Troubled 'Peppermint Lounge' to reopen with new purpose

LINCOLN HEIGHTS, OH (FOX19) - A bar once plagued with violence will now serve a new purpose in the Lincoln Heights community.

The former Peppermint Lounge will reopen as a grocery store later this month.

The building, located in the 1000 block of Van Buren, may bring sore memories to some former patrons. Police were called to the bar multiple times for fights, robberies and shootings.  The bar closed its doors shortly after 55-year-old Anthony Wright was killed in a drive-by shooting. Wright was walking across the street from the lounge when shots were fired.

James Maiben, co-owner of Peppermint Lounge, is the man putting the new vision into action.  He is converting the bar into Fanci's Minimart.

"We had a few shootings out here and always gun play, fights... a lot of violence," said James Maiben, co-owner of Peppermint Lounge.Lincoln Heights is one Cincinnati area that's in need of access to healthy foods. The USDA considers it a food desert.

Through the years, Maiben said it's been difficult driving past vacant building.

"It was like a haunted house. An eye sore in our community so to be able to turn this around into something positive. My mother told me before she passed away, 'if you make a mess, you don't leave it for somebody else to clean up, you clean it up yourself,'" he said.

He's hoping Fanci's will fill a void in the neighborhood.

The store will also have a delivery service.

"I love it because I only live a block away and now if I run out of something I usually have to go to Kroger. Now I can walk down the street. I don't have to use gas and in less than a minute I'll be home," William Franklin, a life long resident of Lincoln Heights said.

Fanci's will also bring a dozen new jobs to residents in Lincoln Heights.

Maiben said more than anything he wants to set an example for the younger generation that they too can become business owners and serve their community.

Fanci's is expected to open July 22.  During the grand opening, there will be free food, games and activities for the children.

During the event school supplies will also be given to the children in the area.

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