Design Collective welcomes Drew Vargo and Lindsay Beaver

Design Collective welcomes 2 new designers to our Columbus, Ohio office.  

Drew Vargo joins DCI from Andrews Architects and is a graduate of Bowling Green State University.  Currently he is leading the Hondros Companies new corporate headquarters within Design Collective's corporate studio.   Drew is passionate about enjoying the outdoors, especially backpacking.  He is a devoted father to his two daughters Lily and Bea.




Lindsay Beaver will be graduating from the Ohio State University in May in Interior Design, and also previously attended Ohio Dominican University where she remained on the Dean's List all four years.  Lindsay knew she was going to be involved in design from a very young age; as a child she use to make her own clothes, did crafting, and was always drawing. She enjoys running outdoors (while at Ohio Dominican, she set a school record in track and field!). She also loves to travel, but has a fear of flying!

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Figlio celebrates 25 years!

The Design Collective Shareholders were  recently treated to a special dinner hosted by Figlio owners Peter and Lori Danis at their original Grandview Avenue location. The reason for the celebration was to acknowledge twenty five years of serving quality wood-fired pizza, pasta and salads.

“I thought it would be fun to start our year of celebration by  hosting Design Collective, and recognize their contribution to our success. After all, the first check we wrote for the restaurant was written to DCI!" (for $500.00) said Peter as part of the festivities.

With only a few minor “refreshes”, the restaurant remains essentially the same as it was 25 years ago, reflecting the quality and classic nature of the architecture. The signature “rose wall” continues to represent  the handcrafted nature of the food served at Figlio.

Peter also stated that he counts his project as the first restaurant that Design Collective designed.   We have been fortunate to design three additional restaurants with Peter and Lori: two in Columbus and one in Dayton, OH.   With now over 200 restaurant projects in our portfolio, we remain proud to have had a part in the growth of the Figlio brand.

From all of us at Design Collective, we thank Lori and Peter for the years of friendship and collaboration. Here is hoping for twenty-five more!!

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Design Collective project for Aver featured in Business Insider

Aver's new offices will have a quiet zone with a hideout

Design Collective is assisting Aver, a growing technology company who develops software products and services to consolidate the medical billing and payment process. Aver’s new office location on the 14th floor of the Huntington Center will better position the company with their target market of medical providers and insurers as well as effectively compete against top technology companies to attract talent to Ohio.

The new office will provide a progressive work environment that incorporates many of the current innovations in office design and enable their staff to be more creative and productive. No employee will have an assigned desk location; staff will be able to work in a sub- environment that is most conducive to the task that they will be completing that day.

The Work Zone will be a more dense, team space with furniture that fosters collaboration. The Quiet Zone is for focused, individualized assignments and includes a soothing Garden Team Room. The Dynamic Zone is designed as a break-out space with a comfortable Café, large group meeting space with tiered seating as well as Gaming and Music Team Rooms. A Kids Room is also provided for children that occasionally come to work with mom or dad. There will also be a Customer Zone has been developed for hosting executive conferencing and customer training in a hotel lobby-type setting.

Design Collective is pleased to creatively interpret Aver’s vision for their new office and look forward to their move-in in September 2015.  Aver joins Huntington Bank, Squire Patton Boggs and Thompson Hine as other full floor tenants that Design Collective has delivered distinctive office environments within the Huntington Center.

Also at the Huntington Center, Design Collective is leading the effort for key common area improvement including new signage, elevator cab upgrades and new multi-tenant floor carpet installations. The exterior signage will consist of new pylon towers at the High Street entry and elevator lobby directories. This new signage will provide increased visibility by recognizing key tenants. Hines continues to maintain the Huntington Center as the premier office building in Columbus and these projects illustrate that commitment.

Here is the article:  COLUMBUS BIZ INSIDER:


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Design Collective Joins ONE Global Design, International Network of Architectural and Interior Design Firms

ONE Global Design would rank as the 6th largest firm in the country with 17 offices and more than 500 professionals

Historically, national and international corporations with a need for architectural and interior design services in different cities had two options: Hire different small firms in each market and oversee multiple individual projects, or go with one large firm with the resources but limited local insight, talent, and accountability.

Design Collective, an architecture and interior design firm in Columbus, is one of 17 independent corporate architectural and interiors firms across the United States, Canada, and Mexico changing that approach.

“Businesses and industries are changing, and we want to provide services that best respond to our clients’ needs,” said Gene McHugh, Principal at Design Collective. “Even in a globally connected world, there’s a clear value in face-to-face relationships and business partners with boots on the ground in various markets.”

