Featured Business – Inn From the Storm


For incarcerated individuals on the cusp of being reintroduced to general society, the prospect of life on the outside can induce both apprehension and fear. Even though they have served their sentences and have earned a second chance at freedom, these individuals are often unequipped by our institutions with the skills and resources necessary to have a fighting chance at being productive members of society. Too often they have no home to return to, let alone any family or friends who can offer adequate assistance. In such a situation, it’s too easy to feel there is no hope. But thanks to organizations such as Inn From The Storm, there is always hope.

Inn From The Storm is a non-profit organization that assists formerly incarcerated women returning home with supportive service needs. Through a comprehensive ex-offenders re-entry program tailored to each client, this Olive Link business works to reduce recidivism in Missouri while providing some of our society’s most vulnerable members with a second chance. This goal is achieved through use of various programs relating to the following areas:

  • Employment services
  • Vocational training
  • Interview skills
  • Job placement
  • Community service
  • GED assistance
  • Healthcare assessment
  • Mental health counseling
  • Transitional Housing

Owner and founder Sandi Colquitt decided to open Inn From The Storm after an experience with her aunt, who was previously incarcerated. As her prison sentence approached its end, Sandi’s aunt contacted her seeking assistance with critical matters such as housing and employment. Working with her aunt gave Sandi a personal appreciation for the struggles of these women and the startling lack of assistance the system provides. Thanks to her first-hand experience in working with her aunt both inside and outside of prison, Sandi has crafted an effective process approaching and aiding women who can benefit from Inn From The Storm’s program.

“My organization goes into various prisons and gives presentations on our programs to women who are approximately six months from being released,” says Sandi. “After learning about what working with Inn From The Storm will be like, the women can approach me for personal assessments regarding their needs. This is a critical component of the process, since these women are first and foremost individuals, and no two situations are exactly alike.”

Sandi is uniquely equipped for working with such a vulnerable population. She studied healthcare administration and management at the undergraduate and graduate levels, and the experience provided her with a bedrock perspective on the complexities of caring for those in need. Her past professional experience includes working with a non-profit dedicated to overseeing education and testing services for people living with HIV/AIDS. A 30-year resident of University City, Sandi also previously served on the city council for 12 years and represented the individual and collective needs of countless U City residents. This personal connection to U City played a large role in Sandi’s decision to locate Inn From The Storm in the Olive Link.

“Everybody knows U City; it’s the central connection between St. Louis City and St. Louis County,” Sandi says. “And locating in the Olive Link is very beneficial, because the central location and public transportation make it easy for my clients to reach me.”

As a community that is distinct for its charitable residents and non-profit sector, University City is the perfect home for Inn From The Storm. The Olive Link is an especially symbolic home for the organization. After pulling through some tough economic times, the corridor is now an up-and-coming destination that grows in recognition and activity with each passing year. In a similar vein, although the women who work with Inn From The Storm have faced some very difficult life circumstances, working with this unique organization will help them take back control of their lives and show them that that their best years lie ahead

7584 Olive. Blvd., Ste 205
University City, MO 63130

(314) 328-9466

Featured Business – Brooks Plumbing

  

University City is known for its historic neighborhoods. Many of the homes in these neighborhoods have stood since the first half of the 20th century, meaning that there are idiosyncrasies in their plumbing systems that are not found in newly constructed buildings. Most plumbing companies don’t service these older homes, but luckily for U City residents, as well as others in St. Louis City and County, the Olive Link’s very own Brooks Plumbing Company can meet these and other plumbing needs.

Brooks Plumbing Company was founded in 1947 by Albert Brooks. The company stayed in the Brooks family for over fifty years. Albert’s son Leonard owned the company from the early 50s until his death in the mid-90s. After that, Leonard’s niece owned it until the early 2000s when the company’s current owner Daniel Larkin became a partner to one of the company’s subsequent owners. In 2006, he became the sole owner of Brooks and has run it with his wife, Anne, for the past ten years.

