One year after Strathmore Development Co. acquired the private portions of Gahanna's Creekside, residents can enjoy new stores and restaurants already in business and look forward to others opening soon.
Businesses that have opened at Creekside since the Michigan-based Strathmore acquired the property June 21, 2012, include: Honey Grove Botanicals, a bath and candle boutique; The Chocolate Tree, featuring homemade fudge and chocolates; Chocolate Kitchen, a seasonal shop for holiday baking needs; Three Creeks Coffee & Cafe; Ciao Vino Italian Kitchen and Local Cantina Mexican Restaurant & Bar.
Stores scheduled to open in July are UBREAKIFIX, a SmartPhone repair shop; and Yudu Salons, featuring 22 luxury salon and spa suites.
Terry Benton, Strathmore vice president of real estate, told ThisWeek it has been a pleasure listening to existing and new residents all over Gahanna and getting to know the current and new Creekside business owners.
"We will have eight new businesses open in 13 short months since the acquisition," he said. "Each time a new business opens, the other businesses at Creekside and the greater Gahanna community all seem to stop in and welcome them to Gahanna."
Honey Grove Botanicals was the first business to open at 121 Mill St., Suite 126, under the new owner. It was formerly located across Mill Street at the current location of Koko's Tea Salon & Bakery.
Honey Grove owner Barbara Drobnick said she has experienced an increase in traffic at her business with the new stores and events that promote Creekside.
"(Strathmore) is bringing people to the condos," she said. "They have done a lot. In encouraging business, they've asked what they could do to help. They check in and give me contact information for referrals."
Dan Dang of Golden Nails & Salon, 101 Mill St., Suite 109, has been at Creekside for five years.
He said he'd like Creekside businesses to complement one another rather than provide the same products and services, because it's a small development.
"We want a peaceful community," he said. "We need to support each other to survive."
The newest business at Creekside, the Local Cantina Mexican Restaurant & Bar, opened June 14.
After developing and growing restaurant brands such as Aladdin's, Graffiti Burger, La Fogata and others, owner George Tanchevski and his team went to work two years ago to develop the new Local Cantina Mexican Restaurant brand, starting in Grandview.
After a year of adjusting the operation, the team opened its second location on Creekside Plaza adjacent to the Rotary Stage.
Taking full advantage of the views, two doors roll up at Local Cantina to let in the outdoors.
The restaurant's menu features tacos, burritos, quesadillas and margaritas, among other staples.
Ten days prior to the Local Cantina's opening, Ciao Vino Italian Kitchen made its debut at Creekside on June 4.
The business is the new Italian Kitchen creation of Craig and Laura Decker, who also own the Wine Guy chain.
For years, they said, they have wanted to develop their old-world Italian recipes, and they immediately commenced a remodel on space when it became available.
The Deckers and executive chef and menu creator David Miller created a private kitchen table at Ciao Vino, something that has been a craze in exclusive restaurants in Las Vegas, New York and Miami.
Scheduled to open at Creekside later this month or early July is UBREAKIFIX, followed by Yudu Salons, an upscale salon and spa, July 30.
Yudu, meaning "washing one's hair in flowing water," will offer hair and nail services, massage, skin care and laser hair removal on the second floor of 101 Mill St.
Managing partner Kelly Wert said clients can expect personal attention from the independent image specialists who will work in the private salon suites.
"Each of our specialists is an independent business owner," she said. "Yudu makes it easy for our salon owners to operate their own private, fully furnished salon within an atmosphere that they need and their clients expect.
"This is the first location, and we are very excited to be at Creekside."
Benton said the goal has been to create a center of the community where people can live, work, play and relax, and that's just starting to take shape.
Gahanna City Councilman Brian Larick recently told colleagues he appreciates the time and energy Strathmore has put into the development.
"It's satisfying to see a renaissance occurring in Creekside," he said. "Over the (recent) weekend, I talked to Lew Griffin about his (renovated) building. It's a wonderful addition. The Local Cantina is another place families can go and draw a broader audience. We're in the early stages of seeing things happen."
Councilman Brandon Wright said he's also happy to see the progress.
"To see where we were a few years ago at Creekside and to see where we're at now, it's heartwarming," he said.
Benton said Strathmore is very fortunate to have a strong group of professionals on its team, and they appreciate all the support they have received in Gahanna this past year.
"It has been an incredible amount of hard work to get us to what we believe is only about the halfway point at Creekside," he said. "We look forward to more successes in the second half of 2013 and beyond as we all work to build a better community for everyone to enjoy."