Entrepreneurship Spotlight – Alexandra Hall
Aug10

Entrepreneurship Spotlight – Alexandra Hall

This Entrepreneurship Spotlight features Alexandra Hall, a local (wonderfully and amazingly talented) artist. She’s a member of Fort Wayne Artists Guild, Wunderkammer Company, and Artlink, and interestingly enough, holds degrees in non-art related fields. She got her start right here in Fort Wayne, at a 2013 art show at the Dash-In. She’s an inspiration for all of us to find the things that we are passionate about, pursue them, and not write-off the idea that our hobbies and talents can someday (with a lot of work and a little patience) turn into a full-time gig. What made you decide to open a business in Fort Wayne/Northeast Indiana? Before I had a location at the City Exchange my business was mobile. I attended art festivals and showed work in galleries all over the country. While other cities may have a bigger art scene, I was able to develop a strong customer base here because there is a growing desire for unique and locally made artwork. When it was time for me to experiment with a brick and mortar location, I decided to test out the Fort Wayne market; I only signed a short term lease at the Exchange. I have a summer festival season coming up, so I closed my shop at the end of May, but I have learned a great deal about running a boutique/gallery space. I hope to return in September and find a different location for my studio/gallery. What resource in the Fort Wayne area has helped you thrive in the community? There is a very supportive arts community here. I would not be where I am today without my artist mentors and support from local galleries. People like Charley Shirmeyer, owner of Northside Galleries and local artist Terry Ratliff, have allowed me to make the move from hobbyist to professional artist. The kindness and generosity in this community is the only reason I am able to pursue art. What is the biggest challenge you have worked to overcome in starting your business? I think the biggest challenge I have faced is balancing the growing clerical aspects to my business and the actual creation of my product. I have nothing to sell if I don’t remember to make time to paint! What person has helped you the most in your journey? My parents, Scott and Andrea Hall, have helped me the most. What is some advice you would have for new entrepreneurs? It isn’t easy. Surround yourself with positive people who want to see you succeed, and don’t allow obstacles to slow you down! What would be the best thing Fort Wayne could do for entrepreneurs in...

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Entrepreneurship Spotlight – CookSpring
Jul06

Entrepreneurship Spotlight – CookSpring

Editor’s note – CookSpring at The Summit will be hosting an open house in celebration of doubling in size on Saturday, June 10 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at their 4,800 square foot space at The Summit at 1025 W. Rudisill Blvd. in Fort Wayne.  CookSpring staff will be conducting tours and providing guidance on starting culinary businesses during the event. Pastries from Hetty Arts Pastry and hot dogs from The Hot Dog Boyz will be available for the first 50 guests.  When The Summit was purchased in 2011, they immediately began looking for ways to use their commercial kitchen on the former campus of Taylor University Fort Wayne. They wanted to be intentional about using the space to support the local food community, and after some research, decided to use the space as a shared kitchen for culinary entrepreneurs in Fort Wayne. Entrepreneurs can rent space in the kitchen (it’s open 24/7) through bookings and even (very affordable) monthly memberships. In addition to access to the kitchen, members have the opportunity to participate in classes and other business-related services provided by Northeast ISBDC, and can receive free or discounted space for events at The Summit’s Atrium event area. CookSpring began in 2015 with one member and has now grown to 24 members! You’ll find many of your favorite food trucks are members, and CookSpring is becoming a huge platform for growth. Smith spoke a little bit about entrepreneurship in Fort Wayne, here’s what he had to say. Why was Fort Wayne an ideal place for CookSpring? Beginning in Fort Wayne and Northeast Indiana wasn’t a conscious decision so much as a default instinct – NEI is our home, and we want to see it have all of the neat opportunities that other cities have. Out of our desire to spur on entrepreneurship, we developed CookSpring into a platform where anybody can give their culinary dream a shot. Recently, Northeast Indiana has been making a strong push to recognize our regional food production as a local asset rather than an export. This investment in local products really helps to encourage food entrepreneurs and in turn makes CookSpring a more vibrant community. What resource in the community has helped you thrive in the community? We have been able to partner and collaborate with local businesses and groups who are dedicated to impacting entrepreneurs and business growth in Fort Wayne. These groups act as referral sources for new clients and we are able to direct our clients back to them for business services. In addition, the local food culture in Fort Wayne has really taken off in the past few years, which makes...

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Entrepreneur Spotlight: Taber Olinger of Fancy and Staple
Feb09

