Getting Their Acts Together
Wondering how national acts such as Gretchen Wilson, The Commodores and Kansas consistently end up performing at the city of Blue Ash’s summer festivals? Barb Griffin, Blue Ash’s special events coordinator, has been helping coordinate Summerbration, Taste of Blue Ash, and Red, White and Blue Ash, for almost a decade. This past summer, the events attracted more than 300,000 people, and Taste of Blue Ash saw a 20 percent increase in attendance.

You were one of the only local municipalities to attend the International Entertainment Buyers Association in Nashville this year. What’s that like?

The conference basically showcases bands so you can see how they perform before you put your 20 or 50 grand down. They have a lot of performances — they do older bands, up-and-coming country, and bands that are trying to get back into the circuit.

Why did you decide to attend?

A lot of times municipalities use a middle agent to book the bands. Up to the middle of last year we did, too, but now that we have the direct contacts with the bands’ agencies, we’ve been able to save a lot of money.

What do you look for when scouting out bands?

The first thing that I look for is people that entertain, not just people who sit up there and play music. It’s a little easier when you’re a national entertainer to sit up there and play your music because everyone knows it. We want bands who engage the crowd.

Are the events profitable?

We don’t make any money off the events. It’s an opportunity for us to showcase Blue Ash and offer a recreational opportunity for people in the Tristate area to come take part in for a low cost.

— Lindsay Kottmann



Thoroughbred Fashion


Leaning forward in your seat at Turfway Park or River Downs and squinting to see if your lucky racehorse will pull through, you may not have known you’re admiring the handmade work of a local tailor.

Custom Made Silks supplies the silks, jockey sweaters, saddle towels and blinkers (the masks the horses wear around their eyes) for many area farms, owners and trainers that race at tracks here in the Tristate, as well as tracks across the country.

Co-owner and Anderson Township resident Homero Hidalgo knows what it takes to make specialized racing products: He was a successful jockey himself for 30 years. Throughout his career, Hidalgo raced in his native country of Panama, then in Mexico, and finally in Cincinnati, where he has lived since 1968.

He and his wife, Yolanda, founded Custom Made Silks after Hidalgo’s retirement from racing in 1987. About 90 percent of their orders come from outside Ohio, and around 20 percent of the orders are international.

The demand for Custom Made Silks’ products hasn’t been affected by the recession, thanks to a very specialized market that thrives on word-of-mouth recommendations and repeat customers.

— Graylyn Roose



Brewing Through the Recession

Since Mike and Kathleen Dewey founded Mt. Carmel Brewing Co. four years ago, they’ve barely been able to keep up with demand for the craft ales they produce at their Union Township brewery. Sales for craft beers are skyrocketing, according to Inc. magazine, “as recession-weary consumers seek out small luxuries during tough times.” The popularity of microbreweries has shot up in recent years, especially on the East and West Coasts; now, Mike Dewey says, it’s Cincinnati’s turn.

— Lindsay Kottmann

10 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Mt. Carmel Brewing Co. is open to visitors on Saturdays.

186,000:
Gallons of ale produced annually after Mt. Carmel Brewing Co.’s expansion — up from 31,000 before the expansion.

2,400:
Square footage of Mt. Carmel Brewing Co.’s facility — up from about 200 square feet when it started.

6:
Types of beers offered by Mt. Carmel Brewing Co.: Blonde Ale, Amber Ale, India Pale Ale, Nut Brown Ale, Stout and Seasonal Winter Ale.

$8.99:
The cost of a six-pack of Mt. Carmel Brewing Co. Ale, available at more than 150 local retailers. “Our motto is that we always want to be the last to raise our prices,” says owner Mike Dewey.

2 or 3:
The number of “hats” each of their four employees wears. “That’s what makes it work,” Dewey says. “Another brewery might have the same person doing the same thing all day long.”

 

I don’t know the other people, I don’t know the situation, but I know this guy will get it.

— Brad Alford, CEO of Nestle USA, on Jeff Immelt being appointed CEO of GE. Both are graduates of Finneytown High School, class of ’74.

Globe Tailoring Fits the Famous to a Tee

What do Perry Como, Bob Hope, Lee Iacocca and Nancy Reagan all have in common?

Their tailor, silly. And that would be one Ed Heimann and his Globe Clothing Corp. in Avondale (also known alternately under the Hamilton Tailoring Co. label).

Despite a celebrity roster worthy of a shop at Hollywood & Vine, the custom-tailoring firm is best known as the maker of the Green Jacket, the coveted trophy awarded to winners of the Masters Golf Tournament at the Augusta (Ga.) National Golf Club.

The tradition of handing a Green Jacket to the Masters champion began with Sam Snead in 1949. The winner is given a hand-me-down jacket at the awards ceremony for photo ops, but a custom-made jacket is created after the fact. (Tiger Woods wears a size 42, in case you’re interested.)

Globe has had the contract for better than four decades. “I’m a golf nut, so the fit is natural,” Heimann says.

The three-button, single-breasted garment is made from tropical-weight wool and is stamped with the Augusta Club logo. (The color was chosen to honor Augusta’s rye grass fairways.)

The crafting is authentically Cincinnati, but the wool fabric is produced by a mill in Georgia. Heimann buys enough to produce 200 green jackets each. Why so many? In addition to Masters winners, members of the golf club all wear the emerald jackets. The National actually has more CEOs than any other country club in the nation; of its 300 members, just 8 percent live in Augusta. The rest fly in from other parts of the nation, largely for the famed tournament.

— FW