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Dis 'n' Data
By Margaret Marten, Editor
May/June 2015


The High Five Carryout in the Garden District at 1178 N. High across from the theater has a new owner who completely remodeled the interior and expanded the inventory. Jehad "J. J." Jallaq, 32, who lives in Hilliard with his wife and three boys, has worked in carryouts his entire adult life – including Rosco’s Market on the west side – so he knows what consumers want from carryouts. In the past, the space did not feel particularly friendly. With only a couple bare lightbulbs attached to ceiling fans, it was dark, and, according to J.J., they did not even sell chips or candy bars. The place is now ablaze with lights. All the products, including chips and candy, are in plain view. The coolers that line the walls are filled with craft beer, wine and other refreshments. It is, in fact, refreshing.

The Neil Avenue Bed and Breakfast at 1237 Neil Ave. is up for sale. Owners Eugene Holland and Elizabeth Segura-Holland are planning to move to Asheville, N.C., to be closer to their daughter’s family. Eugene, a professor of comparative studies at OSU is retiring after nearly 30 years. They purchased the Victorian mansion, built in 1893 by furniture mogul A.L. Conklin, in 2007 and opened it for business in January 2008 after careful, costly renovations. The previous owner, an architect, restored the mansion in the ‘70s after the house had been used for decades as apartments and offices. In the meantime, their
B and B business is still going strong while the Hollands wait for a buyer. They can be reached at 614-670-5075 or by emailing

On April 19, a Dispatch article highlighted the work of Tony Meredith at Danceville U.S.A., the Short North dance studio on East Lincoln Street. Meredith, 56, who now works as an instructor, choreographer, competition judge, as well as artistic director of the studio, is a successful international ballroom dance competitor. Recently Meredith and Mary Murphy co-hosted a PBS series America’s Ballroom Challenge, showcasing competition at the Ohio Star Ball the country’s largest ballroom-dance competition held annually in Columbus.

Oxygen Health & Fitness changed its name to Breathe Fitness earlier this year after ten years in business at 970 N. High St. Owner Danny DeSalvatore said the new name reflects a greater focus on wellness instead of body building. “People want to just stay in shape, stay healthy, and not really get big but just tone their body,” he said. The 36-year-old Cincinnati native opened Oxygen a decade ago after earning a degree in exercise science from OSU and working at a variety of gyms. He eventually expanded to two storefronts on High. He said that fitness is always changing and it’s important for him to keep up with the trends. The equipment and clientele in his center have quadrupled since 2004. The new name introduces a new approach to health and wholeness that includes a trainer, wellness coach, nutritionist and meal planner. He emphasized that they offer all the services of a larger gym but the smaller setting has the advantage of being more intimate and friendly. The center is open 24 hours a day. DeSalvatore said late night workouts are popular among staff from local restaurants and bars. Visit or call 614-297-0419 to learn more about the new programs and classes introduced this year.

Alexandra Fox and her husband Kevin are the proud parents of a baby girl, Zara Jaye Fox, born April 19 in Toronto at the East General Hospital, weighing in at 6 pounds 9 ounces. Alexandra is founder of the Goodale Park Music Series, board member of the Short North Foundation and Short North Civic Association, as well as organizer of Pecha Kucha Columbus and Screen on the Green. The couple moved to Toronto a year ago. Congratulations, Alex and Kevin!

The cell phone repair shop in the Garden District, SmartFix, closed in March and the space was taken over by an apparel store that includes an art gallery. MADE & Co. Gallery at 1196 N. High St. opened on April 11 with a show of artwork by Vada Mitchell along with a stock of mensware designed by shop owner Ngockhanh Van Ngo. Three partners, including Mitchell, are helping Ngo launch the new retail shop. Ngo, 27, majored in fashion design at Columbus College of Art and Design and graduated in 2013. His clothing line, MADE by NGO, was available in a space at Larry Robertson’s CO+OP Shop at 940 N. High for a few months beginning late last year, but the store recently closed to make way for construction development, which is why Ngo decided to open his own retail store. His objective is not simply to make money but to share his shop, to give young local artists and clothing designers the opportunity to showcase their work. “I’m just more here to help,” he said. “I want to be able to help people similar to my age try to showcase what they can do.” The challenges he faced after graduation, looking for work in the fashion industry and continually feeling cut short, fueled his commitment to help others in the same position. “I have a friend, she does jewelry,” said Ngo, “so I reached out to her.” His large family – including three brothers and three sisters – who moved here from Vietnam when he was four, experienced hardship in their native land after his father, an army major, became a prisoner of war and his mother was left to fend for the family – they later reunited. Ngo recalls hearing his mother relate how she sewed garments for her children, designed hats, and he says the stories of her sewing projects sparked his interest. His clothing line acronym MADE by NGO stands for “Make All Dreams Exist,” which describes someone as goal-oriented, ambitious. “Whatever they want to do, they’ll be able to accomplish it,” he said, “and if they’re not able to accomplish it they’ll continue to keep on trying.” The Garden District where the shop is located appealed to Ngo because of the “small business feel,” which he believes has disintegrated further south on High where Anthropologie opened last year. “You can see everybody that’s working [here], small businesses, local, and it really gives that Short North feel,” said Ngo. Made & Co. Gallery is open seven days beginning at noon. Visit

As most everyone knows by now, the Surly Girl Saloon closed on April 26 after 10 years in business at 1126 N. High St. near the Goody Boy Restaurant at Fourth Avenue. Owners Marcy Mays, Liz Lessner, and Carmen Owens opened the tavern in 2005 to pay homage to the Garden District’s red light district history. The decor resembled an Old West bordello and saloon. It was a hip joint with a cool concept (women-focused). The novelty of bars and restaurants, however – no matter how innovative – is often diminished these days by the proliferation of establishments opening in the Short North. Rather than invest the time and energy needed to revitalize or even maintain their existing business, the owners, who have other active projects, decided to move on. As Lessner stated in a Columbus Underground article, “We really aren’t needed there anymore.” Doug Fordyce, who designed logos for Surly Girl and Betty’s Fine Foods (owned by Liz Lessner) worked in both restaurants for years. Because of space issues, he said, the live music they had in the beginning at Surly’s stopped after a couple years, but the open mic comedy picked up and was a huge hit that kept on going. “Surly Girl was one of the first to do open mic in the city,” said Fordyce. “Sean Somerville started doing it there every Wednesday and he’s awesome.” The early days of Surly were dynamic. “In the beginning we were really, really busy,” said Fordyce. “We were filling a niche of a certain age group who were looking for something different.” Meanwhile, an unidentified owner has taken over the space – but not the business – and the comedy open mic was moved to Barrel on High (formerly Barrel 44), a couple doors south at 1120 N. High. The number at Barrel is 614-564-9058 if you’re looking for the schedule.

Other recent closings include Salon Hotel Lily, 864 N. High; Bungalow Home, 641 N. High; Flora Home and Garden, 930 N. High; CO+OP (Brigade), 940 N. High. The King’s Rowe Gallery at 1104 N. High is no longer a retail storefront but continues business behind closed doors. Lumos Columbus moved from 937 N. High to an undisclosed location.


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