During these ten years, Daniel and Anne have worked tirelessly to preserve Brooks Plumbing’s reputation as one of the best plumbing services in the St. Louis region. The company continues to offer the various top-quality services that have kept it in business for nearly 70 years. Aside from specializing in keeping plumbing in older homes up to compliance with local codes, Brooks provides the following services and more: drain laying, bathroom remodels, water heater repairs and replacements, septic services, sewer lateral repair, and waterline repair.

“We will take on virtually any plumbing job,” says Daniel. “We hire only highly skilled plumbers who meet specific qualification requirements, and we define ourselves by our ability to take on a broad variety of projects.”

Thousands of Brooks customers can testify to the excellent plumbing fixes the company provides. Most of them are repeat customers or customers who have heard of Brooks by word of mouth. Among them are several businesses in the Olive Link. From Royal Chinese BBQ to Frank and Helen’s to Skyview Carwash and U City Signs, Daniel and Anne look after the plumbing needs of dozens of their business neighbors.

If Brooks has been generous to the Olive Link, the Olive Link has been kind to it in return. “Being located on Olive Boulevard in U City has been great for this company,” says Anne. “We get a lot of exposure being on such a busy thoroughfare, and U City is a vibrant community that we are happy to be a part of.”

If you’re in the St. Louis area and are looking for a reliable, competent plumbing company, give Brooks a call. Whether your building is new, old, residential, or commercial, this is a company you can trust to handle your plumbing requirements. With 70 years’ worth of loyal, satisfied customers, there are few companies you could trust more.

8409 Olive Blvd.
University City, MO 63130

(314) 569-3511

Touch of Tenderness CDS, LLC

  

When it comes to our disabled or elderly loved ones, we always want to keep them in their own homes as long as possible. But the prospect of providing adequate care to a family member with special needs can be overwhelming, to say the least. Few of us have the time or training to handle the task ourselves, and we often aren’t sure of what to look for if we hire a personal care attendant. If you or a relative find yourselves in this predicament, a great place to seek help is Touch of Tenderness CDS, LLC, an Olive Link business founded and owned by U City native Linda Jones. As someone who treats her clients like family, Linda is the ideal person to trust with such a significant decision.

Touch of Tenderness CDS, LLC is a healthcare provider that assists clients in hiring in-home personal care attendants trained to aid in everyday tasks such as bathing, meal preparation, toileting, medication, housekeeping and transportation. It uses a Consumer Directed Services (CDS) program, which allows the client to hire an attendant who will be paid through Medicaid. This model gives participants full control over hiring, scheduling and managing their attendant. It also permits the hiring of friends or relatives, provided they are at least 18 years old, not a spouse of the person receiving care, and receive clearance through the Missouri State Family Care Registry.

After an extensive corporate career, Linda founded Touch of Tenderness CDS, LLC in 2015. The decision was sparked by her seeking care and services for her aging mother. During that process, Linda came to understand the complexities and anxieties inherent in helping the aging or disabled to live as independently as possible. While sitting around the kitchen table with some of her best friends one Sunday afternoon, and after speaking with one her best friends who also runs the same type of business, Linda decided to use her executive experience to help her community’s most vulnerable with available resources. After a great deal of planning and entrepreneurial ingenuity, she launched her business in University City’s dynamic Olive Link business scene.

The decision to locate in University City reflects Linda’s ties to the area. Aside from a six-month residence in Atlanta, she has lived in U City her entire life. She has fond memories of growing up in the public school system and playing various sports at University City High School. She considers it a great place to raise a family, having raised her children here. She also takes pride in being active in the community and works in various capacities with organizations such as the University City School District’s board of education. Next to spending time with her family, working with these organizations have provided some of the most gratifying experiences of her life.

“University City is my home,” Linda asserts. “I want to invest my skills where I live so that my community can utilize the benefits.”  When asked about the benefits of owing a business in the Olive Link, Linda had this to say: “U City is the heart of St. Louis because of its central location. It’s an advantageous place to be, and there are a lot of opportunities for future growth.”

