Columbus, Ohio USA
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Dis 'n' Data
By Margaret Marten, Editor
November/December 2013


The Hub, a five-story retail and residential building at 830 N. High St. that supplanted the failed Ibizi project (an 11-story, 135-condo concept proposed over six years ago by another developer, ARMS Properties) is opening its doors this month at Hubbard and High. Retailers will begin business in the mixed-use complex as early as November 1. Tenants are permitted to occupy apartments floor by floor every two weeks beginning November 15. “We have only one elevator for people to move in and out, so it’s kind of a gradual way of turning the building over,” said Mike Fitzpatrick of Elford Development who are in charge of the project along with Wagenbrenner Development. The project should be complete by the end of the year. The five retail tenants include a Huntington Bank branch, Snap Fitness, Melt Bar & Grilled (a tavern), The Paper Daisy Boutique (a florist), and another yet-to-be announced. There are 72 one- and two-bedroom apartments. A 24-hour parking garage, which opened in September, has 72 spaces reserved for the residents and 250 public spaces available, some of which are restricted on the upper levels for a “couple different types of multi-passes on weekdays,” to accommodate workers, said Fitzpatrick. “On the weekend and evening, we’re going to keep it as open as we can with public parking.” Visit to learn more about the apartments.

Another corner construction completed this fall and open for business is the AIDS Healthcare Foundation’s Out of the Closet Thrift Store and AHF Pharmacy located at 1230 N. High at Fifth Avenue. In addition to the thrift store and pharmacy, the facility provides free HIV testing. An STD clinic run by the foundation opened earlier this year at another Columbus location. AHF Pharmacy is staffed by pharmacist Dr. Kate Wilder Adams and her technician Courtney Chapman of the former Wilder’s City Pharmacy at 1198 N. High, which opened in 2010. Wilder’s was purchased by AHF in August of 2012 and is now doing business as AHF Pharmacy in the new building, open to the general public. This is a regular pharmacy, but 96 cents of every dollar earned (and this applies to the thrift store as well) goes into the foundation’s care for people with HIV and AIDS. “Even if people go there to buy protein powder for working out or buy aspirin, it’s part of the profits for the pharmacy that goes back into the healthcare centers that we run,” said Joseph Terrill, the AHF project director in Columbus. Another thing that sets it apart is the building. Terrill, a Los Angeles transplant (and artist) has been with AHF for many years as an early volunteer and later employee and believes this building is “the jewel in the crown of the Out of the Closet empire.” It is the second build from the ground up among their 23 locations. “It’s been a 25- to 26-year process to get to this point,” Terrill said. So the building itself is a singular achievement on a national level. The website is for Out of the Closet Thrift Stores. The pharmacy is at

Kifle Shoe Boutique opened at 1203 N. High St. in the former Milk Bar space (two doors from Travonna Coffee Shop) on August 17. The shop is run by three sisters: Aden, 33 Aba, 26 and Helen Kifle, 29. Aden had the good fortune to live in New York for seven years where she developed a serious interest in shoes. Her plan to pursue a master’s in childhood education while living in Brooklyn was cut short after a year, but work in Manhattan at Sacco, a small shoe boutique, gave her a solid background in retail and management before returning to Columbus in 2010. “New York is where I fell in love with shoes, fell in love with style and everything,” said Aden. Once she realized that premier shoe boutiques were in short supply here, the idea of opening a shop made sense. “I think what’s going to set us apart is that our shoes are just for that girl who’s really fashion-conscious and looking for something that’s a little bit different.” Describing the Short North as a “little mini city,” she added that visitors from other metropolitan areas and abroad who are drawn to the district will find the distinctive footware one expects from a big city like New York at Kifle Shoe Boutique. Aden’s sisters decided to join her in the entrepreneural effort because “we’re a close-knit family,” said Helen, and everyone had something to offer. With a business and accounting degree, Aba was given the responsibility of maintaining the books. Aden is a natural for buying and merchandising after her extensive work in New York, and Helen, who has a good sales and retail background, works closely with customers in the Short North shop fulltime. Helen says the sisters are really into shoes and fashion and that Aden kept them supplied while living in New York City. “She really knows what styles are big.” Hours are Monday through Saturday, 12 to 8 and Sunday 12 to 5. Call 614-914-8247 or visit to learn more.

