Barrel & Boar: A Creekside Favorite for Fare & Crew

For over five years, Creekside’s Barrel and Boar BBQ GastroPub (121 Mill St.) has cultivated a loyal following. Craft cocktails, mouth-watering country fare, live entertainment, and a rustic atmosphere that overlooks the nearby fountain have made this restaurant a strong anchor for Gahanna. 

Barrel and Boar was awarded the Gahanna Restaurant of the Year in 2020 by the Gahanna Area Chamber of Commerce (GACC). A large part of the restaurant’s success is due to its hardworking team.

“Everyone here genuinely enjoys each other’s company. We are a family, so we can speak up with one another and hold each other accountable so that we can all be the best that we can be,” shared General Manager Brandon Ferguson. 

The B&B team is participating in the 24th Annual Taste of Gahanna that runs through November 11, 2021.  As part of the fundraiser, a ticket for $130 value of food vouchers can be purchased from GACC for only $75 at 

The Barrel and Boar BBQ Gastropub hosts live music each Friday and Saturday evening and accepts online ordering through its website. 

Business Spotlight: Cold Stone Creamery

Creekside’s Cold Stone Creamery thrives this time of year, welcoming families eager to savor the last of summer. Located in the heart of Gahanna’s Creekside District (101 Mill St. Suite 108), Cold Stone serves up premium ice cream in dozens of delicious flavors.

Led by independent owners and operators Maja and Dimitar Jovanski, the staff size at Cold Stone Creamery ranges from 12 in the winter months to 18, during the warm-weather months. The staff increases mainly come through employee referrals, driven largely by employee satisfaction.

“Showing visible happiness is a key part of our workforce culture. You can’t force emotions, but you can create an environment where employees are more likely to smile and show customers and prospective employees what it’s like to work here,” shared owner Dimitar Jovanski.

Because many workers at Cold Stone Creamery are high school students, the owners have learned how to help them balance scheduling demands from extracurricular activities and sports. This full-on support of employees as workers, students, and even sports players demonstrates a unique leadership aptitude critical to the growth of young adults.

“I love working for the owners, Maya and Dimitar. They really work with me around my swim team schedule at Gahanna Lincoln High School. I started working here in February 2021, and I recently started working here again after taking time off to serve the community as a lifeguard during the summer months. I’m very comfortable around the owners, and I can carry on a great conversation with them. They make me feel good about asking questions, too. I feel like they want my input on store operations, and it’s nice feel to feel valued in that way,” shared employee Sophie R.

Jovanski reiterated that one big factor toward employee retention is to lead by example. For him, this means demonstrating the humility to perform the lowest-level tasks, including washing dishes and sweeping floors.

“For me, I was almost 16 and needed a job. My mom really wanted me to get a job that I could add as a solid career reference that would provide me with marketable skills, including multi-tasking, customer service, and working well under pressure. Dog-watching and babysitting just weren’t going to provide all those opportunities. I knew some workers at Cold Stone Creamery, and I was hired the same day that I applied. Then, I encouraged my cousin Sophia and friend Haley to apply. Referring new hires is great, because it then means that I get to work with my best friends,” exclaimed crew member Margaret M.

Jovanski and his crew are eager to scoop up new employees to help serve happiness and ice cream in their Creekside location. To join them, stop in the store today or apply online.

Business Spotlight: Heart State Brewing Co.

This Business Spotlight is part of a series of posts highlighting Small Business Week (Sept. 12-18, 2021) in Gahanna!


Gahanna’s Cross Pointe Road is home to several establishments – Simple Times Mixers, Noble Cut Distillery, and Heart State Brewing Co., among others. When it comes to hiring, the newly opened Heart State Brewing Co. (750 Cross Point Rd. Suite J) has its workforce pipeline set in motion.  

Owners Max Unverferth, Patrick Sullivan, and Brad Ginger oversee the brewery and taproom, which opened this summer. This is the third and latest brewery for the trio, who also run Nowhere in Particular (Dayton, Ohio) and Somewhere in Particular (Upper Arlington, Ohio).  