The Olive Link, which has been noted as an up-and-coming neighborhood over the past few years, has become even greater with the presence of Touch of Tenderness CDS, LLC. Linda’s healthcare business reflects the core principle behind the Link’s most popular and enduring businesses: a dedication to providing the best service possible to customers and clients. That’s what motivates Linda to treat clients like family, as indicated by her business’s tag line, “Making you feel better with a touch.” The effect of this approach is best summed up by a known saying: “People often forget what you say, but they don’t forget how you make them feel.”

7584 Olive Blvd, Ste 205
University City, MO 63130

(314) 384-9868

Featured Business – ESM Marketing

  

Successful marketing is an indispensable part of business. It is also an incredibly challenging feat to pull off. Maximizing marketing potential is a task that is too large for most businesses to handle alone. That’s where ESM Marketing comes in.

ESM Marketing (formerly MSW Marketing) is a premier marketing firm that offers services ranging from advertising and public relations to digital marketing and brand development strategy. The company employs highly talented professionals capable of developing marketing plans optimized for the unique needs of individual businesses. These professionals thrive and exceed customer expectations under the leadership of ESM’s managing partners, three elite marketing minds with decades of critical experience.

The first is Paul Eppen, president and owner of ESM. With an MBA from the University of Chicago, Paul has accumulated over 27 years of marketing experience. Before joining ESM, Paul served as chief marketing officer for companies such as Colonial Penn, optionsXpress, Devry University and TruGreen.

The second is Ed Musen, ESM’s media director, who has written, directed and produced several award-winning advertisements for radio and television. Ed’s talents have earned him Emmys, Tellys, Marconi awards and Mark awards.

The third and founding partner at ESM is Fred Steinbach, the company’s director of business relations. Fred plays an integral role in managing client-prospect relationships. Having previously worked in senior marketing roles for ARA Services and KPC Advertising, Fred has intuitive expertise regarding marketing plans that appeal to clients’ target markets.

With the best leadership that a marketing firm could ask for, ESM has built an extensive portfolio since its inception in 2005. A shortlist of their clients includes Imo’s Pizza, Suntrup Automotive, UMSL, Jenny Present, QuikTrip and Gershman Mortgage. As a local firm, ESM takes interest in working with regional businesses that are foundational to St. Louis’ entrepreneurial and educational reputation. That interest plays a large role in the company’s activities in University City.

ESM handles the City of University City’s marketing and public relations, and it is also a member of the University City Chamber of Commerce. According to Paul Eppen, ESM’s president, University City is ideal to work for because it has a unique business community and great potential for future economic growth.

“ESM Marketing is thrilled to work with the City and Chamber as they promote economic development in this diverse community,” says Paul. “University City shows enormous promise for start-ups and existing businesses.” Paul believes that University City’s potential is especially apparent in the Olive Link. “The Olive Link is a hidden gem. The ethnic businesses as well as stores like Bob’s Seafood really make it stand out. New developments like the Senn Bierwerks brewery coming to Olive make the Link, and University City in general, an exciting place to be.”

Whether you’re in University City or elsewhere in the region, ESM Marketing is the place to go for the best marketing services. The company’s talented individuals are sure to take your business marketing to the next level and beyond, as their current and previous clients can testify. What more could you ask for in a marketing company?

9666 Olive Blvd. Suite 330
St. Louis, MO 63132

(314) 542-0400

Featured Business – Organizing Magic

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Some people thrive on disorganization and chaos. For them, a messy environment inspires creativity and “out-of-the-box” thinking. The rest of us aren’t so lucky. To us, a messy house, office or closet is nothing but a distraction that fosters procrastination, stress and a sense of embarrassment. Unfortunately, despite wanting to avoid these negative feelings, we simply don’t know how to introduce better organization into our lives. Between going to work, keeping up with the bills and taking care of the kid and pets, we don’t have the time, energy or knowledge to get our surroundings into manageable order.

