Downtown Columbus is Moving Forward
  • Inside 43215: Guilt-Free Dessert

    By Melissa Fast 
    | 15 Apr, 2014

    Wouldn't it be dreamy to enjoy dessert from time to time without loading on guilty calories? Well, a new downtown entrepreneur plans to make those dreams reality when she opens Sweet Simpliciteas.

    Aisha Echols started blending her own loose teas to make healthy drinks for herself and her family. She noticed when she used high-quality ingredients, she didn't feel the need to add a bunch of sweeteners and flavored creamers to make her drinks delicious. She started experimenting with all-natural ingredients to improve the taste of some of the teas (like chamomile), and she even blended a special concoction to ease teething pain for her daughter. Passion flamed, and she opened an online Etsy shop and also sold her Sweet Simpliciteas at places like Celebrate Local.

    But a little bit of kismet kicked in when she lost her job and, on the same day, was contacted by the Economic and Community Development Institute (ECDI). She found out about the Kick Start Columbus program from the folks at ECDI, and she entered the contest to win rent for a year, plus a host of other big prizes. Her business plan was selected, and now she is getting ready to open up shop at 259 South Third Street.

    “The day I left one place, I was presented with another opportunity. I was given a little push,” Aisha said. “I’ve never worked harder in my life, but I love it.”

    Aisha enjoys a niche of dessert teas like Chocolate Chip Chai and Crème Brulee Latte, but she offers plenty of other blended teas for those who prefer traditional favorites. She will offer about 30 blends of all natural, high-quality teas – all guilt-free.

    Look for details of a soft opening within the next few weeks, and a May grand opening. You’ll be able to buy tea by the cup, or purchase loose teas by the ounce. Either way, you’ll find some cozy seating, free WiFi, and some grab-and-go pastries and sandwiches.
  • Inside 43215: Designing Ohio

    By Heather Brown 
    | 15 Apr, 2014

    Tis the season for t-shirt design contests. We let you know that CoGo Bike Share wants to see how your designs roll, and now the Capitol Square Review and Advisory Board wants you to demonstrate the creativity and innovation of Ohioans through the Ohio Statehouse T-Shirt Design Contest. The Statehouse Museum Shop wants to find a unique, stand-out-from-the-crowd design that they can sell in the Museum Shop beginning this summer.

    If you want to share the fruits of your designer genes, be sure to get your entry in by April 30. The T-Shirt Design Committee will review the entries and announce semi-finalists on May 5. All semi-finalist designs will be posted on the
    Ohio Statehouse Facebook page, the Statehouse Museum Shop Facebook page and the Statehouse Museum Pinterest page, where visitors can “like” their favorites. The designs will also be on view in the Statehouse Museum Shop where visitors can cast their vote. All voting ends on May 23 and the committee will take into account the votes when choosing the winner, which will be announced on June 2.

    If your design is ultimately chosen, you will receive a t-shirt with your design, a $25 gift card from the Statehouse Museum Shop and a private tour of the Ohio Statehouse, including the rarely-seen Cupola, for up to 10 people. Plus your design will be on sale in the Ohio Museum Shop starting this summer.

  • Inside 43215: Get Rolling

    By Melissa Fast 
    | 08 Apr, 2014

    Okay, so maybe it's a pent-up desire to spend some time outdoors, but we ran across more info about springtime cycling. One tidbit offers prizes, free breakfast, and a chance to stand on stage with Mayor Michael B. Coleman, and the other opportunity pleads for opinions. Holy cow, where do we sign up? Read on to learn more about National Bike to Work Day and a survey about the current and future state of transportation in Columbus.

    Bike to Work Day rolls into town early on Friday, May 16 with riders all around Columbus biking into downtown. The event wraps up at Columbus Commons at 8 a.m. with breakfast, awards, booths and networking.

    Choose one of the seven pre-planned routes, or grab some of your buddies and blaze your own trail. Either way, stick around for the shindig at Columbus Commons. The food will be great, and there will also be prizes. Heck, you might even win a foldable bicycle for your next ride.

    If you've never thought about using a bike to commute to work, this celebration is the perfect way to give it a shot. Mayor Michael B. Coleman will ride with the group that has the most committed riders, and maybe Bikin' Mike will even give you a few pointers.

    Did you know that more than half of the U.S. population lives within five miles of their workplace, which makes bicycling a fun, cheap and sustainable way to get to work? So, give it a shot.

    While you’re thinking about the benefits of biking to work, the City would also like your opinion about the current and future state of transportation – things like how people, cars, buses and bikes share the road. Really, give ‘em a piece of your mind right here

  • Inside 43215: Under the Light of the Moon

    By Heather Brown 
    | 08 Apr, 2014

    After a successful first season in 2013, the Moonlight Market returns to Gay Street this Saturday night, bigger and better than ever. In addition to the fabulous brick-and-mortar businesses and restaurants, the market features a wide array of sidewalk vendors offering artisan goods, food, drinks and entertainment.

    Springboarding from the success of season one, plans are on tap for more moonlight madness. Guest will find more retail trucks parked along the street offering even more shopping and dining options, with five new trucks online in April and more to follow as the year moves on. Expected vendors include Alternative Fashion Mob, Fly Apparel, Snowville Creamery, Soaps and Suds, Columbus Barrel Company, and Ghetto Vintage, among many others. Pop-up retailers will also be on the scene, including Dan the Baker, who will pop up at Café Brioso serving pizzas, and Il Mercato, Due Amici’s contribution featuring imported Italian foods, wine and more.

    The brick-and-mortars will have special offerings as well. You won’t want to miss what favs like Café Brioso, Zer0z, Sugardaddy’s, J. Gumbo’s, Robert Mason, and many more will have on tap.

    So mark your calendars for this Saturday and every second Saturday through December. The Moonlight Market runs from 6 – 11 p.m. You’ll find food, drink, unique shopping and a not-to-be-missed nighttime vibe.

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