“Gahanna feels like a small, tight-knit community. It feels like a home where everyone is supporting you,” shared owner Max Unverferth. 

Unverferth has spent 15 years working in the brewing industry. When it comes to growing his Gahanna staff of five, Unverferth relies on a steady stream of applicants from within the brewing industry. Unverferth, a member of the Ohio Craft Brewers Association, explained how industry networking has created meaningful friendships that result in both business partnerships and remarkable crews.  

“We’re fun, hard-working, and trustworthy business leaders. Everyone wants to be our friends. This makes it easy to line-up potential staff as job openings arise and our Gahanna brewery grows,” said Unverferth. 

Jason Brockmeyer, an intern at Heart State Brewing Co., is one example of hiring from within the brewing community. Jason is a Columbus-area firefighter who recently graduated from the University of Central Florida, where he studied brewing. As Jason transitions from firefighting to brewing, he sees a strong connection between the two career fields.  

“Through Heart State Brewing Co., I can organize community fundraising events to support local firefighters. There are endless opportunities to give back to the community through the brewing industry,” shared Brockmeyer. 

Lucas M., Heart State Brewing Co.’s Taproom Manager, was recruited from California by the three owners.  

“We are a bunch of weirdos, but we care about each other, and we care about people. For me personally, I moved back to Ohio from California to accept the position as taproom manager. What could be cooler than pushing a cool product with the people you love and trust?” exclaimed Lucas M.  

Brewing Assistant and Owner Brad Ginger described how his workplace is a career dream. 

“I love this job because I love working with my hands, and I love working with my best friends. I especially love to solve problems, and every day I am presented with a challenge that I get to overcome. The best part is that you can visibly watch people enjoy a product that you put so much time and effort into making. It doesn’t get more fulling than that,” said Ginger. 

“I want our brewery to be known as ‘Ohio’s Local Brewery’,” shared owner Patrick Sullivan. Sullivan is actively connecting with local artists through the Gahanna Area Arts Council to add lively murals inside the spacious taproom that hosts board games, ping pong, and basketball.  

Stay tuned for upcoming job openings at Heart State Brewing Co. by visiting the taproom or checking the website at 


Business Spotlight: Gahanna Hardware

This Business Spotlight is the third in a series of posts highlighting Small Business Week (Sept. 12-18, 2021) in Gahanna!


For over six decades, Gahanna Hardware (73 N. High St.) has reliably served the greater Gahanna area, offering custom guidance in-step with continual advances in building trades. Owner Twyla Edgell is proud to operate the business, steps away from the Creekside plaza.   

“To retain employees, I’ve found it’s best to treat them the way you want to be treated. I love to surprise them with breakfast or lunch, which means a lot to the crew,” shared Edgell. 

With a staff of 11, a typical Gahanna Hardware employee is often retired and well-versed in the building trades. However, all employees receive hands-on training to perform paint mixing, key cutting, plexiglass cutting, and pipe cutting, among other services.  

“I’ve found success hiring older, retired employees that enjoy helping others. Most employees work about 20 hours a week, so they can treat this job almost like a fun hobby,” explained Edgell. 

Aside from showering her employees with gift cards on holidays and birthdays, Edgell also takes time to gift each worker with a Christmas ham. Most importantly, Gahanna Hardware’s operating hours help her crew sustain a predictable work-life balance, as the store closes at 6 pm on weekdays and is also closed on all holidays.  

“I’ve been coming to Gahanna Hardware my entire life. It feels really satisfying to help others with a variety of different projects. Customers leave here really happy, which makes me feel great as a customer service employee. Plus, I get to see a lot of the people I grew up with. Gahanna Hardware is a just a really rewarding and relaxing place to work,” shared Jeff I., who has worked at Gahanna Hardware for the past three years.   

