Monthly Archives

September 2018

What is coë? A small town space where food, music and creative arts collide

By Dekalb News + Blogs, General News No Comments

What is coë? A small town space where food, music and creative arts collide

| Input Fort Wayne

September 26th, 2018

What does art look like? TK Kelley and Angie Slentz are challenging the notion that art has to be a one-dimensional experience, found only in a bigger city.

Enter coë, a project that combines culinary, music, and creative arts all under one roof, in unique experiences that cannot be replicated. And co-founders Kelley and Slentz are betting on the town of Auburn as the location for these experiences.

Why Auburn?

For Kelly, the reason is part personal, a nod to both his youth and his professional trajectory.

“I grew up in a small town in central Minnesota … before leaving to move to Hollywood at age 18,” he says. “I have lived all over the county and toured all over (as a musician). I literally grew up on the road.”

His time on the touring circuit influenced his outlook, showing him that cities both large and small can hold great potential. For example, Auburn, with a population of about 13,000, is small town with character and a strong community of people who are investing in its future. Downtown Auburn is especially poised for growth, as a company called Team Quality Services has recently pledged an investment of $2.56 million to move its headquarters there.

Speaking of moving, Kelly went on to work in tourism and hospitality for 15 years—which brought him to northeast Indiana. He’s lived in cities like Nashville, Seattle, San Francisco, and Oklahoma City and traveled the country supporting many other attractions.

You could say there’s been a consistent theme over the years. Through his travels, he’s had the opportunity to immerse himself in the cultures in each of these areas that have ultimately allowed him to establish great relationships in music and culinary communities. Most recently, he enjoyed a 4-year tenure at the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo as the general manager.

Upon relocation to the area, it didn’t take long for Kelly to realize that Northeast Indiana had great potential and heart—and that includes boosting entrepreneurship and innovation.

“If you truly have a dream, there’s an entire community (willing) to support you,” he says.

So he and Slentz did just that. They had a meeting of minds and fleshed out what the coë experience might look like. They’ve devoted the last year to planning these experiences, and “experience” is the key word here.

“We don’t believe we can ever replicate the night,” he says. “It’s like falling in love for the first time.”

For example, the duo have spent the past several months curating a series of pop-up style focus groups at The Deli at Sixth and Main in Auburn. A select group of people, with a diverse set of backgrounds, were invited for an evening engagement.

The real magic was in the lack of details provided. According to an Aug. 28 press release, “the intimate group of 40 guests were aware there would be food and music, and that was it. What they ultimately walked into was a unique, one-of-a-kind invitation into the minds of all these artists.”

What the first cohort of guests found was a nationally recognized chef mentoring an up-and-coming talented cook from Fort Wayne, a touring singer-songwriter from Nashville sharing the night with a local rising guitarist, and a creative artist painting live.

This all happened in a living room where food was cooked in front of the guests, songwriters performed on couches, and the visual artist captured the energy of the evening in the form of a painting.

In other words, it was dynamic and organic. There was no agenda, and that’s the beauty of it.

In Kelly words, it’s all about intimacy and allowing the artists to be themselves and transparent.

“The connection comes from the art,” he says.

Kelly hopes to continue the momentum of events like these and draw guests from around the region and beyond to participate.

“The plan is to do two to three experiences between now and next spring,” he says, adding that he hopes to ramp up the frequency in 2019.

The success of coë largely depends on people taking a chance. Kelly says the fact that they are “first to market” makes coë elusive, and some people are hesitant to take the leap.

“When people actually experience it, that’s when they get it,” he says.

But it doesn’t end there. Kelly says they are looking into the possibility of making coë a more regular part of the community. Their vision? “This (would) no longer be a ticketed event, but a 7-day a week storefront location in downtown Auburn that would showcase author readings and signings, culinary creations created in an open kitchen and cooked in front of you, combined with featured creative and musical artists.”

Experience coë

The ticket is $75 a person and includes an evening of artistic experiences and a 5-course meal, with and beer and wine sourced from local vendors.

See their Facebook page for a schedule of upcoming experiences.

Technology column: Elevate Northeast launches Emerging Entrepreneurs fund

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Technology column: Elevate Northeast launches Emerging Entrepreneurs fund

| Business Weekly

September 20th, 2018

Emerging Entrepreneurs applications must represent Indiana-based companies with a headquarters in a community under a partnership with Elevate Ventures to qualify for funding. The companies must have no more than $50,000 in trailing revenue over the past 12 months.

