Business week in review: New restaurants, shops open; apartment building proposed

The developers of the Water Street District are planning to build even more new apartments near Day Air Ballpark, home of the Dayton Dragons.

Crawford Hoying, a real estate development and management company in Dublin, says it plans to construct a new five-story apartment building called the Sutton on vacant land at 307 E. First St.

The property is a grassy field next to the Lincoln Storage building that is on the same block and two doors down from the as the Delco Lofts, which are 133 apartments that were developed by Crawford Hoying and its Water Street District partner, Woodard Development.

The property is a few doors down from the baseball stadium.

Crawford Hoying and Woodard Development have opened more than 510 new apartments in the Water Street District, and they plan to bring about a couple hundred more to downtown by late next year, between this new project and one other already under construction.

“From what we hear from various developers and what we are seeing on the ground is that demand for downtown housing is still extremely high,” said Sandy Gudorf, president of the Downtown Dayton Partnership.

Fatback’s to reopen this week

Fatback’s BBQ — the locally owned barbecue restaurant that operated for seven years at 1334 Linden Ave. in Dayton until shutting its doors in September 2020 — will reopen under new owners next weekend.

“Are you hungry for some barbecue? We’ll see you Saturday, March 20 for our grand re-opening!” Curtis Fackler, the restaurant’s new owner, wrote on the Fatback’s BBQ Facebook page on Wednesday, March 10.

The announcement was warmly greeted by Fatback’s fans who have gone without for six months. Facebook comments included, “Can’t wait!” and “Looking forward to it!”

Fackler said the restaurant will sell its rubs and sauces again in addition to the traditional barbecue meats and sides.

Fatback’s founder and former owner Larry “Bub” Britton told this news outlet in February that the restaurant’s new owners “have my total support and blessing, and I am grateful that Fatback’s Barbecue will live on.”

Opening Fatback’s, Britton said, “was a dream of mine that I am so fortunate to have been able to live out, and it is everything I had hoped it would be. Curt and his partners will be the perfect owners to carry on where my dream comes to an end and a new dream begins.”

Thai Table opens in Washington Twp.

The Dayton area’s newest Asian restaurant, Thai Table, opened its doors to the public on Tuesday, March 9, in the former Geez Grill & Pub space off Far Hills Avenue in Washington Twp.

Credit: MARK FISHER/STAFF

Credit: MARK FISHER/STAFF

The restaurant located at 5841 Far Hills Ave. was founded by Suwapat “Sue” Whitted, owner of Thai Kitchen on Kingsridge Drive in Miami Twp. The new restaurant will serve upscale Thai dishes. Plans call for a sushi bar and a bar serving alcohol are “coming soon,” Whitted told this news outlet Monday, March 8.

The new Thai Table will be open for lunch and dinner seven days a week. Hours are 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday for lunch service; 4:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday for dinner service; 4:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. Friday for dinner service; noon to 10:30 p.m. Saturday; and noon to 9 p.m. Sunday.

Whitted has operated Thai Kitchen at 8971 Kingsridge Drive behind the Dayton Mall for the last three years. She has told this news outlet she has been looking for a spot for a second location and believes the former Geez space, with plenty of residential neighborhoods surrounding it, is a great fit.

New investment fund available

Dayton tech start-ups looking for capital have a new resource.

The Ohio Gateway Tech Fund, led by Dayton’s Entrepreneurs’ Center (EC), Converge Technologies and Sumeru Ventures announced a $10 million investment fund Thursday, a fund backed by the Ohio Third Frontier to bolster early-stage startups in the Dayton region.

The “vast majority” of investments will be sourced from EC’s Entrepreneurial Services Provider program portfolio of nearly 100 Miami Valley-based high-tech companies, the center said in an announcement.

“This is a huge win for technology startups in Dayton needing venture capital to fuel their growth,” said Paul Jackson, vice president of strategic programs for the EC. “Venture funding has been a missing piece in our startup community and we couldn’t be more thrilled to partner with Converge and Sumeru to fill this gap.”

New store opens at Beavercreek mall

An “affordable bath and body luxury” store has been added to the list of shopping options for guests at The Mall at Fairfield Commons in Beavercreek.

Seabolt & Co. opened its shop late last week on the mall’s upper level, near the food court. The new store will host a grand-opening celebration through Sunday with special deals offered all weekend.

“Our guests are always changing and evolving, and at The Mall at Fairfield Commons, we want to be able to offer them today’s top trends and shopping destinations,” Leanne Rubosky, general manager of The Mall at Fairfield Commons, said in a release. “We are looking forward to celebrating the opening of Seabolt & Co., while keeping the health of shoppers our top priority and providing the safest experience possible.”

