All Posts By

Fortitude Fund

Five questions for William Bryant Rozier

By News No Comments

Five questions for William Bryant Rozier

The Journal Gazette

January 20, 2020

1. As we observe Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s 91st birthday, the average American is far too young to have any direct memory of him and his times. What was it about his life that we should be celebrating today?

Dr. King was one of the many voices of the movement who rose to be one of the strongest. He’ll always be an example of what happens when change meets opportunity meets leadership.

William Bryant Rozier, managing editor of Fort Wayne Ink Spot, stands outside the African/African-American Historical Society Museum on Douglas Avenue.

2. It’s a day when lots of blacks and whites come together to honor King’s vision of a nation where everybody counts. But some would say you shouldn’t have to set aside a day to get along. Is the King holiday a worthwhile tradition? Are we still fighting for civil rights?

Yes. We should keep setting aside a holiday. It should be more than a day … 24 hours isn’t enough.

3. King seemed to know he would eventually have to give his life for the cause of civil rights. How do you think he summoned such extraordinary courage?

He definitely knew death was a possibility. To summon the courage, I think he looked at the courage displayed by all of the civil rights fighters and those slain for the cause. He looked around him.

4. Will there ever be another leader like King? If there were, what would he or she be focusing on today?

Yes, I think there’ll be another King. I could see some of the younger kids who are growing up now … motivated and social-media-savvy … stepping into that role. He or she would be thinking toward the future, like fighting infant mortality. And civil rights for minorities, women and LGBTQ individuals.

5. Fort Wayne Ink Spot will be two years old next month. What hopes do you and your staff have for 2020?

We’ve brought in a handful of new writers and have expanded our admin staff. In addition to our usual output, and publishing new dedicated issues – Civil Rights, Comedy, HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities), and Infant Mortality – the Ink Spot will be producing some cool special projects.

Focus on nutrition to start the new year

By News No Comments

Focus on nutrition to start the new year

| WANE TV

January 11, 2020

ating healthier is on the mind of many in the New Year. It’s a time many people try to transform their diets, but you want to make sure you do it the right way.

Kelley Marvin, owner and founder of Inspired Nutrition by Kelley, stopped by Studio 15 for some tips.

Kelley Marvin gives viewers 15 tips to improve their diets in 2020.

Her biggest suggestion for anyone looking to have a better diet is to ask where your food is coming from. She says knowing the source of your food is key to bettering yourself.

Kelley also suggests making small changes to improve your lifestyle.

If you need a little extra boost, Kelley offers services through her business. You can click here for more information.

Fort Wayne Magazine People of the Year

By News No Comments

Fort Wayne Magazine People of the Year

| WANE TV

December 7, 2019

he last cover of 2019 for Fort Wayne Magazine features People of the Year. Ten people have been selected to represent the People of the Year.

Fort Wayne Magazine says these people are only givers, meaning they only give time, ideas, and experience. They give their 110%.

Fort Wayne Magazine says they’re a diverse group, “Who through their service to others, have made significant contributions to the arts, education, social services, business and civic engagement.”

On the cover of the December issue is Aaron Robles of Founders Spark. He is featured alongside nonprofit leaders, husband and wife duos, and a school superintendent.

Fort Wayne Magazine says they take about 15 to 17 people and narrowed it down to this list. This is the 2nd year the magazine as put together People of the Year.

Aaron Robles on the cover of Fort Wayne Magazine’s People of the Year issue in 2019.

Pick up an issue of Fort Wayne Magazine at over a dozen area businesses, including Kroger, or click here.

Hetty Arts Pastry offers donuts and other delectable desserts

By News No Comments

Hetty Arts Pastry offers donuts and other delectable desserts

| WANE TV

November 16, 2019

rom legendary donuts to artfully crafted wedding cakes, Hetty Arts has made a name for herself in Fort Wayne, with Hetty Arts Pastry. She is a trained pastry chef that chose to bring her business to the Midwest and in our case right here in Fort Wayne.

Getty grew up in the Netherlands, and was introduced to pastry at a young age.

Hetty Arts Pastry proudly serves the Fort Wayne community with delectably delicious treats.

