Power in proximity at The Brandery's new OTR space

Cincinnati-based business accelerator The Brandery began moving in late June into a three-story office space in the 1400 block of Vine Street. The rehabilitated building features high ceilings, an open floor plan and skylights that let in light to all floors - all desirable features in rapidly-revitalizing Over-the-Rhine.

But The Brandery founders J.B. Kropp and Dave Knox say the features that go beyond the architecture are what will attract creative energy -- and a new generation of startup businesses -- from across the country.

"We looked at a couple of spots," says Kropp, who adds that the revitalization underway in Over-the-Rhine has turned what was once a no-go part of the city into a powerful introduction to Cincinnati for startups from out of town. "If we're going to pull in 15 to 20 people for their first experience of Cincinnati, this is going to be great for it."

Knox added that, although the team considered other sites in Over-the-Rhine, Vine street's placement between Main Street and Washington Park made it ideal.

"It's more the heat of what's happening," he says of the glass-fronted office.

Along with being a fitting introduction to the Queen City, Kropp and Knox say the 4,500-square-foot office is designed to cultivate idea sharing and connectivity among like-minded entrepreneurs. To that end, they say The Brandery office will be open for local startups and startup-related businesses to gather and work.

"We envision seeing more people in Cincinnati coming in," Kropp says. "They might be saying, 'I'm not ready for funding yet, but can I just hang out?'"

Knox adds that The Brandery hopes to serve as a meeting place for area tech and startup meetups, establishing the office space as a central gathering place for people to generate and cultivate new ideas.

"It's a good experience from all sides," Kropp says.

The Brandery's newest class of startups will begin the business development program August 1. Knox says he's excited to begin the program in the new space, a location that he noted is much as he and Kropp envisioned when they launched The Brandery with Bryan Radtke and Rob McDonald in 2010.

"We've been looking for a permanent home ever since we started," he says. "This place has power in its proximity."

By Matt Cunningham
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