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The Short North’s women-owned businesses are a driving force in the local economy

For the 90 women entrepreneurs based in the Short North, the last few years have been the most challenging yet.

COLUMBUS, Ohio — Women are a driving force of the economic growth in the Short North. According to the Short North Alliance, there are 90 businesses owned by women across the district.

Most of these retailers, spas, and restaurants are not new. Meaning, many were established before the pandemic, and have made it through. It wasn't easy.

“It is crazy to think about it, that it's been three years,” said Stephanie Tersigni, owner of Jolie Occasions which opened in 2019.

By mid-March 2020, everything closed down. Tersigni wondered if she would ever be able to re-open again and what the future would hold if she could.

“I didn't want to see my business fail. I wasn't done with it yet. So I wasn't going anywhere in my book and I was going to figure out a way to overcome it,” she said. "It really challenged us but I think we did the best we can and we're still standing so I'll take that as a win.”

Half a mile down the road at Oasis Face Bar, when the pandemic hit, owner Ashley Landers said thinking outside the box led to a product in the box.

“We leaned into being creative with the facial in a box,” she said. “We actually sold about 30,000 within the first few weeks.”

The pandemic hasn't been the only challenge, there's been a rise in violence.

“It's heartbreaking,” said Tersigni. “I love this city so much I love the Short North so much and I want everyone else to feel that way too and love it as much as I do.”

The key they say to get through it all: their loyal customers and the people who make the Short North the vibrant place it is. People like Bethany Beaman, who lives, works, and pretty much does everything without leaving the Short North.

“I don't drive my car, I get to walk to work, I get to walk to all my favorite stores and bars and I just love supporting there are so many women-owned businesses in the Short North and I'm so excited I get to support them every day,” she said.

Although the last three years have been the most challenging, lessons were learned to pave the way forward.

“You have to always be on your toes. Things could change very fast,” said Ashley Landers. “You just have to be ready to pivot.”

For the full list of women-owned businesses, visit the Short North Arts District website, here.

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