Ella serves up locally-sourced food and art in New Albany

Hayley Savage

Four years ago, Hayley Savage left her high-powered corporate career to turn her lifelong love of art into a business. While rising up the ranks in her business life, Savage spent decades collecting brilliant art. She was proud to support local artists, building an enviable gallery of contemporary masterpieces for her personal collection.

She brought Hayley Gallery to New Albany in 2007, which was voted Gallery of the Year by Columbus Alive the year it opened. The success of her gallery meant she was living her passion and spending more time with her family. However, Savage’s entrepreneurial life was only beginning.

At the same time that Savage had become a known local art enthusiast, fellow New Albany resident Amy Schottenstein had taken on a venture of her own in northern Ohio. Schottenstein and her family enjoyed summering at their small beach town on the lakeshore, but were disappointed by the lack of wholesome, fresh dining options there. Determined to provide a gourmand’s solution, she started up her own seasonal restaurant to serve the local community.

Amy Schottenstein

These two women’s synergy doesn’t stop with dual entrepreneurial successes. Unbeknownst to the other, both Savage and Schottenstein independently won business coaching scholarships from the city of New Albany. Finally, in April of 2009, Schottenstein and Savage meet and the beginning stages of Ella are born. Ella stands for “Eat Local. Love Art.”

“I told her about the concept and we spent nine months together developing it,” says Savage.

What was the concept? Ella is a community hub with a twofold purpose, where diners can find inventive, locally-sourced cuisine and experience local art in a modern gallery space.

“Food and art is like peanut butter and chocolate, just a delicious synergy,” Savage says. “They are both so tactile, so visual, and they reinforce and inform each other.

The Ella restaurant will follow a farm-to-table model as much as possible, with local and seasonal ingredients prepared artistically by celebrated local chef Travis Hyde (formerly of Z Cucina). The gallery will feature local, contemporary artists on a monthly basis, with new artist receptions for the community each month.

Ella opens in New Albany this November.

While these women’s talent and business acumen carried them far on their journey to bringing Ella to life, a small business loan from the Economic and Community Development Institute allowed them to recreate the New Albany space into an innovative new gallery and restaurant locale. In the past, ECDI has been able to finance businesses like Ella primarily through federal, state, and local programs. As the demand for our small business financing products skyrocketed, we knew it was time to create a new source for loan funds by launching the Invest Local Ohio campaign.

Every dollar committed by individual investors to the Invest Local Ohio program will be loaned to a local small business and leveraged with at least two more dollars from other ECDI loan funds and guarantees a minimum two percent return. Investors have the opportunity to lift up hardworking entrepreneurs whose success bolsters the local economy, creates jobs and taxpayers, and translates to more Ohioans participating in the economic mainstream.

To learn more about Ella, visit Ella-Restaurant.com.

If you could invest in fuller lives for Central Ohioans looking to capitalize their dream, would you? For more information on becoming an investor in the Invest Local Ohio campaign, contact ECDI President Steve Fireman at 614-732-0577 or [email protected].