Businesses Benefit from Cleveland’s Neighborhood Program

GLENVILLE, Ohio — A business incubator program in Cleveland is celebrating its second year of providing a launching pad for dreams, while bringing goods and services to an underserved area of ​​the city.

What do you want to know

  • GlenVillage provides space for seven entrepreneurs to launch their small business
  • Companies range from restaurants to hair salons and each pitched their ideas to be selected to join the project
  • As a business incubator, entrepreneurs can operate in the space for a short time while gathering the skills and tools needed to scale to their own self-contained location.

GlenVillage is home to seven small businesses in the Glenville neighborhood. Storefronts range from retail stores to restaurants to barbers. Each entrepreneur presented their idea and the companies were selected by the neighbors and the city.

Mary Johnson was among the contractors selected. She loves to cook and opened Vitiman Kandie in space.

“Instead of having fried chicken on every corner, McDonald’s, Wendy’s, Burger King, I wanted to bring healthy, wholesome vegan foods without sacrificing taste,” Johnson said.

The personal trainer-turned-chef is now turning the taste buds on with everything she does.

“I lost about 120 pounds and when I did, my digestive tract was shut off and I was like, I gotta do something about it,” she said. “So I started with this first juice, which is my refill juice.”

Cold-pressed vegetable and herb juices are just one of the ways she hopes to rejuvenate a neighborhood close to her heart.

“I grew up just down the street, so I wanted to come back and give them something very precious,” Johnson said. “So, I hope they follow me to the next place.”

NaTasha Holloway said that’s exactly the idea behind GlenVillage, to support small business owners to help them take it to the next level.

“We hear and see what they want to do, and we’re just like, okay, let’s do this, boom,” she said. “And we put our brains together.”

She works with CLE Consulting Firm, an accounting firm that provides business mentoring and helps run the site.

“The turnout and love we’ve received from the community has been tremendous,” she said.

Angela Sharpley, CEO/Founder of Pipe’n Hot Grill, said customers fall in love with her Bamba tea. So much so that it is about to be launched with mass distribution.

“It’s pineapple iced tea with mint,” she says. “This is the tea for sweet tea lovers.”

She said she’s grateful for opportunities like the business incubator and excited for what’s to come.

“Looking back at everything we’ve been through, it makes me feel like we’re champions and we can do whatever we want, if we stick with it,” Sharpley said.

Businesses can operate at GlenVillage for two years before exiting on their own. Contractor First Class are able to extend their stay for an additional year due to COVID-19 and pandemic closures.

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