So just having a real storefront is a plus for us because you can actually walk in and see that we have the product.
“It means everything to me, it’s a big step for my business,” said Brit Cochran, owner of Launch Party, which sells beauty products. “It’s a dream come true to be able to feel the support of the community. The support of the trade association confirms to me that I am on the right track and that my business can continue to grow.
Cochran said the storefront will give him the opportunity to grow his business and meet customers face-to-face.
“Online has been difficult, especially for a very tactile product like beauty,” she said.
Maria Walkup agreed. She runs LAMA Herbal Solutions, which sells CBD products.
“It gives us a chance to get our name out to people and having a retail space for several months gives us the opportunity to talk to customers because in this business consultation is essential,” Walkup said. “We have an online store, but that face to face contact is very, very important to what we do. “
Walsh said CHCURC will use the data from the pilot project to guide future development in the region. The program is in partnership with The Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, Jr. Foundation, YARD & Company and the Kolar Experience Institute.
The inauguration is scheduled for Saturday November 26 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
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