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.

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. Brings Asian Food Culture to the Fore

When Asian Food Fest was canceled earlier this year due to the pandemic, the Asian American Cultural Association of Cincinnati still wanted to do something to celebrate Asian food culture. The result was last week’s Asian Food Week and the recent launch of, which “celebrates Asian food culture through stories, news, and an ever-growing directory of Asian restaurants, food trucks, markets, bakeries, and more.”

Food Stand Owner Wil Hearn Has the Secret Sauce

Drive past the No Pork On My Fork food trailer in Bond Hill on any given day and you’ll see a line of customers. Owner Willie “Wil” Hearn knows that when you try his breakfast and brunch specials, you’ll be happy to stand in that line, too. We spoke to Hearn about how he got started, how he made a name for himself at Cincy Soul: The Black Taste festival, and how he’s getting his business through the pandemic.

Sweet Success

There’s a reason why Perfetti Van Melle employees and executives refer to the company’s 10-month-old warehouse and distribution center as “The Showcase.” It’s the former location of Erlanger Showcase Cinemas. Quite apropos for the makers of Airheads, Chupa Chups, Mentos, and other fine movie-appropriate candies. Perfetti is one of the world’s largest confectionery groups, manufacturing and distributing sugar confectionery and chewing gum products in more than 150 countries.

Starting Up, Reaching Out

If you’re in the business of startups in the Midwest, you’ve probably come across Candice Matthews Brackeen. As co-founder and executive director of Hillman Accelerator, the University of Cincinnati graduate has spent the last three and a half years making sure her investment company provides underrepresented tech-enabled startups with the mentorship, curriculum, investment, opportunities, and resources they need to scale, grow, and thrive.

Airbnb Program Highlights Local Olympian's New Children's Book

Twelve years ago this summer, former University of Cincinnati track star Mary Wineberg was in Beijing, China, bringing home the gold as a member of the U.S. Women’s 4 × 400 meter relay team at the 2008 Summer Olympics. Today, Wineberg, an elementary school teacher for Cincinnati Public Schools, gets to relive that experience with children around the world through Airbnb’s “Olympian & Paralympian Online Experiences” program.
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