Tonight, Wednesday, October 12, 2016, the final episode of CNBC’s Cleveland Hustles airs, so this morning Carrie Carpenter, Executive Director of Gordon Square Arts District, where the storefronts are clustered in/near, provided a sneak peak into all four businesses.
Cleveland Bagel – Friends, Geoff Hardman and Dan Herbst, open their shop on Detroit at W. 42nd Street tomorrow morning at 6:30 am (10/13/16). It’s across the street from The Harp Irish pub and restaurant. Everyone on the west side of the Cuyahoga River in Cleveland will shout for joy, as great bagels have long been a staple in Cleveland but mostly on the east side. Starting off with just bagels, schmears, coffee, and juice, it will eventually add bagel sandwiches. My favorite episode of Cleveland Hustles was the blind taste test in New York where Cleveland Bagel had to go up against four NY bagel makers . . . and all the judges picked their bagel! They proudly represent Cleveland; and although most of their growth will come from wholesale accounts (no plans to open a chain of bagel stores), they are happy to have the marketing that a storefront will provide. All their workers are making at least $15/hour, and they joked that since these workers are their first employees, everyone is bound to end up a VP of something as they grow!
We all got a sample – YUM! Not heavy and doughy but crisp on the outside and soft and good on the inside. There are just five ingredients and no preservatives, so you need to eat it the day you buy it or freeze it. And, just how did a tiny bagel company in Cleveland land on the front page of the Wall Street Journal? The reporter was in town for the RNC Convention in July and ate them every morning at Pour, a downtown coffee shop that carries them, and went back to NYC and wrote a story on what he thought was the perfect bagel . . . not a bad endorsement!
GroundSwell Yoga – Owner, Anne Harnett (and kind of have to give some credit to her hubby Andy, who seems at least equally involved, seeing how he built the rooftop deck with his own hands to help his wife’s business!) has a passion for turning fitness into events that can help turn urban neighborhoods around. She started with Harness Cycle in Ohio City’s Hingetown, a spinning studio which became an instant success, and now she is tackling rooftop yoga with views of Lake Erie and the downtown skyline. She is north of Detroit on W. 65th in the same building as Cleveland CycleWorks (motorcycles) about kitty corner from Stone Mad Pub. The rooftop deck for good weather yoga is cool, and she is in the process of revamping the indoor floor below so that when the weather turns . . . in about a week . . . she can offer cold weather classes also. Her yoga classes are more an experience than a fitness class, and her loyal fans come from 20 miles away and often pay $15-$20 for a session. She did her first yoga class in The Transformer Station (Ohio City outpost of Cleveland Museum of Art) and never looked back.
Fount – Husband and wife owners, Jaclyn and Phillip Wachter, had nine employees before they were selected for Cleveland Hustles and now employ 21 people. They have partnered with Catholic Charities to hire recent immigrants who have sewing skills as well as local textile and fashion schools (Kent State, Cleveland Institute of Art, Virginia Marti) and pay them all a living wage. Their mantra is to own less but higher quality items. Their gorgeous leather bags (backpacks, purses, clutches) are now in high demand thanks to the PR from being on the show, and they even created a new bag called the Gordon Duffel for Gordon Square. All the furniture in their store is on loan from Cleveland based Arhaus, which is using their light filled gallery on Detroit at W. 67th as a satellite showroom!
Old City Soda – Cousins, Sean Adkins and Mike Gulley, have been at this business for a solid two years. Their all natural, hand pressed bottled sodas really are made in an old school style (hence the name) and have the most refreshing, crisp, authentic taste. They have eight flavors. My personal favorite is the Grapefruit Soda (don’t think I’ll ever be able to drink 7-Up and Squirt again after tasting theirs). Their growth plan is heavily weighted on national distribution, but this storefront is all part of the good PR that comes after the TV show. It’s a vibrant bar at night when they use their sodas to create craft cocktails (open Tuesday – Sunday from 4 pm on with brunches on weekends). They recently signed a deal with Platform Brewery who will help manufacture and distribute their product in Ohio, which will take their 65 cases a week to a crazy new number like 600! How’s that for growth? They share a space with Fount, each taking half of an old furniture store on W. 67th and Detroit.
Just a bit of background provided by two of the investors, Alan Glazen and Kathy Futey, who were with us this morning (Jonathan Sawyer and Kumar Arora were not present). Each investor was required to provide $200K to their business and to provide mentorship and guidance (this is LeBron James’s SpringHill Production company, but it was not his money invested in these businesses). It was the 2nd most watched show on CNBC this year with more than 350,000 viewers an episode. And let’s face it, the investors are all a lot nicer than the sharks on Shark Tank, who seem to just create drama and conflict for TV ratings, which gets really old. And the Cleveland investors are all as passionate about helping Cleveland as they are about making money. CNBC announced that it is doing a second season due to the success, and they will offer other Cleveland neighborhoods the opportunity to be sites for new businesses (and the types of industries will be expanding and will include manufacturing!). So exciting!
And, finally, props to Carrie, Jennie and Chad from Gordon Square, who shared that they have 11 new businesses opening up in their neighborhood by the end of the year, pointed out hundreds of new condos and rental units springing up on side streets – all in the heart of their neighborhood (epicenter is W. 65th and Detroit).