How Much Has Cincinnati Changed in 20 Years?

In some aspects, Cincinnati is a very different place than it was two decades ago. But when it comes to race relations, it’s almost exactly the same. Black people living and working here can attest to the structural racial divide that continues to undergird their experiences. Beneath the city’s shiny new buildings, popular restaurants, and everyday wheeling, dealing, and power brokering lie the ashes of April 2001.

Naomi Sams Converts Meat-Eaters With Her Vegan Treats

Stay-at-home mom Naomi Sams loves converting meat-eaters with her delicious vegan treats at Findlay Market. The North Avondale/Bond Hill entrepreneur runs Like Mom’s Only Vegan bakery with her mother and her four children, all of whom are vegan. When and why did you decide to go vegan? My 23-year-old son was about 1 or 2 when we decided to ditch the animal products. Initially we started with the idea that you are what you eat. That concept evolved into an understanding that we consume the enti

The Mother-and-Daughter Duo Behind Homestyle Restaurant TiYah’s Table

ItiYah Yisrael recalls going out to dinner with her daughter, Jazlyn Mason, and often leaving unsatisfied. “We frequently said, We could have cooked this at home,” she says. “We were never really pleased with our meals.” So when Dan Wells, owner of MixWells, decided to rebrand the LGBTQ-friendly Northside bar last summer, Yisrael jumped at the chance to be on the other side of the table.

Farmer Nate’s Hot Sauce Was Born in Covington

Nathanael Nunemaker’s dreams of being a self-sufficient homesteader recently yielded a “hot” idea. “I started growing fruits and veggies in the middle of Covington, and one thing just led to another,” says the Union, Kentucky, native. “I had bundles of jalapeño peppers that I grew and wanted to find the best way to preserve them, so we decided on hot sauce for our preservation method.” The result is Farmer Nate’s Hot Sauce.

Area Food Businesses Win Grants to Expand Their Reach

When Rachel DesRochers launched her first company, Grateful Grahams, in 2010, she quickly noticed that she didn’t have a peer group of like-minded business owners that she could tap into to share experiences. “As we kept growing, I saw there was no real space or community for food entrepreneurs,” says DesRochers, who founded the Incubator Kitchen Collective (IKC), a shared-use commercial kitchen space that supports small food businesses, in 2013. “Looking back on the past 11 years, I realize it takes a community of passionate people who show up every day and work hard to make dreams come true.” Kroger helped those dreams along when its Cincinnati/Dayton Division partnered with Incubator Kitchen Collective to offer grants to local food entrepreneurs.

Local Playwright’s Work Selected for Virtual Festival

As the pandemic drags on, artists and theatergoers alike are adapting to seeing works of theater produced for their computer screens instead of live audiences. And Roger Collins is in the thick of it. The O’Bryonville resident’s latest play Trading Places premieres this week as part of Gallery Players’ 24th annual Black Box New Play Festival in Brooklyn. It’s the tale of a father and his teenage daughter, separated in cyberspace, debating the merits of bringing a loved one back from the dead.

Madeira-Based Business LifeFormations Brings Art to Life

You may not know the name LifeFormations, but odds are you’ve probably seen the company’s work. From Germany’s Europa Park to the Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, this design and fabrication firm has created sculpted and mechanical elements for amusement parks, movie studios, museums, and other themed attractions around the world. “I, like many of our team, came into this business wanting to build experiences that ‘wowed’ visitors as they walked past or through our projects,” says Rodney Heiligmann, the company’s president. “So a maquette in Times Square, a theme park attraction in Asia, a museum here in the Midwest—wherever our work is located, we wanted to engage people in the space so we could entertain or teach them something.”

Local Teen Chef Hosts Pop-Up Dining Experiences

When Michael Weirich’s research position at Vanderbilt University went belly up last summer because of the pandemic, he had to find something else to do with his time. Knowing of his love of cooking, his mother joked that he should create a “restaurant out of our house,” and the aspiring entrepreneur was off and running. In July, Weirich launched Restaurant Confluence, a month-long pop-up dining experience at his parents’ home. This month, he’s back with a new winter menu and weekly takeout options.

Jazz Trumpeter Mike Wade Brings the Brass With New Release

When you think about the smoothest, coolest brass sections of funk and soul bands from the 1970s and ’80s, Ohio shows up front and center. Bands like Ohio Players, Slave, and Lakeside all came out of Dayton while Bootsy’s Rubber Band grew up right here in the Queen City. Trumpeter Mike Wade is continuing that tradition with the debut release of the eponymously titled Mike Wade & the Nasty NATI Brass Band.

A Healthy Start(Up)

Ricardo “Rico” Grant is no stranger to entrepreneurial culture. A long-time startup mentor with the nonprofit Cintrifuse, he founded CrownMob for the Black haircare marketplace in 2017. The mobile platform attracted 46,000 users in its two years and spawned a three-day conference/festival called Paloozanoire in 2019. Grant then took his startup know-how to Northern Kentucky University’s Institute for Health Innovation to help launch SoCap Accelerate, a new accelerator focusing on the healthcare industry.

Data With a Purpose

During the tech recession of the early 2000s, the CEO of the company Alex Yastrebenetsky worked for flew into Cincinnati to announce that more than 200 of its employees were being laid off. At the time, he considered himself one of the lucky ones to still have a job at the end of the meeting. “It took me quite a few years afterwards to figure out what I wanted to do but, looking back, that was the day I realized I wanted to run my own business,” says Yastrebenetsky, founder and CEO of the digital analytics consulting, data governance, and technology company InfoTrust.

Cheese Board Artist Lauren Barker Launches Christmas Charcuterie Offerings

When Hyde Park resident Lauren Barker lost her second job as server earlier this year because of the pandemic, she decided to use her love of cheese as a creative way to make up for the lost income. “I’m very passionate about cheese,” she says. “I decided, What better time to invest in myself than when the world is shut down and I have nothing to distract me? So I spent a couple months researching, making a business plan, and building my site and I went for it.” The result is Cheese Garden, a custom charcuterie board business, which Barker officially launched this summer.
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