Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Why Can't Fort Thomas Create a Strategy?

Two news stories lately that are great for Northern Kentucky but underscores the city's inability to attract and retain good retail.

Exhibit A - Brian Wiefering's WieFit gym and fitness studio will be opening along Monmouth Street in Newport. Brian is a Fort Thomas resident who chose to open his studio along Monmouth Street near Fusion Studio, a former Fort Thomas business. Here is an excerpt from the article on NKY.com:
WieFit joins other health businesses that have opened along Newport's business district. Fusion Studio, a gym specializing in cycling and spinning classes, opened in March 2008 above Reser Bicycle Shop. Newport's business district also features yoga and dance studio Kula Center for the Movement Arts, pilates studio Studio P and Meters and Miles, a running shoe and equipment store.
Amazing, thought - complimentary businesses located in close proximity that feed off of each other and create a district focused on the same customers.

Exhibit B - Today the Enquirer reports that a cupcake shop, Three Tiers Contemporary Cakes & Cupcakes, is opening in Bellevue. This new shop compliments the existing collection of eclectic shops along Fairfield Ave that includes shops like The Cozy Cottage, Knit On, Saponi Soaps, the Bellevue Beadery, and of course Mrs. Teapots.

It would be easy to chalk the success of these communities up to the traffic flow along Monmouth Street and Fairfield Ave which Fort Thomas residents do not want for Fort Thomas Ave. There is some validity to this argument. However, the ultimate success of these communities is the vision they created that served as a true rallying point for executing the strategy through promotion, policy, and support.

Back to Exhibit A, I contacted Brian to ask him why he chose Monmouth St and Newport. I did not get a response as of yet but I would be willing to bet it was the same reasons that Red Hot Promotions or Fusion Studio decided to locate there which includes support of the city and the complimentary businesses. Living in Fort Thomas I am sure he understands the deals he can get on store fronts in the primary retail areas but he chose not to locate there despite people traveling from Lexington and Indianapolis to Fort Thomas to his home in the past.

What ideas do you have for a good retail theme for the Midway district? Right now the theme is "hodge podge".

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Data Point on Fort Thomas Real Estate


June was a great month for home sales in Fort Thomas Kentucky. After spending months in single digits in sales volume - 17 homes were sold in the city. I personally know three people who have purchased a home here. That is the good news but the not so good stat of the month includes a still somewhat protracted 4 months average time on the market and average sales price of $160,000 which could have a negative impact on comps for anyone else looking to put their home on the market.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Recent Observations in Fort Thomas

1. Found a good blog via twitter by Breanna Gaddie who bills herself as a photojournalist. She has some good pictures on the site and from time to time visits Fort Thomas. Her most recent post includes a dinner at Pergola. Speaking of Pergola, I am hearing more and more people talking about how Pergola is having a difficult time figuring out what they want to be. The patio invokes the image of a great place to hang out with friends for some good bar food but the menu is anything but. I enjoyed the food but I do agree with a recent review that called it ambiguous.

2. According to the Facebook site, Friends of Newport Pavilion, there appears to be some confirmation that Target will open next year. While I haven't been able to confirm that timeline the recently erected sign on the Memorial Pkwy entrance confirms they are still in the plans. Also it is very exciting to see the awning over the gas pumps and it appears that black top could go down any day.

3. You can vote for Earth Mother Market as a favorite farmers market on the Love Your Farmers Market site for a chance for them to win $5,000. Although I would like to support them more - my favorite is still Findlay Market. We make the trek nearly every weekend.

4. Lastly, there was recent news on plans to complete the amphitheater by next July. This is exciting but only as exciting as the city's ability to get quality programming during the summer. We need family movie nights, symphany performances on fall evenings, live performances of Shakespeare, or some quality bands. Please lets take advantage of the facilities. One potential negative in all of this is the possibility for no organization of the 4th at the Fort in the future. The event was started as a fundraiser for rehab of the ampitheatre and without that as a goal Flow and Dan Gray will no longer be the driving force. Regardless of what happens to the event I think we all owe a debt of gratitude to the Grays for their determination and support for our community.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Ruth Moyer Rain Garden


On Saturday, July 11th a group of Fort Thomas residents gathered at Ruth Moyer to install a rain garden in front of the Ruth Moyer front steps. You may be familiar with this area by the caution tape that generally surrounds it as it is prone to standing water after large rains.

The group of citizens included a large contribution of labor by Fort Thomas Provides, a non-profit that started on the social networking website LinkedIn and quickly moved beyond the virtual world into tangible ways of making the community better. You can check out their profile on LinkedIn or visit their website.

The project would not have been possible without the leadership of the Garden Coach, Kris Barton. Kris provided the creativity and organization that allowed the group to complete the successful project. Principal Jay Brewer was also on hand to help out with the garden.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

News on Twitter


I have added a new Twitter Search feature on the right hand side that shows the latest Tweets on Fort Thomas (limited to the last 5 tweets - interested in more then click here). There are some truly fascinating comments about people working in places around town, eating at restaurants, and even running in the Firecracker. Be sure to glance over on the right hand side of the page from time to time for some updates and who knows you may even find somebody you are interested in connecting with.

Speaking of Tweets, I noticed one recently regarding the news that Vito's and the Midway had filed for brew pub licenses. The feed however was for a site called Hoperatives that is all about promoting beer in the Cincinnati area. You really just never know what you are going to find and this is a great example of a community and site for all interests.

Since we are talking Twitter... if you are interested in getting more immediate updates from me then feel free to follow me.