Cincinnati Bell Business Blog

Small businesses making a big impact on the community

Posted by Nicole H. on Dec 7, 2020 9:13:12 AM

2020 has been a year to remember to say the least.  The impact of Covid-19 has hit every individual in some kind of way, big or small. We know that many businesses are out there trying to help and go the extra mile during this pandemic. SMB-Big-Impact-Award-Lockup To help find and highlight these businesses that are helping and supporting the community around the local Cincinnati area, Cincinnati Bell has created a new Small Business Impact Award.  This award provides a great opportunity to shout out our business customers who are doing great things through the Covid-19 pandemic to help support the community during this difficult year.   We figured what a great time to share some great news stories of business customers who have stepped up this year to help others in a big way.  


We are proud to showcase these businesses and what they have achieved.  Read below in their own words how they were able to give back.  

Tristate Plastics Inc.
"We have been a family owned and operated small business here in the tristate area since 1993. The majority of our products are industrial plastics and fabricated machine parts, but since the pandemic hit we, like other business in the area, have had to adjust our day to day to help serve the community we live in.tsp_logo_2020 We switched our machines over and began running programs to fabricate over 100,000 face shields for local hospitals and nursing homes, as well as sneeze guards, barriers, table top dividers, and intubation boxes. Aside from helping our local hospitals and nursing homes we have been able to help our local restaurants and schools reopen safely." Austin Keene

Zorbas Greek Restaurant
"We are now a solid 8 months into this pandemic. If anyone is not working, not getting paid, has had their hours cut and runs out of food or necessities, or times are just tough, please don’t let you or your kids go to sleep on an empty stomach. Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to send me a private message.Zorbas logo I will do anything I can to help. It may simply be a case of dropping off a food parcel and leaving. No one has to know and where others are concerned, it never happened. We are in this together. We appreciate all the help and support from all of our customers and we are paying it forward. "  Kosta

"Queen City Kitchen is two homeless soup kitchens and pantry located in Walnut Hills and OTR Cincinnati. We have been serving many communities since 1976. Last year we served hot balanced meal to 91k clients. Queen_city_kitchenWe serve five days a week and allow take home groceries 3x a week. Our numbers have been extremely high during the pandemic due to we are one in few who does not require "zip code are". Meaning anyone can come in to get a hot meal and great conversations. We offer clothing, coats, shoes and much more for our clients. The organization is ran by 1 fulltime, 7 part-time and more than 1400 volunteers. Even with Covid we will continue to feed the ones in the community whom need us most." Shauntia Edwards 
 
"Horizon Community Funds is a local Community Foundation serving the Northern Kentucky Region. At the onset of the pandemic, we launched the Horizon NKY Coronavirus Relief Fund. HorizonThis fund was used to pull together the resources available from local businesses, nonprofits, and individuals contributions that would then be deployed into the community where there was the largest need. To date we have deployed nearly $700,000.00 of the funds raised through this campaign back into the region to various nonprofits. The most significant of these donations were to the following organizations, $200,000.00 Wesley Community Service, which was used to support their Meals on Wheels initiative, bringing food to seniors. $160,000.00 to Be Concerned, which was used to help them purchase supplies that provided meals to families in need, over $75,500.00 to Life Learning Center, and $65,000.00 to Faith Based Pharmacy, that provided prescriptions to senior citizens that were unable to purchase their medication." Trey Bramble
 
"The Bill & Betsy Scheben Care Center is a non-profit Adult Day Care Center in Florence KY. The Center serves teens and adults with physical and/or intellectual disabilities in the Northern Kentucky community. Due to COVID-19 the center was forced to close from March 13th to June 29th.scheben_logo During this time the staff came together to create programs that would allow the center to provide activities, story time, and exercise classes via Facebook Live so that the clients could remain on somewhat of a normal schedule and still see the faces they are used to seeing daily. The staff of The Scheben Care Center put together activity packets that they hand delivered (socially distant of course) to each clients home. They also hand delivered Easter Baskets the week of Easter that were filled with craft supplies so that the clients could follow along with the activities that were happening virtually. The center was hosting 3 virtual events for their clients every day, Monday through Friday, through out the entire time they were shut down. After re-opening the staff still does virtual videos and activities for those clients that can't come to the center for health purposes. They provided such a sense of comfort and normalcy during such a unconventional and scary time." Danielle Tolman

