New Coffee shop Focuses on Community Connections

Tucked away on the charming and growing business district in East Walnut Hills is a new coffee shop that is only a few months old. Urbana Café, the Pendleton coffeeshop that began by operating out of a Vespa at Findlay Market, opened it’s second brick and mortar location in East Walnut Hills this summer.

However, this new location has an unexpected twist when you compare it to other coffee shops in the city: it’s decision to remain “unplugged.” Why? I spoke with owner Daniel Noguera to find out:

For Daniel, it’s all about taking a second to unplug and reconnect. His aim is to “Build community and connections.”

“That’s what we are aiming for. Come with your date, come with your family, come with your dad,” Noguera told UrbanCincy, We don’t want to take away the relevance of technology, because we all need it, but just take the five to ten minutes to disconnect, and after that, if you need to go back to your computer, you have your office and other places to do so.”

When I asked if their decision to not have wifi in their new location has been met with negative feedback, Noguera said no, in general. He said there is one local woman who continues to check in and make sure they are still sticking to their decision, and they always confirm, but she continues to come back and is a regular patron of the café.

Intentionality is a big part of Urbana Café’s brand. Noguera explained that they do not go into a community that is already well served. They want to bring something new to a neighborhood that will build relationships, and they don’t want to compete with other cafés.

By not having wifi available they change their customer base, so patrons will come to Urbana based on the idea they have set forth, which is building community.

Noguera is also intentional in “serving the best product we can with the best resources we can find, sourced as responsibly as we can.” They try to buy locally, make their pastries in-house, and try to build connections with those that they source from, always organic and fair trade, to continue to positive influence on the community here and elsewhere.

The new location can be found at 2714 Woodburn Ave.

Flags for Neighborhoods go Beyond Games

Cincy Flags is an initiative that is looking to instill pride and place in Cincinnati through the design of a unique flag for each of the fifty-two neighborhoods. The flags will be designed through public input sessions where that input is then handed off to a designer who will apply finishing touches to the final flag design.

The idea started with Henry Frondorf, who won the first ever Engage Cincy Grant for the Neighborhood Games in 2016. He says his inspiration for the Neighborhood Games started as a spark when he attended the Men’s World Cup Match viewing party on Fountain Square in 2014.

The Neighborhood Games are a series of events where teams from each neighborhood compete to win the Neighborhood Cup. The events mirror the Olympics where there are an opening and closing ceremony. After his first Neighborhood Games, he realized that not all neighborhoods have a representative flag.

Left to right: Henry Frondorf, Josh Mattie, Chris Cliff-Perbix.

Because of this, Frondorf, along with designers Josh Mattie and Chris Cliff-Perbix, came up with the idea to instill a sense of place in each Cincinnati neighborhood through a flag. They applied this idea to the Engage Cincy Challenge Grant Program were chosen from seventeen finalists to receive $10,000 from the city for this initiative.

The Engage Cincy Challenge Grant Program, which is awarded by the City of Cincinnati, is intended to be a community building competition that intends to use the funds for the “development, launch and promotion of innovative projects that better a specific neighborhood or the entire city.”

So far, the project is in its information gathering stage. They’ve been surprised at the feedback they’ve gotten from the survey so far, with responses to questions like “what do you wish more people knew about your neighborhood?”

“You’ll get feedback from people who respond saying that what is most important about their neighborhood is that they’ve lived there for forty years and all the connections they’ve made through that. That is hard to represent, and we are trying to physically represent that feeling,” said Chris Cliff-Perbix.

“The vibe of a neighborhood is determined by the people in it. A flag can be a visual emblem of the spirit of the neighborhood, and it can be a tangible communication of a community,” co-founder Josh Mattie told UrbanCincy. “People are eager to embrace the embodiment of what they feel about their neighborhood. It is interesting to see how people use the form as a way to speak their voice about the wide variety of feedback they can give about their community,”

The flags were flown at the Parade of Neighborhoods Opening Ceremony at the Neighborhood Games in 2019.

This year’s Neighborhood Games Opening Ceremony was July 21 at 7 p.m. at Washington Park.

While the third Neighborhood Games is in the books you can still tell Cincy Flags what you love about your neighborhood by filling out the survey here.