If you ever find yourself feeling this way, don’t despair! Instead, reach out to Jodi Granok of Organizing Magic. A longtime member of the National Association of Professional Organizers, Jodi is one of the best professional organizers in the St. Louis area and will do everything she can to help you get organized.

Jodi has a master’s degree in social work from Washington University. Before becoming a professional organizer, she had a career in gerontological social work. That career was a great fit for Jodi’s skillset, since she’d had a knack for organizing schedules and surroundings since she was a child. However, she never considered making organizing a full-time job until she moved in with her husband, who didn’t share her natural organizational skills. After bringing some much-needed tidiness and structure to her husband’s house, Jodi decided it was time for a career change and founded Organizing Magic. Since then, she has helped countless individuals, families and business people organize their homes, offices and schedules.

Jodi specializes in organizing several different environments such as bathrooms, kitchens, pantries, playrooms, and home and business offices. She also helps pre-teens, teenagers and people with ADD and ADHD organize their schedules by teaching them time management skills, techniques to help them stay focused, and how to adhere to organizational plans that suit their needs and thinking styles. Jodi emphasizes empathy and flexibility in her approach with her clients, and does everything she can to make sure they feel empowered.

“Having trouble with organization doesn’t reflect badly on you as a person,” Jodi asserts. “A lot of people understand the need to get organized, but they just don’t know where to start. That’s what I’m here to help with, and I’ll work with people for as long as they need me, whether it’s just for one session or for the long-term.”

The benefits of having a professional organizer like Jodi assist you cannot be underestimated. Her services save clients tremendous amounts of time by helping them develop organizational systems in hours that would take weeks, months or even years to develop on their own. Clients also save money by eliminating late fees that result from misplaced bills. Perhaps most importantly, Jodi’s services help clients feel relaxed and content in their homes by helping them eradicate clutter and develop habits that foster an orderly environment.

If you live outside of Jodi’s service area, or if you’re more of a do-it-yourself kind of person, you can still take advantage of her organizing expertise without a face-to-face meeting. On the Organizing Magic website, there’s a little section called The Magic Shop. This webpage features e-booklets and mp3 files that document how to approach specific organizational projects. For $12 each, you can have access to some of the best tips the professional organizing industry has to offer.  Another option is to sign up for Jodi’s free newsletter, which is read by thousands of people in 45 states and details organizing solutions for home, work and school.

If you’re a member of the St. Louis community who has benefitted from Jodi Granok’s services, it’s important to understand that she appreciates your willingness to reach out for organizational help. Jodi attributes much of her success to the fact that hard working St. Louisans are willing to recognize when they need help with organizational problems. As a home-based business owner, she also attributes much of her success to her home’s location near University City’s Olive Link business district.

“Olive Boulevard in University City is no more than 20 minutes from anywhere in St. Louis,” says Jodi. “The ability to reach so many clients from a centralized location is great. Thanks to its proximity to I-64 and I-170, the Olive Link is the perfect place for a business like Organizing Magic.”

If you need help organizing your home, office or schedule, don’t hesitate to contact Jodi at jodi@organizingmagic.com or at 314-504-8857. Doing so will be the first step in getting your surroundings into a manageable order so that you feel relaxed at home and in control of your life.

Featured Business – Wu Hsing Chuan Five Animal Academy

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The Olive Link’s International District has achieved regional fame for its concentration of Chinese shops and restaurants. From Lu Lu Seafood to Universal Gifts & Furniture, the International District is defined by the strong presence of Chinese businesses and culture, so much so that many consider it to be the St. Louis region’s Chinatown. But with so many Chinese businesses located near I-170, it’s easy to overlook the fact that Chinese culture has plenty of influence in other parts of the Olive Link. A fantastic example of this is Wu Hsing Chuan Five Animal Academy, a Kung Fu school located in the Parkway District.

