Expressions Owner Creates Rose Bowl Parade Float Designs

Since 2003, Expressions Floral Design Studio has helped Gahanna residents commemorate milestones and send cheer, a cherished act during the pandemic. Long-time business owner Jody Brown Spivey is now preparing to support the upcoming Rose Bowl, which will feature the Tournament of Roses parade followed by a college football bowl game on January 1, 2022 between The Ohio State University and the University of Utah.  

“I’ve attended many Rose Bowl events since 2002. I grew up watching the games with my mom, so this event has special meaning for me. I love working with Artistic Entertainment Services to produce floats for the Tournament of Roses parade,” said Brown Spivey. 

Brown Spivey has earned many accolades, including Great Lakes Designer of the Year in March 2021. In 2006, she won the Ohio State Florist Association Designer of the Year and was subsequently inducted into the American Institute of Floral Designers in 2008. After decades of working as a florist, one of Brown Spivey’s favorite memories was attending the Rose Bowl in 2010 when Ohio State defeated the University of Oregon.  

“I committed to supporting the Rose Bowl this year before I knew Ohio State would be playing in the game. I’m really looking forward to another spectacular event. The 2010 game was really special, and I have so many great photos from that day,” shared Brown Spivey. 

Back in Gahanna, the team at Expressions Floral Design Studio recently grew from 5 to 6, adding Gahanna Lincoln High School alum Anna Gyde, who recently graduated from Miami University.  

“While participating in the National Honor Society, I volunteered to help Expressions Floral Design Studio. After graduating from college, I returned to Gahanna this past summer and got an apartment near Creekside. As an employee at Expressions Floral, I love seeing how integrated everyone is in this community,” said Gyde. 

Ongoing involvement in the local community has helped Expressions Floral Design Studio not only thrive, but ultimately survive. From the recession in 2009 to the ongoing pandemic, brand loyalty from local residents ensured this iconic flower shop could not only sustain business, but it could also take care of its employees during economic downturns.  

“I sit on the Visit Gahanna Board of Directors, and I’m an active member of the Creekside District Alliance. We’ve made floats for the Gahanna Christmas Parade and centerpieces for the Taste of Gahanna. We’ve even supported photoshoots at The Gahanna Sanctuary and participated in Supporting Gahanna Together Day. I’ve made changes to how I run my business over time to stay relevant and successful,” explained Brown Spivey. 

“Our clients are so amazing, and I love working for Jody,” shared Jenny Asmo, whose mother previously worked with Brown Spivey. “Workforce retainment is really high here because this shop takes care of everyone, and Jody knows how to take care of us. It’s a place filled with lots of love.” 

Stop in Expressions Floral Design Studio (1247 N. Hamilton Road) . 

Fourth Floor Interactive: Entrepreneurship in Gahanna

Gahanna is home to a growing array of entrepreneurs who bring innovative products and relevant services into the marketplace.  Gahanna’s C|Suites Executive Offices at Creekside host 40 entrepreneurships, including Fourth Floor Interactive that is owned and operated by entrepreneur Jennifer Chiappisi. 

“I became an entrepreneur 13 years ago. It’s really a business lifestyle that enables you to work at any time and in any location. I have two children, and being an entrepreneur helps me to balance my work and home life better,” said Chiappisi. 

Chiappisi’s business is named after her inspirational experience working on the fourth floor of the Smith Bros.’ Building in Downtown Columbus for a large advertising agency, Northlich, where her team hustled to create interactive media. In 2008, Fourth Floor Interactive was launched, aligning Chiappisi’s passion for supporting local, small businesses with her knowledge of and experience in interactive design and development.  

“Everyone loves small businesses. They are the backbone of cities and towns – especially in Gahanna where community is so strongly valued. When small businesses share their products and services, it’s important that they convey their whole story so that friends and neighbors can truly connect with who they are. Small businesses rely on the collective community to help them succeed, and my role is to provide solid branding and immersive interactive experiences to help build and retain these key consumer relationships,” explained Chiappisi. 

