Baby, it's cold outside

The weather turned colder last week in Cincinnati, and gray skies hung low over the damp city streets. Chiquita decided to raise stakes and head south. News of the Southgate House closing sent a chill through the local music landscape.

But as record precipitation and dropping temperatures seemed poised to crush any good cheer, an amazing thing happened. Soapbox publisher Dacia Snider called to tell me about a product she'd just discovered online. When she first saw JackBacks, beautiful and quirky custom wood backs for iPhones, she had no idea the one-man company was based right here, in Cincinnati. In Clifton Heights, to be precise. "We should write about them," she told me.

I'd heard of JackBacks and even liked the clever-looking page on Facebook, but had never dug deeper. So I traveled from JackBack's website, complete with favorable notices from Mashable and Gizmodo, to the site of its owner/operator/artist-in-residence, Adam Baumgartner. I saw the story of an entrepreneur who had just taken a life-changing leap. So I asked associate editor Evan Wallis to write a story about it. In a snap, Soapbox photographer Scott Beseler was on the case as well.

The story typifies what inspires us at Soapbox, and I hope it inspires you, too. One talented person, in this case Baumgartner, finds a way to turn a personal passion into a life's work. His is the story of the dedicated artist, the determined inventor, the almost accidental business owner who fills a niche no one else even knew existed. He keeps JackBacks local, but his personal, high-quality work generates big buzz. Heck, the actor who plays Buster Bluth on Arrested Development even bought one.

So while Chiquita's move is news, big news, it is not our story. It's true that good people, talented people, will leave our city. But other good people, talented people, will choose to stay. Their stories are Soapbox stories.

I hope you take some time in from the cold to read those stories here. If you like what you see, I hope you'll share it far and wide. Comment via Facebook, Tweet about it, and let me know what you think.

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