EMBEE SPOTLIGHT: CORSO VENTURES

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EMBEE SPOTLIGHT: CORSO VENTURES

If you’ve spent some time in the Columbus, chances are you’ve been to a Corso Ventures establishment. Whether you’ve brunched at Forno, which was named one of the top 100 hottest restaurants in the US by OpenTable, or you’ve stopped in at Pint House on game day, it’s safe to say there is a location for every occasion. We sat down with Justin Kintz, Corso Ventures Director of Marketing, to find out exactly what it takes to manage and market some of the most popular businesses in town. 

 

 

Can you tell me a little bit about yourself, where you’re from, and what led you to become a part of Corso Ventures?  

I’m Justin Kintz, Director of Marketing at Corso Ventures. I am from Columbus, originally lived here all 30 years of my life. I actually joined Corso Ventures back in late 2017, actually as a bartender here at Forno. I started managing at Short North Food Hall when it opened and then the position became available for Marketing Director. It’s been a year and a half and I love it. 

 

What have been some of your favorite memories since joining Corso Ventures? 

Well it’s been a wild year and a half. A lot of fun ones. So last year we opened Short North Goody Boy, and that was my first venue opening as a Marketing Director, and that was a lot. We took over that building in early January and opened it in mid-March, so the turnaround time on that was very fast. It was a lot of fun. And then obviously last year we opened Urban Meyer’s Pint House. So getting to work up in Dublin in a different area and getting to work with Urban Meyer has been a blast.

 

What are some obstacles you have had to overcome during your time at Corso? 

Well, Corso Ventures isn’t a small piece of the Short North. We have five venues just on this street alone. Each one is unique to itself and we need a different marketing strategy for every single one. We try to be consistent with branding, but at the same time cater to different clientele up and down the street and now in Dublin as well. It’s a very different game across the board, and just trying to understand it is number one. Number two, keep up with trends. And number three, just be consistent nonstop. 

 


What is it that makes these businesses unique?

We sell an experience more than we sell anything else. We want people to come in and from start to finish have a great time.

I think it’s a couple of different things. Number one, we are about the experience. We sell an experience more than we sell anything else. We want people to come in and from start to finish have a great time. The food is fantastic. The drinks are great. The service is on point. All around we want you to come in and really enjoy your time here and leave thinking like “that was something I haven’t experienced before.” 

 

On top of that, we want to be consistent every time you come. Consistency is a huge focus for us. On top of that, we are big on what we call “next level opportunities”, which are moments that we can take the guest experience to the next level in a way that’s nothing like they’ve had before – like the boozy strawberries at Forno. You could be celebrating anything… we don’t care! We’re always down to have fun and celebrate with you, so the strawberries is something we love to give out. That’s where I think we separate ourselves from the competition around us: we are not just about good food or good drinks. It’s about a great experience as a whole. 

 

What does your marketing team look like? And who is in charge of making sure guests have that top-level experience consistently every time they come in? 

The entire team is in charge of making sure our customers have a great experience. That’s not just a marketing thing. That’s from our servers to the bar backs to management. My marketing team consists of myself. I have a social media coordinator who is wonderful and handles all of our social media accounts. I have a couple of designers that I work with and then I have a couple of external people that we utilize for video or for printing, really whatever we need. 

 

What role has social media played in your business? Do you believe it has contributed to your growth?  

Social media has been one of the most important pieces of marketing that we have. It’s very influential. It’s where we spend a lot of our focus. Social media is very much like me telling you “here’s the best place I think you should go,” and if you trust my opinion, it’s more influential than just seeing an ad or a billboard. If you see your friends, and you appreciate what they do and they’re out somewhere, you want to go there! Then when more and more people start to post about it, it’s a landslide. Social media is everything at this point. 

 


How do you think the restaurant/bar industry has changed over the past few years and what have you had to do to adapt to that?

It’s a wild time to be part of Columbus.

It’s changed, especially with Columbus being such a unique city, and the fact that you have Ohio State plays a massive role in keeping the city young and fresh. I grew up here, so I remember when this area was nothing. You didn’t come to the Short North. I remember the only thing being downtown was the City Center, and that’s not even there anymore. It’s been such a transformation over my lifetime and especially in the last 10 years. Now looking at what big cities are doing because we now are a big city. We just passed San Francisco in population. That’s huge, and Columbus is expected to continue to grow at an absurd rate. We now have to ask ourselves what does New York do, what does LA do, what is Miami doing? What are all these bigger cities doing that we can now bring to Columbus and offer our clientele? Well, that’s a completely new experience. It’s a wild time to do marketing in the Short North. It’s a wild time to live in the Short North. It’s a wild time to be part of Columbus.

 

Do you have a favorite location? 

I have a favorite for certain things. If I’m going to watch a game I love Short North Pint House and I love Urban’s. Urban’s has the best setup for game days. They have a 21 TV matrix over top of the bar – there’s no bad seat in that place. On top of that, our food is phenomenal across the board. You can have really good food, really good drinks and watch your favorite game. It’s not like a typical dive bar or sports bar where you’re gonna have OK food, but the games on so it’s cool. 

 

Forno is the right place to go to celebrate anything. Anything that you got going on, come here and hang out with your friends and have a good time. Phenomenal brunch. If you’re looking for late night, that’s Short North Food Hall. That’s the party. You can go to Standard, hang out on the patio, get some drinks there. Again, great food, and then pop next door to Food Hall and keep going. Once patio season rolls back around, we’ve got Goody Boy. That’s the best patio in the short north by far. I’m really happy that we took it over and were able to give that thing some life because it’s the best. 

 

What are some of your other favorite local businesses? 

Let’s see, favorite local businesses – I frequent Lox Bagels quite a bit. Fox in the Snow – I’m over there quite a bit. Cosecha has the best brunch, besides ours, of course. Their food is fantastic. As far as bars and places to hang out, you really can’t go wrong at a lot of places in the Short North. Odd Fellows is a really fun, unique spot. If you’re looking to hide away, Local Bar is a good place. I do enjoy Del Mar quite a bit – I’d say that’s one of the best spots for dinner besides our spots. I live in the Short North, I obviously work in the Short North, so my scope is kind of High Street, Fourth, and around. Those are the spots I frequent and love. 

 

Looking forward to the next five or so years, where do you see Corso Ventures? 

That’s a good question. Chris Corso doesn’t stop. The guy has all the energy in the world and he’s something to keep up with. We have some other things that are coming down the line this year and the next year. Then the plans are continuing. So in five years from now, I couldn’t even tell you. We’re on a great trajectory right now and we’re very happy. The six venues right now keep my hands full, so what my responsibilities might be five years from now is a lot to consider. I’m looking forward to seeing what we do.

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