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Matt Miner is the kind of cultural chameleon that has come to define Columbus. With equal parts experience on metal and punk stages as in the food industry, he’s the perfect new addition to the North Market—a building itself adjusting to a rapidly evolving city and its cultural and culinary needs. His new “bodega-style” produce [...]
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Matt Miner is the kind of cultural chameleon that has come to define Columbus.

With equal parts experience on metal and punk stages as in the food industry, he’s the perfect new addition to the North Market—a building itself adjusting to a rapidly evolving city and its cultural and culinary needs.

His new “bodega-style” produce market, Mini-Super, is a natural extension of his two decades in produce (Wild Oats, Whole Foods), even if the skateboarder-turned-supermarketer saw himself doing more shredding than stacking back when he moved here from Marietta.

You’ve been in this industry 20 years. What ways are we approaching produce differently than in the past? How does that play into your approach at Mini-Super?

Urban America is much more food-conscious than it was 20 years ago. Foodie culture did not exist when I got into this business. I doubt I had even eaten an avocado in 1998. Now every kiddo eats avocados from birth. That being said, since healthy eating has been vogue, produce and natural foods has become more specialized and artisan. How many farmers markets are raging across America every weekend? With Mini-Super I try to tap into that world by buying from those unique growers, then presenting it in my own way.

Why do we have so few of the mini markets you see in other countries or larger cities? That bodega-style way of shopping is so appealing to me, but it’s frustrating you can find them in places like German Village, OTE, etc.

Columbus is still coming into its own as a bigger city. We seem to be embracing the growth now. Hopefully we will see some fresh produce on the streets in those areas soon to counter all of the plastic developments popping up all over town.

How important is visual merchandising in a business like yours? I know America gets a bad rap for valuing aesthetic beauty so much that some perfectly good produce never makes the shelves. Then again, you still need to sell product, lest it find a similar fate in the bin. How do you balance that? Or does it matter?

Visual merchandising is massive in this business. How do you make it look sexy? I fashion police every grocery store I’ve ever stepped foot in! Abundance sells produce, but on the flipside of that coin, it creates waste. I have to walk that line to stay afloat, but I designed the space to maximize visual impact and minimize waste. It’s working out so far. Mini-Super also gets support from a few restaurants around the area, [who] buy our produce before it turns.

I feel like the best way to buy produce is to try to buy for single meals, considering how much we all end up letting a tomato or a pepper go bad sitting around on a counter somewhere. How do you shop for produce?

I kinda let the produce talk to me. Whatever I want to try at the time. I’m not a big meal planner or recipe follower—I just wing it. When I buy for the shop, it’s seasonally focused but I’m always trying to source the most interesting stuff I can. There is always room on the shelves for something weird.

Is that mentality part of what you want to encourage with the bodega-inspired market?

Absolutely. Mini-Super is more of a these are our offerings spot as opposed to we try to have everything. 

What are the unique challenges of being one of the true “markets” in a place that has moved, in some ways, more toward a food court model?

Trying to figure out what the convention traffic wants to buy. The volleyball convention digs Mini-Super more than the Dungeons and Dragons convention.

Columbus has changed a lot in the last 20–actually 10—years. Where do you think we’re headed, from a food production/consumer standpoint?

It certainly would be nice to see more restaurants in Clintonville, OTE, Linden and South of I-70! Seems like there are alot of opportunities in those neighborhoods. Certainly more farmer’s market and CSA action going on. I would like to eat a roti sandwich in Columbus, but I’ll keep dreaming.

Can you tell us some of your favorite chefs/restaurants in town? Maybe even the ones you feel make good and inventive use of fresh produce in town? Are some of them your customers?

Sean at Brassica is great. I really admire his dedication to his craft. I think he said he made 30 different hummus varieties before he settled on his recipe. That’s nuts! Steve Nicholson at Flatiron is an old friend and BBQ master. Everything at Flatiron is killer. If I need cooking advice, I text him. Perrie Wilkof from Dough Mama has the the best breakfast around. Proud to say they all shop at Mini-Super!

Okay: a weird one. Let’s play free association. A handful of your go-to fruits/vegetables and your favorite albums that best represent them…

Melvins’ Bullhead is one of the best records ever and features a technicolor fruit basket on the cover. And those are honeycrisp apples in that basket. I always associate mangos with reggae music so Burning Spear, by Marcus Garvey, my favorite roots reggae album on the Mango Label. CAN’s Ege Byamyasi has a picture of okra on the cover and features the robot-funk classic “Vitamin C.” That’s my Joint! Okra is OK, too.