Because Fourth Floor Interactive is located within C|Suites Executive Offices at 81 Mill Street Suite 300, Chiappisi can capitalize upon the vibrant amenities offered at Creekside.  

“Not only am I surrounded by so many energetic entrepreneurs, but I am also able to utilize Creekside’s beautiful natural amenities to replenish myself after a long stint of work in front of my computer. To succeed as an entrepreneur, it’s important to stay inspired and creative. I’ve had so many moments of inspiration and clarity while taking a walking break on the trails at Creekside. It’s truly amazing,” exclaimed Chiappisi.  

Aside from offering a slate of interactive and branding services, including responsive websites, logo design, and email marketing, Chiappisi builds the personal confidence of her clients. She empowers them to feel comfortable using interactive media, and more importantly, she gives them the courage to truly become the faces of their businesses, letting their authentic personalities shine through. 

“Marketing really starts to feel effortless when a business manages to create an emotional connection  with their customer, simply by sharing who they are and why they do what they do. Those emotional bonds and brand loyalty are not easily broken, and that is where true success lies – connecting with your customers,” explained Chiappisi, whose own business has grown exponentially since the global pandemic took hold.  

To learn more about Fourth Floor Interactive, visit  Local entrepreneurs can join C|Suites Executive Offices by visiting 


Sharkey’s Cuts for Kids Comes to Gahanna

Sharkey’s Cuts for Kids opened this past May in Stoneridge Plaza (1257 N. Hamilton Rd.). Seven months later, this family-oriented business is reaping the benefits of operating a small business in Gahanna. 

“When I was searching for a place to open my business, it was obvious that Gahanna was the right fit,” explained Pavel Poplaukhin, owner of Sharkey’s Cuts for Kids. “The business occupancy rate is high here with very few commercial vacancies, demonstrating a lot of local consumer loyalty for small shops. A hair salon for our youth needs to be in the right place where families feel comfortable bringing their kids. There are also several schools nearby to help ensure the success of Sharkey’s.” 

A cascade of vibrant colors illuminates Sharkey’s interior, topped off with a glimmering disco ball. From the moment they step into the salon, this entertaining, image-oriented business creates action-filled experiences for its customers.  

“Young adults can play video games. We offer a variety of show options from Netflix, Hulu, or Disney+ for customers to choose from,” shared Poplaukhin. “We’ve found a way to capture the entertainment preferences of our customers and even involve those who are waiting.” 

Young patrons at Sharkey’s can get a haircut sitting inside chairs transformed into a fire truck, police cruiser, racecar, or an off-road, four-wheeler. Older youth can sit in more traditional, yet still colorful, salon chairs. After photographing their new look in an oversized Instagram frame, customers receive a balloon and lollipop to celebrate their visit. 

“It’s critical for youth-oriented businesses to establish a strong reputation within the community. To that end, Sharkey’s sponsored an outdoor Halloween event at The Goddard School. We also helped sponsor a walkathon and provided complimentary gift cards at a local middle school,” said Poplaukhin. 

Poplaukhin is a first-time business owner who sought a career change after spending 19 years as a scientist. The Sharkey’s Cuts for Kids franchise appealed to his entrepreneurial side, and he saw an opportunity gap in Gahanna to offer haircuts and image support for older kids and even early teens.  

“I started planning this business before the pandemic took hold, and I waited until May 2021 to open the shop. I was committed to my business plan. I must appeal to parents who have extremely high standards and expectations for a business like mine. That’s why it’s so much fun to run this exciting business in Gahanna,” explained Poplaukhin.   

To learn more, visit: 

Support Local Merchants on Small Biz Saturday

The City of Gahanna is highlighting local business promotions occurring on Small Business Saturday, November 27.  Small Business Saturday reinforces the importance of supporting local, small businesses that creatively enliven Gahanna.  Small businesses eagerly support Gahanna events, local sports, and charitable enterprises. Gahanna small businesses also develop strong relationships with neighborhood residents, providing local jobs, offering vibrant gathering spaces, and providing tailored services.  Dollars spent at small businesses recirculate within the local economy at a much higher rate than funds spent at big box stores.