ONE Global Design offers a new solution for corporations with multiple projects across the country and internationally – the unique opportunity to tap into the knowledge, experience, and local expertise of 17 firms each considered best-in-class in their respective markets.  The network approach allows corporations to work with an architecture firm that’s familiar with their brand, vision, and company culture in partnership with a firm that understands the nuances of the community where their project is located. 

“ONE Global Design clients have an opportunity to tap into multiple firms with insights into trends that are happening in various industries and markets,” said Brent LaCount, Principal at Design Collective.  “The person you work with now on a day-to-day basis continues to be your point person – one consistent, single point of contact across all projects and offices.”

With more than 450 architecture and interiors professionals among its members, ONE Global Design would collectively rank as the 6th largest architecture and design firm in the country, according to Interior Design 2014 rankings. Yet it’s the local touch that sets the global network apart. 

“We are thrilled to be a part of this international network,” said David Cooke, Principal at Design Collective.  “This is truly a win-win for our clients and for our firm.  This gives us the depth and resources needed to represent our clients across the country and in Canada and Mexico.”

David Cooke added that ONE Global Design continues to expand and anticipates adding new member firms to further extend the depth and reach of the network in the United States and globally.


Contact Gene McHugh |
614-945-4102 Direct | 614-668-3240 Mobile

About ONE Global Design

ONE Global Design is a network of 17 corporate architecture and design firms in the United States, Mexico and Canada. Collectively, ONE Global Design would rank as the 6th largest firm in the country, with more than 450 professionals. Each firm in the ONE Global Design network is principal-led and meets strict criteria to ensure personal accountability.

For more information, visit

Member firms include:
Atlanta                Hendrick
Austin, TX          NoackLittle
Boston                Visnick & Caulfield Associates
Calgary               klr Design Group
Charlotte, NC     ai Design Group Inc.
Chicago                Partners by Design
Columbus, OH    Design Collective
Dallas                   Staffelbach
Denver                Acquilano Leslie, Inc.
Los Angeles        Wolcott Architecture
Mexico City         ZVA Group
Philadelphia        Meyer
New York City   Design Republic
San Francisco     FME Architecture +Design
Toronto                Figure 3
Vancouver          SSDG Interiors
Washington, DC    Fox Architects

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Black Point Restaurant Receives Rave Reviews!

Restaurant review: Hyde Park group’s new seafood-focused eatery doesn’t miss the poin

From the November 27, 2014 edition of Columbus Alive

By G.A. Benton

What will you be giving thanks for? Like you, I bet, my list is longer than I might’ve thought. Somewhere on it is living in a city with a seemingly endless stream of good new restaurants. Enter Black Point.

A seafood-centric prototype from the Hyde Park Group, Black Point replaces Sushi Rock on the Short North Cap. It’s a welcome change.

The expansive eatery features a hopping big bar area, plus a veritable warren of rooms that includes private dining spaces. Amid dramatic lighting are aquatic-themed decorations, such as an orca-sized fishtail rendered in bas-relief with brass scales and luminescent blue waveforms.

More snazzy than fancy, Black Point attracts as many people in jeans as suits. If its service can border on formal, I found the staff as open to sharing recommendations as conversation.

Ready for a drink? The showpiece Short North Manhattan ($10) offers smoothness (from aging in a barrel for 60 days) and dark fruit complexity (from Evan Williams 1783 bourbon, Warre’s tawny port, Dolin vermouth, Amarena cherry and bitters).

Sippable dark fruit likewise arrives in a glass of Bayonette Cotes du Roussillon ($8.75). It’s a Rhone-ish red blend, and a relatively inexpensive food-friendly pick from Black Point’s substantial if California-heavy wine list.

The short and concise dinner menu is eminently navigable. It also seems particularly ripe for company-card conventioneers seeking a safe and sure thing with palpable luxury.

If you happen to be hanging at the bar between 4:30 and 6:30 p.m., target the happy hour-only Flatiron Steak Sliders (2 for $7). Arriving with wispy housemade chips, they star delicious, edge-charred tender rare beef.

Surf and Turf Tacos are a popular starter ($10). Comprising a grilled pork belly-pineapple duo (smoky, meaty, salty, kinda Hawaiian), plus two OK tuna tartare models, they’re satisfying and easy to share.

Black Point heralds its sushi. Based on two-piece orders of tuna nigiri ($3.50) and salmon sashimi ($3), I wouldn’t argue its claim. My clean-tasting fish was prettily presented, and included properly sticky and sweet-yet-vinegary sushi rice.