Wu Hsing Chuan opened in 1980. Its founder Sifu Larry Adams is a master of the Five Animal Style. According to traditional Chinese history, the Five Animal Style originated over 4000 years ago. It derives its name from its five distinct forms, which are named after creatures of great cultural significance in China. The tiger form is built around closed-fist strikes and physical strength. The leopard form focuses on speed and long-range attacks. The crane form emphasizes counterattacks that target pressure points, and the snake form focuses on a relaxed posture and flexibility. The final form, the dragon, draws on even breathing and both soft and hard attacks that represent yin and yang.

The story of Wu Hsing Chuan begins in 1921 when Ark Yuey Wong, a Chinese immigrant, arrived in the United States. Wong had moved to Northern California to teach the Five Animal Style of Kung Fu to the Chinse community. In 1934 he moved to Los Angeles and opened a dedicated Kung Fu school in the city’s Chinatown. Although his school initially restricted instruction to ethnic Chinese students, in 1958 it would become one of the first to open its doors to the general public and bring Kung Fu into the mainstream.

One of the first non-Chinese students to train under Ark Wong was Melvin Armstrong, the man who would eventually teach the Five Animal Style to Larry Adams. Armstrong had come to California from Ohio to work in the IT sector, and with previous experience in boxing, he thought that it would be worthwhile to learn Kung Fu. Ark Wong quickly recognized Armstrong as a prodigy and offered him both private lessons and eventually a role as an assistant instructor. Armstrong became a certified Kung Fu instructor in 1968, and shortly afterward his IT career brought him back to the Midwest.

In the early 70s, Armstrong encountered Larry Adams while traveling back and forth between St. Louis and Kansas City for work. Larry had been seeking a Kung Fu master who could teach him the Five Animal Style since 1958. During that year, when he had been 11 years old and had received informal Kung Fu lessons from the owner of a Chop Suey restaurant in St. Louis. Armstrong recognized the same unique potential in Larry that Ark Wong had seen in him. Impressed by Larry’s eagerness and ability, Armstrong decided to take him on as an apprentice. After four years of training, Larry became a master of the Five Animal Style in 1978, and two years he later opened Wu Hsing Chuan on Olive in University City.

To this day Wu Hsing Chuan is one of very few Five Animal schools in the Midwest and the only one in the St. Louis region. The rarity of the style and the fact that Larry has a direct master lineage to Ark Wong make the school a huge draw for Kung Fu enthusiasts. Of course, Wu Hsing Chuan offers more than just Kung Fu instruction. Both Tai Chi and women’s self-defense classes are available at the school. But Kung Fu is undoubtedly the heart of the establishment. Wu Hsing Chuan’s students have competed at Kung Fu competitions at the local, state and national levels, and at the 2016 Lunar New Year Festival in University City, the school celebrated Chinese culture with Kung Fu demonstrations.

The past 30 years have given Larry countless students of his own. Some of those students are now instructors at Wu Hsing Chuan, while most have moved on to other careers and life paths with the discipline and integrity that Kung Fu training imparts. No matter where life leads the students of his school, Larry is just grateful he has been able to use Kung Fu to make a positive impact on other people’s lives.

“It’s great to be able to help people develop their self-defense skills,” says Larry, “but the most important aspect of any martial arts training is the character that it can teach. It’s a great way to learn how to pursue your goals and overcome difficulties in order to be the best that you can be.”

In bringing such a rare form of Kung Fu to the St. Louis area, Wu Hsing Chuan captures the essence of the Olive Link, which is characterized by entrepreneurs representing unique cultures from all over the world. The school also represents the hard work and integrity that are essential to running a successful small business. There’s no doubt that the Olive Link benefits tremendously from the presence of people like Larry Adams, people who dedicate their time to cultivating these attributes. They are the ones who inspire the rest of us to use our talents in ways that allow our communities, as well as ourselves, to grow.

