Jason Reser, Owner, Reser Bicycle OutfittersThere’s a distinctly social vibe to Jason Reser’s bike shop. Visitors are kicking it on chairs by the service counter, watching mechanics do their thing, jawing with the staff. Along one wall, there’s a coffee bar with an espresso machine ready for action. You can buy and fix your bike here, but Reser is also a place to get news on group rides (they schedule events about once a week) and the latest on the ever-growing Cincinnati bike trail system. The shop sells bikes, gear, and does repairs; and it offers fittings to help you find the right size ride. Reser, a 35-year-old from Clermont County, opened the main store in Newport in 2000, and moved to a larger spot, a former Kroger, in 2008. Last year he opened a branch in Over-the-Rhine. I think people who work at the shop have to be involved and have to really be enthusiastic about what they’re doing. They’re selling cycling, not really bicycles. I want to share my lifestyle with them. I worked in a bike shop in high school and college, and I learned from Bruce Bishop in Milford; his family had been in the bicycling business for over 100 years. I learned how to turn customers into lifelong friends.Bicycling is definitely growing here. We’re building some of the nicest trails, nicest bike lanes, and facilities in the country. While we’re late to the game, we’re coming on stronger than a lot of places.For a long time, here, bicycling was a much smaller community. We all knew each other. Now it seems like every third house has someone who rides a bike once or twice a week. Northside! Now it’s kind of a bike town. Who would have thought that any part of Cincinnati would be considered a bike town just 10 years ago?Snobbishness, all the insider lingo and attitude, has always plagued specialty retail sporting places. I learned from Bruce, who was super nice and down to earth to everybody; you might not even know he was an expert about bikes. It’s a fun business to be in, but it is weird to be here on Saturday and Sunday and see these people all out riding. But hey, we get to ride during the week. —As told to RJ Smith648 Monmouth St., Newport, (859) 261-6187; 1419 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, (513) 421-2453, reserbicycle.com
Mike & Carolyn Deininger, Owners, MiCA
In 2010, when the Deiningers took a risk and closed their gift shop in O’Bryonville to focus solely on the Vine Street location, the neighborhood was a work in progress and the city’s appetite for hip handcrafted goods was just a vague promise. Since then, both have soared. Today MiCA is the retail epicenter of Gateway chic. And the couple’s engaging wares—many made by local designers—are on everyone’s wish list. Their next move? Staying put. Carolyn: I went to art school and worked retail on the side. Mike is a woodworker. I wanted a store that had a specific aesthetic. We love things influenced by mid-century design, that are modern but in a warm way. Mike: Originally the merchandise either had to be handmade or design-based. Our first local artists were from Wire & Twine—Tom Duvall and Chris Glass. They did the Cincinnati T-shirt with the “transit map for optimists”—a riff on the London Underground. When we opened, we didn’t know any local artists. [Meeting them] has been a really nice upside of this.Carolyn: We’re very supportive of this location and what’s going on. Even though this space was really raw—[when we first saw it] there was a toilet in the middle of the floor—you could still see what it was going to be. There are people who, anytime they have family in town, come from the suburbs to show them what’s going on. Mike: We’re busier after 4, 5 o’clock than we’ve ever been. Now there’s never a dull spot. It used to be I could wander out and talk with one of the other shop owners and just kind of watch the door. That doesn’t happen anymore. You have to bring in [another employee] so that you can go to the bathroom! There’s always customers around. Carolyn: And when they have City Flea at Washington Park, that’s a busy day for us. Things like City Flea have helped people understand the value of something that’s made locally. Mike: Any event is good for the whole neighborhood. They all bring in a new crowd. —As told to Linda Vaccariello1201 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, (513) 533-1974, shopmica.com
Shawna Maria Guip, Owner, Hi-Bred After graduating from DAAP, Shawna Maria Guip landed a job sculpting toy prototypes for GI Joe action figures and Pokémon characters. But a change of heart led her to open Hi-Bred, a vintage boutique in East Walnut Hills selling her expertly curated stash of clothing and housewares. We talked with her about art in the modern world, buying what you love, and the value of vintage.I enjoyed making toys because as a sculptor I could use my skills every day. But as the industry started moving into digital sculpting, I wasn’t interested in sitting at a computer all day. You’re making these mass-produced things and marketing to kids, and after a while I wanted to rediscover my focus and be a part of my community instead of contributing to global consumerism. I’ve always been an avid thrifter and loved vintage clothes—the quality is better, the fabric is nicer, the cuts fit better. Getting back into old things for me was about recycling—not buying new products when there are plenty of old-use products out there. And they’re unique things that you won’t find at Target. I chose the name Hi-Bred because it’s a mix of contemporary, vintage, and handmade. It’s