In only her second year as a businesswoman, Jessica Kehn has been named the Clintonville Area Chamber of Commerce Business Person of the Year.
That's gratifying, the owner of Artisan Dance Studio, 4310 N. High St., said last week, considering business has exploded after a first year of finding out everything she didn't know about running a studio.
"It was exciting," Kehn said of learning she had been accorded the honor. "You feel very supported when someone nominates you and you get to receive the award."
Kehn, who majored in dance and English at Ohio State University, said she has been dancing practically from the time she could first walk. She opened Artisan Dance Studio in summer 2012 in the former Sprout Soup location north of Cooke Road.
"In the first year, you're just trying to keep your head above water and figure out what you want to do," Kehn said.
One of the key factors in the recent growth, she said, was paying attention to an email she received that asked if she would be open to having dance classes for adults.
Artisan Dance Studio was launched to teach children to dance, but Kehn said she put two classes for adults on the schedule and 10 people signed up. The rest of 2013 saw a "huge influx" of people other than children who wanted to learn to dance, from beginner ballet to jazz to tap.
Kehn said she now has more than 100 adult students in different dance disciplines -- "which is really fantastic and I guess kind of unheard of for a dance school," she said.
Kehn said she and the other instructors at the studio have about 130 students and often take them to competitions in the area.
The success of the adult classes -- and of the second year of operation in general -- has Kehn considering a move to a larger facility that would allow for more community involvement, she said.
Kehn will be among three honorees at the chamber's 2014 Celebrate Clintonville Awards Dinner and Silent Auction, set Feb. 28 at the Fawcett Center. Recent winners of the Business Person of the Year award include Kristen Steinhausser, Clintonville Woman's Club; Laura Zimmerman, Clintonville Farmers Market; Carmen Rincones, California Concept Cuts; Dr. Brian Kvitko; and Mary Leavitt, the Flag Lady.
The Business of the Year and the ThisWeek Booster Community Volunteer of the Year also will be honored during the event.