(Over-the-Rhine) -- After a soft opening over the weekend, Maverick Chocolate is now officially open at Findlay Market. It's the first "bean-to-bar" store of its kind, meaning they grind chocolate beans, process them, and package them as chocolate bars, all in-house.
It's the newest business to open on the south side of the Findlay Market square, but, according to the President/CEO of Findlay Market, it won't be the last. Joe Hansbauer says Eli's BBQ is about to open next door, an unnamed bakery is working on starting operations, and Mama Makes It kettle corn is also planning to open a permanent storefront on the south side. Nearby, the Globe Building, under construction via 3CDC, will be home to the Haile Foundation's offices, with retail space on the ground floor. And, the Crown OTR Building has office and residential space above, and room for commercial space on the ground floor. He says they're close to opening a restaurant there.
He calls it "the next step in the evolution of the Market".
Hansbauer says developing more retailers and eateries on the south will energize the entire Market, encouraging more "pop-up" businesses, like those on the north side.
But, it doesn't stop there. Hansbauer says they envision Findlay Market's footprint to stretch along Elm and Race Streets, between Liberty and Findlay Street, and on Elder, to Vine. He says there is a "fairly good potential" for a large development along Race getting started yet this year. All of it could be largely open within three years, and says there's enough in progress, or about to get started, and expects an acceleration of work as the Cincinnati Streetcar opening, in 2016, draws closer.
The streetcar route passes Findlay Market, going north on Elm, and then again south on Race. Hansbauer says there are already about 15 or 16 business plans that have been vetted, and could be running when the streetcar does.
Hansbauer calls it "an exciting time".
The Corporation for Findlay Market is also working on a shared-use incubator kitchen project, which would help food entrepreneurs to start their own businesses, without having the capital needed to get an eatery off the ground.