2013 Year In Review

As 2013 comes to a close, it’s time to review the small business landscape in Columbus.

The 36 articles below highlight new businesses, shed light on some unique apps, identify the abundant resources available for entrepreneurs in Columbus and offer some helpful advice.

With a community that embraces local, expect more great stories of entrepreneurship in 2014.


New app for the New Year. Shopping app, Jifiti marries online and in-store shopping, allowing consumers to create shareable wish-lists. From startups to established, experienced Columbus restaurateur Cameron Mitchell shared his thoughts after 20-plus years in the business. Finally, to paint a business picture for the new year, Jung Kim, leader of the Columbus Chamber’s research team, answered the questions he hears most often about industries and market demographics in the city.


Founded by Carol Clark, new angel group, X Squared Angels made its debut in 2013 with the goal of investing in women-led businesses. Another resources for small business, Eat Well Distribution helps artisan food producers with wholesale distribution, sales and account management,on-site product sampling, product line development and sourcing. Maybe doing your own marketing is more your style? Amy Schmittauer offers some tips on using video as a digital marketing strategy.


Columbus businesses come in all shapes and sizes. Pop-up shop Robert Mason opened in a 208-square-foot space downtown on Gay Street. The retailer offers high-fashion, high-demand office and lifestyle supplies. Occupying slightly more area, branding agency treetree makes its home in a 2,000-square-foot space in the Berry Boltworks Building. From business space to space in your garden, new app Sprout it helps green-thumbs determine the plants most likely to succeed in their gardens by accounting for scale, lifestyle, local weather conditions and difficulty.


One of the biggest trends in Columbus over the last few years has been the upswing in craft breweries. We put together a how to start a microbrewery guide for the budding beer connoisseurs of Columbus. Building another space? Architecture firm BBCO Design creates spaces with the motto, “Build Less.” Being inherently careful about the amount of space needed and using less to begin with takes going green in a whole new direction. Finally, Barnes & Thronburg offered some advice for all businesses on how to protect your business records on the internet.


Starting a small business often means taking out a loan. Telhio Credit Union offered some insight on three things to do before taking out a business loan. Two programs honored small businesses in May. The Metropreneur and Rotary District 6690 teamed up to host the first-ever Central Ohio Social Entrepreneur of the Year Awards. Six business were recognized for their work using entrepreneurial principles and practices to create ventures aimed at solving social problems. Kickstart Columbus winner Julie Wilkes of Seven Studios received free rent for a year in a downtown store front.


From fashion to gadgets, entrepreneurs can find support in Columbus. The Alternative Fashion Mob brings together independent designers, models, event planners, photographers and other fashion-industry professionals to bolster and build support within their community. Trident Design turns gadget ideas into tangible products by helping inventors at any stage in the development process, from napkin sketch to store shelves. Some food for thought to round out the month, the HAPI Project creates a scaleable platform for food production by making local food growing systems more readily available and technologically automated for efficiency.


Before launching a business, you need to know what kind of business structure is right for you. Deanna Barzak outlines the differences between an LLC and a S Corporation. Once you’re established, new creative design firm Basecraft can help you define your brand and what your company stands for. Summer also means wedding season. Two OSU students created a private social network, Weddings by Capstory, to help couples share pictures of the big day in one convenient, organized place.


If it isn’t already clear, Columbus loves their craft breweries…and businesses in trucks. Buckeye Canning combines the best of both by bringing a mobile canning line straight to a brewery’s bright tank. August also brought sage advice for business owners. Rick Coplin of TechColumbus answered the questions he hears most often when it comes to entrepreneurship, as well as how to take advantage of great local business resources. With much of today’s business conducted via electronic communications, Doug Oldham reminds business owners to slow down and think before they send.


Location, location, location! A regional spotlight highlights what makes Upper Arlington a great place for small businesses. If your location is downtown, Kacey Brankamp can likely help you find your space. The matchmaker pairs both retailers and businesses seeking office space with their their ideal location. Or, head outside to a Farmer’s Market. Markets with local vendors have been on the rise – and aren’t just for the summer months.


Thinking of starting a business? The Small Business Development Center can help. The SBDC has abundant free resources that support everyone from an entrepreneur with an idea to an established business. Once your business is established, you will need an application – but should you build or should you buy? Helping women here by helping women there is at the heart of new local business soHza. Local women purchase handcrafted jewelry made by women in developing countries, with a portion of the proceeds helping local women’s organizations.


Another KickStart Competition winner will enjoy free rent for a year at a downtown storefront. Sweet Simpliciteas will be caffeinating downtown with their unique and handcrafted tea blends. If bourbon is more your style, you won’t find anything to drink at the Columbus Barrel Co., but you will find two brothers making unique furniture and housewares out of empty bourbon barrels. Finally, Buckeye Interactive offers advice for creatives working with small businesses and how the two can work together to best represent a business online.


Making old new is at the heart of several business in Central Ohio. Three antique experts offer their advice on how to open an antique booth. Down in Pickerington, husband-and-wife team Jason and Jennifer Diehl opened the Ritzy Rose and Vintage Diehls. The Ritzy Rose uses vintage jewelry to create one-of-a-kind pieces while Vintage Diehls sells clothes and other unique oddities. A business owner can find themselves in variety of difficult situations, but Barnes & Thornburg offers advice on terminating ill employees.