A busy Kale and Brussels Sprouts Salad ($8) came with almonds, dried cranberries, a terrific goat cheese croquette and a sugary “raspberry balsamic vinaigrette.” It seems designed for diners who love the idea of healthy foods, but actually crave desserts.

If that describes you, try the Pecan-Crusted Grouper ($34). A huge piece of thick, snow-white fish was cooked to a perfect flakiness. Beneath it was an addictive sweet potato and bacon hash. So far, so terrific. But melting atop the loosely nut-encased, lovely grouper was an intrusively sweet blob of “vanilla maple butter.” Without an acidic contrast, this was akin to smearing a killer grilled steak with caramel.

That’s why, for me, the less interesting Filet Mignon (8 ounces for $34) was nearly as successful. Though on the medium side of my requested medium-rare, you could’ve cut that nicely seared and juicy piece of high-quality meat with a plastic fork. Broiled tart tomato accompanies. If that seems skimpy, the intense Mac & Cheese ($8) is gigantic, and its profound creaminess is countered by jalapeno, crumbled chorizo and toasted bread crumbs.

Scallop fans rejoice, because Black Point’s are extraordinary ($28). Sporting deep pan sears on top and bottom, my four colossal beauties were phenomenally tender in between. They arrived assembled into a pyramid atop a smoky bacon risotto that, with corn and basil, tasted like a daydream of summer.

Dessert-wise, my wonderfully moist Warm Butter Cake with real whipped cream ($8) was over-garnished with a bossy dark cherry sauce and decent commercial-grade ice cream. Those unnecessary bells and whistles were hardly a deal-breaker though, and overall, I felt thankful to be reviewing yet another Columbus restaurant whose flaws are largely nitpicks.

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Ambius Installs Green Wall in DCI's Studio

For years, there has been very little new in the way of how plant material has been integrated into office interiors. Basically, tropical plants have been either placed in a pot or recessed into a planter bed. 

DCI's studio has a new green wall system that allows individual plant materials to be hung within a dimensional "frame" that doubles as the water reservoir. The name for this new system is LivePicture® and we are one of the first installations in downtown Columbus. The "living art" frames are affectionately named after two Dutch masters Rembrandt, RemPlant and Van Gogh, VanGrow.

Thanks to Monica Garrison, of Ambius, DCI is testing a combination of "Compact Janet Craigs" and "Peperomia caperatas". During the holiday season some of the individual units will be replaced with seasonal items like miniature poinsettias or bromelias, which will add color and textural variety. 

The planter frames, which hold up to six weeks of water, come in two sizes and three finishes. The "wick", from each of the eighteen pots, provides the correct moisture for the plant material. This system can be arranged into many combinations and would be ideal for lobbies, lunch rooms and cafes, and open office areas.

Design Collective thanks Monica and her team, for allowing DCI to "pioneer" this new method of bridging plants and art in the work environment. Stop in and visit our living art wall! 

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Building relationships to deliver results

DCI is pleased to welcome Stafflebach as a new One Global Design Platform partner. David Cooke, DCI Principal, and Jo Heinz, Stafflebach managing Principal, met over 30 years ago while volunteering on national industry and endowment boards. They became quick professional friends after bonding over mutual interest in advancing the profession of commercial interior and architectural design, and the rest is history. 

"The addition of Stafflebach to the One Global Platform, reaffirms our mission to bring together a team of professionals who are known for their design innovation, client service and expertise to create a first-class finished product," said David Cooke.

Continue reading about DCI's role in the One Global Design Platform or current GE partnership project 

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Design Collective partnering on new GE Offices

DCI is partnering with ONE Global Design Platform member, Hendrick Inc., in the development of the new GE Global Operations Center's interior offices located in Cincinnati. This highly anticipated building will be located on the riverfront between Paul Brown Stadium and Great American Ball Park.

Nearly 300,000 square feet of the office space is expected to open by 2017 and accommodate work environments for up to 2,000 individuals. Renderings of the mixed-use development building were made public to Cincinnati's Urban Review Board in July 2014 after GE announced the selection of The Banks location. The center will serve as GE's hub for operations in finance, supply chain management, human resources, and information technology.

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Columbus Business First Spotlight's Deb Weaver


Deb Weaver, DCI Senior Designer and Shareholder, is featured in the October Columbus Business First Spotlight. In the feature Deb shares how she fills her non-screen time, best part of her job in design, and pina coladas.