YWCA Dayton
"YWCA Dayton is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year, and even though 2020 has created challenges, we know: we're not new to this, we're true to this. In our 15 decades of eliminating racism and empowering women, we've experienced multiple epidemics, pandemics, recessions, wars, conflicts, and more. We survived then, and we are thriving now.YWCA_LOGO_CMYK_dayton Throughout 2020, our building doors and our hotline phones have remained open as the only domestic violence shelters serving Montgomery and Preble counties our housing programs have ensured supportive and rapid rehousing and homeless crisis response remain active and available our youth and leadership programs have pivoted to virtual meetups and online workshops and our advocacy efforts to demand a world of peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all have resulted in local declarations of racism as a public health crisis. The need for safe shelter, support, and solidarity is greater than ever, and so our work has continued 24/7. "  Audrey Starr

Super Optical International
"Super Optical is a small family owned business that has existed in Cincinnati for nearly 100 years. Super Optical is committed to helping other small businesses thrive especially when faced with Covid-19 challenges. We are a manufacturer and distributor of optical products to independent optical practices, most notably through our flagship product FastGrind. FastGrind allows family-owned opticals to reduce lens costs by up to 80% by producing their lenses in-office instead of relying on the traditional outside lab.Super Optical Logo black (002) During Covid shutdowns, the ability to make lenses in-house became a crucial strategy for our customers in the US and over 50 countries globally. With traditional labs working at reduced capacity, FastGrind allowed them to provide essential glasses same-day and in one visit which limited exposure for the optical and their patients. The reduced lens costs also allowed practices to put funds towards payroll that would have otherwise gone to material costs, bridging the gap created by spreading out appointments to maintain social distance. When mandated to close for 2.5 months in March, we committed to supporting our full staff at their regular salary and only had owners on site fulfilling essential lens orders. Since Covid shutdowns, Super Optical has seen significant growth in lens and FastGrind sales which means we have been able to increase our production team employees by 33% since March. As a family-owned business, we have always prided ourselves on being able to support family-owned optical practices. We are proud to have been able to support our community in Cincinnati and the communities of our customers worldwide through these trying times as we now look towards the future and adjusting to our new normal." Rachel Kreppert

Aviatra Accelerators
"Aviatra Accelerators is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization founded in 2010. Our multi state organization enables women to start and sustain businesses by giving them the resources they need to be successful. aviatra accelerators logo-1Through our expertise in business basics, guidance from mentors and coaches, and access to capital, we continuously encourage our members to move forward, and we embrace them when they return, helping to refuel and reignite their passions."  Nancy Aichholz
 
Western Avenue Family Practice LLC.
"We are a new Family Practice which is Minority owned, we will provide healthcare to the indigent, homeless, uninsured, and Western Ave logo
insured, we would appreciate any help given to accomplish our Goal, we will provide services to help assist that all homeless in this area has shelter, food and warm apparel, coats, blanket, socks, shelter." Kimberly Haugabook
 
"Here at Faith By Works Salón we decided that people have had their whole life turned upside down with the quarantine and not being able to get their hair done made them feel even worse, if you don’t look good you don’t feel good. We decided to try and make them feel safe and secure when returning back to some kind of normal so we wore scrubs along with our mask that made them feel like they where in a medical environment which gave them a feeling of security that they lost when this nasty virus hit us, we had so many new clients come in when we reopened and they thanked us so much for making them not only look human again but to feel safe again. My two stylist are up in age and they put in 10 hour days to help get as many clients in to make them feel good about themselves. Even though the government says hair salons are not essential they have no clue how essential we are to the mental health of our clients. So I like to think we where able to restore people’s mental health through this whole epidemic, love and kindness is the key to good mental health the nice hair is a bonus."  Judi
 
