Hamilton’s German Village neighborhood seeks more businesses

More than 30 people met this week in a former German Village restaurant to discuss the possibilities for businesses that want to move into the Hamilton neighborhood.

Among them were three couples and other individuals who are looking for business locations. They are hoping to occupy vacant buildings — some for sale, others for lease — before the proposed Spooky Nook Sports at Champion Mill opens just across the Great Miami River, along North B Street.

Bambi Merz of Cincinnati’s Western Hills area was there, looking for a Hamilton site for her award-winning Tickled Sweet chocolatier business, a 2-year-old company that has a Milford location.

“We’re definitely looking for a satellite location,” Merz said. Her company, which makes and sells chocolate from a 2,300-square-foot location, has won five awards in the past year.

“Milford loves us,” Merz said. “We took a boarded-up building (in Milford’s downtown), gutted it, and in 57 days converted it, put in a commercial kitchen — 57 days from permit to opening. Closed one day, moved, relaunched.”

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She said there are “fantastic possibilities” available in Hamilton. She hadn’t been in the city in many years.

“It is definitely looking so much more developed, more relevant, more current,” she said. “They’re doing a fantastic job. And German Village, incredible: The streetscape and what they’re doing, so much possibility.”

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The proposed Spooky Nook project, planned for the former Champion Paper mill, is to be on about the same scale as the existing, gigantic Spooky Nook, which has been described as the largest indoor sports complex in North America, if not the world.

Others were there, interested in opening a store that sells books and beer.

City Manager Joshua Smith was among those who gave presentations to the interested parties.

Among the highlights was Smith’s assessment that, considering Spooky Nook owner Sam Beiler has visited “like clockwork ” every two to three weeks for probably two years.

“In my mind, it’s going to take something absolutely catastrophic for that project not to happen,” Smith said. “Because he’s spending a lot of money to make it happen.”

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Smith said German Village and Main Street are the two neighborhoods that are going to see the “most impact” from that complex.

“When you put a Top-2-in-the-world sports complex right in the backyard of German Village — within easy sight distance of German Village — you know it’s going to take off,” he said. “And it’s just a matter of making sure we’re doing everything we need to be doing in German Village to take full advantage of that.”

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After she and others highlighted the city’s rebound in recent years after the Great Recession, Sheryl Silber of Hamilton’s German Village Inc., promised prospective new neighbors: “We will be here to help you.”

She and others described the neighborhood as a nice mix of homes and businesses.

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