The neighborhood that brought you the West Side Market, Great Lakes Brewing Company, that one guy who always asks you for money outside the Souper Market, and no shortage of other signature attractions now brings you a development group whose name you can pronounce without tripping.
Beginning today, the Ohio City Near West Development Corporation will become known as Ohio City Inc.
“We wanted to be a more externally focused organization,” says Executive Director Eric Wobser.
There are already 150 artisan-owned businesses in Ohio City; the idea, says Wobser, is to attract even more, which should be easy — entrepreneurs jump to action when already established development groups get easier-to-say names, or something.
“There’s a huge movement nationally, and people want to buy locally crafted goods,” he says. “If you go after the types of businesses and restaurants people want to visit, eventually they will want to live there.”
Ohio City Inc. is off to a good start. Six businesses will either expand or set up shop for the first time with help from $50,000 in grants — $40,000 of it supplied by Charter One Bank and $10,000 from Lutheran Hospital.
Campbell’s Popcorn, a fixture at the West Side Market, will run its wholesale and manufacturing operations in Ohio City, increasing staff from 11 to 20. The boutique gym Fit also plans to expand, becoming a full-service workout space.
Newcomers include the floral shop and design studio Urban Orchid, the Joy Machines bike shop, and the locally made stationery shop Salty Not Sweet. By late summer, southern barbecue will arrive in the form of SoHo.
Also on tap: New signs around town that accentuate historic spots. “The strategy is to lead by telling our story,” Wobser says. — Maude Campbell