Good Neighbors – Andie Hines
Jan16

Good Neighbors – Andie Hines

Andie Hines – Supporting Women Entrepreneurs, Supporting Fort Wayne “The number one thing that makes businesses thrive is a strong peer community.” In Fort Wayne, there is an entire network of women entrepreneurs who are killin’ it in their field and making invaluable contributions to our community. Andie Hines is one of those people—she started Red Tree Pro in 2014 as a print brokerage, but soon realized that she had much more to offer her clients. Now, Red Tree Pro provides services in event planning, brand development, and marketing consulting. Her client list includes a wide range of organizations and businesses, including Tolon, University of Saint Francis, and Berne Apparel, to name a few. On top of this, Andie is the founder of Own Your Success, a non-profit dedicated to empowering and supporting female entrepreneurs in the area. Recently, I had an opportunity to sit down with Andie to talk about her journey through entrepreneurship in Fort Wayne, and her contributions to the community through both her business and non-profit. What were some of the first jobs you had that led you to start Red Tree? I sold paper for the first 10 years of my career, very much like in “The Office.” My job was to work with graphic designers in the community to help them find the best paper for their project, more of the fine art aspect of paper. That was a sales and marketing role—I did that for ten years and I loved it. Part of the sales aspect was that I would do ‘Paper’ lunches and invite graphic designers in the community to come learn about new products or new print techniques. That was really the launch into all of this. I was on the board for the Advertising Federation for around eight years and did programming most of that time. I planned the ADDY awards two years in a row and was president for two terms in a row. So, I was really active in that and that was all sales, marketing, and events. I worked for a couple ad agencies, but in early 2014 I found out I had cervical cancer. That was a big wake-up call that I didn’t want to keep doing what I was doing. As soon as I was well I wanted to start my own company. When I started, I was just a print broker, but I quickly found that my clients wanted more from me and just continued to shift from that. Now, Red Tree is essentially a full-service marketing firm, plus events. Tell me about your non-profit—how did it come to fruition? About six months...

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Proximo – the Future of Downtown Dining is “Next”
Jun12

Proximo – the Future of Downtown Dining is “Next”

Downtown Fort Wayne has been growing exponentially and the restaurant scene is no exception. When The Golden closed its doors last November, rumors started flying as to who would come into the new space. I was incredibly excited to hear it would be none other than restaurant entrepreneurs James Khan, Pete Shuey, Lysa Pelkington and their amazing culinary team. You may know them from Baker Street, Hoppy Gnome, and Gnometown Brewing. Proximo means ‘next’ in Spanish and this is the next endeavor in the team’s growing restaurant empire. The restaurant is Latin inspired and will be open at 6 AM seven days a week, which will step up Fort Wayne’s brunch game. Having been an avid fan of its predecessors, I was thrilled to be invited to Proximo’s soft open this past weekend. The dinner menu was extensive and filled with so many items that I wanted to try that I was very glad I brought reinforcements that were willing to share. From five different ceviches, a variety of salad options, tantalizing appetizers, and entrees like street corn filet, my advice is to come hungry! I quizzed the group I brought and hands down our favorite appetizer that we tried was the Sope. Made with shrimp, Spanish chorizo, I’m pretty certain there may have been a fight over the last piece. The Tuna Tiradito was a close second. The combination of firm sliced tuna, fresh avocado, sweet pineapple and spicy jalapenos was truly a delight on the palate. I may have lightly stabbed someone in an attempt to steal all the jalapenos. I asked Khan what he recommended for our entrée choice and he said the Seafood Paella had been a huge hit so far. Initially he was not planning on having a paella option on the menu, but his wife Erika insisted that the menu wasn’t complete without it. Unfortunately, the paella was so popular that night that they sold out before I could sink my teeth into it. We did, however try the Salmon Succotash, Street Corn Filet, Pork al Pastor, and Ribeye a la Parrilla entrees all of which were flavorful and unique. The Patatas Bravas were divine and I could most certainly live on a diet solely comprised of it. You may think at this point that we couldn’t possibly have room for dessert, but if there is anything my dad has taught me, dinner is not complete without dessert! I was so full that I didn’t take a picture of the dessert menu, but I have included pictures of the actual desserts for your viewing/drooling pleasure. There was a hotly contested debate between which...

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JK O’Donnell’s Irish Ale House – Let It Pour
Mar15

JK O’Donnell’s Irish Ale House – Let It Pour

When Irish eyes are smiling, they are usually up to something and JK O’Donnell’s Irish Ale House has some smiling eyes as they are getting ready to kick off their annual St. Patrick’s Day bash on Saturday, March 17. They will be open all day and all ages are welcome until 7PM so be sure to bring the littles for some family fun under the tent. There will be live music from 12 to 11 PM and admission is only $5! For those of you wanting to check out the bar and toast St. Patty with an Irish brew, the pub will be 21 and over only. And if you are in desperate need of a kilted bagpiper, be sure to check out The O’Tooles, who will be dropping in for a few performances. Check out all you need to know about the upcoming celebration here. While JK O’Donnell’s will be full of Irish cheer this Saturday, they have a lot more to offer than St. Patty’s Day shenanigans. One of their most recent changes is a newly vamped menu. Check out our interview! What inspired you to choose these dishes?  We have to change it for us and the customer.  There are dishes that will always be standards here but there’s a desire to keep things fresh and interesting. How often does the menu change? About every 6 months. It used to be that we would change the menu once a year, but I would like to see us on a more predicable timeline to provide heartier, comfort food in the colder months and then provide more lighter options during the warmer months. What are the gluten free/vegan/vegetarian options? Our hummus is gluten free and vegan.  Our veggie burger is now served on a pita which makes the dish both vegetarian and vegan.  We offer gluten free buns as an option on any of our sandwiches. Several of our other dishes can be made gluten free or vegetarian with minor adjustments. Are there any other changes you’d like to highlight? What precipitated the menu change? We have been getting a great response from all of our new dishes.  The mussels are a great addition as well as the lamb meatloaf.  The chicken bacon mac and cheese has been a huge hit. Any new drinks to highlight?  We specialize in a providing a wide variety of craft beer along with ciders and meads. Our large selection of drafts and bottles is designed to provide an option for almost everyone, while highlighting some of the more unique craft beer creations. Check out the menu and hours on their website. May your...

