Best new businesses


Sophia Lucente

The Fruit Stand offers smoothie bowls, oatmeal and toast options.

FIRST: The Fruit Stand

With toppings ranging from bananas and strawberries to chocolate chips and nutella, customers can build their own acai bowl for breakfast, lunch and dinner at The Fruit Stand in Acorn Alley.

The shop opened in Jan. 2021 and features a new smoothie bowl flavor every week along with its signature acai flavor.

Owner Jason Carpinelli said the quality of his shop’s products and its prices make it stand out from similar competition.

“We only use the best stuff that we can find,” Carpinelli said. “And you can’t get a better acai bowl for a better price. Just the experience of being able to build your own bowl is worth it to check us out.”

If you’re looking for a more healthy option to go along with your “eat better” New Years Resolution, you can also choose from pineapples, coconut, blueberries or almonds to put together a colorful meal.

SECOND: Bell Tower Brewing Company

In Oct. 2021, Bell Tower Brewing Co. moved into a historic church off Park Avenue in Kent, trading in the pews for booths and tables and adding in beer barrels while still keeping its cozy charm.

Bell Tower Brewing brings seasonal food and handcrafted beer together to appeal to every kind of palette with spins on classic sandwiches like a salmon BLT on its dinner menu or more sophisticated takes on pizza with a chicken caesar flatbread on its lunch menu.

“As much as we are a restaurant, we are a brewery too,” co-founder and general manager Ryan Tipton said. “So while we make incredibly fresh, [from]scratch food in our kitchen, we are doing the same thing in our brewery with beer and kombucha. This in itself helps us stand apart from our competitors as well as having a uniquely historic space for our guests to enjoy.”

Ryan Tipton is a co-owner of Bell Tower Brewing Co., which is outside of downtown Kent. Kelly Krabill /

Bell Tower has unique beers on tap like Midnight Tryst, a “bitter chocolate delight.” With their different brews, the company describes itself as being part of the “Craft Beer Revolution.” It updates its online beer menu often so customers can stay up to date on what’s offered.

THIRD: North Water Brewing Company

North Water Brewing Company, which opened in November 2020, is not your average taproom. It features charity events and community oriented activities along with “really good beer,” manager Derek Christian said.

“It’s not just about selling beer to us,” Christian said. “We do bingo nights every other Wednesday that are donation based, and we set up three month blocks [for donations]. These last three months have been for Kent Social Services. We also do stuff like run club, and we’re going to start a kayak club.”

Located on Crain Avenue in Kent right off the Portage Hike and Bike Trail, North Water Brewing serves artisanal beers in its dog-friendly and family-friendly taproom and patio. On its website, the company said its drinks “meet a spectrum of tastes, from those new to craft beer, to sophisticated craft beer followers.”

Customers are welcome to bring food from home to eat or get food delivered. The company also brings in various local food trucks every week. Along with standard restaurant games like trivia and bingo, North Water holds more stand-out events like “Yoga and Brew,” where patrons can start off their morning with a yoga session followed by beer or coffee tasters. Artists also come in to play live music.

Isabella Schreck is a reporter. Contact her at [email protected]

North Water Brewing is located at 101 Crain Ave in Kent, Ohio. The company opened in 2020 during the pandemic. Savannah Monks /