important when you are styling or doing interior design to have a mix of everything—clean lines, good design, and good-quality fabrics. East Walnut Hills is a hidden gem. I wanted to start a business in an area that needed a little more development—so I could help grow the type of community I wanted to be a part of, and be there from the ground up. My general rule is “If it speaks to you, buy it.” If not, then it wasn’t meant to be. I personally like finding local stuff, so if I can find anything from Gidding-Jenny or Dunlap, I get excited about that, because it’s celebrating a little bit of Cincinnati history.I take things on consignment. Peo-ple will bring you a large collection that they’ve had. It’s pretty exciting because I understand how hard it is to let go. But then seeing those things find a good home and finding other people who are excited about them—it’s recycling that joy over and over. —As told to Amy Brownlee2807 Woodburn Ave., East Walnut Hills, (513) 240-4664, facebook.com/HiBredLifeGloria McConnaghy & Dan Schwandner, Former and current owners, The Little Mahatma
Bangles from Bhutan, earrings from India, Tibetan bowls—in 1989, when Gloria McConnaghy started selling jewelry in the Carew Tower arcade, she brought the handcrafts of the developing world to Cincinnati. In 2008, her shop became part of the redeveloping world of Over-the-Rhine. This year she sold The Little Mahatma to Dan Schwandner. The two talk about the store they both cherish, and explain how they pulled off the Zen-like transition in ownership. McConnaghy: I had been working inter-nationally in public health, and I saw these wonderful things that people were making in their homes. When I came back to Cincinnati I started the store. That was 24 years ago. Last year, I decided I wanted to retire. And just about that time, he appeared. Schwandner: I was a network man-ager for Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield. So, not a lot of retail experience, but drawn to it. I said to my partner, “I would love this store and this location.” He spoke to Gloria and said, “If you ever are interested in selling, let us talk with you.” We met last September for lunch; January 1 was the transfer date. It went as smoothly as you could possibly hope. I asked Gloria to mentor me, and here we are.McConnaghy: I had an easy job. The business part he had down immediately, and he has a real good sense of craftsmanship. He has asked me to stay on as a consultant. A lot of that is to show him where I get my things.Schwandner: After we completed the sale, Gloria went to India for six weeks and brought back beautiful pieces. McConnaghy: I used to do that a lot, but now it’s not cost effective. [Developing countries] are getting into electronics, so crafts are getting harder and harder to find. It’s not dying out quickly, but it’s definitely changing. Schwandner: The primary goal is to keep the store true to what Gloria built, offering unique, high-quality handcrafted pieces. I do plan on adding a men’s line; other than that, the store will feel much the same. Jewelry, textiles, home decor—anything that represents the identity of the culture. —As told to Linda Vaccariello
1205 Vine St., Over-the-Rhine, (513) 723-1287, thelittlemahatma.com
Phillip Lipschutz, owner, UNheardof
Growing up in Latonia, Phillip Lipschutz and his friends would skateboard into downtown Cincinnati every chance they got. After working his way up at Cincinnati’s Anonymous skate shop, the now 28-year-old Lipschutz opened UNheardof, selling trendy T-shirts and the hard-to-score limited-edition Nike and Adidas shoe designs that aficionados crave. Plus, it’s where Lipschutz sells his own flashy UNheardof clothing line. And the streetwear-savvy entrepreneur has even higher aspirations. UNheardof is a unique lifestyle shop influenced by action sports—like skateboarding and snowboarding—and the arts, including everything from graffiti art to classic hip-hop. The goal is to be not just a shoe store. We want to be a LaRosa’s, Skyline, Graeter’s—that level of recognition.With Anonymous being the face of skateboarding in the Midwest and one of the select accounts for Nike skateboarding when it first started, we were already grandfathered in. Once you have Nike, everybody wants you. The limited edition shoes we get from Nike, Adidas, Vans—that’s our advertising. We’re one of the few stores in the country that have those products. With the hard-to-find items, people will find you and then find out about the store. A lot of the clothing brands we carry—like Billionaire Boys Club, which is Pharrell Williams’s and Jay-Z’s line—those are hard items to find and usually sold only in Los Angeles, New York City, Paris, Miami, those upscale cities. Now it’s in Cincinnati.“Are you all from L.A.? Is this a chain?” We get that a lot.Ideally, we want to keep the UNheardof line based on a Cincinnati influence. We try to be a traditional homage-themed clothing line.I specifically don’t want to get to a New York City or a Los Angeles. I just don’t want to go from the cool niche to the corny chain store. But I kind have to let it grow the way it’s supposed to, instead of forcing it.My whole goal is to be the face of a Cincinnati brand. Bob Roncker’s, I’m coming for you. —As told to Justin Williams341 W. Fourth St., downtown, (513) 744-9444, unheardofbrand.com
Visit The Short List to see how we acheived some of these fall looks.
Originally published in the September 2013 issuePhotographs by Annette Navarro
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