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Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Hyde Park Roots Grow Thriving Blended Family, Two Wildly Successful Businesses

Josh Goldschmidt of Goldschmidt Landscapes and artist Megan Heekin Triantafillou have found success with their two businesses in Hyde Park.

By Cynthia Smith
They met in fourth grade at St. Mary’s, and again at Purcell Marian. But Megan Heekin Triantafillou and Josh Goldschmidt didn’t start dating until, a decade later, they bumped into each other out one night.

Josh grew up on Portsmouth, where his parents still live; Megan grew up on Downing. Her mother now lives on Herschel. Both remember walking the railroad tracks to get to their respective high school jobs: Josh to the Hyde Park Country Club, where he was a caddy and then grounds crew; Megan to LaRosa’s.

After nine years together, Megan and Josh married in 2019. The have four children ranging from age seven to 19 (three from Megan’s previous marriage) and, since 2015, work side-by-side in a studio Josh built in their backyard.

Both focus on making the world more beautiful: Megan is a painter who is greatly inspired by color, nature and spirituality; Josh is a landscaper who transforms outdoor spaces and specializes in creating the perfect atmosphere for his customers.

Megan’s path

Megan earned her Bachelor of fine art from the Art Academy of Cincinnati. Her career started taking off when she graduated in 2000. She recalls two of her first opportunities to show her work publicly: Awakenings on Hyde Park Square and the Hyde Park Art Show. Through getting married and having children, she never stopped painting.

“I always tried my best to ‘just show up and paint, no matter what,’” she says. After more coffee shop shows, and showing at Essex Studios and the Pendleton Art Center, her business really got rolling.

A sampling of Megan’s artwork 

Today she feels fortunate to have many repeat customers and works mostly on commissions. “Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center has a large collection, and The Cincinnatian acquired my work for guests’ rooms.” A lot of her current sales are online. She has customers in Australia, California and Atlanta, among other places.

Megan’s colorful works in oil and acrylics are abstract. She continually strives to infuse new elements in hopes of maintaining a fresh and innovative perspective. Her work has transformed and evolved over the years. Today, she does large paintings evoking natural beauty.

Josh’s path

After his high school graduation, Josh and his father were having lunch at Zip’s when his father asked Josh what his plans for the future were. He remembers answering, “I think I can start a landscaping company.”

His father gave him a $5,000 loan to get started, with a two-year payback period. Josh was busy right away and paid the loan back in two months.

A landscaping project on Portsmouth Avenue by Goldschmidt Landscapes

This year, Goldschmidt Landscapes celebrates 25 years in business. Like Megan, Josh has many repeat customers. “Once I get a client, my goal is to build a lasting relationship with them,” he says. Ninety-five percent of his clients are in Hyde Park and Mt. Lookout.

“I think a lot of my success has been timing,” he adds, “along with putting forth a good effort and energy, and being passionate about my work. I started by knocking on doors in the community where I grew up, and it has paid off.”

Now serving children of original clients

Josh started small, mowing lawns. “With the initial loan, I bought a truck and a 48-inch lawnmower. Then I built up to mulching and maintaining landscaped beds. Then customers started asking me to select trees and shrubs for them. The jobs just kept getting bigger.”

He takes care of the grounds of Riverbend Music Center, which has been an account for 22 years. Some of Josh’s current clients are the children of his original clients. He has full-time staff of five, and hires seasonal help as needed, plus a landscape architect who works on contract.

Often inspired by Megan’s work, Josh builds colors, textures, layers and movement into his designs. “You have to keep it fresh,” he notes. “My work is always evolving. People see I am doing something different. I always want it to be elegant and unique, but most of all, a good fit with the house and the owners.”

Josh determines whether they are fun and exciting, laid back, or proactive in their gardening abilities — whether they are going to prune and cut flowers themselves or want him to handle maintenance. His go-to plants at the moment are boxwood, single-stem moonglow magnolia and prairie dropseed grass.

“I’m currently into boxwood clouding as well as sustainable environments, with an emphasis on a creative atmosphere within the landscape.”

As well as having an artist for a life partner, Josh has creative genes. His mother has been making custom draperies in her workroom for 30 years. Megan comes from entrepreneurial stock. Her maternal great-great-grandfather founded the Heekin Can Company, now part of Ball Corporation.

A family and house meant to be

While it took a long time to reconnect, Megan and Josh both think they were destined for each other. Their families were acquainted, their friend groups intersected, and they had the same roots and values. “Our upbringings were very similar,” notes Josh, “and we both love Cincinnati.”

Josh and Megan’s home was once Megan’s mother’s. “I lived across the street,” Megan says, “but always loved that house.”

Josh and Megan’s studio in their backyard

When Megan’s mom decided to sell, she gave the couple two months to buy her house before she put it on the market. They had to sell their two houses in that time period to be able to afford it. “That was crazy,” they both laugh.

Giving back to Hyde Park

When he’s not working or spending time with the family, Josh helps the community. He has donated time and materials to spruce up two public spaces including the entrance to Police Officer Sonny Kim Park at 3357 Erie (by the police station, formerly known as East Hyde Park Commons and, before that, The Old Mudhole).

“I used to ride my bike by the Commons all the time going to my shop near Lunken Airport, and it was all weeds,” he explains. “In 2017, I asked the Park Board and Recreation Commission if I could help, and they were very enthusiastic.”

Recently, he rehabilitated a small triangle park at Herschel and Erie. He now maintains both spaces free of charge.

Megan has happily donated to multiple local schools and foundations, including Springer School and Center, Saint Ursula Academy, First Step Home, Cancer Family Care and The Karen Wellington Foundation. She is proud of her 2016 William Duebber Award, which allowed her story “Accidentally on Purpose” to be featured in a local magazine.

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