In lieu of a traditional store front, Hetty Arts Pastry operates as a freelance kitchen, with a small pastry truck. You can find where she’ll be by heading to Hetty Arts Pastry’s Facebook page.

Learn more about her business by clicking here.

Hetty Arts has been featured in Fort Wayne Magazine multiple times. Find out what’s in this month’s issue by clicking here.

Fort Wayne Power Circle celebrates diversity, inclusion

By News No Comments

Fort Wayne Power Circle celebrates diversity, inclusion

| Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly

November 15, 2019

Demographic representation improved locally with the election of three African Americans, including two women, to the Fort Wayne City Council. But, participants in panel discussion at a Founders Spark Power Circle celebration said the city remains far from approaching what it could achieve by improving inclusiveness.

The celebration took place Nov. 8 at Wunderkammer Co. on Fairfield Avenue in Fort Wayne. Aaron Robles, the founder of Founders Spark, led the discussion.

Aaron Robles, founder of Founders Spark, to the far left, led this panel discussion at its Nov. 8 Power Circle celebration at Wunderkammer Co. Other panelists included, from left, Clifford Clarke, who chairs the board of the Fort Wayne Black Chamber of Commerce; Melissa Rinehart, lead organizer for Welcoming Fort Wayne; and John Dortch, the Black Chamber’s CEO. Clarke and Dortch are local business owners.

Other panelists included Clifford Clarke, who chairs the board of the Fort Wayne Black Chamber of Commerce, John Dortch, its CEO, and Melissa Rinehart, lead organizer for Welcoming Fort Wayne. Clarke and Dortch are local business owners.

Founders Spark was created to strengthen connections in the entrepreneurial community and help provide aspiring entrepreneurs with the tools they need to succeed.

“Power Circle is Founders Spark’s attempt to help create more diversity and inclusion, and educate people on what those mean and how we can become advocates for other people,” Robles said at the outset of the event.

The subject is one he cares very deeply about as an immigrant from Mexico and a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipient, he said. DACA provides undocumented residents who came to the United States as children with renewable work permits and protection from deportation.

“The conversation is never over. There’s always more that we could do to educate people on race and gender and all these other types of entrepreneurs and people in our community that have certain hurdles that they have come across,” he said.

“What we want to do tonight is educate and figure out how we can all walk out of here empowered to help those people that need more help and how we can become more understanding and helpful neighbors to one another.”

Robles kicked off the discussion by asking panelists why they believed it was important to talk about diversity and inclusion.

“The data is overwhelming if you look at empirical studies,” Clarke said. “Diverse, inclusive organizations — companies and cities — outperform those that are less so. Strictly by the numbers, you should be looking for diversity and inclusion.

“The other thing that I often reference is that if you don’t have diversity and inclusion and you don’t pay attention to all the PhD studies and all the data, if you are a student of history, there is a tipping point where the disenfranchised cannot take it anymore, and that’s usually never good for society,” he said.

Conversations on the topic need to take place in Fort Wayne because too many of the city’s residents don’t understand the subject and its importance, Dortch said.

“I really think we have a job trying to educate people. We need to sit down and have a conversation about race, what is race and why is it the way it is,” he said.

The fact that the Nov. 5 election was the first in Fort Wayne’s history to vote three African Americans on to the City Council shows “we have an issue,” he said.

When most members of a person’s social and professional network value diversity and inclusion, even women who have endured gender discrimination can benefit from reminders about the amount of education still needed in the city, said Rinehart, a cultural anthropologist.

“Diversity is reality in the world today — cultural diversity — because biologically, we’re all related. So, it’s hard for me to pause and … see that not everyone thinks like that. So, I have to check myself that that person over there is not educated or experienced in the same way that I am,” she said.

Public officials who fail to properly acknowledge disadvantages imposed on a group through historic oppression and actually celebrate a symbol of that oppression need to give much more serious thought to the value of inclusion, Rinehart said.

From that perspective, establishing a local July 16 holiday celebrating the birthday of Gen. Anthony Wayne in a 6-3 vote this summer was not a proud moment for the Fort Wayne City Council, she said.

“There was a lot of criticism from myself and others — scholars from all around the country who have worked with the historical era with Anthony Wayne and the Miami,” she said. “A lot of tribal members have spoken up.”