For more than 15 years, Deb has brought her ideas and steady hands to crafting designs for corporate and senior living related projects. 

Click here and read the full Spotlight.

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Toledo Landmark Restaurant Design in the Press

The word is out! Mancy's Steakhouse, the nation's longest running steakhouse, is getting a refreshed look. The Blade's food editor toured the space and gave a two thumbs up review. DCI is continuing to work with the team to put the final touches on the space, but glad to see the first phase of changes are getting positive reviews by the community. 


After a slow, deliberate walk through the restaurant with seating in large and small dining areas, and a New York strip steak and a colossal baked potato dinner, I extended heartfelt congratulations to Mike and Gus. 

More kudos go their partners in the Mancy Restaurant Group: George, John, and Nick Mancy, who operate Mancy's Italian, the Blue Water Grille, and Shorty's Barbeque. 

Toledo's oldest restaurant was not harshly renovated, as I feared it might be. Refreshed is more a accurate term for the changes that are subtle with a comfortable fit.

Best of all, the feeling and character were retained. The Tiffany-style lampshades are still in place over large booths, and the royal staircase leading to the second floor is polished. On the three-story walls are a maze of photographs that tell the story of a family dedicated to the restaurant founded by Gus Mancy, a Greek immigrant.

The foyer is the best example of the ways Design Collective, the Columbus designer on the project, achieved a more open look and feel.


To read the full article click here.

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Kansas Masonic takes Senior Living to the next level

Kansas Masonic Home in Wichita, Kansas has unveiled their most recently renovated Assisted Living Community. The former Manor Building has been divided into multiple households, each with a unique design theme (Mid-Century, Spanish Mission, and American Farmhouse). The various concepts allow residents or family member to decide which household should be called theirs. 

DCI's design process was directly influenced by the 'person centered' philosophy of care; in which the residents are provided an environment they regard as home, not just "homelike". A distinct front porch sets the theme for each household's design and aids residents in describing to guests what their personal home looks like. Each resident's household is complete with a living room, kitchen, den and dining room ready for use in their everyday life. 

KMH's Pavilion Community is set to be complete by the end spring 2015, and will be the final phase of this 15 acre project. Check back to see the images of the Pavilion. In the meantime see our Senior Living link to learn about other projects.

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"Columbus CEO" features Fahlgren Mortine offices


Fahlgren Mortine, a recent client, is featured in this month's CEO Magazine column "Office Space". This project marks the fifth time one of DCI's office designs has appeared in the CEO publication!  The success of these spaces is an insight into how we partner with our clients to develop environments that reflect their unique work culture or demographic.

Contact us to learn more about our design process, see images of the other projects that have been featured, or to discuss how we can collaborate to meet your projects needs. Previously featured projects include GBQ Partners, Thompson Hine, SBC, and our own office renovation. 


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Fore! DCI attended 16th 'Chix with Stix Golf Outing'

DCI stepped out onto the green with the Columbus design community to participate in the 16th annual 'Chix with Stix Golf Outing' to support the Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research. 

Thank you to Susanne Dotson for sponsoring our team. Shown left-to-right Susanne Dotson, Chelsea Tschanen, Amanda Jou, and Deb Weaver. (Not shown the number of swings & laughs on this fun-filled day.)

To date an impressive $310,000 has been raised and all the donations stay in Columbus at the Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research at The Ohio State University's Comprehensive Cancer Center - Arthur G. James Cancer Hospital and Richard J. Solove Research Institute.

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Brent LaCount featured in Crave Magazine

Brent Lacount - Dining by Design

By Jill Moorhead

From the September 2012 edition


Five million people have been through the doors of Brio Tuscan Grille at Easton in the 13 years it’s been open. And it’s likely not one of them noticed that the placement of the service stations facilitated an efficient workflow for the staff. (Happy servers equal happy diners, right?)

While many of us have reveries of opening our own restaurant (With green walls! And Ball jars for glasses!), we’re apt to gloss over the functionality of design, the details that make restaurants work.

Making restaurants work is what Brent LaCount, Principal at Design Collective, does for a living. He turns four walls into living organisms that magically change size with the density of the crowds, that easily merge with the trends and that are made of materials that withstand the destruction that comes with, say, 10 million shuffling feet.

WORKS AT: Design Collective

PAST PROJECTS: Hubbard Grille, Hyde Park Prime Steakhouses, Mezzo Italian Kitchen, M at Miranova, Sushi Rock

How did you become a restaurant designer?

