United Coffee – Bringing Europe to Fort Wayne
Feb11

United Coffee – Bringing Europe to Fort Wayne

Coffee is the quintessential universal language. No matter where you go, no matter what country you are in, a coffee shop is the place you go to meet friends, study, and hang out. It can be the home to new beginnings and chance encounters and it was certainly by chance that I stumbled upon Fort Wayne’s newest local coffee shop, United Coffee. Tucked away in a shopping plaza at 6447 W. Jefferson Blvd. that houses Buffalo Wings & Ribs, Pak Mail, and Chops Steak & Seafood, is the cutest coffee shop on the corner lot where a credit union used to stand. Owners Tony and Marina Horani greet their customers by name as they enter the cozy shop with its cheerful yellow chairs and twinkling fairy lights. Their goal is for people to feel welcome – like they have invited them into their home for a cup of coffee. Marina, a native of Kaliningrad (which was German until the end of WWII and is now a part of Russia), laughed as she told me she feels like she knows more people in Fort Wayne than in her homeland. Tony, a native of Fort Wayne, had told her how welcoming his hometown was  and that was one of the things that drew them back. Tony is a graduate of IU’s Kelley School of Business and armed with a degree in accounting moved to the nation’s capital to work in real estate investment. Marina was studying at a university in Russia that had an exchange program for English immersion which she was taking in DC, which is how the two met and fell in love. The two loved traveling and had a love for coffee and local businesses. “I’ve always wanted to own a family business and we have such a great economic environment in Fort Wayne.” Tony explained. “Fort Wayne is the NYC of small businesses…but with training wheels. People want to see you succeed. The competition isn’t as stiff and the city is willing to let you figure things out.” United Coffee is a culmination of products that the Horanis explored in their travels. “We wanted to build something we would enjoy,” Marina noted. One year ago while they were on a layover in Amsterdam, they tried their now signature waffles, the Liège waffle. These waffles come from a local baker in Brussels, Belgium. Waffles are one of Belgium’s most famous exports, yet they do not have what we consider a Belgian waffle. Instead they have two categories of waffles that have existed for hundreds of years: the Brussels waffle (which is similar to our American version of a Belgian...

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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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Pasjion Daniels, Force Community – Entrepreneurship Spotlight
Aug03

Pasjion Daniels, Force Community – Entrepreneurship Spotlight

The “Living Fort Wayne Entrepreneurship Spotlight” series returns today with a spotlight on a unique boutique public relations agency. Pasjion Daniels, owner of Force Community, answered our small business questionnaire recently. Ms. Daniels operates her business from the Atrium co-working space in downtown Fort Wayne where she also serves as supervisor Here’s what she had to say about her journey as an entrepreneur in northeast Indiana. What is Force Community? Force Community is a boutique PR agency that focuses’ on community engagement, and event planning and designing. Force is owned by Pasjion Daniels, who desires to host and bring “un ordinary” events to Fort Wayne through Force Community. It all started with the “When Life Hands You Lemons Brunch” event dedicated to creatives and bloggers. The brunch gave them skills to get over sore spots in business, and provided a safe place to network. From there, Daniels took her desire for planning, designing, and career in PR to the next level. Force Community was birthed. Feel free to follow them on Instagram & Facebook at : @forcecommunity What made you decide to open a business in Fort Wayne? The vision that I had for my business was something that Fort Wayne lacked. I was tired of having to go to Indianapolis, Chicago, or Ohio to attend trendy and amazing events. Fort Wayne is growing, and there was no greater place to launch. What resource in the community has helped you thrive in the community? The Atrium! The Atrium is a coworking space downtown which has offered me the greatest connections and a greater network. It’s truly all about your network and the Atrium is the best place to grow in that area. Not to mention, I get to work a cool 9-5 there as well. 🙂 What is the biggest challenge you have worked to overcome in starting your business? Being a one-woman-show has so far been the biggest challenge. I am the content creator, creative director, accountant, social media manager, etc. It takes time, but it all gets done. What person has helped you the most in your journey? I would hands down have to say that Jesus himself has helped me the most on this journey. This journey of being an entrepreneur is no easy thing at all and it’s easy to get overwhelmed. When I’m overwhelmed or don’t have the knowledge in an area, I’m always free to go to him. What is some advice you would have for new entrepreneurs? The advice I would give new entrepreneurs is to take the vision and run with it. Everyone doesn’t have to believe in it, but if...

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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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This Week In Entrepreneurship – April 3, 2018
Apr03

This Week In Entrepreneurship – April 3, 2018

“This Week in Entrepreneurship” is a weekly digest of entrepreneurship and small business activities in northeast Indiana. There is a ton of activity in the area and each week we compile highlights for current and prospective small business owners from a variety of sources. Read this week’s “Entrepreneurship Spotlight” on Conntempo Boutique in our blog. Previously at 1 Million Cups Fort Wayne 1 Million Cups is an event for local entrepreneurs to meet and present their startups to the thriving peer network of founders in Fort Wayne. The events occur almost every Wednesday morning at 9 a.m. at Sweetwater. Visit their website for more information. Last week’s presentation was from Kristine Logan Photography. Read and Subscribe to Start Fort Wayne’s monthly newsletter Start Fort Wayne has helped entrepreneurs turn ideas into growth-oriented businesses, since 2015. Each month they compile a newsletter of entrepreneurship-related events and happenings. View April’s newsletter here and subscribe at the top left of your screen. Notes from Around the Region News Resources from our news partner, Input Fort Wayne. Input Fort Wayne (inputfortwayne.com) is a news resource that has a “mission is to ignite passion and inspire innovation in northeast Indiana by highlighting bold startups, places, projects, and ideas.” Below are select entrepreneurship and small business-related pieces from Input. New pieces on a variety of topics are being released weekly. Subscribe to their weekly newsletter to have content delivered straight to your inbox. New Content Organizations join forces to address systemic problems Better together: Cities drive economic growth with greater inclusion Regional Event Highlights 1 Million Cups Fort Wayne Network with other entrepreneurs and supporters over coffee from Fort Wayne’s Utopian Coffee on the Sweetwater campus. This event recurs weekly each Wednesday from 9-10 am, unless otherwise noted. This week’s presentation – TBD – Check their Facebook page for any updates. Founders + Coffee Location – Atrium Thursday, April 5, 2018 – 10:00 AM – 11:00 AM Repeats Monthly on the First Thursday of the Month Art Night at Atrium Location – Atrium Friday, April 6, 2018 – 6:00 PM – 8:00 PM The Story Cafe Pop-up Location – Artlink Saturday, April 7, 2018 – 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM Coders +=Beer Location – Atrium Monday, April 9, 2018 – 5:30 PM – 7:30 PM Student Entrepreneurship Trade Show Location – The City Exchange Shops Thursday, April 12, 2018 – 11:00 AM – 1:00 PM Learning Lunch Location – Atrium Friday, April 13, 2018 – 12:00 PM – 1:00 PM Learning Lunch Seminars take place on the second Friday of every month. Fort Wayne Engage 2018 Location – Indiana Wesleyan University Fort Wayne Education and Conference Center Saturday, April 14,...

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