Entrepreneurship Spotlight: Narwhal and the Manatee  
Jul25

Entrepreneurship Spotlight: Narwhal and the Manatee  

It all started with a baby’s rash.   Megan Elizabeth Sutton was worried when her infant daughter broke out in red patches, soon realizing it was a bad case of eczema. When she began researching natural ways to make her own lotion to treat this skin condition, she didn’t realize that in a couple of years it would become a business.   Celebrating a year of business this past spring, the Narwhal and the Manatee has lined their shelves with handmade bath fizzies, soothing lotions and natural skincare products. Taking inspiration from her favorite hobby, baking, Sutton’s cupcake bath fizzies have become famous for looking so good, some have mistakenly tried to eat them!   Her team hasn’t gotten this far on their own. From the lard she sources out of Chesterton, to the beeswax and honey from New Haven, Sutton depends on regionally-sourced ingredients. Her goal this year is to focus and expand the number of small businesses that can produce the ingredients she needs.   Looking to grow her business, Sutton has also branched off into the world of private labeling. Working with many regional businesses, Sutton’s team works with a range of companies to create unique and custom skincare products that fit their customers’ needs.   Interested in visiting the Narwhal and the Manatee? Check out their shop located in the City Exchange.   Sutton spoke a little bit about entrepreneurship in Fort Wayne, here’s what she had to say.   What made you decide to open a business in Fort Wayne/Northeast Indiana? I have lived in Northeast Indiana for 13 years and I’ve watched this community truly believe in its potential. After going to school and participating in several volunteer organizations, I realized this is my opportunity to add to the culture of this area.   What is the biggest challenge you have worked to overcome in starting your business? My biggest challenge is in recognizing my own value. It’s easy to put a price tag on a product, but I have a hard time remembering that my time, talents and efforts are also valuable.   What resource in the community has helped you thrive in the community? I got my start with the NIIC (Northeast Indiana Innovation Center). Greater Fort Wayne and the Fort Wayne Enterprise Association have both been very supportive and helpful. And the City Exchange made what I do a possibility by providing space for new businesses downtown.   What is some advice you would have for new entrepreneurs? Go for it. I found starting a business similar to having a baby: you’re never ready. But once you get going, you figure...

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Entrepreneurship Spotlight: Hyde + Alchemy
Jul05

Entrepreneurship Spotlight: Hyde + Alchemy

  Stumbling into the fragrance industry in 2015, Jon Paul and Leah Capito were honeymooning in Mexico when they met a local couple creating fragranced soap. With Leah’s allergies to popular synthetic fragrances, the couple quickly became interested in the science behind custom, natural perfumes. The hobby soon became a fun couples’ activity that was maturing in their home closet. After a few bad combinations, the Capitos soon landed on some intoxicatingly good fragrances that left them asking, “Would people buy this?”   While researching new ingredients, they quickly realized the lack of education about what is in perfumes that consumers have . They launched the online-based Hyde + Alchemy in order to share their one of a kind scents, but to also start a transparent conversation about natural perfume ingredients. Listed on each product is the main accords, fragrance layers and ingredients – all natural, no chemicals or synthetic scents.   Though they recently became new parents, the couple isn’t slowing down as they further their distribution of high-end, custom fragrances into stores across Indiana and the Midwest.   We sat down with Jon Paul to discuss what it was like opening an eCommerce business in Fort Wayne and here is what he had to say. What made you decide to open a business in Fort Wayne/Northeast Indiana? We are from Fort Wayne, so we are well acquainted with the benefits of small city living. For one, the cost of living is a paramount factor to an entrepreneur, and since Fort Wayne is steadily providing a low-cost market, it is the perfect city for a new business. Fort Wayne is also a great place to establish local partnerships. With so many new small shops opening, it is a great time to work together to ensure we all are successful. Working with shops like Fancy and Staple downtown and Just Be in Leo, I have been able to better understand what our vast and segmented audience is looking for in a fragrance.   What was the craziest scent you have come across? In an effort to have natural products, I went out to a local farm and through a livestock pin to access a nearby lavender field. The lavender was a great, quality ingredient, but the venture to it proves how dedicated we are to finding local ingredients!   What resource in the community has helped you thrive in it? Working with the different shops! Each of our sellers has provided critical feedback on what is selling and what isn’t. If it wasn’t for the shops, we wouldn’t have built the local presence that we have strived for.   What...

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Just Cream: Ice Cream Boutique – One Sweet Boutique!
Feb28

Just Cream: Ice Cream Boutique – One Sweet Boutique!