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Blue Nile Coffee – Keeping Fort Wayne Roasted
Mar08

Blue Nile Coffee – Keeping Fort Wayne Roasted

Indiana winters makes me turn to coffee more and more. Maybe it’s the endless days of bitter cold and no sun, but there’s something about that warm brew that jump starts my day and makes me feel that spring is just around the corner. I love supporting local brews, so I was excited to hear more about Blue Nile Coffee Co that was started here in Fort Wayne. Michigan transplant Ciera Love (Director of Operations), Foster Park dweller Phil Snodgress (Managing Director), and Fort Wayne native, Zach White (Director of Marketing/Sales), started Blue Nile Coffee Co in September of 2017. They are all self-proclaimed coffee-o-holics and have an innate passion for craft coffee. A chance encounter with an impassioned local coffee shop owner at an obscure town in Michigan gave Ciera the idea to bring this craft coffee concept to Fort Wayne. When I asked, “Why choose Fort Wayne to start this venture?” the group from Blue Nile noted that “Fort Wayne is a unique city in that it offers the amenities of a big city with the hometown feel. It has a vibrancy and a sense of life to it, while other cities are still struggling to find their heartbeat. The community members want to see Fort Wayne prosper, and small businesses have a fighting chance to flourish here.” The three wanted to roast their own coffee and create flavors that are unique to what is currently on the market– Blue Nile does just that. They are quick to point out that they are not just about selling coffee, but their bigger passion is to help people elevate their morning routine. It’s true that most people drink only for necessity, which means they may be hitting up that delicious (insert sarcastic tone here) gas station coffee, which often translates into pouring on mounds of cream and sugar to cover up the bitter taste. Trust me, I’m guilty of having done that a time or two! What Blue Nile does that is so refreshing is that they roast their coffee in a way that brings out the harmony of flavors that many coffee drinkers miss out on. “We create an experience with premium coffee that doesn’t need any additives.” Ciera noted. “The Blue Nile is a major river that runs through Ethiopia, a country in Africa and the birthplace of coffee. For us, Blue Nile stands for uncharted territory and endless discovery. It is a symbol of where we have been and where we are going.” I asked the team how they determined who to partner with in sourcing their coffee, and the team brought up their partnership with...

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How to Hygge in Fort Wayne
Jan26

How to Hygge in Fort Wayne

About Hygge What is hygge? Aside from being a little difficult to pronounce (“hoo-guh”), the definition has an extremely easy to understand meaning. It encompasses the overall feeling of contentment, well-being, and being cozy. In our fast paced world, we often ignore these important feelings and practices. Lucky for us, it is very possible to hygge in Fort Wayne.   How to Hygge in Fort Wayne Contentment  Contentment is different for everyone. If you want to feel contentment, you should find something that you really enjoy and act on it. This could be catching a show at Embassy or checking out the latest performance from the Fort Wayne Philharmonic. Promote Your Personal Well Being  It’s a new year and you have new opportunities to do something for yourself. Help your mind, body, and soul by joining a local gym or taking a yoga class. Coziness  Cozy is in the eye of the beholder. It can be going to an amazing coffee shop like Fortezza, or enjoying time with your friends at a warm and friendly bar like JK O’Donnells.   How to Achieve the Entire Hygge Package Winter Cozy is a hygge themed evening brought to you by Riverfront Fort Wayne. Everything about this speaks hygge. According to Megan Butler, this event will stimulate the senses. She uses Maslow’s hierarchy of needs to create a sense of wonder and connection through the taste, sight, touch, smell, and sound. The goal is to offer an amazing experience while re-defining winter. The event highlights the positives of winter (like a heated tent, cozy furniture, warm cocktails, food for purchase, live music from Ty Causey, sensory games, ice sculptures, and drink luges). The event will feature local ice sculptors and other local vendors like Mutton and Club Soda. Part of promoting your personal well-being and contentment will be highlighted through adult hands-on sensory activities. According to Megan Butler, you should think about sensory activities for autism. You can play with the activities and take them home. Riverfront Fort Wayne is committed to making people more conscious of the rivers. This event is an example of how people can live their lives around the rivers and have fun all year, even in the winter. Event Details Winter Cozy is a part of Winterval Admission is $10 at the door. Event Runs from 8:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. This event is 21+ Sponsored by Alt 99.5, Riverfront Fort Wayne, and Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation. Winterval is a Fort Wayne Parks & Recreation event. Contact Megan Butler for additional...

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