Funding for the investment is from the Indiana Economic Development Corp.’s 21st Century Technology and Research Fund, provided by Elevate Ventures from its $200,000 Community Ideation Fund.

The Community Ideation Fund was created to feed entrepreneurial momentum through investment in some of northeast Indiana’s startup and early-stage companies.

The first three companies receiving Emerging Entrepreneurs investment will be identified at Launch Night.

The individuals running the businesses are among the early $1,000 grant recipients of the Fortitude Fund, which Elevate Northeast Indiana started this year to provide entrepreneurs in the region with community, mentors and money to help them launch and grow their companies.

Launch Night coincides with the next Fortitude Fund Social, “which means you get to connect and collaborate with other northeast Indiana entrepreneurs while enjoying drinks and appetizers,” the announcement said.

“Whether you are brand new or a seasoned business veteran, you will find yourself surrounded by a supportive community of peers who want to see you achieve your vision.”

Read Full Story Here.

Ciara Jiminez

By Allen, Cohort #4, Media, Stories No Comments

As a self-published author of two books and a long-time blogger, Ciara Jiminez is familiar with the process of writing and publishing a book. She wants to help people in their writing ventures by providing the editing, publishing, and marketing an up and coming author needs. With a micro-grant from Fortitude, Ciara can begin to launch the publishing process and help others achieve their writing dreams.

Janae Andrews

By Allen, Cohort #4, Consumer, Stories, students No Comments

Born with naturally curly hair, Janae Andrews was tired of using products that were damaging and excessively harsh on her hair. Not only was she losing the healthy look of her curls, the curl pattern itself was lost because of products that didn’t work and only damaged her hair. Janae created Banah Hair Care, a product line to help rebuild hair texture, reconstruct curl pattern, and restore curls to their glowing, healthy state. With the micro-grant, Janae can begin the process of attaining a provisional patent on her products.

Robert Johnson

By Allen, Cohort #4, Foods, Stories No Comments

After his success with Crossroads Kombucha, Robert Johnson decided to tap into a venture that hasn’t quite been explored in our region yet: sparkling water. Inspired by the culture and flavors around the world, he hopes to create three unique flavors of sparkling water. Through a grant from Fortitude, Robert can purchase the brite tanks he needs for quick carbonation, allowing him to create a quick-to-market product.

TK Kelly

By Arts, Cohort #4, DeKalb, Stories No Comments

Tom Kelly came up with the unique idea of creating a culinary, musical, and creative arts experience in an intimate environment. This exclusive experience will serve guests with a three-course meal while songwriters and artists share their work throughout an evening. With the micro-grant, Tom and his partner can invest in branding that will exemplify their unique and exclusive dining venture.

Logan Herald

By Allen, Cohort #4, Medical, Stories, students No Comments

Logan Herald, along with two other Indiana Tech alumni, created technology that will, in the event of a fall, help acute care patients receive the help they need faster. Logan recognized that current technology does not help in the aid of patients quick enough, so he and his team created Ratio Medical to solve the problem. The micro-grant from Fortitude will allow Logan to fund a provisional patent for his product.

Whitney Wright

By Allen, Cohort #4, Foods, Stories, students No Comments

Whitney Wright just opened Glam Studio after the success of her online store over the past two years. Her store specializes in virgin wigs and hair products specifically for virgin hair, which is unprocessed, non-dyed or permed, all-natural human hair. Using the micro-grant from Fortitude, Whitney will be able to purchase more product and inventory for her storefront and invest in marketing materials.

Albert Rettew

By Allen, Arts, Cohort #4, Stories No Comments

Albert Rettew create PHAT Workshop as a content creation house that develops intellectual property in the form of a story through film. As the creative director, he guides a creative team to develop a story that is ready to be pitched to external investors, producers, distributors, and/or production companies. With a grant, Albert can begin the development of a website and begin the process to incorporate his business.

Dvonte Collins

By Allen, Cohort #4, Consumer, Stories No Comments

The need for a lockout service was apparent to Dvonte Collins when he realized how often he locked his own keys in his car. He started Collins Lockout Service six months ago, providing customers with emergency lockout services and jumpstarts in Fort Wayne. A micro-grant from Fortitude will allow Dvonte to purchase a key cutting machine, allowing him to serve his customers in more ways and assist him in growing his business.