Promotions happening across Gahanna on Saturday, Nov. 27 include but are not limited to

Art Garden Academy – 172 Granville St. – 9:30 am to 12:30 pm

Barrel & Boar BBQ Gastropub – 121 Mill St. – 11 am to 11 pm

  • Register onsite for $5.00 off Barrel and Boar’s Winter Angel Paint Party on Wednesday, Dec. 1.
  • Holiday Food Drive for the Military and Service Heroes pantry. Drop off canned or dry goods.
  • Holiday Wish Toy Drive for Franklin County Children Services. Holiday wish tags are available here.

Bella Piercing – 159 N. High St. – 10 am to 6:30 pm

  • 25% off all piercing packages

Buckeye Candy Co. – 104 Granville St. – 12 pm to 6 pm

  • 10% off a $25.00 purchase or more
  • 15% off a $75.00 purchase or more

Cold Stone Creamery (Family-owned franchisee) – 101 Mill St. Suite 108 – 12 pm to 10 pm

  • Order a cake and receive $5.00 off

Donatos (Gahanna headquartered) – 377 Granville St. – 11 am to 10 pm

  • Order the 150 Pepperoni Pizza or The Spicy Pepperoni Pizza for only $1 more than a large pizza

Heads Turn Salon – 256 Lincoln Circle – 7 am to 5 pm

  • $20 bonus gift certificate with purchase of a $100 gift card
  • 20% off all retail

Local Cantina Creekside – 101 Mill St. Suite 100 – 11 am to 12 am

  • 10% off online orders with promo code EatLocal

M Nails Studio – 121 Mill St. Suite 115 – 10 am to 6 pm

  • Free glass of wine when you make an appointment
  • 10% off service for all new customers
  • 15% off two services
  • $15.00 off for two tandem signature pedicure services

Michelle Tuesday’s Music School – 1173 N. Hamilton Rd. – 9 am to 2 pm

  • $99/month when you enroll in standard music lessons by November 30, 2021. Get first 3 months at the discounted rate of $99.00/month (regular cost is $116.95/month). Mention promo code FALL21. Applies to new and returning enrollments only.

nth Degree Interiors – 57 Granville St. – 10 am to 6 pm

  • 40% off Holiday Décor
  • 50% off Fall Décor

Ohio Herb Center – 110 Mill St. – 10 am to 4 pm

  • Receive a free Herbal Surrender Product (valued at $4) with every $15.00 purchase. Herbal Surrender is a special scent unique to the Ohio Herb Center created by Honey Grove Botanicals.

Ohio Laser Creations – 78 N. Hamilton Route #1 – 12 pm to 4 pm

  • Metal Snowflake ornament or Noel Christmas tree 50% off

Opening Night! Gahanna Distinctive Dancewear – 163 Granville St. – 12 pm to 6 pm

  • 15% off all in-stock merchandise

Pam’s Market Popcorn and Windy City Eats – 955 East Johnstown Rd. – 10 am to 5 pm

  • Sample-sized offerings of popcorn, sweet and coated peanuts
  • R.I.N. Holiday Drive – bring canned meats, peanut butter, personal hygiene items, cleaning supplies, and laundry detergent

Sharkey’s Cuts for Kids – 1257 N. Hamilton Road – 9 am to 5 pm

  • Bring dry or canned foods to support G.R.I.N.

STADIUM – 101 Mill St. Suite B105 – 10 am to 11 pm

  • 50% off one order of All-Star Nachos

Stella and Grace Boutique – 101 Mill St. Suite 109 (behind Cold Stone Creamery) – 11 am to 7 pm

  • Ohio State University apparel bundles. Buy a $48.00 sweatshirt and a get free OSU t-shirt.
  • Select offerings available at 40% off.
  • New holiday dresses for only $30.00





Gahanna Welcomes Walnut Trace

On November 4, National Church Residences held the grand opening and ribbon cutting for Walnut Trace, a robust new apartment community that provides housing for active seniors aged 55 and older.

