It’s a cold and windy Fall night in Walnut Hills. The sun begins to set while construction workers put down their hammers and begin to head home from surrounding redevelopment projects. A dedicated few start to trickle into a former tax service storefront, now community development headquarters for The Walnut Hills Redevelopment Foundation, to begin focusing on their real passion – making their business idea a reality. Half of these classmates are Walnut Hills residents, but they all share a common determination – to grow with their community.
Over the last several years, urban neighborhoods across the country have seen rapid changes in development patterns, population bases and small business growth. This has, in some cases, led to displacement or at least the fear of it. Here in Walnut Hills we are no different. Adjacent to the two largest job centers in the region, flush with history and diversity and within a short bike ride of our growing downtown, we are situated for growth and the change that comes with it.
Fortunately, over the last several years dedicated community leaders have driven change from within through inclusive planning processes, listening sessions, hands on activation strategies, property acquistion and small business development.
This has led to the pursuit of multi-million dollar real estate and economic strategies and also, with equal aggression, the pursuit of solutions in the areas of public health, youth engagement/employment and workforce development. All in an effort to prove that growth can indeed create opportunity for all, not just a select few.
Enter our friends and partners at MORTAR, who through training and the development of pop-up spaces have been helping non-traditional entrepreneurs develop, test, and scale ideas. In some cases this means failing fast, but small, and learning from it. In other cases it means understanding the market better through a pop-up shop, holiday market, or robust online presence, thus helping individuals that are often left out of the redevelopment process realize the potential of their idea. For the last several weeks MORTAR has been training 14 budding entrepreneurs in our office on Peeble’s Corner and beginning last Friday those future business owners started testing the viability of their ideas at Brick 939, a pop up Holiday Market in the heart of Walnut Hills (939 E. McMillan). With your help we can support these future small business owners by showing up and continuing to show that redevelopment can be shaped by the families, friends, neighbors and small business owners who have been defining community in Walnut Hills for generations.
Brick 939 Factoids
- Open Friday (12pm – 7pm), and Saturday/Sunday (10am – 7pm)until the first weekend in January.
- All local merchandise, art, and food from the Cincinnati area.
- Rotating vendors throughout the season – never the same experience twice!
- Community gathering space.
- Scheduled film and art events.
- Vendor, artist, and filmmaker application still open!