Business accelerator opening storefront in OTR


Business accelerator MORTAR is opening a storefront at 1327 Vine St. in Over-the-Rhine to provide space for entrepreneurs to operate their businesses while taking full advantage of support services. Called Brick OTR, the space hosts its first brand, Originalitees, from Nov. 28 to Dec. 28.
 
“We took a step back and looked at the landscape of Cincinnati,” says William Thomas II, leadership strategist and business developer for MORTAR. “The city is on the brink of a major comeback, and we wanted to make sure we were growing collectively. We also saw there were many others who wanted to take part in the progress who are often overlooked.”
 
Thomas and his partners Derrick Braziel and Allen Woods realized that many of OTR’s longtime residents were getting left behind as the neighborhood’s landscape was changing. MORTAR is designed to provide support for entrepreneurs or business owners who face barriers, including race, socioeconomic status, access to capital or institutional expertise.
 
MORTAR is open to entrepreneurs who have the desire to take their idea, listen to feedback, pivot and do what's needed to succeed.
 
“Our plan is to assist these entrepreneurs, whether they’re starting a new business or growing an existing business throughout the course, mentorship and continued guidance,” Braziel says.
 
The storefront is only 380 square feet but has the space for up to two businesses at a time. Businesses can rent out Brick OTR for a day, a week or a month, so the brands you see will be constantly changing. Follow Brick OTR on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for upcoming concepts.
 
“One week you might stop in and see two brands working side-by-side, and next time one brand will have the entire space,” Thomas says. “We want to encourage people to stop in frequently because you never know what you’ll find.”
 
Brick OTR is currently only in Over-the-Rhine, but MORTAR’s goal for the coming years is to have multiple locations in underserved areas all over the city.

Read more articles by Caitlin Koenig.

Caitlin Koenig is a Cincinnati transplant and 2012 grad of the School of Journalism at the University of Missouri. She's the department editor for Soapbox Media and currently lives in Northside with her husband, Andrew, and their three furry children. Follow Caitlin on Twitter at @caite_13.  
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