In The News

Olde West Chester evolves with new business

February 19, 2013  |  Olde West Chester new businesses

By Hannah Poturalski  


New and evolving business developments are under way along Cincinnati Dayton Road in Olde West Chester.

More than 40 businesses are nestled into a mile stretch of the township that’s undergone a “rebirth” in the past decade, said Barbara Wilson, township spokeswoman.

“It tends to be small businesses that are attracted there,” Wilson said. “The store fronts are small. It’s a quaint, traditional feel that supports that development.”

Wilson said Olde West Chester has seen growth in wedding-specific businesses, including at least four salons, a stationary store, flower shop, two photography studios, and a veil and headpiece designer.

Adding to the list of salons, Howie Neal, owner of Cut Ups Salon in Sharonville, said he’s relocating his business to Olde West Chester. A township resident for more than 20 years, Neal said he’s looking forward to doing business in his neighborhood.

With an April target date, Neal said there’s still a lot of work to be done at the location, 8809-A Cincinnati Dayton Road. The 1,700-square-foot space will be almost twice the size of his current space — just 4.2 miles from where his new shop will be.

“When you pass through (Olde West Chester) you can get a little bit of everything,” Neal said. “I’ve seen the progression of the whole area. I like the historic feel; it’s a great area and the people are nice.”

Neal said while there’s a lot of interior and exterior work being completed, the location formerly housed a nail and hair salon in the 1990s, and is already equipped for a lot of similar things.

The building has been sitting vacant for a couple of years after being in foreclosure.

Bill Lendl, a member of the Olde West Chester Architectural Advisory Committee, said his five-member group is charged with reviewing plans for new business to ensure it matches the historic feel of the neighborhood.

“This was originally a stage coach route and the intent is to make it a quaint, original old town,” Lendl said, a financial advisor at Edward Jones in Olde West Chester. “Progress in Olde West Chester has been steady, with two to three positive developments, makeovers or improvements each year.”

A recent addition to Olde West Chester, Bellissima Veils & Headpieces opened last May by designer Amy Girardot, also a township resident.

Girardot worked for about 10 years in Reading before moving her business into her home. After she was ready to return to a retail storefront, Girardot said she chose Olde West Chester.

“I wanted to stay local, and it’s been a nice little location with Stephanie’s Flowers and The Paper Place and 1,000 Photographs,” Girardot said.

The West Chester Zoning Commission in late January approved future plans for Main Street Family Advisors, located at 8778 Cincinnati Dayton Road, to demolition their existing building — an old house — to build a larger, more modern structure.

Richard Villers, president of Main Street Family Advisors, said his company first started in Blue Ash, and opened a West Chester location two years ago. Villers said he picked his current location because of the large lot and potential to build a larger facility.

“We plan on having a very nice facility and we’re looking to upgrade our image,” Villers said.

Architect David Clark of McGill Smith Punshon was hired about eight months ago and is working on a detailed plan for the new building. Villers said his hope is for a modernized building made of brick and stone with a metal roof and moveable walls inside.

Villers said the current timeline is to demolish the existing building in the late spring or early summer.

Along with more than tripling the space of his own financial planning business, Villers said the new facility will have room for three additional tenants on the second floor.

“I’m looking to make it a financial center with services our future and current clients will need,” Villers said, of looking for tenants such as lawyers, accountants and mortgage companies. “So people can come here and only have one place to go.”

Wilson said in recent years, the township added a sidewalk on one side of Cincinnati Dayton Road which has made the business district more walkable.

“Part of West Chester’s appeal and part of its success in commercial development has been it’s diversity,” Wilson said, including Olde West Chester and areas such as The Streets of West Chester for larger commercial developments.