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Pressing Pause

Four Recently Opened Local Businesses Wait, Watch and Wish for the Future

Article by Elizabeth A. Lowry

Photography by Elizabeth A. Lowry | Matt Capps of Loveland Premium Portraits | Jeff Vuotto

Originally published in Loveland Lifestyle

The Loveland Lofts

General Manager Jodi K. Taylor

Downtown Loveland
TheLovelandLofts.com
 

Tell us about the new Lofts …

We have four: two king and two queen units located right between Tano and Bishop’s Quarter. We’ve had guests stay with us already from renting them out in February.

What changed with the quarantine?

We had guests using the Lofts as temporary housing for an eventual relocation to the area. With the quarantine, the guests all went back home—some are supposed to come back by June.

Your plans now? 

Right now, we’re taking this time to get set up with all of our booking agents, Airbnb, Travelocity, etc. Not only are we running the Lofts as a boutique concept, but we’re promoting them as part of a package when you book at the Landing Event Center. The grand opening of the Center is scheduled for June, but that’s TBD at this point.

And plans for the future? 

“Welcome to Loveland” packages for guests, and we hope to offer add-ons like gift cards to restaurants and stores for those who stay with us. Our website is up, so you can go online, pick your dates and reserve your Loft now. I’m excited for the experience the guests are going to have in Loveland—being able to go to the different restaurants and shops … our location is so unique.

  

The Governor Modern Diner

Owners Paul and Neil Barraco

Historic Downtown Milford

GovernorDiner.com

What’s the story behind the Governor?
We wanted to create a place where we cooked the kind of food we love in a manner that was creative—made from scratch and very affordable. The same with the bar program. Growing up in Milford, we thought that the overall aesthetic would be great for a date, a drink at the bar, or just a family going out. 

And your original plans?
The original plan was based on East Coast diners: counter seating, simple but well-executed food, and awesome service where we get to know our customers. Fifty seats allow us to do this very well.

But you had to change with the social distancing measures …
The quarantine didn’t allow us to have sit-down service, but because of our walk-up window, we adjusted, and the city of Milford has been unbelievably supportive. We had to furlough 90 percent of our staff, but we recently received the SBA loan and are bringing almost everyone back. We have also held raffles and sold T-shirts with all proceeds going to our staff.

How did the quarantine set you back?
It hindered our business quite a bit—we have no regular seating and a lot of people are hesitant to eat out. We have really tried to showcase how much safer it is for us to provide very reasonably priced food with minimal contact and keep people out of the grocery store.

Future plans? 
We look forward to reopening, but carry-out and walk-up business will most likely always be a part of our business plan. We would love to see you all at our walk-up window, now and as soon as we are open for full business. 

The response has been amazing. We are doing nightly family meals that always sell out as well as breakfast kits and other special dishes to adapt to the changes … and people seem to love it.  

Mainstream Boutique

Owners Lori and Greg Avallone

The Shops at Harper’s Point
Facebook.com/MainstreamCincinnati/

Lori, what were your original plans?
We opened this winter with the anticipation that we’d be selling as a brick-and-mortar—one-on-one personal relationships were at the top of our list. I wanted customers to know me, and I wanted to know them when they walked in the door.

How did that all change?
Only having been open around a month and a half, we hadn’t really had a chance to build a customer base. Our shoppers were mostly from walk-in traffic or referral business. Not being able to come in and see what we were all about was a huge hurdle for new shoppers. But we weren’t willing to give up—we upped our social game by showcasing merchandise numerous times a day on both Instagram and Facebook, and we go live on Facebook at least twice a week. We also started providing curbside pickup and delivery options.

And the response?
Our customers have responded in such an amazing way! From our very first FB Live, we’ve had people tuning in and interacting with us. We get comments, messages, phone calls—we’ve established some close relationships with shoppers who cheer us on and want to see us succeed.

Your plans for the future? 
We love the way things are going with our social selling, and we fully intend to continue to grow that segment of our business—continuing to offer amazing personal service.

Greg, as a male co-owner in a specialized women’s boutique, talk about your journey ...
I was excited for Lori’s dream and helping her bring it to fruition—we complement each other’s strengths and weaknesses. Lori will tell you I’m a great shopper and have good awareness for fashion—it was pretty easy for her to get me excited and involved. I love that we are creating a community, building up women and offering products and experiences that bring joy to our customers. We can’t wait to be your favorite place to shop!

 

Matthew J. Capps Image Services

Owner Matthew Capps

Downtown Loveland
MatthewJCapps.com

Tell us the story behind your photography studio …
In the summer of 2019, I stopped working my third-shift job to be more available to take care of my son, who has autism. My wife and I created the business together, got into the space last July and started renovations. We opened in October, and through the end of December, we were taking family portraits and Christmas photos. In January, we closed to upgrade and remodel, reopening again in February for portraits—and then the whole coronavirus hit, so we had to close again. 

You had plans for this spring, right?
We were planning on a senior trip to Miami. The whole month of June, we’d planned to take photos for seniors who would have the choice of three- or four-day trips where we’d fly them down and travel, food, lodging, etc., would be included. They’d receive up to a dozen photo sessions in and around Miami and through the Keys, including underwater photos and more. 

But this all changed …
We had started to advertise the trip and I had traveled to Florida with one senior—a week later, everything got shut down. We held out hope it would be minor and people would still want to travel, but I doubt that it’s going to be a very big travel season even through this summer. 

What are you looking forward to next?

We’ll still try to do senior portraits but probably not vacations. We’re going to start rolling out educational and promotional videos to get people excited about photography again. 

We have some bookings starting soon, and if everything goes well, we’ll get back to taking photos.

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