Entrepreneur Spotlight: Taber Olinger of Fancy and Staple

This week’s Entrepreneur Spotlight features Taber Olinger of Fancy & Staple, located on Broadway in Downtown Fort Wayne. Here at Living Fort Wayne, we LOVE Fancy & Staple. The boutique-style shop is unique, and browsing around is almost as fun as purchasing the amazing, individualistic products they have to offer. Seriously, I get lost in there for hours. Fancy & Staple’s mission is “to bring smaller independent lines to Fort Wayne, support local artisans, promote shop small/shop local, and to make downtown Fort Wayne a better place to live, work, and play.” Sounds great to us. What made you decide to open a business in Fort Wayne/Northeast Indiana? I’m from Fort Wayne and have always loved it here. For me, whenever something new comes this city, it’s REALLY exciting! Instead of taking it for granted because there’s already a bazillion other cool things, I feel more appreciative and connected to the progress. For the past 10 years (at least), I’ve wanted desperately to be part of that growth and offer something unique to Fort Wayne. Now that I’m finally there, I couldn’t be more thrilled!  What resource in the community has helped you thrive in the community? Definitely the Downtown Improvement District. They put on awesome events, with downtown’s best interest at heart, and have graciously included me since I opened last October. I’d also like to give a shout out to Fort Wayne Living, Fort Wayne Magazine, WANE Channel 15, and WBOI. Their interest in Fancy & Staple has provided me an abundant amount of exposure which I’m incredibly grateful for. What is the biggest challenge you have worked to overcome in starting your business? I believe the biggest challenge I overcame happened in the very beginning. It was taking the initial leap, from idea to reality. Getting started can seem over whelming, scary, and impossible. For me, I needed a little push. Even though I had been preparing for years and I was as ready as I was ever going to be. Once I started the process, nothing could stand in my way. It was an amazing experience that I would do over and over again. What person has helped you the most in your journey? The process of opening my own business was tedious and time consuming, but not difficult. Since I did it all on my own, I felt it a good idea to reach out to certain professionals throughout the process. First, I sought guidance from SCORE and then the ISBDC. They were both great! Then I connected with an attorney and accountant, which should be a must for every entrepreneur. If I had to choose one person that...

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Entrepreneurship Spotlight: Start Fort Wayne introduces Atrium
Jan29

Entrepreneurship Spotlight: Start Fort Wayne introduces Atrium

January 29, 2016: An Exciting Moment for Start Fort Wayne This Tuesday’s announcement of the development of Atrium by Start Fort Wayne is a major development in continued growth of entrepreneurship, startup, and small business activity in Fort Wayne. We at Living Fort Wayne have been keeping an eye on Start Fort Wayne for about six months, and we’ve been blown away by how quickly this nonprofit has grown from an idea to a small group of doers to a little bit larger group of shakers (see who they are). So let’s get to the heart of the matter – Atrium, a new, world-class coworking facility being built in downtown Fort Wayne at 111 W. Berry Street. I sat down with Start Fort Wayne President Dave Sanders at a coffee shop next his first coworking space, CoWork Fort Wayne to get his take on what role Atrium will play in the community. “We chose that name [Atrium], because it’s also part of the heart,” Sanders said.“It’s in the heart of Fort Wayne. It’s part of the heart of entrepreneurship in Fort Wayne.” With a target completion date of October 2016, Atrium by Start Fort Wayne aims to be a place “for entrepreneurs, small businesses, students, and startups to work, collaborate, meet, and thrive.” There will be three membership levels for coworking space users (check out the rates) and private office spaces for premium members. Take a look at Atrium by Start Fort Wayne Atrium is located in 5,500 square feet of space on the second floor the Hoch Associates Building. Hoch Associates will also serve as landlord and partner of Atrium, in addition to doing the design and architecture for the space. Here are some highlights of the space. Staffed check-in area Large conference and training room Two small conference rooms Stage Shared desks for general members Reserved desks for professional members Office spaces for premium members Casual area and kitchen Check out the Start Fort Wayne website for more details on amenities, membership options, and more. After Atrium As nonprofit organization with an eye on the community, Start Fort Wayne wants to help entrepreneurs get educated and find the resources they need to build and grow their businesses in Fort Wayne. “It’s my personal goal, that over the course of two years, while we’re getting this place to profitability, that those [office spaces] have turned over twice, at least,” Sanders said. After businesses outgrow Atrium, Sanders wants to help these businesses find a home and continue to grow their companies in downtown Fort Wayne. “That’s good for everybody downtown,” Sanders said. “It adds more jobs. It adds growing companies downtown.” Get in touch and stay up-to-date...

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Introducing our new “Entrepreneurship Spotlight” series
Dec08

Introducing our new “Entrepreneurship Spotlight” series

Last month we introduced our new Start Fort Wayne series with our post on the ongoing 1 Million Cups series. This month we are kicking off a new series of posts on local startups and entrepreneurs with our “Local Entrepreneur Spotlight” series as an addition to our partnership with Start Fort Wayne. This new series on entrepreneurs is for the following people: People who are currently entrepreneurs in the area, People in the process of starting a local venture, People who have ever dreamed of business ownership, Resource providers in the community who serve entrepreneurs, and People who are just simply fascinated by entrepreneurship and the creative climate in can foster. Join us every few weeks to get a sneak peak into the minds of our area’s up-and-coming business and community leaders as we ask them the following questions: What made you decide to open a business in Fort Wayne/Northeast Indiana? What resource in the community has helped you thrive in the community? What is the biggest challenge you have worked to overcome in starting your business? What person has helped you the most in your journey? What is some advice you would have for new entrepreneurs? What would be the best thing Fort Wayne could do for entrepreneurs in your opinion? We have an exciting list of newer businesses and entrepreneurs we’ll be spotlighting in our series, but we need more folks to tell their stories of success (or challenges). If you or your business would be interested in being spotlighted in this series to share what it took for you to be successful building and growing your business in Northeast Indiana, please email us at info@livingfortwayne.com. Let’s join together to build a strong community of entrepreneurs in Northeast Indiana. For more information on Start Fort Wayne, please visit...

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