Mar 10, 2016 12:41PM
● By Bryan Scott
By Adam Ritchie | firstname.lastname@example.org
Last month’s Ogden Source highlighted the Historic 25th Street Association, its purpose and future, as well as the role Kim Bowsher has in its operation. Her newest venture, and one at her disposal, in the goal for Ogden’s continued success is the Parlour. A little mystery surrounds this building and how it serves the city. The Ogden Source was able to sit down with Bowsher and get to know her personal company and all that the Parlour encompasses.
OS: Who are you and what do you do?
KB: My business is called kbENT, LLC, a community development agency with a marketing and PR arm. In short, we are dedicated to building community. “Live in the future and then build what’s missing.” We analyze, assess opportunities, find partners and funding options, and then we create and implement programs to engage the local community. We follow up with the necessary marketing and PR to ensure the success of those programs.
OS: What are some other projects in which you’re involved?
KB: We have contracts with several small local businesses as well as local nonprofits. We are the managing partners of the Ogden Downtown Alliance, which was recently contracted by Ogden City to develop a downtown Alliance (ODA was awarded the contract to manage the farmers market). In everything that we do, we are big believers in grassroots—that if we can get more people involved and taking a seat at the table, they’ll be a catalyst for spreading the story and building the momentum far beyond what traditional media and marketing do for a community. We want people to not only support local; we want them to feel a part as well.
We put on events, do social media marketing, guerilla marketing, PR, business advising and management programming. The work takes on a lot of forms depending on our client and the project, but it is and has always been about building a better Ogden.
OS: What is the Parlour?
KB: The Parlour is just the name we gave this building. It was previously called the Public Defender Building and conversationally, the ugliest building on the block. The Parlour itself is a not an entity or business—just a place. The name comes from Parley, or speech, and the “u” was chosen on purpose to give that old-time feel of when people had parlours in their home to gather for important conversations and idea sharing. That’s what we do here.
OS: What purpose does it serve?
KB: It’s the home of kbENT and our offices. But there is more space than we need, and we wanted to use every inch in a responsible, efficient and collaborative manner. We have offices for AndShesDopeToo and The Ogden Source, plus a coffee shop up front: Mason Jar Coffee. We also have band practice space for two local bands, studio recording space, a collaborative workspace for friends and contractors who need a place to set up shop for an hour or two, and an abandoned old brothel upstairs.
OS: How did it come to be?
KB: Brett Turner and I have been working on this alliance vision for well over three years. In all of our conversations, we’ve dreamt of having a place where people who cared about this stuff could come and idea share, who could find information, who could get involved and take things from “behind the scenes” and make it visible and accessible. When we were working on our proposal for the city, we started looking at real estate sort of as a joke and way to remind ourselves of the big picture even under the stress of the current. This building literally dropped into Brett’s lap. He had a recording space over in the Kiesel Building, which sold at the end of last year. The eviction of the tenants caused further conversation and led Brett to purchase this building.
OS: What is the new connection with Ogden-Weber Chamber of Commerce?
KB: Our building and kbENT isn’t affiliated with the chamber, other than that we are members, and we started Ogden Young Professionals, which merged with the chamber.
The merger will enable OYP to become an incubator program for area entrepreneurs to learn about business management and growth. The biggest thing the merger does is allow us to fundraise and pursue grants for our incubator program that is a bridge funding solution for startups.
OS: What is the OYP?
KB: Ogden Young Professionals started in September of 2012. I was doing freelance at the time and preparing to start my own business. I concluded through my experiences that I wasn’t the only one in these new situations, so why not support each other in our lessons and achievements? OYP has since been a place to showcase area resources, meet successful mentor businesses, network with peers and more.
OS: What is coming in the future for the OYP and the Parlour?
KB: Again, these aren’t connected. We had our last meetup here because hey, we’re still pretty stoked about the new space and getting to use it for this kind of thing. The board does meet here as well, but generally, we will be meeting out and about Downtown Ogden. OYP is hosting the April Art Stroll at the Parlour which will feature an interactive art exhibit “What if Ogden...?” It will be the third year for that program.