Jarred Smith, along with his brother Brandon, are the founders of NOOMA, a healthy electrolyte drink. They recently boomeranged back to Cleveland to launch their start-up. We sat down with Jarred to hear his story and his thoughts on why Cleveland was the perfect place for his start-up!
What makes Northeast Ohio a good place for doing business?
There are a couple things that stand out to us that make Cleveland a great place for business. First, the people in Cleveland and the pride they take in calling Northeast Ohio home really translates into doing business. Northeast Ohioans support a company when they see a local business working hard and trying to make a positive change.
If you’re able to provide a quality product or service, Clevelanders will be your best marketers – they really help by spreading the word on things they care about.
And second, Cleveland is also ideal for our start-up because of the low costs of living and overhead in launching a company. It has allowed us to save valuable resources, invest more into the business, and help fuel our growth.
People here will take the time to listen to your story, provide feedback, or take a chance on you. This has been so important for our company as we developed our position in the marketplace. We’ve been able to get out and learn, and then adjust our product, brand, and business model. There’s a good chance we wouldn’t have been afforded this opportunity in other cities in the country. It really comes back to the people who live here and their willingness to extend some help when an immediate return isn’t apparent. I’m continually shocked by how many times people will take time out of their day to chat or meet, no matter how busy or ‘important’ they may be.
What do you see as NEO’s greatest selling points when it comes to recruiting/retaining talent to/in the region?
In Cleveland, the opportunity to have impact, regardless of age, is huge. People want to see this region succeed and there is a lot of support to make that happen. There has also been a clear commitment to make the downtown area more appealing, especially for young professionals. Just looking back a few years, the changes are incredible and it really is only the beginning.
If you had a client coming for a visit to the region, where would you take them and why?
I would take them to Tremont and Ohio City. Both places have such a wide range of things to see and do, with such a diverse community surrounding them. There isn’t a lineup of chain stores. It’s entirely unique to Cleveland, with so many amazing places to eat….I guess I would have a hidden agenda of getting a meal at one of my favorite restaurants.
Describe Northeast Ohio/Cleveland in 3 words.
“Lake-effect snow… just kidding! On the rise.”
Which (if any) regional organizations embraced your start-up and helped you thrive?
“We have done some work with Engage! Cleveland that has helped our outreach to meeting new, young people in the city.”