Another proposal will be brought before the City Council to celebrate Native Americans, and Rinehart encouraged everyone at the Power Circle to attend that meeting in order to show support for the proposal in person.

The resolution celebrating National Native American Heritage Month was to be introduced on Nov. 12 and go to a vote on Nov. 19.

It would acknowledge and honor significant contributions Native Americans have made to the Fort Wayne community, including the more than 200 Myaamia citizens living in part of their ancestral homeland.

New App Turns Physical Locations Into Sonic Environments

By News No Comments

New App Turns Physical Locations Into Sonic Environments

| WBOI

October 30, 2019

Fort Wayne musician Kurt Roembke has added another dimension to his technological skill set and his composing capabilities with the development of a free mobile app that turns physical locations into sonic environments to explore.

All that a virtual explorer needs to enjoy Roembke’s new SoundWalk is a smart phone, headset and walking shoes.

It’s called SoundWalk, and in essence, that is what the explorer can expect to enjoy as they make their way around town.

The first site chosen to represent in this manner was the Little Turtle Memorial at Lawton Place, in Fort Wayne.

Earlier this week, WBOI’s Julia Meek got Roembke off of the trail and into the studio to talk about his emerging world of spatial audio and explain how the project evolved as well as how the system works.

Her Long, Winding, Independent Year: Virginia Richardson, Tilde Multimedia Firm

By News No Comments

Her Long, Winding, Independent Year: Virginia Richardson, Tilde Multimedia Firm

| Fort Wayne Ink Spot

October 14, 2019

Of all things to mark Virginia’s Richardson’s one-year anniversary of starting her business, Tilde Multimedia Firm, it’s the SOS Band.  Of all things.

Virginia Richardson was first featured in Issue 22 | Volume 1 of the FWIS.  This is her follow-up.

Last October 2018, Richardson was referred to the R&B group, best known for their songs “Take Your Time,” and “Just Be Good to Me,” for her concert production work by the nationally-known DJ Keylo (aka Who Is Keylo).

As reported in her previous Fort Wayne Ink Spot article, “BET and VH1 Are on Her Resume,” Richardson handled sound design/audio production and special events management for the ubiquitous Viacom Networks.  The group was performing at Purdue Fort Wayne (PFW), and the school’s Special Events department was looking for someone to oversee their audio, video, and lighting management.  PFW became Richardson’s first client.

When SOS performed at the Summer Community Celebration in August, they asked Richardson to run their Facebook Live camera for the show.  Now, she can mark her one-year anniversary, with the memory of where she began and where’s she going; SOS and Tilde Multimedia Firm are in negotiations for Richardson to manage all of their social media.  “The calendar is still in edit mode,” she said.

Since her FWIS appearance, definitely of late, Richardson has been busy, as folks say.  She’s launched a Facebook Live talk show, Real Coffee Convo, where a group of friends discuss current events and highlight business owners…sometimes setting their live shows in the actual business they’re talking about, like a recent show recorded in the Simple Foods Café at 2000 Brooklyn.  Like with a lot of her goals, she wants to take the idea nationwide.

Richardson parlayed her Build Fort Wayne tutorship into an opportunity to manage SEED’s social media’s campaign.  She became a recipient of the Fortitude Fund (formerly the Farnsworth Fund).  She worked with the Madam CJ Walker Legacy Center over the summer, helping to promote some concerts for June’s Black History Music Month.  There’s the Fort Wayne Comedy Club.  She manages social media directives for PQC (Trains, Tech, Works, and Windrose Urban Farm), a project management, IT services, and training company that’s just been named the 2019 National Small Business 8(a) Graduate of the Year.  She has created new digital solutions for businesses such as for Sodexo FWCS. acting as their Social Media Recruiter.  She estimated that she probably makes about 10 to 15 times more than a year ago.  So, progress.

The thing with progress when you work for clients…websites and Facebook pages get updated for them, hardly ever for the contractor.  Priorities shift to and remain on the client.  One of Richardson’s biggest challenges, she said, is bookkeeping and finance.  “Sometimes when you wear all of the hats, you lose yourself.  You can’t do everything.”  Richardson needs a multimedia producer, someone she can throw some work to, like a design or a video person, because not one of her ideas has a tether.  She wants to have a TV network.  And a national newspaper.  Her idea for a publication that focuses on incarcerated citizens, written by them, for them, is en route.  Next year.