“With more than 60 percent of our citizens being lifelong residents of Gahanna, the need to provide updated and diverse housing stock to satisfy all stages of life is critical. Walnut Trace represents the next tier of housing to support our senior population, allowing for the revolving opportunities of housing that meet the needs of all levels of families here in Gahanna,” said Laurie Jadwin, Mayor of Gahanna.

Situated at 389 Olde Ridenour Road across from the Gahanna Municipal Golf Course, the 4-acre, $21 million campus hosts 93 living units available in one- or two-bedroom floor plans. Residents can relax at the on-site bistro, library, craft room, or fitness center. Walnut Trace was designed for relationship building between tenants, and additional housing perks include covered parking, a convenience store, and nearby access to McCorkle Park.

“With its strategic location near the City’s Creekside area and various recreation opportunities nearby, Walnut Trace will certainly provide a boost to the City’s overall quality of life for our active seniors,” said Nate Strum, Gahanna’s Economic Development Director.

For over five years, the City of Gahanna has been dedicated to bringing a senior living facility into this location. From 2016 to 2019, this district was rezoned specifically to support the immediate, high demand for new senior housing stock.

“The City first changed the zoning code to only allow senior living facilities in this multifamily residential district,” shared Michael Blackford, Director of Planning for the City of Gahanna. “Then in 2019, plans were approved to permit a 93-unit, four-story senior living facility for National Church Residences.”

George Tabit, Vice President of National Church Residences, worked closely with the City of Gahanna throughout the permitting and entitlement processes. Although the housing project investment exceeds $20 million, no economic development incentive programs from the City of Gahanna were used to facilitate the project.

The new property was designed by Berardi + Partners. The construction loan was backed by Heartland Bank, and Elford Construction was the general contractor.

To learn more about Walnut Trace, visit To learn more about the City of Gahanna’s economic development programs, visit


Gahanna Welcomes “The Sauce”

In 2018, Kyler Smith was first introduced to the seafood boil dish made popular in Louisiana. Today, his company, The Sauce Boiling Seafood Express (The Sauce BSE), has rapidly expanded to four locations, most recently in Gahanna this past October. The progression from idea concept to company formation took less than one year, when in 2019, The Sauce opened its first location in Cleveland.  

“When I was doing my due diligence to determine a fourth location, everyone I spoke to told me to come to Gahanna. This is the best place to make my business work. It’s near Columbus, and it’s got all the key amenities and data indicators to guarantee success,” explained Smith.  

Smith gained local notoriety as a young, Cleveland-area DJ who regularly encountered local celebrities.  However, his family roots in the restaurant industry ultimately influenced his entrepreneurial path. This combination of family-oriented, community-driven support mixed with influential endorsements catapulted his brand to grow rapidly after The Sauce BSE formally launched.  

“The seafood boil bowl is a top comfort food. I knew I could make it faster and less expensive than my competitors. That being said, my dishes sustain both flavor and heat – a must in the fast-food industry,” shared Smith. 

The Sauce’s menu offers servings in bowls, bags, or pans. All bowls are infused with rice, corn, and potatoes along with a selection from six sauces. While seafood options include shrimp, mussels, crawfish, crab, and lobster, local meat lovers can choose from a trio of sausages – beef, turkey, or pork. The vegan bowl is made with portobello mushrooms, vegan sausage, and vegan sauce in addition to corn and potatoes.  

“To be successful, you have to keep your brand in front of people’s faces by doing fun and creative things. Maybe that’s hosting a fun community event with bounce houses or partnering with a YouTube celebrity to promote your food. Either way, it’s all about making people feel good, which is why I also focus on aesthetics. There’s nothing better than enjoying a meal in a refreshing space that feeds your soul, too,” said Smith. 