A retail store in the Graystone Court Apartments building at 815 N. High St. opened in July selling handcrafted eco-friendly repurposed merchandise. Owner Dawn McCombs loves to make things and delights in creativity, so her decision to support the artisan community by opening a shop selling local handmade crafts was not too surprising. But the idea to sell only repurposed and reclaimed products came more as an inspiration. “Obviously it’s been around,” she said, “but it just seemed like a really fun little twist.” A year ago, McCombs, 46, left her teaching job at St. Joseph Montessori school to embark on an “exploratory year,” working other jobs to find something new she could settle into. “I believe that if you feel passionately about something and you love it, that you’ll be rewarded, that success will follow,” said McCombs. She knew she loved making things, and her work educating children about the environment as a Montessori teacher kept her in touch with nature and passionate about it. In fact, it was over 15 years ago that she started making soap, with ingredients from her garden, and selling it at various markets as “Botanicals by Dawn,” later introducing a candle line. She recognized there were others doing the same sort of thing. “I knew people who would make these amazing assemblage art boxes or driftwood candleholders or a number of things and just give them away as Christmas presents or just make them and have them cluttered up in their basement or something,” said McCombs. Her shop name, Glean, reflects the idea of making use of neglected material or revealing unrecognized art. “I thought about birds that fly over a field after a harvest and collect all the leftover seeds that have been discarded and use them,” she explained. The small 200-square-foot shop sells crafts from three dozen artisans, “people who are like me, people who just like making things,” she said. “They feel passionately about it, inspired by it, and now this is giving them a venue to sell.” McCombs settled in Victorian Village with her husband J-P in 1995 after living in New York City pursuing filmmaking and writing throughout her 20s. She was raised in Lordstown, Ohio, and graduated from Youngstown State University in speech communications. The couple have two daughters, Luci, 18, now living in Australia, and Isabella, 10, who attends St. Joseph Montessori school. “I’m really enjoying myself.” said McCombs. “I’m just going to hope that it’s true that if you follow your passion, everything will fall into place. – And I’m working really hard too!” McCombs’ soap and candle products (named Glean) and other items can be viewed online at and Facebook. The shop is located in Suite C at 815 N. High St. Holiday hours are Wednesday 12 to 6, Thursday through Saturday 12 to 9, and Sunday 12 to 6. Dawn can be reached at 614-906-3178.

Further north, in the Garden District, Dames Bond Marketplace celebrates one year in business at 1188 N. High St. selling “wearables, edibles and art-ables” made by women. Owner Mary B. Relotto, who also owns Mary B.’s Gift Shop in German Village on East Kossuth Street, founded Dames Bond in 2006 as a women’s networking and marketing service. The store in the Short North, which opened last year, showcases the products of some 37 members, and in the spirit of retailers like Glean (mentioned above), includes repurposed items among the wide range of products. Annie’s Garden Creations magically transforms “your grandmother’s antique flatwear, bowls and vases” into suncatchers. “She’s really phenomenal,” said Relotto. “And they actually sell!” Another member, Jennifer Robinson with A Perfect Mess Vintage designs journals and Kindle cases made with repurposed leather. And if you buy a soy candle from Zen Tree and return the holder, expect a discount on your next purchase. This is a good-sized retail space, 1500 square feet. Relotto has reserved 500 square feet in the back for meetings, and welcomes members to use it for workshops, board meetings, or one-on-ones if they want to meet away from home. Non-members can make arrangements to use the space for a nominal fee. If you are a woman with a small business or craft, become a Dames Bond networker for $125 a year and join in the next networking event Monday, December 2 in the Short North space. (They meet in variety of other places.) Visit or call Mary at (614) 564-9247for more details.

The corner of Buttles and High is all aglow with music, tequilas, whiskey and tacos. Bakersfield restaurant opened at 731 N. High St. on October 14. The Black Olive opened at that location in 2008 after the Coffee Table closed, and more recently China Bar, also owned by Dae Oh had a brief run. The Lanni brothers (Joe and John) who own it run two other Bakersfields, in Cincinnati and Indianapolis. The name reflects the music and cuisine of Bakersfield, California – simple, street-driven, authentic Mexican food and honky tonk-inspired sound. Bakersfield Sound is a term used to describe music that grew from that area generations ago. The southern agricultural town has both Mexican and hillbilly influence. Bakersfield is open at 4 p.m. every day except Sunday. Visit or Facebook or call 614-754-8436 to learn more.

A charcuterie with an in-house bakery, The Table, opened at 21 East Fifth Ave. in the Haller Building right across from Brothers Drake Meadery. Their food, concepted around slow food and farm-to-fork, includes baked goods, cheeses, cured meats, jams, “just keeping it as fresh and healthy as possible,” says co-owner Christen Corey. The Table is open 6 days for breakfast, lunch and dinner and includes a bar. Back-lot parking is accessible off Mt. Pleasant right off Fifth Avenue. Their hours are Tuesday through Thursday 8-10, Friday and Saturday 8-12, and Sunday 8-10. Visit or call 614-291-4555.

A number of closings have occurred in recent months in the Short North. Sushi Rock, the Am-Asian restaurant at the corner of Goodale and High, closed in October after four years at that location. According to a 10-TV news report, owner George Psaras had a dispute over rent with the landlord, Continental Real Estate. In other words, he could not afford the rent. The chain remains open at its other location, in Beechwood, a Cleveland suburb. Ohio in Style, a consignment store selling odds and ends at 1253 N. High, opened in March 2013. Owner Adam Miller has vacated the premises. It’s unclear exactly when he left. Red House Fashions at 1247 N. High next to Turner’s Barber Shop opened around the same time, February 2013, and closed its door recently. Mwandiko Traders Company is no longer doing business at 848 N. High St.

Artist Lynda McClanahan was commissioned to create a map for an article on “Contemporary Hinduism in the West” for Hinduism Today, an international quarterly magazine. Her map will grace the cover of their January issue. To say the project was difficult is an understatement,” said McClanahan. The original painting, a mere 24 inches square, made it difficult to include all the imagery they requested. “Some of the figures are tiny miniature portraits of actual people he (the editor) met on a tour of the continent,” she said. “The swirling treatment of the ocean was my idea, as well as all non-Hindu elements. Thankfully, all was well received. I am exhausted and content.” McClanahan is a self-taught artist, as well as a musician known in the Short North district where she and her husband, Joel Knepp, have performed as the duo “Nick and Polina.” They live in the Harrison West/Victorian Village neighborhood.

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