Featured Business – Winco Windows

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Throughout much of the 20th Century St. Louis was defined by its industrial sector. Although the region became part of the Rust Belt after the decline of American manufacturing, several industrial firms are still contributing to the region’s economic fabric. Winco Windows, located in the Olive Link’s Industrial District, is a perfect example of that fact.

Winco Windows was founded in 1931 by German immigrant Johann Otto Kubatzky. From its location on the north side of St. Louis, the company produced aluminum ventilators that were sold to builders in the City and surrounding vicinity. Johann ran the company for two decades before turning it over to his two sons, Theodore and Woodrow. By that time, Winco was offering a full line of ventilator windows and had started distributing its products all over the country. As the company’s new owners, Theodore and Woodrow further expanded Winco’s product line and advanced its business practices in order to keep up with an evolving market. In the 60s, the company began to use computerized order entry data in its manufacturing process. During same decade, it also became a charter member of the American Architectural Manufacturers Association (AAMA).

In 1980, Winco Windows experienced another change in ownership after the death of Woodrow Kubatzky. Woodrow’s daughters, Karen Barnes, Kris Sherman and Kory Miller, became the third generation owners of the company, and Kory’s husband, Glenn Miller, became chairman of the board. A transition in leadership wasn’t the only major change at Winco Windows in the 80s. In 1984 the company left its North City location for 6200 Maplewood Avenue in University City. This new location was chosen for its large size, which could accommodate new operations and features, such as two AAMA-certified window testing chambers added in 1985 and 1992. Over the next thirty years, Winco would continue to lead innovations in window manufacturing while adopting new technologies and reaching new markets across the United States.

Today, Winco supplies built-to-order windows to buyers concentrated in the Midwest, Northeast and Southeast, though they are expanding into the rapidly growing Western market as well. Winco’s products are defined by high resistance and performance that allow them to last for up to 50 years, versus 15 to 20 years for the average window. Thanks to its solid reputation, Winco has been involved in several restoration projects in recent years. These include the Ellis Island New Immigration Building in New York and the Kelly Cullen Building in San Francisco. Additionally, Winco engineers have also continued the company’s tradition of innovation by creating new products. Among these are the Psychiatric Window, which helps provide healing natural light to mental health inpatients, and the Hurricane-resistant 3250 Steel Replica Window, which can resist winds above 150 mph and also provides ample protection from noise and water infiltration.

There’s no denying that University City and Greater St. Louis benefit from having Winco Windows in their economic ranks, but the company itself benefits just as much from being located here. According to Bill Krenn, Winco’s chief financial officer and a member of the University City Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors, “St. Louis is centrally located in the country at large, and that helps with distribution.” Bill specifically praises the Olive Link for providing unique advantages to the company due to its “central location in the County/City region, which makes it easy for employees and other parties to reach us via car, the Metro Link, or the bus line.”

With its advantageous location, strong business model and quality products, not to mention its long history as a locally owned family business, it’s safe to say Winco Windows will continue to be a major player in the window industry. There’s also no doubt that it will remain a crucial employer to our region’s industrial workers. In fact, Winco is currently hiring production workers to help manage its very high backlog of products. Seeing a locally owned company that has been growing and expanding since the Great Depression continue to rise is simply astounding, and Winco’s innovations and involvement in restoration projects guarantee that it will continue to thrive for decades to come.

6200 Maple Avenue
University City, MO 63130

(314) 725-6387

 

Featured Business – Cintas

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In 1929, Richard “Dox” Farmer founded Acme Wiper and Industrial Laundry in Cincinnati. The company’s business model revolved around washing and recycling soiled rags thrown out by factories and then selling them back good as new. Eventually Acme transitioned from washing and reselling rags to producing and renting out whipping towels and uniforms. After nearly four decades of prosperity for the company, Richard’s grandson Dick took over operations. In 1967, Dick founded the Satellite Corporation in order to purchase smaller uniform facilities across the United States. In 1973 Satellite acquired Acme and changed its name to Cintas.