Customers won’t find fried foods at The Sauce, but Smith is looking to eventually add noodle-based meals to appeal to even more taste preferences. To learn more about The Sauce Boiling Seafood Express, visit their Gahanna location at 109 Hamilton Rd. or order online:  

Signatures Mill Stone Tavern: (Re)Opens for Business

After a long hiatus, Signatures Mill Stone Tavern recently reopened under new ownership. The historic restaurant (located at 94 Mill St.) underwent a total makeover both inside and out, reflecting the ambition and pride of new Owner Sridhar Thumma and his team.  

Locals are happy to have this longtime Gahanna establishment open again. The new menu features traditional favorites including pizza, chicken wings, salads, and subs. 

Investments into sparkling new floors, lighting fixtures, tables, wall furnishings, and exterior signage are complemented by 25 new HD TVs and 27 new beverage taps. The upgraded exterior patio, which hosts recurring live music on its new stage, is now equipped with four new beverage taps and two HD TVs.

“Everyone at Signatures works together so that we can be the best that we can be. It’s a family atmosphere here, and it’s filled with people who just want to have a good time and let loose,” shared owner Thumma. Special events include live band performances, bourbon tastings, special cocktail creations, lunch specials, and music/entertainment trivia.

Signatures is participating in the 24th Annual Taste of Gahanna that runs through November 11, 2021. A $130 value of food vouchers can be purchased from the Gahanna Area Chamber of Commerce for only $75 at

Follow Signatures Mill Stone Tavern on Facebook to learn about specials and events.  Food service at Signatures is available for dine-in or take-out by phone (614-532-0344).

Veteran Owned Business Creates Legacy in Gahanna

Ohio Laser Creations, located at 78 N. Hamilton Road Suite 1, is owned and operated by Gahanna residents Amy and Earl Chapman. Earl, a U.S. Navy Veteran, served as an illustrator / draftsman in the 1980s aboard the aircraft carrier USS Coral Sea (CV-43) homeported in Norfolk, Virginia.  

November 1-5 marks National Veterans Small Business Week. Per the Small Business Administration, 9 percent of all U.S. companies are veteran-owned, accounting for two million businesses that employ five million people who collectively earn $200 billion in payroll. 

After selling handcrafted, personalized gifts at local fairs and festivals for 20 years, the Chapmans pivoted to running a storefront space in the bustling Gahanna Square plaza in 2019.  Earl’s service in the U.S. Navy aided his transition into a small business owner.   

“Just like working the U.S. Navy, I give 110 percent to ensure the highest standards of perfection are met. I wouldn’t give something to a customer that I wouldn’t feel comfortable presenting to a Captain on a ship,” explained Earl.  

The Chapman’s insistence on personalized perfection has earned national notoriety. Ohio Laser Creations collaborated with the U.S. White House to craft both wooden emblem seals and leather bag seals illustrating the 43rd president of the United States that are now featured at the George W. Bush Presidential Center. Additionally, Earl’s artwork was featured in the 1996 blockbuster movie Independence Day. Earl designed the Black Knights VMFA 314 patch that was affixed to actor Will Smith’s flight suit. 

“Locally, we create awards and emblems for the Army National Guard on Taylor Road in Gahanna. We’ve worked closely with the Army Aviation Support Facility at Rickenbacker Air National Guard Base. In the corporate world, we assist DHL in producing Chester Murphy awards for their U.S. Navy veteran employees,” explained Earl. 

The Chapmans are eager to drive more foot traffic into their store, covered in wall-to-wall ornaments, chimes, wooden craft models and other unique gifts. This holiday season, local customers can enjoy collaborating with the Chapmans to design ‘personalized gifts from the heart’, the motto of Ohio Laser Creations. Military discounts are also honored at Ohio Laser Creations.  