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Community

Clintonville shop earns “America’s Best” award

614now Staff

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Clintonville's Johnny Velo Bikes has been named one of the top bike shops in the nation according to an industry source.

Johnny Velo Bikes has received an America’s Best Bike Shop award from the National Bike Dealers Association (NBDA). The shop is among only six in Ohio to earn the distinction.

“It's an honor to be recognized as one of the best bike shops out of more 4,000 shops in the country," owner John Robinson said in a statement. "We've only been in business for two years, but we've worked very hard to create a professional and friendly atmosphere for our customers."

The NBDA's America's Best Bike Shops program identifies and rewards bicycle stores in North America against the highest performance standards in the industry. The awards are issued based on an application and secret shopper process, with shops scored on layout and design, staff and management, training, marketing, and community involvement.

Contact John Robinson at 614-333-0012 or [email protected] for all your bike-related needs. For details on the shop, visit www.johnyyvelobikes.com.

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Arts & Culture

Maker’s Space: Kato Mitchell

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Following an initial disastrous experience with attempting to refurbish a personal pair of sneakers with acrylic paint years ago, a friend noticed Mitchell’s persistence, aiding him to perfect his craft. Though he began with primarily focusing on restoring his friends’ worn-down sneakers, Mitchell’s business, Work The Custom, has expanded to designing apparel in any range.

Just months after being highlighted as cleat designer for Braxton Miller’s Charg1ng summer football camp in Dayton, Mitchell’s clientele has accrued some big names in the sports world, and he has no intention of stopping. (614) caught up with Mitchell to learn more about Work The Custom, and his hope for reconstructing apparel in Columbus and beyond.

(614): When did you decide to transition from football to design?
KM: I’ve always had a passion for drawing and art, [but] I just lost my vision when I took actual art classes and didn’t like what we were doing. After college, I didn’t get any NFL calls, [and] I was trying to figure out what else I would love to do every day, and fell back in love with art.

What was your leap from “this thing I do” to the thing to do? How do you promote your work? After I realized how many people wanted to show who they really are with art, and I was someone who could help do that, that was my ironing point. I promote my work through Instagram and Facebook for the most part, but I do go to sneaker events from time-to-time to pass out business cards.

Is this your primary gig, side gig or hobby? How did it come to be?
It’s my side gig for the moment, but trying to grow and learn to make it my full-time career. I had a pair of shoes that were beat up and didn’t want to buy more so I painted them, but one of my friends taught me the game and how to prosper from it.

What life changes do you feel have propelled your work? How have your customizations evolved? Playing football for a place like Ohio State and doing work for Buckeyes in the NFL and for the OSU football team has helped grow my work faster and further. My customs have evolved just by me growing up and seeing different things, learning different things, practicing everyday, and being able to adapt.

Do you have a specific audience that you want to appeal to?
I want my work to be for everyone. My work can range from baby shoes to youth high school players of all sports, to walls of homeowners and businesses, to shoes for pro athletes.

What ingredients come together to make Columbus a fertile ground for makers, designers and creatives? Columbus is a growing market and very friendly. It has new businesses starting every week and everyone is trying to help everyone else.

What’s your six-word creative story?

Work The Custom is coming fast!

To get in contact with Mitchell, or to see more designs, follow him on Instagram at @katowork19.

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Sports

Twitter Reacts: Bucks score #1 spot in first official playoff rankings

Mike Thomas

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The first official rankings for the 2019 College Football Playoff were announced yesterday, and the Buckeyes have landed at the top of the pile. The ranking marks the first time the Buckeyes have held the #1 spot since the inception of the playoff system.

Needless to say, social media is abuzz with reactions to this historic moment for Ryan Day's squad. Enjoy this roundup of reactions to the announcement from around Twitterverse, and Go Bucks!

https://twitter.com/11W/status/1191906549750489088
https://twitter.com/BarstoolOSU/status/1191906673960652800
https://twitter.com/lawschoollex/status/1191909159815524353
https://twitter.com/CaliBuckeyeGuy/status/1191906878181105664
https://twitter.com/ESPNCFB/status/1191906381999353856
https://twitter.com/ArrogantBuckeye/status/1191907918691622913
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