Edgell claims her success with employee retention is also based on her ability to quickly identify the strengths and weaknesses of her crew, enabling her to create a tailored training plan to best support each worker.  

“Twyla, the owner, makes sure we feel taken care of, and she even makes us feel like her kids. I’ve lived in Gahanna my entire life, and I really do enjoy working in the heart of my community,” exclaimed manager Brad M., who has worked at Gahanna Hardware for two years.  

Gahanna Hardware is currently hiring two crew members. To apply, please stop in the store and ask for an application.  



Business Spotlight: Café Creekside

This Business Spotlight is part of a series of posts highlighting Small Business Week (Sept. 12-18, 2021) in Gahanna!


Since 2006, Café Creekside (53 Granville St.) has arisen as a premier family-run, cornerstone business at the intersection of Mill and Granville streets in Gahanna. As a gateway business into the infamous Creekside district, chef and owner Chris Katanyuta takes seriously the impact of an old-fashioned diner upon a steadily growing and increasingly modernizing community.  

“As the owner of Café Creekside, my job is to get to know the families of our customers and employees.  Our local brand and strong reputation at the Gahanna Lincoln High School has resulted in Café Creekside being regarded as one of the top workplaces for young adults. This is all a testament to our workplace culture and old-fashioned values,” shared Chris.  

The 11-member crew is also led by Chris’ daughter, Anna Katanyuta.  The mother-daughter team shared that while their workforce pipeline is reinforced through employee referrals from the Gahanna Lincoln High School, employee retention is predicated upon treating young employees like adults. 

“Giving young employees ownership and responsibility over their tasks really helps them build character and gives them the skills to provide service in a sincere way for each customer,” explained Chris. 

The family-like workplace culture at Café Creekside is a proven technique that has resulted in high levels of workforce retention. For instance, Chris described how she even works with the family members of her employees to provide additional accountability and professional development. This comprehensive, yet aggressive, approach has been embraced by employees and their families.  

“I get along with the management and owner really well,” shared Brandon A. “They treat me the way they expect me to treat others. They treat me like an adult. I really like that, and they are always looking out for everybody. They cook us meals, and it really shows how much they care about us.”

“I had been coming here for years with my family before I started working here. Café Creekside commemorates loyal customers who have passed away by affixing a special plaque on a dining chair. My dad passed away, and there is a memorial table for him along with a chair with a special plaque. I’m so grateful to the staff here. It’s really all love and smiles. And my two sisters and future brother-in-law also all work here, so it truly is a family,” said Victoria N.  

Café Creekside is currently hiring an experienced breakfast flat-top grill cook. Interested? Apply through the Café Creekside’s Facebook page or stop in and ask for an application.  


Business Spotlight: Stadium

This Business Spotlight is the first in a series of posts highlighting Small Business Week (Sept. 12-18, 2021) in Gahanna!


Stadium, (101 Mill St. Suite B105) is one of Creekside Gahanna’s most vibrant small businesses.

Stadium’s owner-operator Phil Richardson uses a variety of techniques to retain 27 employees and recruit talent for its seven open positions. Since it opened in June 2020, Stadium has retained nearly half its original staff despite the turbulence across almost all industries.

Richardson, an industry veteran with more than 20 years of experience, was previously a general manager at The Walrus and Pecan Pennies, both located in downtown Columbus. Phil follows in his grandfather’s footsteps – who operated George’s BBQ restaurants in Oklahoma. Today, Phil carries on secret family recipes through Stadium’s menu offerings. 

Despite a nationwide workforce shortage in the food and beverage industry, Phil has found success by offering an employee referral bonus coupled with a 90-day new employee retention bonus. To retain employees, Richardson proactively creates a sense of vulnerability among his crew, enabling them to comfortably approach management with their concerns and needs.  

“I ask all my employees to be especially understanding as we navigate the unpredictable pandemic. This helps forge a better team environment, especially as we consider the impact of being understaffed.” 

Richardson not only provides hands-on training, but he also takes his crew on field trips to better understand the broader supply chain process and unique production systems of local brewers.   