Manufacturing Accelerator Launches in Northeast Indiana

By News No Comments

Manufacturing Accelerator Launches in Northeast Indiana

| Inside Indiana Business

October 24, 2019

A manufacturing accelerator has launched in Fort Wayne following a six-month pilot period. The Workbench – Fort Wayne, located at the SEED Enterprise Center in the Allen County city, aims to lower the barrier for people to turn their ideas into real businesses.

The Workbench – Fort Wayne, founded by Jon Rehwaldt, opened this month.

Founder and Chief Executive Officer Jon Rehwaldt says the idea for the accelerator stemmed from a need for more support for advanced manufacturing, particularly small manufacturing operations, to make the sector more robust in northeast Indiana.

In an interview with Inside INdiana Business, Rehwaldt said The Workbench supports startups wherever they are in the process.

“A lot of people have ideas but they have no idea where to start, even if they’re experienced in manufacturing and worked in manufacturing for their whole lives; the idea of taking that concept they have in their head can be a daunting one, especially when you start to talk about intellectual property and how to do prototyping. Where do you get that done? What does it look like? How much does it cost?” said Rehwaldt. “So we will take anybody at any point during that process and help them figure out where they are and where they need to go next.”

Rehwaldt says the accelerator can provide prototyping, design and production services, which can help startups avoid some of the large costs associated with such services. The program worked with two companies during its pilot phase from April to October, which has led to positive early feedback.

“Because we’ve already seen some traction with the companies we’ve already helped to start the process, I think there’s a lot of enthusiasm around (the accelerator) and the impact could be large. I mean, accelerators are one of the best ways to get new startups going and we really hope that we can have a significant impact in our region, especially with the kind of manufacturing expertise that we already have here.”

Rehwaldt says it is rare to have an accelerator like The Workbench be privately funded, however the program continues to look for new partners to further its growth.

“We want to widen our impact. We really want to focus on northeast Indiana. We have some really, really awesome manufacturing centers in northeast Indiana who are doing amazing and innovative work and so we want to be able to support those industries and bring more people into those industries, so we’re perfectly willing to partner with organizations that share that mission and want to have a big impact in our region.”

The Workbench has set what Rehwaldt calls an ambitious goal of getting 20 companies off the ground during its first year of operation. Additionally, the accelerator looks to help 10 of those companies bring a product to market.

Rehwaldt says The Workbench will also launch an accelerator curriculum, called The Factorium, in 2020 to help more companies get an idea of what kinds of skill sets and resources they need in order to go to production.

You can learn more about The Workbench – Fort Wayne by clicking here.

At ‘All the Rage,’ things get broken

By News No Comments

At ‘All the Rage,’ things get broken: Japanese-born trend arrives in city, giving stress relief safe space

| The Journal Gazette

October 24, 2019

Most people do not wake up wishing to have a bad day – at least I don’t think they do.

But on a recent Friday, I rolled out of bed with the hope that something would go wrong. I wanted something that would upset me, make me mad. Maybe even enrage me.

Co-owners of All the Rage Brianna Dailey (left) and Abby Greutman (right) together in one of the rage rooms at All the Rage at the corner of State and Spy Run

On this particular Friday, I had 15 minutes blocked off to experience what could be the next craze in the city – a rage room.

All the Rage opened this summer at 2307 Spy Run Ave., at the corner of West State Boulevard and Spy Run Avenue. Owned by Brianna Dailey and Abby Greutman, the business was inspired by the big city trend and the goal of promoting mental health while being a part of the growing entertainment scene in Fort Wayne.

Growing industry

Rage rooms began a decade or so ago in Japan, with the idea slowly spreading west – to Europe and eventually the United States.

In a rage room, participants can release their emotions by breaking, smashing and otherwise destroying items in a safe environment.

At All the Rage, participants get the opportunity to break items by throwing them against the wall or floor in a safe room that’s constructed with plywood. Items can range from dishes, televisions, keyboards and bottles. Tools of destruction include crow bars and baseball bats.

