January 15, 2019

Contact: Bridget Castellini  

[email protected]


Recipients include Spruce Nail Shop, Know Theatre and St. Francis Seraph Ministries
CINCINNATI- Three businesses in the celebrated Over-the-Rhine neighborhood of Cincinnati have been awarded a combined $10,000 in grants to help expand their small business operations and continue to bring vibrancy and creativity to the community, the OTR Chamber of Commerce announced today.

With the latest round of grants, the OTR Chamber has awarded a total of over $32,000 to 16 businesses since the inception of the Innovation Challenge grant program in 2014. The latest three recipients continue the program’s mission to support the innovative, creative spirit of the neighborhood known for its convergence of arts, community, culture, food and entrepreneurship.
  • Spruce Nail Shop, a cruelty-free and toxin-free nail salon, was awarded $5,500—to expand their salon services through an innovative program that takes their services outside of the traditional salon environment. Spruce Mobile will be the first mobile nail salon in the Midwest and will travel to area homes and businesses to offer on-site services. The project, which is expected to be complete by early summer, already has approval by the Ohio State Board of Cosmetology. 
“With the help of the OTR Innovation Grant, our expanded Spruce Mobile services will allow us to take our services into the community, at the office, home and even to festivals in and around the city,” said Spruce Owner Molly Reckman. “Since opening in 2016, we’ve experienced remarkable growth in OTR and look forward to what this expansion means for us and the surrounding community.
  • St. Francis Seraph Ministries was awarded a $2,500 OTR Innovation Challenge Grant to purchase durable equipment and supplies (purchased from Artichoke, an OTR business), to support the expansion of the organization’s Cooking for the Family program. With three area teaching kitchens, Cooking for the Family is a five-week program that teaches OTR and other area families eight basic cooking skills and techniques that utilize fresh and healthy ingredients. They are expanding to various satellite locations in partnership with local organizations including the OTR YMCA and Elm Street Health Center
  • Know Theatre, was awarded $2,000 to expand on a new program, Play(under)ground, piloted last season. The program gives local performing artists the chance to experiment with new performance ideas as a complement to the MainStage season and the community is able to engage with the live performances in new and exciting ways.
 “This newest round of OTR Innovation Challenge Grants supports three diverse businesses and social enterprises that make our neighborhood special,” said OTR Chamber Executive Director Kelly Adamson. “We’re especially proud that each of these grants not only support central operations in our neighborhood, but then take that spirit of innovation into the surrounding areas and communities.”
The Business Innovation Challenge, which began in 2014, awards grants to OTR businesses seeking to grow new products and services and keep up with consumer trends. Past grantees include: Venice on Vine, The Sarah Center and The Libby Shop.
The Over-the-Rhine Chamber of Commerce, founded in 1985, represents its members by promoting economic vitality, safety, business attraction and retention and fostering a socially and culturally diverse OTR community. The OTR Chamber also founded the nonprofit OTR Revitalization Corporation. Together, the two organizations work together to bring resources, events, commerce and awareness to the 360-acre neighborhood.