DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – An event in the Oregon District Saturday celebrated what its small businesses have to offer, and at the same time, one business is celebrating a milestone in the district.
Taste of the Oregon returned to the Oregon District in Dayton on Saturday from noon until 6 p.m.
The event is organized by the Oregon District Business Association. It didn’t happen the last two years because of the pandemic.
Independent restaurant and shop owners in the District set up booths for customers to sample their signature dishes or shop sidewalk sales.
With the pandemic, the staffing shortage and now inflation, small businesses have had a lot of challenges.
“The Community has done a great job of supporting small business, you know, everyone’s had a really rough couple of years, and at no point have I ever felt that that the community has abandoned, like, small businesses,” Smokin’ Bar-B-Que Owner AJ Bauer said.
During the event, an Oregon District business is celebrating its tenth anniversary.
Brim, a hat and accessory shop, opened in September 2012. It was near the end of the recession and owner Amelia O’Dowd just completed her undergraduate degree.
“For me to find a job coming out of finishing my undergrad degree, there just weren’t a lot of good options, which is why we had this crazy idea to open the store,” O’Dowd said.
O’Dowd moved to Dayton from Boston and noticed the city didn’t have a hat store.
“I really felt like the Oregon District would be the perfect place where things intersect and there’s lots of different kinds of people, and all of those people would love hats,” O’Dowd said.
O’Dowd said she never thought this would turn into a long-term business venture, but it’s all thanks to the dedication of their customers.
“It’s a it’s a cool little shop,” Brim long-time customer Sharon Buerger said. “It’s a cool place to stop when you’re down here. Like, definitely nothing like it else in the area.”
O’dowd said the district has changed a lot and been through a lot since Brim opened.
The Taste of the Oregon event doubled as a celebration of resiliency.
“Independent businesses have struggled, struggled so hard through COVID, but us in the district, we struggled as well post shooting and that’s really challenging,” Lily’s Dayton and Blind Bob’s owner Emily Mendenhall said. “To be able to see today be so vibrant and filled with people is very joyful.”
Taste of the Oregon benefits the Oregon District Business Association, and allows them to host more events and cover the costs for beautification in the district. The next upcoming event is Haunt Fest at the end of October.