Newport Entrepreneur Finds Perfect "FLOW"
Kory Quitter has had the entrepreneur spirit since he was just a child.
“My first business was selling fresh eggs from my family's farm at the end of the driveway with my younger brother when I was 6 or 7 years old,” Quitter, 21, said. “I’ve always had an interest in starting my own business.”
And so he has with FLOW Koffee and Kombucha in the West End of Newport. Quitter describes it as a “a love child of a coffee shop, kombucha bar, art gallery, book store, and record store.”
Nothing seemed to ‘stick’
Operating your own business seems to be a family trait. Quitter's grandparents ran an auto parts store in Newport for more than 30 years. His dad ran his own welding company, and his mom operates the Flower Bug, a full-service florist in Southgate.
Quitter graduated from high school and attended the University of Cincinnati on a full scholarship as a member of Darwin T. Turner Scholars Program. He completed his first semester studying architecture. Quitter changed his major three times over the next semester and left school entirely during his third semester.
“I knew that I wanted to start my own business, but nothing seemed to stick,” he said. “In the past two years I have worked ten different jobs, ranging from rehabbing homes in Covington to sorting potatoes at Castellini's in Wilder.”
Then he got an idea on Memorial Day weekend after visiting Jet Age Records on Monmouth Street in Newport. A coffee shop was needed in the West End of Newport.
“I have had tons of ideas for businesses over the years, but this one really stuck,” Quitter said. “After I had the concept, I couldn't get the idea out of my head. Roughly a week later, I signed a two-year lease for a space a few hundred feet from my house on West 10th Street. Roughly 6 months later, on November 1, I hosted the grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony.”
Up and running
“The space is relatively small, 300-square-feet, but I have tried my best to create a cozy, intimate atmosphere,” Quitter said. “I currently have two local brands of kombucha, on tap, bottled, as well as cans.”
It is located at 121 West 10th Street.
Since Barnes and Noble left Newport on the Levee, Quitter officially has the only bookstore in Newport. He also sets out vinyl records out for people to play, and will eventually sell records as well.
“The walls are covered with local art, I do not charge any commission, and am looking for more artists,” he said. “I am located in the same building as Galaxie Skate Shop, who moved here from Monmouth Street almost two years ago. When Galaxie moved, they built an awesome half-pipe, located right outside my space.”
Making a difference
Quitter said that he wants his shop “to be the epicenter for positive change in West Newport.”
“I want to create a place for people to come together, be comfortable, and express themselves,” he said.
He’s also partnered with a local non-profit, Mentoring Plus. Quitter is donating 10 percent of all sales to support their work.
Mentoring Plus is a small non-profit located in Newport. Their mission is to empower disadvantaged teens ages 13 to 21 and their families through an empathetic environment. According to their program director Amy Sammons, they use an evidence-based best practice methodology to teach the skills needed for employment and giving back to their community.
“I feel the heart of our organization is the focus on pairing the youth with a mentor or ‘Life Coach,’ to guide them on their journey,” Sammons said. “It is a relationship based on mutual trust, compassion, and respect. We are here to support, nurture, and guide without judgment.”
Mentor Plus’s youth are referred through the court system, school, and mental health agencies. Youth are often from Campbell, Kenton, and Boone counties in Northern Kentucky.
“Our partnership with FLOW and Kory is twofold in benefits, he serves as an exemplary role model to our youth with his work ethic and business skills but also he drive to give back to the community,” Sammons said. “He is leading by example and providing his life experiences to not only benefit Mentoring Plus monetarily but more importantly morally. We look forward to growing with FLOW as a community epicenter of positivity.”
Quitter aid that he believes that through Mentor Plus “we can build a stronger, more prosperous West Side, without alienating or displacing our current community members.”
Quitter said his favorite thing about the business is “people.”
“I have already connected with so many incredible people, and I'm just getting started,” he said. “I am naturally a very quiet person, but am very extroverted in the sense that I am energized by other people. This business has forced me out of my comfort zone, and I feel like I am growing as an individual.”
Written by Melissa Reinert, RCN contributor
Photo: Ribbon-cutting at FLOW (provided)