"As an essential business, we have been able to remain open to allow for our members to continue working and not interrupting their services. Our dedicated offices have allowed for members to feel safe while continuing their critical work, and we have attracted recent clients in the healthcare field.1628 logo Additionally, we are focused on helping individuals grow and launched our Women Empowered program at the beginning of the year to provide education, mentorship and networking opportunities for women-identifying entrepreneurs, business owners, and self-starters. Through the pandemic we have been able to transition our in-person tri-monthly programs to online and to quickly pivot topics and expertise around issues businesses were currently—in real-time—facing. We have been able to offer professional development and workshops around skill building, mindfulness, career coaching, finances, building business resiliency, productivity, and more. We continue to grow our network and offer topical entrepreneurial and business-minded knowledge and skill-building opportunities for women-owned businesses, which often are underserved, under-invested, and under-trained. 1628 Ltd. has also doubled down on our commitment to local talent and student employment. It quickly became that students were losing important career starting internship and co-op opportunities due to the current crisis. By partnering with local institutions, working to find resources to support the increase in hiring goals, and investing in critical educational and mentoring opportunities we were able to increase the number of positions we filled by 2x and increased the opportunities to retain talent locally and invest in continuing their education through applied skill and experience building. Throughout the pandemic, though extremely challenging to our financial revenue streams, 1628 Ltd. has looked for ways to not only maintain our business, but to help support, grow, and allow for continuity of other businesses and individuals. We are proud of our continued positive impact on the small business and entrepreneurial community through this pandemic, and plan to continue pivoting and advancing this mission through the end of the current crisis and beyond."  Tamara Schwarting
 
"Wellspring psychological services provides outpatient mental health treatment for clients ages three throughout the entire lifespan. As soon as the news of the pandemic hit, we immediately set systems into place so that all of the therapist were able to provide confidential telehealth services.WellSpring logo Our therapist worked extra hours to accommodate the people of the community that were being stressed and had experienced significant life changes as a result of the pandemic. Many of the therapist provided reduced cost services for people that were experiencing financial hardship. The pandemic has definitely impacted the community adversely and Wellspring's therapist have been able to continue providing high quality mental health services throughout this most difficult time." Mary Gina Connor
 
"Our Cares program at EBTH directly gives back to small businesses in need. We used our platform to give back 100% of proceeds to small businesses with our Cincinnati Small Biz Relief: Uncommon Experiences sale in Spring of 2020. We were excited to support local small business during the challenging time by hosting a special auction of Uncommon Experiences. everything but the house logo-1In a show of Cincinnati pride, we shared100% of all sale proceeds directly with the purveyors and their team of employees. There were 24 small businesses helped, including 21c, A Tavola, Abigail Street, Benefit Salon, Cincinnati Art Museum, Cincinnati Zoo, Continuum, Crown Republic Gastro Pub, Homemakers Bar, Sloane Boutique, Hart & Cru, Longfellow, Nicole Leisen Personal Training, Romualdo, Sacred Beast, Salazar, Soho Boutique, Spotted Goose, Taglio, The Aperture, Oakley Wine & The Rhined, Tres Belles Cakes. The sale raised $39,443.00 and that was directly given back to each of those businesses. We also hosted a similar sale in Columbus for their small businesses, and then again in Cincinnati for the Arts. The Cincinnati Arts Relief: Uncommon Experiences helped over 27 local arts organizations and raised $62,307.00 that was given back to the organizations from EBTH at 100%. This sale took place in Summer of 2020." Juli Madigan
 
Day Heights Memorial Firefighters Association
"We are a non-profit which we use our facility for rental hall use. firemans memorial-1 We maintained the building and made sure to meet board of health standards to provide free to resident funeral wakes, and low rental fees for small parties to resident and other non profit groups. We are also donating our facility to the board of elections to provide a safe and sanitary voting site.  Day Heights Memorial Firefighters Association has made it our mission to service the public need for local and reasonable priced rental facilities to give back to our community located in Miami Township, Clermont County. We would really like the assistance in marketing thru media." Ronald Brooks
 
 
"I'm a 2nd generation natural hair care manufacturer based here in Cincinnati... I make hair care beauty essentials and supply professional hair stylist and barbers throughout the tri-state region as well as the Barber and Beauty Supply Stores. Black and bossieWhen Covid-19 mandated shutting down the beauty and barber shops my company immediately started preparing masks,, sanitizer, and other sanitary aids to assist the stylist in having a sanitary safe salon for their customers when they re-opened their business/ and also gave them discounted prices on our popular Black & Bossie product line. As you may or may not know,,, a woman's hair is a very big deal , even during a pandemic :) !. At the end of the day,, all my salon professionals were very grateful for our kind-in-heart gesture which helped them get back on their business feet again,, and continue providing a professional, safe, clean salon experience for their customers."  Kelvin Washington 
 