I actually designed and built my own restaurants and bar in the late ’90s. I made just about every mistake and learned what not to do, which is the best way to learn. Now I use that knowledge I gained to help others.

What do you see that’s not done well?

Change of scale. Have you ever been in a restaurant where the ceiling is so high, you feel like you’re in an open cafeteria with no intimacy, just a sea of tables? There’s nothing worse than being the first couple tables in a restaurant that seats 300 people.

We try to break up the monotony with walls, booths and different dining zones that can open up to one another so you’re always in a crowded restaurant. Restaurants grow as the tables start to get filled; they expand and contract with the number of customers.

What changes in restaurant function have you seen in the past few years?

The focus on natural materials, natural light, bringing the indoors out, and the outdoors in.

Fifteen years ago, we built restaurants with very few windows, to captivate the audience and keep them enthralled in the actual restaurant. Look at the Columbus Fish Market. The windows are up above. They don’t allow you to see out. As we continue to build more (they’re called Mitchell’s Fish Market in other cities), we add more and more windows.

And now bars are becoming much more functional. They don’t have to be segmented off like they used to, they’re not as controversial. Now that there’s no smoking, we don’t have to contain that smoke. That’s a huge change over the last few years. Families don’t mind dining in bars anymore.

What’s the next big thing in design?

The integration of technology into the dining experience. Some of our clients are using iPads as menus. Older people like it because it’s backlit and you can change the size of the text. The menus can show the nutritional aspects and pictures of the items.

Someone like me, I go out to eat and walk around—I want to see what’s on people’s plates, especially when I’m at a nice restaurant. I’m a very visual person. I’d much rather see a picture than a description. Using an interactive menu is less cheesy than putting pictures of the food on a paper menu.

How does your work affect your dining experience?

[Laughing] I always know which table to sit at. At every restaurant, we have a preferred table. One of the goals in design is that there aren’t any bad tables, like ones that stare right into the kitchen. But there’s still always a great table. At DCI we call it a captain’s table, from the old Columbus Fish Market days. It’s a little higher, special, unique in itself. It’s a see-and-be-seen table.

When I dine out, much to my wife’s chagrin, I pay a little too close attention to what’s going on. Maybe I should pay a little more attention to my dining partner.

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The Stork has made another delivery!

Congratulation's Erin King, designer at DCI, and her husband Brian on the birth of their son Oliver.

For the last 40 years it has been a tradition that the stork celebrates the birth on an employee's child. It came from the "5 and dime" that use to be at the southwest corner of North High Street and Long Street. It was a store prop, from the millinery and baby department. When the store closed, and all of the props were being sold off, DCI purchased the stork to be used to signal the births of staff members' children.

We would guess it has celebrated more than 30 DCI births!

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Hyde Park to open Black Point restaurant

The owners of Hyde Park Prime Steakhouse are bringing a more casual venture to the Cap at Union Station.

Black Point, a new restaurant brand from the Beachwood-based company, will take over the 8,300-square-foot space that most recently housed Sushi Rock.

“We know the area is fabulous,” Hyde Park Principal Rick Hauck told me.

The company already occupies the entire 12,000-square-foot western block of the Cap with its signature steakhouse, its banquet space and Eleven, an adjoining lounge/bar. The company isn’t worried about having too much of a good thing though.

“There isn’t a better site,” Hauck said. “Someone is going to take it. It might as well be us.”

The Cap’s developer, Continental Real Estate Cos., actually offered Hyde Park the restaurant space prior to Sushi Rock taking it in 2009.

Hauck said the timing wasn’t right at that time so the company passed.

Black Point is targeted to open in September. Hauck said it will be a variation on the company’s Jekyll’s Kitchen and ML Tavern, both in Cleveland. All three are takes on the traditional American grill.

Black Point will have a menu of steaks, sandwiches and flatbreads, but the main focus will be seafood and sushi. The average check is expected to be around $40. There will be a large bar dining component to the restaurant, too.

Hauck said it will be more casual than the Hyde Park across the street and is expected to skew younger.

The restaurant company again will team with Columbus-based Design Collective for its interior design. The space also has a patio and six rooms for private events.

Hyde Park Restaurant Group has 15 restaurants in Cleveland, Columbus, Pittsburgh, Detroit and Florida, including five in Central Ohio.

May 7, 2014
By Dan Eaton
Columbus Business First
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"Columbus CEO" features Design Collective's office

“Columbus CEO” magazine has given DCI a full page of coverage in their May issue.