With amazing locally owned boutiques popping up all over Fort Wayne in the past few years, recent Purdue grad Lauren Landstoffer had a brilliant idea…an ice cream boutique! Imagine all natural, velvety ice cream made from the highest quality ingredients and merge it with delectable, freshly brewed craft coffee and you have the newest thing to hit Fort Wayne’s food scene – Just Cream: Ice Cream Boutique!   Lauren envisioned a warm, welcoming place that people would consider a hangout spot. She is a huge coffee addict, likes the vibe that coffee shops have, and wanted to emulate that in her space. “I love that people can come in and hang out and do their work. Come stay awhile!” And come they will, to enjoy the unique boutique menu of items that Just Cream has cultivated.   Lauren, like many Purdue alums, is a huge fan of The Silver Dipper, which serves premium hand scooped ice cream that is highly addicting. She knew that was the ice cream she wanted for her boutique. The ice cream itself comes from a locally owned and operated business in Wisconsin called The Chocolate Shoppe. It’s known for its super premium ice cream made with all natural ingredients and fresh Wisconsin cream.   The drip coffee they will serve is sourced by Intelligentsia, who is known for its third-wave coffee where they buy the beans directly from small, sustainable growers, do their own roasting, and have a slight obsession with quality control. This makes for some of the most delicious tasting coffee and that quality is what Lauren loved when she had her first sip at Olivia Macaron.   In Just Cream, Lauren wanted to create a place that had memorable food experiences. One of her fond memories as a kid was at the local Atz ice cream shop. “We used to get these amazing clown ice creams. I mean it was superman ice cream with all kinds of toppings in it, in the shape of a clown. It was magical. That’s what I want to create. Something people will remember.”   Just Cream will have a number of creative items that are sure to be just as memorable. One of their signature items will be an Extreme Shake, which is “the fanciest, over the top ice cream shake you have ever seen!” It’s a frothy shake served in a mason jar with “super fancy” toppings like candy, cereal, wafers, and of course sprinkles on top. There will be a selection of regular flavors and then an extreme shake of the month.   The menu item I am most excited about is the Boutique...

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Healthy Grocery Stores in Fort Wayne
Oct12

Healthy Grocery Stores in Fort Wayne

Trying to eat healthier? Here is an updated, comprehensive list of the healthy grocery stores in Fort Wayne and snippets of what makes each business unique. 1.       3 Rivers Co-Op Natural Grocery & Deli The 3 Rivers Co-Op Natural Grocery & Deli (otherwise known as “The Co-Op”) is located on Sherman Boulevard. The Co-op’s produce section is completely organic and features local produce when possible, as well as meat from local farms year-round. The grocery offers bulk foods, a wellness and supplements department, and an eat-in deli and café. Feel free to call ahead and place an order for pick-up. I recommend the Tofu Reuben! You can also become an owner and support local business and farming, in addition to scoring some great savings. 2.       Earth Fare Located on Dupont Road, Earth Fare is awesome because of its size! In summary, the store has options. If you’re looking for an obscure ingredient or the newest health food product, this is the place most likely to have it. Like the Co-Op, Earth Fare has a café and deli. A helpful tip to note—in the deli, the red bowls signify a dish is vegan. Even if you don’t live on the north end of town, this is a place worth visiting. If you haven’t already tried their “everything vegan” cookies, you’re missing out! 3.       Fresh Thyme Farmers Market Fresh Thyme is located on Coldwater Road off of Coliseum Boulevard and has a great selection of produce, meat, dairy, and frozen products. The store’s best feature is definitely its soup and salad bar. 4.       Ted’s Market Disclaimer—I have never been to Ted’s Market; however, after researching the store for this article, I’ve decided I need to check it out ASAP. Why? Not only can you buy wine by the glass to sip while shopping for regionally sourced food, but the market also features local goods such as Utopian Coffee and homemade bread. What a sensory experience! You can read more about Ted’s Market in an older blog post here, or visit the store’s website. 5.       Fresh Market Fresh Market is located in southwest Fort Wayne off of Jefferson Boulevard. The selection isn’t quite as large as some of the aforementioned stores, but it’s convenient if you live close by. It is also on the pricier end of the spectrum. Think high-end, gourmet goods and gifts. The bakery and fresh flowers are the best features of the store, but the sushi bar is also a plus. 6.       Health Food Shoppe Located on Anthony Boulevard, the Health Food Shoppe includes a fresh deli food bar, organic produce, and vitamins and supplements. The store is smaller; therefore, the selection is too, but this local place is...

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Middle Waves Music Festival
Sep09

Middle Waves Music Festival

Fort Wayne’s very own Middle Waves Music Festival is fast approaching. With only one week away, we wanted to showcase a few things that people might not know about the brand new festival. Middle Waves takes place at Headwaters Park on Friday, September 16th and Saturday, September 17th. This all-ages festival offers so much more than music, and there is something for everyone to participate in. Check out the workshops and activities at The Village or grab a bite to eat at the food truck alley. For the final listing of local food trucks and vendors, visit the Middle Waves website on Wednesday, September 13th. If you plan to buy your ticket at the door, expect to wait in line. The anticipation of this event is high, and it’s bound to be packed with other festival goers who still need tickets. If you want to hit the festival running full force, then buy your tickets early. Single day passes and two day ticket passes are available for purchase on the website here. These passes give you access to the Main Stage where headliners Best Coast and The Flaming Lips are set to perform. The two additional stages do not require a ticket or wristband, so feel free to enjoy the great musical acts there. Because Middle Waves is an all-ages festival, children age 12 and under are admitted free with an adult ticket purchase. For the festival map and band schedule, check out the Middle Waves Festival Guide here. Middle Waves Music Festival is a non-profit organization and wouldn’t be possible without its volunteers. Many volunteer opportunities are still available and come with some great perks like free or discounted tickets. Pick your volunteer position and sign-up here. Fort Wayne, let’s make the inaugural Middle Waves Music Festival a resounding...

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