Continuing the Empowering Wednesdays series, may I introduce Lindsey Swadner, owner of The Hub, located in the heart of the historic Over-the-Rhine. The Hub is Ohios first neighborhood bicycle retail shop and bar, and is one of my favorite hang-out spots in OTR. You can have your bike repaired, shop for a new bike, or just sit back and enjoy the selection of beers and drinks like “The Dude” patron, xo cafe, vodka, and cream, or for hot days, their “Pear Mule” Tito’s, pear syrup, ginger beer, with chilean pear garnish. Read below to learn about Lindsey, and her amazing story:
1. Please let our readers know your full name and a bit about your background, school, where you grew up, where your current location is now, and your occupation.
Name: Lindsey Swadner
Background: Among owning The Hub, I am also about to receive my BA in Art
History and Fine Arts, with a certificate in Historic Preservation from UC DAAP. My
research is mainly on the topic of Jewish art during the Holocaust and also modern day
fascist symbolism within political compaigns. I also am the operations manager for
Digital Rhine Development, a company I’m very happy to be apart of. I grew up on a farm out in Milford, then Sycamore. but I’ve lived in OTR for about 7 years now. My
mother and grandmother both grew up down here and it’s home.
Being a woman businesses owner in the historic OTR, how has The Hub helped shape who you are today? What do you wish to instill in future female business owners?The Hub has helped me shape my viewpoint of a person’s role in creating community. Being a woman business owner I believe this is a little different due to this being a bar. Being a woman and having dangerous experiences within this culture of drinking made me more adamant on how to protect those within the environment I have created with the help of all of my friends, and employees. The Hub also has taught me about how to support those around me, to accept those around me and also how showing up is half the part of creating any positive relationship. Essentially, I think community built on the standards of acceptance, protection and inclusion is so important.
I think that leading by example for others, business owners-community members-etc, is
so important in the act of instilling values. I think inclusion is the most important
aspect, and I want to get that across within this environment. Mike, from Longfellow puts it best, “All are welcome unless you do not welcome all”.
How has your personal background shaped your life as the owner of the Hub?
My personal background is mainly that of storytelling, that’s what art and art history is. I want to share and create a space for others to share their knowledge and stories as well-
that’s what a community does at its finest. We grow, share and heal together. When I first came to OTR I was accepted by a fantastic community in a space that no longer
exists due to large developmental greed that exists in this community space. I felt
with my background and passion for this I was able to create something of value. I also
think that Chuck Walden is largely apart of this aspect of storytelling. He’s the main
booking agent here at The Hub and he is such a large part of what we do here. If we are
metaphorically a body he is the brain to the operation of this portion of what we do.
Now with that being said I’ve always been a very competitive person. I actually was 1st in the State of Ohio for Retail Merchandising and 14th internationally in 2012. I really only competed off of a bet- which I won. When originally building The Hub I was working with someone who wasn’t very positive in the building experience so I had to use this same method of pursuing my dreams. Treat it like a bet, build it like there’s no tomorrow and just dont stop. I think I’m still on this track, though maybe in a better more organized way. I also ran into many issues with the other development companies that I had to overcome using the same methods of personal advancement, but betting myself as a motivator. I guess when you find a method of drive that works for you it’s best to stick with it.
Please tell our readers about your involvement with the LGBTQ+ community?
We’re an inclusive environment, who believes wholeheartedly that everyone belongs. That everyone has a right to be exactly who they want to be- we believe in leading by example, do what you want to see in the world.
Why do you feel it is important for the youth and young professionals of the world to be involved in the growth of small businesses throughout our country and the world?
Everyone has something fantastic to offer. A new perspective, an idea or a solution to a
problem. With the ever changing climate, politically, technologically and culturally
everyone has the ability to create change and grow in ways that were not previously
available. I also think that by involving youth we set up the ability for healthy
relationships with themselves; we have to teach children and youth that they have the
ability to change and advance the future in ways that we (including I) may not be around
for. Everyone has something to offer, by creating opportunities for personal growth and
creation we show that this is valued and supported which only furthers drive of
everyone. Again this goes back into community, when your community is rooting for you and supporting you, there is so much more drive, love, passion and exchange of ideas.
What is your signature style?
Lately I’ve been dipping into some reds and green hues, feels like Christmas in July but I
like it. Mostly I just wear all black. Working in the industry has taught me that I will spill things all over me all the time and it’s just the best way to prevent showing that. I’ve also
been taking a lot of style inspiration from some of my friends. Big fan of bike shorts and
sports bras right now due to my friend Maria, I’m also into cropped band tees due to my
friends Charlotte and Ivan. I just thrive off of others, my friends inspire me.
What are some sustainable living tips for living in the city, big and small?
Find a good AC unit and take care of it. Treat it like it’s your best friend. Also, of course,
shop local. Findlay Market is wonderful, New York Grocery is as well (They have great
dried mango slices). Biking to either of these places is not only good but fun! Most
importantly get a bike! Bikes are a fantastic source of transportation and exercise.
What are some of your favorite things about living in Cincinnati, Ohio?
The underground tunnels that were here during prohibiion. Yeah, other cities have them, but with ours – I’m where George Remus was years ago, while he was running a
smuggling empire. We have some super cool history here. I’m also very excited about the
Over The Rhine Museum ran by Anne Delano Steinert, I went to one of her talks recently
about early age plumbing/outhouses/etc. and just fell in love with what she’s doing.
How do you feel no matter what age we can impact our social circle and beyond, to create a dialogue for empowerment and equality?
Creating a dialogue of empowerment and equality comes from the fact that no matter that age we all deserve to be empowered. We all can push each other to be the best and
speak up for those who are categorically looked down upon by the government, police
and so forth. Everyone offers a new perspective on how to advance and create a better
living environment for all- we can benefit from listening and acting with each other no
matter what age and experience they come from.
Tell us one thing the readers may not know about The Hub.
We have a beautiful painted over skylight, just look up. I restored that myself and fell off
the ladder only one.
What books would you recommend right now?
500 Nations, it has a great history of the community that was here before us (and that has been drastically harmed by the government- past, future and present tense for the government).
What are your favorites from the past week?
Quote: “Were not accepting verbal apologies this year, only changed behavior”
Music: Three Legged WorkHorse- This Will Destroy You
Artist: Nick Cave (Always Nick Cave though)
Tell us about something exciting happening soon at the Hub.
WE HAVE KARAOKE BACK!!!! It’s August 23rd, be prepared to party, we also have a
large front patio area coming in late August
A positive and a negative memory of you career, current or in the past?
Positive: When the city was re-doing the sidewalks we had metal planks installed to enter the business. Ian Bulling skated across it and Robert Howley did a wheelie on his
mountain bike off of it. It was great.
Negative: Watching all of the fights that happen Saturday night down here, they’re all
negative, dangerous and unnecessary.
If you could choose to have dinner with anyone in the world who would it be and why?
Probably Elizabeth Warren, she’s got it all together and I’m just in awe of her and her
compassion and care for community support and creation.
What advice do you have for those looking to open up a business in the city of Cincinnati.
Look at what’s already going on in the community you’re looking to be apart of, the
market here is really overflowing with businesses. Not everyone needs a brick and
mortar. However you also have to participate and support the community you’re stepping into- they were there first, you’re an addition.