For the grand opening, Seabolt & Co. is partnering with the Humane Society of Greater Dayton. Customers attending the weekend-long event can bring in a new, unopened pet-food donation to receive a 10% discount on their purchase. In addition, there will be a skin-care and grooming sample product on sale for $3, with 100% of those proceeds donated to the HSGC.

“Seabolt & Co. started in 2013 as a skin-care brand for men before expanding into a brick and mortar modern apothecary in 2015,” mall officials said. “The store offers affordable bath and body luxuries through their own brand of made-in-Ohio vegan apothecary products. Seabolt & Co. also offers various skin-care services such as facials and body waxing for both men and women.”

Food Hub planned for downtown Dayton

Food truck rallies may or may not return fully this spring, but a “Food Hub” of sorts is in the works in downtown Dayton to help fill the void a bit.

The Drunken Waffle — offering savory waffles, sandwiches and sides, many of which are infused with local craft beer — will join The Pizza Bandit as a mainstay outside of Yellow Cab Tavern at 700 E. Fourth St. in downtown Dayton. The waffle truck began serving at Yellow Cab Wednesday, March 10, and will be open each day that the Yellow Cab Tavern itself is open.

The third and fourth permanent vendors are expected to be announced within the next week or two, according to Brian Johnson, spokesman for Yellow Cab Tavern. Johnson hinted that the next vendor to be announced would be of interest to Dayton taco lovers.

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

In addition, Yellow Springs-based La Pampa Mobile Grill, specializing in traditional, wood-fired Argentinian cuisine, will be stationed at the Food Hub every Friday starting in April.

There’s no set plan for when food truck rallies will return to Yellow Cab, Johnson said, but the Food Hub is intended to scratch that itch for foodie events, while remaining safe as the COVID-19 pandemic continues.

With the hope that the Food Hub will attract more visitors, Yellow Cab is currently working on buying a large tent to cover a portion of the lot to provide more seating. Last year, the tavern invested nearly $3,000 in new seating, chairs and outdoor stage tents to appropriately distance guests while eating and drinking on-site.

Henny Penny workers return in-person work

Henny Penny workers are returning to their Eaton offices, and the food preparation equipment company’s chief executive is greeting them with an upbeat message: “We’re back.”

“From being down over 80% last April to currently running at full capacity, we are as busy as we have ever been in our history,” Rob Connelly, Henny Penny chairman and CEO, said in the message to workers last week. “The Roaring 20′s are coming, and we are preparing. There is so much excitement and people can’t wait to get back out and be together, be it a restaurant, event, vacation, ballgame, or whatever.”

He added: “The future is bright, and we are happy to be back”

Last week, the company returned all employees to offices for the first time since March 2020, although the company has had about 400 workers on manufacturing floors since April 6 last year, Connelly told the Dayton Daily News.

The company has come a long way since the dark days of last spring. Perhaps more than any other industry, restaurants were hit especially hard by the pandemic, as many customers declined to dine out and government lock-down orders either reduced capacity or shut doors entirely.

AFRL heavily invests in area businesses

The Air Force Research Laboratory, located at Wright-Patterson Air Force, invested heavily in businesses in the Dayton region and across Ohio, with $384.4 million in spending obligated to small businesses in fiscal year 2020 and another $270 million to businesses outside that category, according to new data the AFRL shared with the Dayton Development Coalition.

In fiscal 2019, AFRL directed $388.6 million for spending with small businesses, while $254.5 million was obligated to businesses outside that category.

The Dayton region shared in that spending. In fiscal 2020, the region received 91% of AFRL’s Ohio obligations, up from 73% in fiscal year 2013.

The Air Force Life Cycle Management Center (AFLCMC) is also an important spender, obligating $646 million with small businesses in fiscal year 2020, spending $1.31 billion with businesses outside that category.

That’s well up from $552 million directed to small businesses in fiscal 2019. Last fiscal year, the lab spent $519 million with “non-small businesses.”

Jeff Hoagland, the coalition’s president and chief executive, said the DDC started tracking small business spending at AFRL in 2013.

“Proximity matters,” Hoagland said Monday. “I like to refer to the missions at Wright-Patt like corporate headquarters. So AFRL, they have close to a $6 billion budget. To me, that’s like a $6 billion corporation in our backyard.”

“It’s the intellectual capital of the United States Air Force,” Hoagland added, referring to all of Wright-Patterson.

According to AFRL’s latest data, Ohio has been the No. 1 destination for all AFRL contract actions, ranked top for its number of small business contract actions and ranking first for its number of dollars directed to small and disadvantaged businesses.

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