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Businesses popping up in Downtown's Historic West 4th District despite pandemic

Rebel Mettle Brewery.jfif
Posted at 10:51 PM, Mar 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-14 09:42:25-04

CINCINNATI — Developers are pumping roughly half a billion dollars into Cincinnati’s Historic West Fourth Street District, and despite the pandemic, business owners opening up shop said there's a lot of momentum.

"It's amazing to see the growth,” said neighbor Brandon Hall. “The change, and how much this neighborhood has come together as a community, and diversify."

He’s lived nearby for three years and has seen the area become its own district.

"It's been a great opportunity to get to know new people, see the neighborhood grow," he said.

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Forage and Koko on West Fourth Street.

Lately, those neighbors have come to include more shops, boutiques and a brewery.

Mike Brown, an Air Force veteran, co-owns Rebel Mettle Brewery, where he says “awesomeness” is on tap. Landing at this location in September was a sip of good luck.

"Our architect said, ‘Mike you have to come check out this building.’ We got inside of it, looking around, and said you know, this could really fit the bill so to speak," Brown said.

There's a little bit of everything for everyone in the district, like Forage, a plant shop that opened last month -- and just like any good houseplant, the district is blooming in time for spring.

Forage’s sister store, Koko, opened its new space just over a month ago. The refillery focuses on sustainability in its products and on giving an old building a new life.

Koko.jfif
Koko Cincinnati

Koko Cincinnati manager Alex Brewer compared the district's recent growth to that of a cactus: “It takes a long time to grow sometimes, and out of nowhere, you'll see a flower pop up, which is really beautiful."

"Historic West Fourth has been dedicated to doing a lot of small businesses, women-owned, minority-owned small businesses,” Brewer said.

Everyone on the block is a small business, which has already inspired collaboration. Old school beauty is also what drew them to the space on Fourth Street.

“Beautiful old architecture -- that’s a part of what drew us to this building as well -- all the marble floors, original wood floors, the exposed brick,” Brewer said. “Us trying to keep the original character kind of vibes really well with what we're trying to do with sustainability.”

And for all the developments, business owners say there's always an invite for more.

“Let's put a nice restaurant down here and complement each other,” Brown suggested. “I think that would be a good thing."

WCPO 9's ongoing series, Move Up Cincinnati, tracks regional growth and how our community is working to uplift those left behind. To contact the Move Up Cincinnati team, email us at moveupcincinnati@wcpo.com.

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