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Friday, March 17, 2017

The Lawn @ Fort Thomas Central

Fort Thomas Central, Fort Thomas Ky
While people may move to Fort Thomas for the “beautiful homes” or the “blue ribbon schools”, most who stay end up doing so out of love for the “community”.  No single person is responsible for this community but if it could be bottled and sold, the curator would likely be none other than Barb Thomas, owner of Fort Thomas Central.  In her latest idea to inspire and encourage “community”, Barb will be opening up her lawn and encouraging community members to gather and, well, commune there.  While many business owners hang signs proclaiming “No Loitering”, Thomas hangs proverbial welcome signs and wants you to do nothing but.  In an interview with Thomas about her latest idea, called “The Lawn @ Fort Thomas Central”, Thomas reveals her motivation:

Fort Thomas Matters (FTM): How did you come up with the idea for the lawn?

Thomas: I've been working on a business model involving community, food trucks and events for several months now but finding the perfect location for the new concept has proven to be a challenge.  I've considered properties in surrounding areas but I am set on Fort Thomas.  After months of an unsuccessful search for the perfect location, I have decided to tweak the original business model to coincide with Fort Thomas Central and my current location.

FTM: What do you hope for The Lawn to become?
Thomas: We hope to use the front lawn of the property, owned and supported by Brad Fennell, to create a gathering place (in the center of town) for folks to meet up, take a rest, enjoy pop-up food trucks, events, live music, giant Jenga, corn hole, play dates/birthday parties, outdoor seating with umbrellas and old school community fun.

FTM: How can interested people participate or help you in making this be a success?

Thomas: We welcome the entire community to come together and help.  I am working with Alison Murphy of “Branch Out Design” to create a community friendly lawn with activity areas and curb appeal.  We will be doing a lot of the landscaping and curb appeal ourselves and could use a few extra sets of hands.  Those who are interested in helping, please email me at

FTM: What's your goal to accomplish with The Lawn?

Thomas: My goal is to bring community energy to the Towne Center on a daily basis.  Art Around Towne, The Holiday Walk and miscellaneous small business events have helped tremendously to bring the community outside and to take advantage of our beautiful Towne Center.  The goal for The Lawn @ Fort Thomas Central is to offer an inviting and family-friendly place, on a daily basis, during the warmer months where folks can gather and enjoy each other and the community.

FTM: Have you seen any similar ideas such as this take place elsewhere?

Thomas: I've visited similar business models in Atlanta and Chicago but each model is different based on location and demographics.  I believe The Lawn business model will fit nicely with Fort Thomas because the concept is based around community.

FTM: Are any other Fort Thomas businesses participating in this concept?
Thomas: We plan to partner with fellow Fort Thomas Businesses, local artists/artisans and home businesses on events, charities, fundraisers, pop-ups, etc.   Working together is a win-win for the entire community.  The more the merrier!

FTM: What are your big plans for the kickoff event?
Thomas: The Lawn grand opening will be Friday, May 5th, 6-9pm.  Barney and The Howlers will be playing on the front porch, food trucks, giant Jenga, corn hole and a Derby Hat Contest!  There will be plenty of outdoor seating with umbrellas, soda and water for purchase; coolers welcome.  The rain-out date will be May 6th as a backup.

FTM: Do you have any other community ideas like this that you're hoping to do?
Thomas: I'm always thinking outside the box when it comes to community events and fundraisers.  I believe events help us connect as one community.  For now, I'm going to focus on The Lawn @ Fort Thomas Central and continue to support Art Around Towne.   The date has been set for the 2nd Annual Gifting Back Bazaar for December 2, 2017 at the Highlander Event Center.  This will probably keep me busy until next year when the next event pop-ups!

Be sure to loiter, laugh, and lounge on May 5th at the first The Lawn @ Fort Thomas Central event to kickoff many nights of congregating as a community. And stop in Fort Thomas Central in the meantime to support Thomas’ community-engaged business.

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