Dozens of women- and minority-owned firms opened in OTR this year

More than 10 years into a focused effort on revitalization, Over-the-Rhine is still attracting new businesses and jobs at a quick pace.

 


By the end of this year, 57 new businesses will have opened in the neighborhood, creating more than 400 jobs, the OTR Chamber of Commerce says in a new report.

 


Just over half of those new businesses are minority- or women-owned, the Chamber says, with 13 new businesses being minority-owned, and 16 owned by women.



“Our success is measured by economic growth, but also by our level of inclusivity,” says Kelly Adamson, executive director of the OTR Chamber. “We believe that we can be a national model for inclusive urban revitalization.”



Over the last two years, more than 100 new businesses have opened in the neighborhood, creating 750 new jobs, the Chamber says.

 


Many of the new companies are retail and offices, with six new businesses in those categories opening by the end of this year. They include La Ofrenda, a small, intimate bar from Gorilla Cinema, the group that also runs Overlook Lodge, Video Archive and Tokyo Kitty; Sage Yoga; Cincinnati Hemp Company, an upscale boutique featuring clothing and other items made from hemp; children’s clothing store Hutch Baby; green-industry consulting firm Grow Group; and architecture firm PWWG.


The economic report also cited growth in the Market District, the neighborhood surrounding Findlay Market.



Several businesses moved or expanded to the Market District in 2019, with some of them growing from a Markethouse space to a storefront in the surrounding community. Homemade honey merchant Bee Haven expanded from the Markethouse to a storefront on Elm Street; as did The Budding Florist.


Vietnamese restaurant Pho Lang Thang also moved to a space on Elm.


“We’ve had several businesses outgrow their current space and [we] were able to accommodate them within the neighborhood where they already have roots,” says Matt Reckman, vice president of property management of the Model Group, one of the chief developers in the neighborhood.


Pho Lang Thang is one of many OTR businesses that have benefitted from grants from the Chamber to help start their enterprises.


The chamber has invested more than $500,000 in grant funds since 2007.


The businesses awarded grants have created more than 300 new jobs and have leveraged more than $4.5 million in direct investment and more than $10 million of indirect commercial investment in the neighborhood since 2007, Adamson says.


In 2018, the application process and requirements were reevaluated with a new goal of connecting more minority business owners to brick-and-mortar storefronts in OTR.

Read more articles by David Holthaus.

David Holthaus is an award-winning journalist, Cincinnati native and father of three. When not writing or editing, he's likely to be bicycling, hiking, reading or watching classic movies.
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