“Understanding the food and beverage industry is key in helping employees appreciate the craft.  Employees become more empowered to participate in company decisions. I take seriously customer service training by instilling proactive, rapid engagement with all customers,” Richardson explained.   

To cement Stadium’s place at Creekside, Richardson’s team develops strong relationships with local customers, making Stadium incredibly welcoming. He described how local workers often come by after work. Conversely, Richardson is looking to grow Stadium’s regional brand by driving foot traffic from across the entire Columbus metropolitan area into Gahanna’s bustling Creekside District.

Business Spotlight: Stella & Grace

Like many great business ideas, Stella & Grace (S&G)–Gahanna’s newest boutique clothes store, was born from a need. Owner Holly Garrison was desperately seeking cute, comfortable and convenient clothes to wear while on maternity leave with her second baby.

Stella & Grace Boutique began as an online store in June, 2017. Holly attended markets and pop-up events around Ohio and surrounding states to grow her online presence. On May 31, 2021, she opened her first bricks-and-mortar store at Creekside Gahanna.

“My girls were the motivation behind starting the business, and the reason why we landed on Stella & Grace as the name of the business,” Holly said. “I had always wanted to start a business, to create something from nothing, and to build something special. I wanted to help build and contribute to a community, and to leave a legacy for my family. I did not just want to tell my girls ‘anything is possible if you work hard’ — I wanted to show them.”

Holly strives to carry both trendy and staple pieces to keep customers’ wardrobes new and versatile. Because Stella & Grace is a boutique, she stocks a limited amount of each style to keep things fresh and new. Shoppers can find everything from tops, dresses, and outerwear to denim, shoes, and accessories.

“I really hope what sets S&G apart is the way we make people feel,” she said. “It’s always been our focus with online sales to make the process feel more personal by including a handwritten ‘thank-you’ with each purchase. I want my customers to understand that I am genuinely thankful for their order, and I hope that they enjoyed the entire experience from shopping our site to feeling great in their purchase. Now with a brick-and-mortar store, I want anyone who walks into the store to feel welcome, to love the atmosphere of the store, and to know they are our priority.”

Holly is looking forward to building partnerships with other local businesses. “I really want to create more than another retail clothing store,” she said. “I want to help create a fun Creekside destination experience.”

“We could not be happier to have found this community in Gahanna,” she said. “The atmosphere is laidback, with a strong sense of community, and the support has been fantastic. Everyone has been so kind. The surrounding businesses have been incredible and so helpful. We feel very fortunate that we found our location in Gahanna!”

To learn more, visit: /Facebook: @shopstellagraceboutique. / Instagram: @stellagraceboutique.

Business Spotlight: M. Nicholson Hip Hop Fitness

Gahanna Business Spotlight

If you’re a fan of a great dance workout and hip-hop culture in Central Ohio, you’ve probably heard of M. Nicholson Hip Hop Fitness. We caught up with owner Michael (Mike) Nicholson—to learn more about his business in Gahanna and how he became such a local favorite with his students.  

Tell us about your business and how it came about? 

I’m originally from Brooklyn, New York. I moved to Ohio to attend Ohio Wesleyan University. I am passionate about helping people, hip-hop culture, art, and fitness. I wanted to do something for the community and myself to address being unhealthy and unfit. I figured that combining all of the things that I was passionate about was how to do this. That’s how M. Nicholson Hip Hop Fitness was born right here in Gahanna, Ohio.

As a dancer, I knew the workout you can get from dancing. I figured that dance was the best way to get people in shape by doing something that most enjoy doing or want to learn to do, such as dance. I combined classic and modern-day hip hop moves with calisthenics and came up with our dance fitness format, the first of its kind in central Ohio. I began to offere classes at a spot on Mill St. and invited folks from Gahanna and surrounding areas to come out. In the first class that I had, five people show up and sign up; a few years later, we had over 6,000+ all around Columbus, Ohio, in the program. The M. Nicholson Hip-Hop Fitness program became known for dance fitness and a fun-loving family that holds our family members
accountable to their commitment to being and staying fit and healthy.

