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Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Fort Thomas Residents To Open New "Gourmet" Concept in Midway Business District

They were once two of the most unsightly and problematic properties in the city.

1011 and 1013 S. Fort Thomas Avenue were run-down, vacant and often the preferred home for squatters and crime. Now a with another signed lease and a build-out imminent on the second space, property developers Kyle Stevie and Chris Reid's vision for the property is almost complete.

They bought the two buildings in December of 2016.

RELATED: Midway Properties Sold to Fort Thomas Developers 
RELATED: Renovations are Underway at Midway Properties, See Exclusive "Before" Pictures

Grassroots & Vine, the newest retailer to sign a lease in the Midway business district, is a gourmet market and tasting room concept owned by residents Chuck and Barb Thomas.

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Thomas is also the owner of Fort Thomas Central, a gift shop located at 3 N. Fort Thomas Avenue.

Chuck and Barb Thomas with their two girls. Provided.
Previously, Fort Thomas Matters reported that 1013 S. Fort Thomas Avenue has a signed lease for Fort Thomas Ice Cream, owned by residents, Jason and Angela Williams, which is right next door.

RELATED: Fort Thomas Couple to Open Fort Thomas Ice Cream 

The Thomas' said that they have been honing in on this business model such as this for about ten years.

"We started by hiring a consultant years ago, the 'Deli-Llama', to learn the basics of the deli and gourmet market business and have also visited many similar establishments along the way," said Barb Thomas.  "Moving to and living in Fort Thomas has encouraged us to establish a business model that will provide the community with specialty and locally-sourced food items."

Additionally they said they envision Grassroots & Vine as being a destination for small batch wines, craft beer and a nice selection of Kentucky bourbon.

"Need a special occasion or corporate gift?  Customers will be able to combine everything into a gourmet gift basket tied with a bow and on their way they will go," said Thomas. "Maybe you’re having a date night or girls night out?  Folks can meet for drinks and small bites while enjoying live music.  The patio will be open during warmer months for everyone to enjoy. The space will also be available for small events and private parties."

Thomas opened Fort Thomas Central in 2013 and believes her experience there will help her make Grassroots and Vine another success.

"I  have enjoyed creating friendships and integrating within the community at Fort Thomas Central.  We have hosted community events, fundraisers, food trucks, live music and in-shop events for everyone to enjoy," she said. "We have created a great working relationship with the community, school system and the City.  These relationships will help us as we start this new venture."

Grassroots & Vine will offer gifts and gourmet gift baskets but will focus on specialty food items, desserts and wine, craft beer and bourbon.

"We see the two businesses complimenting each other," she said. "Both will offer the same cozy, unintimidating culture we feel is so important to the success of brick and mortar businesses.  Although they are two very different concepts, the common ground is our community grassroots and local support."

Aside from the biggest news that another business has signed a lease, is the continuing renaissance and success of the Midway Business District alongside long-term stalwarts like the Olde Fort Pub. Business owners have sought out investment opportunities on their own, pulled together renovations and transformed spaces that are quickly becoming a nightlife destination.

"We love the historic vibe of the Midway District and the energy of surviving small businesses and being close to Tower Park," said Chuck Thomas. "We are excited for Fort Thomas Ice Cream to be opening in the space beside us.  We believe both businesses will compliment energy already existing in the Midway."

Thomas said she's getting help from Lucie Rice on the branding concept and Ashli Slawter on the floor plan design of the space.

Rice, a Highlands graduate, has previously created exclusive prints for Thomas at Fort Thomas Central.

Lucie Rice created the logo and branding concept. 
"Lucie is also working on a mural that will be featured inside the mercantile area.  Her work is amazing and she knows how to capture community within her designs.  We came up with the name Grassroots & Vine because we wanted the name to tie in with our community roots, good wine, beer and bourbon," said Thomas.

As far as timeline, Thomas said she is hopeful that things come together in time for summer.

"It really depends on the time it takes to build-out the space, time it takes to apply for and receive all licenses and permits required and the training process," she said. "We are hopeful for a smooth process all the way around because we're so excited to get started here."

So is Fort Thomas.

FTM file.

1011 S. Fort Thomas Avenue. To the left is 1013 S. Fort Thomas Ave., which will be Fort Thomas Ice Cream. FTM file. 

1011 was once a second post office for the city and was built around 1930. 1013 was built in 1905 and was Sattler's grocery and the Fort Thomas Recreation Parlor, among other retail spaces before being converted to apartments. FTM file. 
What you'll find at Grassroots and Vine:

Coffee, Tea and Soft Drinks 
Chocolate, Candies and Desserts
Paninis and Salads
Charcuterie & Cheese Boards
Curated list of Wine, Craft Beer and Bourbon
Specialty/KY Proud Items
Evening Lounge, Patio and Small Bites
Small Events Venue

PHOTO: 1011 S. Fort Thomas. The open space off the street with be turned into a patio. Provided. 

1 comment:

  1. This is one of the best things to happen in town in a long time! Good luck, Barb & Chuck.