Ola's Herb Shop
is not located in a busy retail district, and that's fine with owner Ola Obasi.
On a sleepy corner in Morningside, Obasi's shop is a multi-use space that is dedicated to enhancing the personal wellness of all members of the community. It's a center for herbal medicine, energy work, and lifestyle coaching, but also the production facility for Obasi's all-natural product line, Nourishing Botanicals.
And Obasi's husband, Eric Biesecker, also teaches Capoeira Angola
, the Afro-Brazilian martial art and fight dance, at the shop. While the neighborhood's commercial district might be quiet, this particular storefront (typically open by appointment only) is filled with a holistic, healing energy.
Now, thanks to businesses like Obasi's and the dedication of many other community members, Morningside itself is poised for an awakening.
A new commercial structure has been built next to the neighborhood’s Rite Aid. The pharmacy itself has been renovated, as has the Morningside Market, which benefitted from the URA’s façade renovation program.
And the long-awaited Bulldog Pub & Grill—named for the neighborhood's youth football team—is expected to open on March 15th, at 1818 Morningside Avenue (just in time for St. Patrick's Day). The restaurant is a project of Morningside native Terry Golden.
Grant Ervin, Executive Director of the Morningside Area Community Council
, says there has been a need for family-friendly community gathering spaces.
“There’s a big opportunity for that type of third place in the neighborhood,” he says. Ervin expects the Bulldog Pub—whose renovations are making the space even more inviting—to succeed in filling that role.
Ervin says Morningside’s lower rents have allowed entrepreneurs to develop their companies without the burden of excessive overheads. “It’s a good place if you’re looking to open a business,” he says.
Writer: Andrew Moore
Source: Ola Obasi; Grant Ervin