Sunday, January 21, 2001

Business group gathers steam

Focus: Montgomery's historic downtown

By Walt Schaefer
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        MONTGOMERY An effort to create a new business association in the city's historic Heritage District has met with early success and has strong support from city officials who view the area as an economic magnet for the community.

        “This is a positive effort to promote business in our historic downtown area. If successful, this will provide the city with an organized group we can work with to address mutual issues and concerns,” said City Manager Cheryl Hilvert. “It is much easier to work with an organized group than it is individually.”

  • What: Heritage District Business Association organizational meeting.
  • Where: Neon Lights Deli, 9361 Montgomery Road.
  • When: 6:30 p.m. Feb. 5.
  • Cost: None.
  • Information: 791-9970 or 791-8844.
        The fledgling association is the brainchild of Buddy Goldstein, 36, who in September opened Blaine's Fine Men's Apparel in the heart of the Heritage District opposite the Montgomery Inn.

        As he was evaluating locations for his business about 16 months ago, Mr. Goldstein, with 13 years in retail men's clothing, said Montgomery was appealing. He asked about a business association and discovered none existed.

        “We are now settled here and business has been very chaotic, but also very good. From my standpoint, it is a good time to get the businesses together to familiarize ourselves with what each of us does. That's a starting point. It is a benefit for us to all work together,” Mr. Goldstein said.

        About 16 business own ers attended an open meeting to discuss an association earlier this month; another meeting is planned for next month.

        Mr. Goldstein said the initial meeting lured a number of small-business owners, as well as larger and established businesses such as Montgomery Inn and Starbuck's Coffee.

        The area is increasing in popularity and the number businesses has been growing — particularly smaller niche businesses, Mr. Goldstein said.

        Once established, the association's mission will be to work with the city to promote Montgomery Heritage District businesses locally and regionally, and deal as a group with issues or concerns affecting the district's business community.

        Lesa Cress, who is helping Mr. Goldstein organize the association, is a partner in Feather Your Nest, a gift shop. “There are a lot of new small businesses ... (because) the historic downtown area is gorgeous. It is a place to visit and a place to shop, and we need to get the word out about our fine restaurants and shops.”

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