Growing up in Ft. Thomas, you just get used to driving to other cities to run errands or to be entertained. Perhaps that is part of the reason why all the excitement surrounds the Newport Pavilion.
Don't get me wrong, I'm excited as anyone about the prospects of dining at Chick Fil A or shopping at Target , but even with the ingrained routines of Ft. Thomas citizens burning tire tracks down Grand Ave, 471 and 275, I wish Fort Thomas would or could attract and retain businesses.
I was going to try and come up with a formula for success for future entrepreneurs wanting to throw their capitalistic hat in the Ft. Thomas ring. I had about three bullet points before I realized I was kidding myself. So instead I thought I'd ask a Ft. Thomas business owner who's actually had a successful business for 33 years: Bob Arnzen, owner of the Olde Fort Pub.
"We try to treat all of our customers with appreciation and respect and listen to what they say." Arnzen said. "We are lucky to have good employees who care and know how to make everyone feel welcome."
I personally know this to be true. Michael and Annie, classmates of mine at Highlands (along with Nate and Megan Arnzen), work there (or have worked there) and quite literally make it a family atmosphere which is very difficult to fake.
Bob let me off the hook and gave me better bullet points that's allowed his business to thrive:
1 - Consistency
2 - Attention to detail
3 - A friendly and safe atmosphere
4 - Close to home for Fort Thomas residents
Arnzen circled around what was ultimately going to be my main point of what I think makes a successful Fort Thomas business - a family atmosphere.
Our community is very close knit. Generations grow up here. Kids come back here to start families. Traditions thrive. Residents are generally excited about new businesses that start here and are very willing to give them every opportunity to win them over. Without the family atmosphere, they just seem to fade.
It is a comforting feeling to walk into a family owned and operated business that has successfully welcomed patrons by their name for over three decades. Arnzen recounted that Woody Harrelson (from Cheers) used to come to The Pub in the early 80s. Arnzen gets it: "We were always glad they (the Ft. Thomas residents) came."