A retail incubator will be part of revamped Newport on the Levee

The renovated Newport on the Levee will include an incubator of sorts for startup retailers.

Called Trade, the space will be inside the overhauled Levee indoor space, now called The Gallery, and will consist of about a dozen stalls where local retailers can set up shop inside one of the region’s largest retail destinations.

“Maybe they’ve been working from their home and selling online; maybe it’s just been strictly ecommerce, but it will give them a chance to try brick and mortar,” says Justin Otto, Newport on the Levee’s general manager.

Levee management is accepting applications for the space. 

The Barnes and Noble bookstore, once a Levee anchor, is gone; in its place is The Exchange, which has served as a retail pop-up space and marketplace.

With the revamp, some pop-up retailers that had been located in The Exchange will move into more permanent space. They include Colonel De Gourmet Herbs and Spices (known for its Findlay Market and Fort Thomas stores), clothing store Native, home boutique Bluegrass and Sass, coffee shop Little Spoon Café, and Asian food vendor Bon Mi Street. Bon Mi was among the food and drink purveyors located in refurbished shipping containers in the Levee’s outdoor space in what is now called Bridgeview Box Park.
“They’re local partners that we’ve worked with either through the Box Park or the holiday pop-up market, or the Exchange market that have been able to incubate through that process into long-term tenants,” Otto says. “That’s the goal.”

Otto presented the renovated Levee plan at a recent meeting of the Newport Business Association. A grand opening is planned for Memorial Day weekend.

The plans include a new bar from Cincinnati-based 4EG called The Beeline, which will be located on the complex’s north side, with views of the Ohio River and the Cincinnati skyline. The group opened one in Columbus, Ohio last year. They’ll be in a container in the Box Park until their indoor location is finished.

In the Box Park will be The Crepe Guy (serving crepes, of course), and West Sixth Brewing, a Lexington-based beer maker.

Cincinnati-based North American Properties bought the 20-year-old Newport on the Levee complex in 2018.

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Read more articles by David Holthaus.

David Holthaus is the managing editor of NKY Thrives, an award-winning journalist, and a Cincinnati native. When not writing or editing, he's likely to be bicycling, hiking, reading or watching classic movies.