South Third welcoming new businesses
Niko's Barber Shop and Kittie's Cakes have relocated to the busy South Third Street corridor.
Niko's is already open at 499 S. Third St. and the bakery is expected to open mid-March right next door, 495 S. Third.
Niko Prokos recently moved his shop from Thurman Avenue, where he spent five years.
It was pretty much a one-man show but the space was too small, he said.
"I was always so busy," he said. "I had no room for expansion."
So, he had his eyes set on a higher profile location. And he brought on a second barber, Nicky Kleodis.
"This is pretty much my dream shop," he said. "I just wanted to create something special, a classy, premier gentlemen's barber shop."
Prokos said his shop is a classic, from the comfy old-school chairs to the rotating barber pole out front.
He already had one antique barber chair from the Theo A. Kochs Co. in Chicago. He searched the internet and found four more, which he brought back from Nashville and had re-chromed and reupholstered.
"This is my career," he said. "I want something I can have for 20, 30, 40 years."
Prokos of Schumacher Place said he has strong ties to the area. His uncle George Stefanidis owns Easy Street Tavern and Red Brick Inn and his cousins own Studio Fovero on East Whittier Street.
"German Village has been very good to me, so there was no reason for me to leave," Prokos said.
Niko's, which accepts mostly walk-in customers, is open five days a week. It is closed Sunday and Monday.
Kittie's Cakes is owned by partners Mollie and Kelly Fankhauser, lifelong bakers and former professional golfers.
They quit playing on the LPGA tour about 18 months ago and have been baking layered cakes and cupcakes at a licensed kitchen downtown.
One of their signature items is the potato chip cake, topped with dark chocolate icing, kettle chips and fleur de sel.
Another is the "Dutch," a riff on a pancake they ate in Belgium. The cake offers banana, bacon and crushed red pepper, adorned with maple butter cream icing and topped with bacon and bourbon brown sugar.
"Our reason for opening and starting this business was we wanted to give cake some really great flavors and beautiful decorations, but our No. 1 focus is on flavor," Mollie Fankhouser said. "It's not too crazy when you eat it but it sounds nuts."
They also serve a wide range of traditional flavors, she said.
"We like to fit everyone's needs," she said.
Fankhauser said the retail store also will offer many classic desserts, such as oatmeal cream pies, cookies, cinnamon rolls and such.
"In the last few months we've expanded our menu in anticipation of being in our retail store," she said.