2014 Year in Review: July Through December

Yesterday highlighted six months of small business stories and advice, and today we wrap up 2014 with the top stories from the last six months.


July kicked off with an in-depth look at a topic that’s been brewing for some time – downtown’s retail market. The Special Improvement District shed some light on potential markets downtown and what it’s going to take to build thriving retail areas. Meanwhile, the Columbus Chamber of Commerce offered some tips on obtaining certifications. Nine easy questions can help a business determine if they are eligible for women- or minority-owned status. Finally, Columbus has no shortage of t-shirt makers, but one duo is printing custom designs with more than just something cool to wear in mind. Outfit Good’s t-shirt fundraising platform takes a significant flat fee from each item sold and donates it to a good cause. (Bonus post: check out the unique shared office space that is The Perch.)


Small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs normally need all the help they can get, especially when it comes to dealing with red tape. In response to a voiced need, the city created a small business concierge position, giving business owners both a resource and an advocate. Columbus is a highly caffeinated city with a smattering of great local roasters, but just outside the city’s bounds lies Hemisphere Coffee Roasters. The roaster sources beans directly from locales in which the export has a significant impact on the community. Finally TechColumbus reminds all business owners of the power of networking.


Independents’ Day has become a September staple in Columbus’ long list of festivals. Organizers shared how the celebration of all things local has grown from bootstrapped, one-day event to a weekend-long mecca of Columbus greatness. September also saw a pair of spaces open, offering resources for entrepreneurs. Housed on the second floor of the Columbus Idea Foundry in Franklinton, FABRIC offers designers a work area and place to build a local fashion community. Short North’s Lumos is part innovation and strategy consulting for lager corporations, part in-house startup incubator and accelerator, and part tech art gallery. And we can’t wrap up the month without mentioning TechColumbus’ amazing accomplishment of being named one of the top university-associated business incubators in the world.


On demand delivery for almost anything…sounds great, right? New app Whence is making that happen with a list of local retail partners and concierge service that will deliver just about whatever to your Columbus door in 90 minutes or less. While some food trucks are on hiatus for the winter, more and more mobile foodie-preneurs prove they don’t just have a seasonal business. ECDI provides some tips and tricks for getting a mobile food business through the winter. With social enterprises on the rise (business ventures that compliment a non-profit’s mission), there’s a need for support and resources. Enter the Center for Social Enterprise Development.


Most people know Snowville Creamery as the dairy behind Jeni’s, but the creamery’s line of grass-grazed dairy products including milk, yogurt and crème fraîcheis can be found at almost any grocery store in the 270 loop. Although slightly outside of Central Ohio, half of the southern Ohio creamery’s sales come from Columbus. Back in the city, Death to the Stock Photo is giving independents easy access to quality photos, smashing the typical stock photo experience. No more girls smiling eating salads, but instead carefully curated packs of photos. Another business celebrated victory after winning SID’s video contest. eVAL is headed to a new suite at 175 on The Park. And one more for good measure – read more about new business incubator Endeavor Forward.


To wrap up the year, we took a behind the scenes look at rapidly growing BiBiBop. The Korean-inspired fast-casual concept has expanded to four locations in just a year-and-a-half. Two other articles highlight Experience Columbus members offering unique activities for the local or the  out-of-towner. Art With Anna provides art class for both children and adults, while Grand Prix Karting offers a day of fun zipping around a half-mile indoor go-kart track. Because small business owners don’t always feel like their voices are heard, there’s the National Federation of Independent Business. The organization not only advocates for small business legislation at a national and local level, but provides educational resources on current legislation.

What were some of your favorite small business stories of the year? Share them below! Happy 2015.