Curio's Travis Owens is looking to open a shop selling ice. Stay alert for a new cocktail bar concept, too.
The man behind the former cocktail bar Curio in German Village (named one of the best cocktail bars in the U.S.) has way more up his sleeve.
Travis Owens has been busy with a cocktail and bar consulting business called Behind the Glass that’s helped to curate draft cocktails and other experiences at bars such as Antiques on High. He makes and sells ice as a side hustle. Perhaps you have noticed a perfectly square, crystal-clear cube in a cocktail you’ve had recently at Watershed Distillery or Vaso—it is Owens’ handiwork.Stay up to date with the region’s thriving business scene. Subscribe to Columbus CEO’s weekly newsletter.
Right now, his ice business operates out of his home. He freezes large batches of totally transparent ice, and then cuts them with a band saw. Prices start at 75 cents per cube and go up to $1.50 for a branded cube, plus a delivery fee.
The beauty of this business model is that water has a preposterously low raw material expense and he only spends about 20 hours a week on it. It brings in about $45,000 per year and is on track to double, so Owens has decided to take out a loan and open a brick-and-mortar for his ice business.
“I’ve had so many people reach out in the last three or four weeks,” he says, including Canopy by Hilton, which recently opened on Nationwide Boulevard. He is looking for a spot within 5 miles of Downtown for his shop, and he wishes to open within the next two months with the addition of one or two employees.
Curio fans will love to hear that he also is hoping to open a new cocktail bar, possibly in partnership with Kevin Wang, a local sushi chef formerly of Salt and Pine and owner of Akatsuki LLC, a private dining and catering business. Right now, the pair is collaborating on a pop-up sushi event called Sushi Pop at Vaso. Plans should be firm by wintertime.
“I know what my wheelhouse is, and it’s definitely in the liquid realm,” says Owens. “So that connection with Kevin was important. I’m really hoping we can put our heads together and make something happen.”
Chloe Teasley is staff writer for Columbus CEO.