Throughout the 70s and 80s Cintas continued to bring smaller facilities under its brand. In the 90s the company made three of its most significant acquisitions: Canada-based Cadet Uniform Services, Chicago-based Uniforms to You, and Kansas City-based Unitog. It just so happened that Unitog had a location in the Olive Link’s Industrial District. After that location joined Cintas, it came to be the largest provider of uniforms and facility services from St. Louis to Carbondale.

Cintas’s Olive Link location rents culinary and cleanroom uniforms, flame resistant clothing, high image and classic comfort uniforms, and Carhartt clothing. It also offers commercial and industrial grade janitorial and facility supplies. With its high-quality rentals and services, Cintas has cornered the St. Louis market for major hotels, restaurants and car services.

According to Quentin Williams, the Olive Link location’s general manager, “Cintas is the go-to organization for these kinds of services because of its ability to provide a distinct, professional image to corporate identity.” Mr. Williams credits the Olive Link for much of Cintas’s success in the area. “Olive is a great connector for businesses. It’s a thriving market that allows both small and large enterprises to flourish. Its central location and diversity make it a one-stop-shop for residents in the surrounding area, and it also provides us with easy access to the rest of the St. Louis region.”

Like many Olive Link businesses, Cintas’s connection to the St. Louis region runs deeper than the logistics of a central location. Mr. Williams, who is also a member of the University City Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors, asserts that the organization places a huge emphasis on giving back to the community. From clothing and food drives to working with the Urban League and United Way, Cintas is very active in making sure that the St. Louis area is a great place to live.

This focus on community reflects Cintas’s devotion to its employees. “It’s fundamental that Cintas be more than just a job for the people who work here,” says Mr. Williams. “We’re an organization that enables people to be proud of where they work, and it’s important that we help them provide for their families as well as themselves.” As the general manager of the Olive Link location, Mr. Williams is able to act as a “servant and coach who assists employees in both work and home matters every single day.”

Mr. Williams is specifically interested in ensuring the prosperity of University City. “Being a member of the Chamber’s board allows me to help open doors for small businesses,” he says. “Whether we’re big or small, all businesses are in the trenches together, and we all need support. So if I can use my position as a manager and board member to provide support and encouragement that can make a difference, I will.”

With its small businesses origins, robust business model and commitment to its employees and the community, Cintas is a great example of the Olive Link’s ability to attract and cultivate large and small enterprises. As an industrial firm in a neighborhood known for locally-owned retail and ethnic restaurants, it is emblematic of the Olive Link’s versatility and diversity. Most importantly, Cintas is a perfect illustration of how the most successful businesses are devoted to the workers and customers who enable their success. If such an organization is proud to call the Olive Link home, then the future of the district looks bright.

6200 Olive Blvd.
University City, MO 63130

(314) 862-1010

Featured Business – Merhaba

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At the corner of Olive and Kingsland, there used to be a restaurant called Queen of Sheba, which was renowned by Olive Link diners for providing authentic Ethiopian cuisine. In 2015, the owners of Queen of Sheba decided to leave the business, but luckily East African food can still be found at the location that they left behind. Nick Menghesha, an Eritrean immigrant and entrepreneur, has taken over the restaurant and renamed it Merhaba, which means “hello” in Arabic. Merhaba is proving to be as popular as Queen of Sheba was, and its unique ethnic cuisine and interesting backstory make it an ideal Olive Link eatery.

Merhaba’s roots lie in Eritrea, which was once part of Ethiopia until it gained independence in 1991. There Nick grew up among the Tigrinya, one of several ethnic tribes inhabiting the region. Throughout his childhood, Nick gained an appreciation for cooking after seeing how food could bring people together. He also learned a great deal about Eritrean cuisine’s influences, from its similarities and differences with Somali cuisine to the Ottoman and Italian influences obtained from the region’s colonial history.