To learn more, visit    

Small Business Model: Consider the Pitabilities

Pitabilities – Taste of Gahanna 

Owner – Jim Pashovich – 

In February 2020, Pitabilities moved its headquarters to 689 Cross Pointe Road in Gahanna just as a global pandemic was taking hold. Although the pandemic placed wide-ranging hardships upon food truck businesses like Pitabilities, the company is still growing and hiring.

Pitabilities, a Mediterranean food company that serves fresh, pita-based meals, is participating in the 24th Annual Taste of Gahanna that runs through November 11.  A $130 value of food vouchers can be purchased from the Gahanna Area Chamber of Commerce for only $75 at 

“My leadership style has changed throughout COVID,” shared Owner Jim Pashovich. “I care about my people even more, and I will really do anything I can to help them. I will even give a cash advance if my workers need it. My first core value is that we are all family here.” 

Pashovich started Pitabilities in 2011 and runs a second location in Hilliard. The company boasts a crew of 35 with four food trucks. Nearly 90 percent of new hires are from quality employee referrals. To build morale, the crew meets quarterly to discuss new ideas along with ongoing issues. Additionally, crew members who go above and beyond are awarded with a surprise bonus for maintaining a positive attitude when asked to do more.  

“Employee tips average from $5 to $7 per hour, meaning that total hourly income can reach $20 per hour. Overall, I just want to foster a fun place to work. Food trucks are great because you are constantly moving – seeing new places and meeting new faces,” exclaimed Pashovich. 

General Manager Brian T. shared, “I really respect Jim and what he has built for himself. He’s a great person to bounce creative ideas off of, and we’ve even had some great times this past year despite all the stresses of COVID. It’s great to work at Pitabilities in Gahanna, because I am in walking distance of many other great businesses also on Cross Pointe Road, including Heart State Brewing Co. and Simple Times Mixers.”  

Company goals include opening a sit-down café within its headquarters, launching a revamped online workforce development program to include video training, and long-term planning for space expansion.  

“I really wanted to work in the food industry because I spent a lot of time in the kitchen with my grandma when I was growing up,” said team member Khalil S. “Jim really helps you with everything, and the company has the same family feel that I experienced as a child. As a company team, we address issues together, and our food company is well run and put together. It’s inspiring to work here, because one day I want to start my own food company and pass that along to my kids.” 

To learn more, visit the Pitabilities website at . 





Casa Hacienda: Traditional Menu Favorites & a Strong Team

Since 2015, Cynthia Fletes Flores and her husband Guadalupe Virgen have owned and operated Casa Hacienda Grill (1356 N. Hamilton Road). The restaurant’s glowing interior is the picture-perfect setting to savor a variety of Latin American dishes, including the ever-popular carne asada burrito and burrito telcome. 

“The pandemic really challenged my team like never before. Yet, my employees stepped up to help one another, sometimes without even being asked. They just know how to look out for one another,” shared Fletes Flores. 

The restaurant is operated by a 15-member crew.  Handmade dishes prepared here include street tacos, seafood molcajete, and the name-brand carnitas Casa Hacienda, a combination of zucchini, bell peppers, mushrooms, and other fresh ingredients. 

“I am so happy with my employees. I train every employee to understand how to perform all duties, not just their main function. This really builds morale and cohesiveness among my crew,” said Fletes Flores. 

Server Ethan has relished working with this family at Casa Hacienda Grill. 

“For me, you can gain experience here that’s not widely available for a lot of young people, especially when it comes to performing all the roles required in a restaurant – from customer service to cooking and cleaning. Serving others only helps to improve yourself,” he said.  

This year, the Ohio Department of Development launched several business support initiatives, including the Food and Beverage Establishment Grant and the Ohio Micro-Enterprise Loan Program, both of which sparked Fletes Flores’ attention.  

“It’s really important to take advantage of all the programs available to help businesses. Last year I was granted Paycheck Protection Program funds, and this year I am grateful to learn about state-level support programs through the City of Gahanna,” exclaimed Fletes Flores.  

To learn more about Casa Hacienda, visit .