Jarmo Kekalanien joined the Blue Jackets, Mark Kvamme joined Columbus' startup scene, the Columbus Partnership shared what it had been doing and Dispatch Media Group moved across the street.
Columbus Blue Jackets
The CBJ has had a tumultuous existence. Since the first game in 2000, the NHL team has dealt with multiple lockouts and losing seasons. In 2013, the second NHL lockout had just ended and Jarmo Kekalainen became the team's new general manager. Now, things are looking up. The CBJ had its most successful season in 2016-17, and season ticket sales are high for the new season. Kekalainen is credited—along with President John Davidson—for the turnaround.
Believe it or not, Ohio was the first state to produce wine in the 1830s and remained a leader in production until Prohibition. Now the state is among the top 10 wine producers in the nation. In 2013, it was seventh; today, it has moved to sixth with nearly 200 wineries, seven of which are in Columbus. However, it appears that craft beer and whiskey are giving wine a run for its money locally. Columbus alone is now home to more than 35 craft breweries, 150 beer bars and stores and at least five distilleries.
Two years before this cover article, venture capitalist Mark Kvamme left a successful career in Silicon Valley and started a new firm called Drive Capital in Columbus. Kvamme had previously worked with companies like Apple, eBay, LinkedIn and Yahoo. Yet, he was a firm believer in the potential of the Columbus startup scene to become as successful as Silicon Valley's. And since he's still here five years later, it appears his mind has not changed. Working with startups like Root and CrossChx is more than enough indication that Drive Capital is doing what Kvamme envisioned in Ohio.
In 2015, The Columbus Partnership had 50 members. When it was created in 1997 it had only seven, including John F. Wolfe and Les Wexner, both of whom credited the other for creating and nurturing the organization. Wolfe, who died in 2016, said the Partnership's success was due in large part to the uniquecollaborative nature of Columbus. Now, the Partnership has 64 members and is supporting a major transportation and technology initiative called Smart Columbus, which is taking off and is planning to put on “ride and drive shows” with electric cars so consumers can experience the vehicles for themselves.
Old Columbus Dispatch Building
At the end of 2015, Dispatch Media Group, which includes Columbus CEO, moved from 34. S. 3rd St. to 62 E. Broad St. on the north side of Capitol Square. The old property sits east of the Statehouse and is in a prime spot to house new businesses. There was speculation about what would be done with the Dispatch building. Now there's an answer. The building at 34 S. 3rd St. will receive new windows on its south side, new surface parking and other mechanical and interior upgrades in order to be leased, hopefully within the year.