In adulthood Nick would apply his culinary knowledge to opening a restaurant in Sudan. After three years of operating the restaurant, Nick left Sudan for Nairobi, where his father was arranging for his family to emigrate to the United States on a diversity visa. After five months of waiting, everything was negotiated with the embassy, and in 1997 Nick and his family came to America and settled in St. Louis.

Once he felt comfortable in his new country, Nick spent time making friends and getting to know the Gateway City. As he explored St. Louis’s cultural attractions, Nick came across the Delmar Loop, which became one of his favorite hangouts thanks to its eclectic atmosphere. The Loop’s entrepreneurial spirt inspired Nick to open another restaurant, and when he learned that Queen of Sheba’s owners were leaving the business, the opportunity was too good to pass up.

In Nick’s eyes, Queen of Sheba’s location was perfect for Merhaba. “The location on Olive is very good for this sort of business,” says Nick. “It has good proximity to the Loop, and it’s fairly accessible no matter which direction you come from. It is also convenient specifically for an East African restaurant, since many East African immigrants in the St. Louis area are concentrated around University City.”

No matter where you’re from, you’ll find something great at Merhaba. Breakfast menu items range from fu’ul (fava beans) to kitcha fitfit (flatbread marinated with flavored butter and red peppers). Appetizers include sambusa, crispy treats stuffed with lentils or ground meats. Entrees include lamb, beef, chickpeas and more. In addition to all of the great food, a full bar serving a variety of tasty-yet-affordable beverages is also featured in the restaurant.

You can enjoy more than just a simple meal at Merhaba. The restaurant provides catering to any event upon request. You can also rent out the restaurant for weddings, birthday parties, baby showers and other gatherings. A huge component in Eritrean and Ethiopian dining is social interaction, so Merhaba is the perfect place to come together with family and friends for a celebration.

The Olive Link is one of the most diverse districts in Greater St. Louis, and there’s no debating that Merhaba fits right in as an authentic ethnic dining option. Given the relative scarcity of East African restaurants, Merhaba’s presence in the Link is a testament to the district’s appeal. One thing is for certain: Merhaba will continue Queen of Sheba’s legacy of bringing fantastic East African cuisine to the sophisticated and adventurous palates of U City diners for years to come.

6665 Olive Blvd.
University City, MO 63130

(314) 833-4477

CBRE Lists 11 Olive Link Properties

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CBRE is a Los Angeles-based commercial real estate company that does business in over 60 countries. It is the largest commercial real estate service and investment firm in the world, with over 70,000 employees and revenues of $10.9 billion in 2015. The company has been in the Fortune 500 since 2008.

CBRE has been present in the St. Louis market for over thirty years. The St. Louis office has more than 200 employees who provide top notch assistance in areas such as brokerage, asset management, valuation and marketing. The office recently listed 11 Olive Link properties for sale. These properties are being managed by Mark Bukhshtaber and Matt Bukhshtaber.

Mark Bukhshtaber is an associate who focuses on private capital investment sales. Matt Bukhshtaber is the senior vice president of the St. Louis office and focuses on institutional and private capital investment sales. Before coming to CBRE, Matt worked with Cushman and Wakefield in Boston, where he participated in over $3 billion worth of closed transactions and advised clients on $5 billion worth of assignments.

Matt is confident that the available Olive Link properties will create tremendous value for future occupants. According to him, “The entire Olive Link provides a number of advantages for potential owners and tenants. In addition to the central location, diverse neighborhoods and abundant retail, there is a clear commitment from the City of University City to sustain the growth that is already occurring. It is an exciting time to get involved in this area.”

Given his distinguished career in real estate, Matt’s positive appraisal of the Olive Link is a strong signal that buying or renting in the district is a smart move for new or relocating businesses.

If you wish to inquire about the 11 Olive Link properties, either Matt or Mark will be happy to assist you.

Contact Matt at +1 314-655-6060 or at matt.bukhshtaber@cbre.com.

Contact Mark at +1 314-655-6058 or at mark.bukhshtaber@cbre.com.