Clients can also bring their own possessions to destroy, although the team at All the Rage is cautious to make sure that the items chosen are for good fun rather than vengeance.

Going in room

A pair of Bluetooth headphones hung around my neck with black buds in my ears. It was the final piece of gear that you put on before entering a room at All the Rage. With a focus on safety, clients are instructed to wear closed-toe shoes and are also given a white jumpsuit, gloves and helmet with goggles.

I hit shuffle on my iPhone and entered the plywood room, ready to work out any frustration.

“Here is the dome, back with the bass / The jam is live in effect and I don’t waste time / On the mic with a dope rhyme / Jump to the rhythm, jump jump to the rhythm, jump.”

While Greutman says a session in the rage room can be a good workout, I didn’t think that C&C Music Factory was the best music to throw dishes and wine bottles against the wall.

I made a quick change to the playlist and with Mötley Crüe’s “Kickstart My Heart” playing, I shut the door of the room. I picked up a wine bottle from the half-dozen sitting on the floor, stepped back and pitched it at the plywood wall.

But as it bounced back and nearly skidded across the floor, I was the one who felt thrown.

Bring your own

Along with the smaller items in the room, old televisions or computer monitors can be added.

Donations are accepted, while other items are purchased secondhand, Greutman says. The business is also partnered with Bisque It Pottery, which donates items that are cracked or have been left behind.

Still others – like a slightly sinister clown statue – were left in the space, which had been an antiques shop.

Gretuman says the goal for the business is avoid buying things used in order to reduce waste as much as possible, with glass being recycled after clients are finished in the rage room.

All the Rage offers a variety of experiences for clients, from BYOB (Bring Your Own Box) to Let’s Rage, which is a 40-minute experience for two people.

The time and number of items varies anywhere from 15 to 40 minutes and 12 items to 25. Clients can also choose additional items for extra cost.

Ditch ‘adulting’

Everyone who enters the door of a rage room must be 18 years old but Greutman says many clients are in their 30s and 40s, while some have been in their 60s.

The appeal is that it’s a chance to take a step back from “adulting.”

“As adults, we have to be responsible all the time. … (At All the Rage), you take the responsibility and throw it out that window.”

Or, in my case, you throw it at a plywood wall … again and again and again. Then, after shirking into a corner for the fifth time, I caught sight of the crowbar.

Almost gingerly, I placed the stubborn wine bottle at a slight distance from my feet, grasped the crowbar with both hands and lifted it over my head.

And then I swung. In a second, a bottle that had seemed unbreakable turned into shards on the floor. I took a second, placed it on the floor as well, and swung. The sound of breaking glass was almost beautiful, complementing the old school rock ‘n’ roll playlist that streamed in my ears.

Empowered, I took the keyboard and placed it on the barrel. I switched out the crowbar for the baseball bat and began to swing.

In three minutes, all of my “Office Space” dreams came true.

Stress relief

Greutman laughed when I handed her my helmet and wanted to talk about TPS reports and red staplers. Apparently, I was not the first person to relate the movie “Office Space” to the experience.

But one of the challenging things to hear is criticism about the business, Greutman says.

People have alleged that the business incites anger rather relieves it or that it is an anger treatment center.

“We’re trying to help people reduce stress and be a good place for the community,” she says, adding that they want to be advocates for mental health.

The owners hope to grow the business, adding additional rooms (there are currently three) and a seating area.

“We would like to be an asset to the community and provide a safe space for people to be.”

Mercadito Taqueria food truck opening a brick-and-mortar location in The Landing

By News No Comments

Mercadito Taqueria food truck opening a brick-and-mortar location in The Landing

| Input Fort Wayne

October 18, 2019

A Fort Wayne food truck is opening up a restaurant in The Landing next summer.

Mercadito Taqueria announced the news on its Facebook page.

Mercado, founded by Johnny Perez, will be opening a storefront on The Landing.

The new restaurant, dubbed “Mercado,” will feature a bar and some food items from their food truck.

The owner plans to serve lunch and a late-night menu, as well as brunch.

The space is expected to house 80 seats inside and 20 seats in an outside area.

Owner Johnny Perez said they hope to open in the summer of 2020.

The Landing is a historic neighborhood in Fort Wayne that is being renovated into a mixed-use space.