Two new vendors at Hilliard’s Center Street Market are open, and the number is expected to increase soon as businesses throughout Ohio begin emerging from the shutdown ordered by Gov. Mike DeWine to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
The Cheesecake Girl and Serendipity were open Thursday, May 14, and Dumplings of Fury is expected to open May 21.
Signs are up for three other tenants of the market – Bakes By Lo, Coffee Connections and Meatball Mafia – suggesting they are not far behind.
The 16,000-square-foot Center Street Market, 5354 Center St. in Old Hilliard, is built on the spot of a demolished NAPA Auto Parts store and is anchored by the Crooked Can Brewing Co., which opened in February.
The market eventually will include at least eight vendors, said Rob Fry, one of the four partners behind the development.
Other vendors include Rime Time Curiously Crafted Pops and Legacy Station, which is affiliated with Legacy Smokehouse, 3987 Main St.
Samantha Strange, 27, of Grandview Heights owns the Cheesecake Girl.
“We’ve been doing carryout and curbside service since April 14,” Strange said.
Strange began making cheesecakes for family and friends, “and it spiraled organically,” she said.
After making products in the commercial kitchen of an Upper Arlington restaurant, Strange opened her own shop at the Center Street Market with seven employees.
“We make cookie sandwiches, cheesecake dips and cheesecakes,” she said. The restaurant also caters events.
Products may be viewed and orders placed at thecheesecakegirl.com or by calling 614-787-1753.
Meanwhile, Serendipity is a craft store owned by Leslie Dingess. She owns another location at 84 E. Main St. in West Jefferson that opened in 2016.
“I retired on a Friday and opened up my (first) shop on Saturday,” said Dingess, a retired educator who worked 31 years for Columbus City Schools.
Dingess said although the coronavirus pandemic has dulled foot traffic for now, she is optimistic the market will be successful. Retail stores were permitted to open May 12 after being closed almost two months by state order to help prevent the spread of the virus.
“I wanted to be a part of the vibe and the foot traffic I knew it would generate,” Dingess said. “I have a mix of vintage crafts, home décor and local artisans’ products.”
As for Dumplings of Fury, co-owner Ben Jenkins said the vendor is preparing to open its first location other than its original spot in Seattle.
The May 21 opening date will be in line with DeWine’s order on when compliant dine-in restaurants may reopen.
Jenkins said although the restaurant’s fare naturally is focused on handmade Chinese dumplings, as its name indicates, it also serves beef, pork and shrimp dishes.
“We do very well in Seattle, but this is a kind of new cuisine for Columbus,” said Jenkins, a Troy native and Bowling Green State University graduate who has family members in central Ohio.