DCI is featured in the monthly “Office Space” article, showcasing DCI’s recent re-branded renovations. Pictures of DCI’s reworked entry, studio and library are featured.

As CEO’s editor, Mary Yost says “Everyone who drives past DCI’s offices always wonders what it looks like on the inside.” Now drivers will know! Thanks to CEO for the coverage!

Click here to for the Columbus CEO article.

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City Barbeque opening first North Carolina restaurant

City Barbeque Inc. is making its southern debut.

The Dublin-based barbecue chain will open its Cary, N.C. restaurant at 11 a.m. Saturday. It’s a bold lead for the chain, not just for the distance from its Central Ohio home base, but also because it’s a move into true regional barbecue country.

But City Barbeque’s “nationwide tour of barbecue styles”  already is generating some good advanced word from the locals. 

I spoke with founder and President Rick Malir last November about the new addition for the company, one he hopes won’t be the last in the region.

The restaurant may be new to the North Carolinian's, but we local folks know what they’ll be getting. The 3,200-square-foot eatery is in line with existing City Barbeques with its meaty menu and style-spanning selections from brisket and pulled pork to pulled chicken and smoked sausage. There are plenty of side dishes, too.

City Barbeque celebrates its 15th anniversary this year. Cary is the 23rd restaurant in the chain, which includes eight local joints as well as restaurants in Cincinnati, Dayton, northwest Ohio, Indianapolis and Kentucky.

April 11, 2014
By Dan Eaton
Columbus Business First
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Design Collective Host's Art Collection

DCI is proud to host artwork from Art Access, a locally owned gallery which provides original artwork for businesses and collectors. The loaned pieces are a mix of framed art and sculpture, including "Top Dog" (by artists George Snyder and Dan Meyer, who were formerly artist for Disney). Other artists now showing at DCI are Alan Crockett, Sally Bennett, and Marc Ross. 

The partnership allows DCI to share with visitors how artwork reflects and enhances a work culture. Stop by our studio today to receive a full tour of the collection.

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Rusty Bucket named 2014 'Breakout Brand' by Nations Restaurant News

Rusty Bucket Restaurant and Tavern has a family-friendly sports bar feel.

Rusty Bucket Restaurant and Tavern has a family-friendly sports bar feel.

Congratulations to the Rusty Bucket and Cameron Mitchell team on being named a 2014 'Breakout Brand' by Nations Restaurant News.  


Breakout Brands 2014: Rusty Bucket

The name Rusty Bucket Restaurant and Tavern might conjure an image of a dimly lit gin joint, but in reality it belongs to a 15-unit upscale-casual chain with plans to open 50 more locations over the next five years.

Founder and president Gary Callicoat developed Columbus, Ohio-based Rusty Bucket in 2002 while working as a general manager for his mentor, multiconcept operator Cameron Mitchell. The brand was conceived as “a grown-up place to bring the kids,” combining scratch-made comfort foods with an environment that was upscale but still approachable for families and sports fans.

Recent systemwide upgrades include a new prototype, menu additions, and an overhauled beverage program with new cocktails and bartenders put through cicerone training to handle more than 80 available beers, including 24 on tap.

“People are wrapped around the bar, but you could be there with your kids,” Mitchell said.

The 15 locations, which operate in affluent towns and suburbs in Ohio, Michigan and Indiana, have average annual volumes of $2.8 million in about 4,500 square feet.

Callicoat runs Rusty Bucket as a company separate from Cameron Mitchell Restaurants, which provides back-office support for a 5-percent management fee. Mitchell and his partners are part owners of Rusty Bucket, and the group would receive 25 percent of the sale price if Rusty Bucket were ever acquired.

Dennis Lombardi, executive vice president of Columbus-based WD Partners, said the family-friendly and sports bar elements woven into the upscale-casual tavern positioning would help Rusty Bucket travel well.

“They have positioned their brand to work well against a pretty broad array of use occasions,” Lombardi said. “They’re used heavily at lunch, and during big sporting events, they’re thought of as the place to go. It’s the same with a late dinner with friends.”

Callicoat and Mitchell said Rusty Bucket’s “aggressive but methodical” growth plans over the next five years are realistic thanks to their decision to pull back on expansion during the recession to improve service and the menu.

“In those years of suspended growth, we focused on our four walls, everything from operations to finance,” Callicoat said. “We were fortunate to focus our energy on the right spot at the right time. It was a really big undertaking for us.”

February 25, 2014
By Mark Brandau
Nations Restaurant News
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