North College Hill, with its close proximity to downtown Cincinnati, and its easy accessibility from Ronald Reagan Highway, has a number of long-standing, independently-owned businesses. The community has also been taking a proactive role in attracting new businesses, such as Krimmer’s Italian Kitchenette, and has an active business association that was reinvigorated in 2004.
Thanks to a Duke Energy Grant, HCDC’s Catherine Fitzgerald and Bob Pickford worked with the small businesses and North College Hill Business Association to strengthen the business climate. Business Coach Bob Pickford provided one-on-one business coaching assistance to the following North College Hill businesses: Africa Fire Mission, Buddy Roger’s Music, Clovernook Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired, Clovernook Country, Club Heavenly Feet Salon, and North College Hill Bakery.
Along with this assistance, business retention meetings were conducted with 16 businesses. While the majority of business owners reported a positive business climate, they voiced concern that a negative perception of the community hindered foot traffic. HCDC secured two University of Cincinnati marketing graduate students to devise a plan to improve the public perception of the North College Hill Community. Recommendations included creating a new narrative for a community based on its strengths and embraced by residents and stakeholders.
HCDC also conducted a workshop on social media marketing to the business association and helped design an one-page brochure for the community to help market itself.
“HCDC was extremely helpful to me as the new City Manager,” says Sheryl Long, North College Hill City Administrator. “It was great to get an outside perspective on the business district and the issues facing the businesses located in North College Hill. I also appreciated the guidance I received in the City’s efforts to attract new businesses to the City.”