• Liz Bourgeois: Team Chipmunk

    By Melissa Fast 
    | 25 Jun, 2014

    In this city I can: Dream/Liz Bourgeois
    Award-winning costume designer, Liz Bourgeois, dressed and styled actresses, celebrities and athletes from Broadway to Hollywood. A graduate of New York University, Liz worked at the top costume houses in NYC and collaborated on Off-Broadway and Broadway theatre, including serving as Associate Costume Designer on the Tony-award winning Avenue Q.

    But Columbus was on the top of the list when the Midwest called.

    Liz started a home business, Team Chipmunk, which offered handmade upcycled and sustainable children’s clothing. Made from beautiful vintage fabric, Liz built a robust online business and kept growing.

    In 2014, Liz opened a downtown shop after winning a business plan contest, Kickstart Columbus. Her collections have sold out in New York City, Chicago and Memphis, but she can’t imagine being anywhere else than downtown.

    You will find classy and casual handmade clothing for women and children at Team Chipmunk at 281 S. Third Street.

  • Reverend Raymond Williams

    By Melissa Fast 
    | 06 Jun, 2014

    In this city I can: Shout/Reverend Williams: Preacher

    Energy. Drive. Passion. All good qualities, and important for Downtown to boom.

    We’ve even heard a lot of talk about swagger during our 200Columbus celebrations, but how do we reverse the humble nature that local peeps are known for to spread the word that cool things are happening right Downtown?

    Reverend Raymond Williams knows a thing or two about swagger, and he’s not afraid to share. On almost any day at the noon hour, people out and about for lunch, hear and see the reverend shout his praise.

    “Downtown is my home, and my calling is at Broad and High,” he said. “I’ve been preaching since I was 19, and I haven’t stopped.”

    Take some determination from Rev. Williams.  Shout from the rooftop, your favorite storefront or Broad and High. Let everyone know Downtown is the place to be. 

  • Julie Wilkes: Seven Studios

    By Melissa Fast 
    | 06 Jun, 2014

    In this city I can: Dream/Julie Wilkes: Seven Studios
    If logic ruled, the latest in the tribe of urban pioneers wouldn’t even be alive. Born with a congenital heart defect, Julie Wilkes’ heart stopped beating at birth. Doctors prepared her mother for the worse and said nothing could be done to save her baby, but within months, doctors scrawled ‘miracle’ on top of Julie’s charts, and she has beaten the odds ever since.

    Julie survived birth, but then wasn’t supposed to live past teen years. That time came and went. In her twenties, Julie ran her first marathon, and that’s when the real shift occurred.

    “I told myself if I lived to run 26.2 miles, I would be okay,” Julie said. “I felt like my life was a gift, and I’d been given a second chance. It was my calling to help others find theirs.”

    She went back to school and got a master’s degree in exercise physiology with a dream of helping to create wellness plans through a consulting firm. She also began touring as a motivational speaker to talk about her Seven Life Miracles, which she will publish in 2014.

    Right about the same time she found out that her book was picked up by a New York publisher, she learned about the Kickstart Columbus program, which she won. This provided no-cost rent for one year downtown to get her business concept up and running.

    It was important for Julie to locate her business downtown because she wanted to be easily accessible, before, during and after work hours.

    “Downtown is very easy to get around and offers everything that really big cities offer all within walking distance,” she said. “I call it a small big town – small enough to get around and big enough to have a lot of culture and diversity.”

    Downtown also has a lot of community, which is really what the studio is all about.  It’s a place where people connect in a fun and healthy way. Before each class, everyone introduces themselves because it’s important for everyone to leave the studio knowing one more person. Julie is the first to recognize that you can’t tell by looking at people what defines them – from divorce to death to financial ruin to outrageous success.

    “No matter where you are in your life, living a happy life starts by trusting yourself, surrounding yourself with good people, letting go of the things that don't serve or help you, and embracing the things that do.  We aim to provide that environment at Seven Studios,” she said.

    Each of the classes is based on one of the Seven Life Miracles that Julie developed to surmount her own challenges, and she wants to meet people where they are to help them find their own path. She wants people to feel good when they leave, which will help them create a better personal space.

    "You need to live as if you are going to die tomorrow, but dream as if you could live forever."

  • Walker Evans: Columbus Underground

    By Melissa Fast 
    | 05 Feb, 2014

    In this city I can: Ride/Walker Evans: Columbus Underground
    In this city I can: Take Transit. Walk. Ride

    It’s not just transportation. I get stuff done on the bus. Email. Calls. Appointments.

    Sometimes I see someone outside I know, and I just hop off the bus for an impromptu meeting. Then I walk to my next meeting. On my way I might remember that I need to stop by someone’s shop who we’re going to feature in
    Columbus Underground. I grab a CoGo and head over to snap a few photos.

    I park the bike, and I see someone else who gives me some scoop for another CU story.

    This is my community. People and businesses here support what I do, and I support them. It’s all connected, and we’re on the verge of something really great. I want to be part of that.

    Downtown – built for people, not cars. It’s a smart way to do business.

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