Women-owned businesses bring new life to downtown Hamilton

HAMILTON, Ohio -- There's a new buzz in downtown Hamilton, and woman business owners helped make it happen.

Sixteen of the 35 new small businesses downtown are owned by women like Cassie Kellum, a native Hamiltonian who opened Ivy Salon in 2016.

"It just seemed like the right time to move, like to start doing something," she said. "I kind of told myself, ‘Well, if I'm going to come back to Hamilton and open a business, I need to do it now.'"

She opened up her salon down the street from her home, and demand for her services meant she was able to double the size of her staff -- from three stylists to six -- in just a year.

On High Street, Jenni Hubbard and her two sisters, Brandi Carter and Stephanie Melton, have run Almond Sisters Bakery and enjoyed an unexpected level of success for two years. Hubbard knew she was good before they opened up shop, but she hadn't anticipated the scale of the downtown turnaround.

"We always wanted to open up in Hamilton, but we didn't think we would be here in downtown," she said. "We thought we would be off on a side street or something. We weren't thinking that big."

Big is exactly what it's become. Hamilton leaders said Thursday they were in discussion with another eight restaurants and shops that hope to open their doors downtown sometime soon.

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