What would people be surprised to learn about you & your business? 

That I am a graphic designer/artist by initial trade and I do all of my graphic design, videos, and photography.

How long have you been at your current Gahanna location?

I have been doing this for 12 years in Gahanna.

What differentiates you from your competitors?

We’re all-around genuine. You have a founder and instructor from the city that birthed hip hop, gifted and talented instructors, and you learn how to dance. You get the best dance fitness workout and the opportunity to make lifelong friends with other students.

What do you like about doing business in the Gahanna area?

I love that Gahanna feels like a cozy city and is accessible from other parts of Central Ohio

Where can people learn more about your business?

Business Spotlight: Sullivan Woodwork

If you are looking for some inspired, handcrafted décor for your home –or the perfect (custom) gift for a friend, look no further than Sullivan Woodwork. Gahanna residents and owners Tony & Angie Sullivan combined their talents (he’s a landscape craftsman; she’s a graphic designer) to start a Gahanna business specializing in handcrafted items you won’t find elsewhere.  We posed a few questions to Tony to learn more about their story:

Tell us about your business (mission/goal) and how it came about?

I have always been in the tree and landscape business, working with all types of wood. My family business is Sullivan Tree Service. We have extra wood from landscape jobs, so I decided to start milling my own wood, which led to making wood signs. My wife is a graphic designer, so we decided to combine the graphics with the wood products, using CNC and laser carving.

Initially we sold at festivals and fairs around town, and have always sold through our website. Gahanna’s Herb Day Festival was one of our first events. Now we also have a shop at Creekside Plaza. My goal is to share thoughtful and inspirational words and allow people to put custom quotes on our wood products for their homes and businesses.

What is your specialty?

Over the years, we have been able to add a variety of products. They include large and small wood signs, coasters, magnets, keychains and much more. Our products make great souvenirs, holiday & special occasion gifts.

What do you like about doing business in Gahanna?

I have lived in Gahanna since 2002 and have seen my family and the community grow in many ways. My hope is that Sullivan Woodwork can add to the diversity of businesses in Gahanna and become a community gift shop. I am always adding new products, and now adding epoxy “river” art (which combines glossy colors with natural wood) and other unique styles.

Where can people learn more about your company?

Customers can visit our website at or visit our store at Creekside Plaza (hours are currently Sat. & Sun. 12-5 pm).


Local Business Spotlight: Donna’s Delicious Dozen

One of the SWEETEST businesses to make the Gahanna area its home is Donna’s Delicious Dozen. Owner Traci Lukemire opened her shop (north of the Morse Rd. and Hamilton Rd. intersection) in June, 2019. But it didn’t take long for her delectable creations to become popular with local residents! We caught up with Traci to learn more.

Tell us about Donna’s Delicious Dozen and how it came about?
The idea of Donna’s came about from vacationing with my family. We would always visit little local donut shops on vacation and I knew what a joy it brought to my family, and I wanted to bring that same joy to others, here in the Columbus area.

What is your specialty?
We specialize in made to order donuts. They are served warm with a variety of toppings & glazes.

What would people be surprised to learn about your company?
My customers are usually surprised by the fact that my name is not Donna.  Donna is actually my grandmother, who just celebrated her 92nd birthday.

What differentiates you from your competitors?
There are several things that separate us from our competitors. I would say it is our ability to create unique flavor combinations that definitely sets us apart. We also customize our donuts for events such as weddings, baby showers, and birthday parties like nothing else that I have seen in our area. As we are growing, we are also expanding our brand. We just purchased our first food truck, and to my knowledge, we will be the only donut shop to take our concept mobile.

What do you like about doing business in the Gahanna area?
I have always loved the diversity in Gahanna. This is the main reason I sought out a location in this area.

Where can people learn more about your company?