"We are an independent eye care office located in Newport, KY. When everything was forced to shut down in the early part of the pandemic, even many eye care practices were not able to stay open for business. Routine care was not allowed at that time. We were faced with a choice - close the office and furlough all employees, or stay open for emergency and urgent eye care and keep as many staff employed as possible. We opted to stay open. We gave every staff member the opportunity to stay. We modified schedules and came up with a working plan to survive during the most uncertain time we've ever had. During this time we only saw patients who had urgent eye issues that had an immediate danger to the health or safety of the patient. We actually had many urgent issues that we saw and were able to help - specifically we had a patient who got a rare but serious infection in her eyes that required a compounded medication to be made. opticare logo blueShe nearly permanently lost her vision, but because we were able to see her right away and get medicine for her quickly, we minimized the impact of the infection. Within several weeks her vision recovered completely! We also had a truck driver who had broken his glasses and couldn't see to drive. He was still employed, and we were able to help him get some glasses quickly and get him back to driving safely. These are just two examples of how we were able to make an impact during the pandemic. Our determination to stay open during the pandemic allowed us to continue to care for the eye health and vision of the people of our community, while also reducing the burden on our emergency rooms and urgent care facilities. We love our community and our patients, and we always work hard while we are saving vision!" Josiah Young 
 
"We actually moved our location during the pandemic to offer our customers a larger space for enjoying a safer escape room adventure with their family and friends.Cincinnati escape room During these trying times, we committed to stay open for our employees and customers in a safer manner. We all deserve a way to have a fun and enjoyable experience with our family and friends. We remain committed to offering that opportunity to the Greater Cincinnati area. While business is no where near the prior levels, we will continue our commitment."  Doug Gross 
 
 
"Like most small businesses, Spruce has been trying to aim first for survival, and then ways to thrive through this Covid era. Spruce_final_logos-05_900xWe chose to close our doors three days before the government shut down salons, out of caution for our employees and clients. We immediately began compiling resources for our staff, including scripts on what to say to landlords, banks, creditors. Within three days, all of our in-store retail was available in an online shop, with 30% of the profits going back to our employees as return bonuses when we re-opened. Our first goal in making an impact was to make sure our employees were as supported as possible during a time of uncertainty. Our second goal was to address the disparities between races that were highlighted with Covid and with the Black Lives Matter movement. We chose to use our social media platform as a way to amplify other small businesses, highlighting those that are Black-owned. We signed the 15% pledge to ensure that at least 15% of our shelves are stocked with Black-owned products. And we launched an enrichment workshop program for our staff to address racial issues in our city, accessibility in the workplace, and other social justice issues in an effort to make our staff more knowledgeable and empathetic to whomever walks in our door. We also increased our giving to incubators for small-businesses owned by minorities. We know we are lucky to continue to be operating throughout Covid. We want to make sure we are helping others continue to operate, too." Mandy Spears 
 
"We gbbn logopersonally delivered all the above to area hospitals and our team spent many hours to design, produce, assemble, and deliver to needy organizations." Matthew Birk
 
 
"I All vaccum logowas able to stay open and help my customers keep home's clean and able to help a few doctors and nurses with material to make PPE when none was available."  William 
 
 
Krysta Wallrauch Voiceovers, LLC
"I'm voiceovers logo a full-time African American Voice Actor that specializes in Radio, TV, Corporate Narration, Documentaries and Political work. Recently, I completed a voiceover for a children's book, Junga the Dancing Yeti  in a heart-warming tale that centers around anti-bullying and acceptance of those different from ourselves
." Krysta Wallrauch
 
With 2020 being a year all of us will mostly remember, bringing highs and lows, it is good to take a break from all of the Covid news stories and read about others helping out to bring joy and support to the local community. 
 
We would love to power your business and equip you with everything that you need. Visit cincinnatibell.com/business to set your business up for success. 

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