AFS to invest $16 million in Tiffin

American Fine Sinter to invest $16 million in Tiffin

Automotive supplier to create 24 new jobs

TIFFIN, OHIO – November 19, 2014 – American Fine Sinter (AFS) announces today that it will be moving forward with a $16 million expansion project at its North American headquarters in Tiffin, Ohio. The project is expected to move forward the first quarter of 2015.

The expansion project involves the construction of 100,000 square feet of new manufacturing space, additional office and storage space, as well as an $8 million investment into new state-of-the-art automation and manufacturing equipment. The company was recently awarded new contracts for both transmission parts for Toyota and shock absorber parts from multiple auto makers, and the need for additional capacity is motivating the project. The company currently employs 140 and will need to add another 24 over the course of the next three years.

In making the announcement, AFS President Masayuki Yamamoto complimented the company’s customers, its employees, and the community: “We have grown by building our business base, nurturing a good corporate culture, and building a company people want to work for. Tiffin has been a great community, and we very much appreciate our associates and the support we receive locally.”

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz was thrilled by the news: “Tiffin is in the midst of a tremendous resurgence. To have American Fine Sinter make this kind of commitment does nothing but continue the momentum. They are a tremendous corporate citizen.”

Local support for the project is being provided in the form of a Community Reinvestment Area (CRA) tax incentive, which will provide a 100 percent tax exemption on taxes generated by the new construction over the course of fifteen years. The CRA was put in place at Eagle Rock Business Park in 1985 to attract businesses to the park and has been a significant factor in the location and expansion of Toledo Molding & Die, Tiffin Insulators, and American Fine Sinter at the industrial park.

About American Fine Sinter

American Fine Sinter (AFS) was established in 2001 in Tiffin, Ohio and started production in 2003. Today, Fine Sinter Co. a joint venture between Tokyo Sintered Metals (TSM) and Japan Powder Metallurgy (JPM), the parent company of AFS, is a $350 million company with more than 1,000 employees worldwide. The company manufactures parts for the automotive, railroad, industrial machinery, and hydraulics industries, and American Fine Sinter most recently has focused on valve seats and variable cam units for the automotive industry.


Started in 1983, the Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp. (SIEDC) is a private, non-profit corporation dedicated to driving positive economic, downtown, and community development in Tiffin and Seneca County, Ohio. In 2012, the community was ranked in the top 5 percent nationally for economic development, and last year, it was recognized as one of the top ten communities out of 600 micropolitans in the US. Learn more about the great things going on at the company’s blog at

Historic Clover Club receives renovation grant

One of the oldest restaurants and bars in Tiffin is the historic downtown Clover Club Tavern & Eatery, a community asset and institution that has been running continuously in the historic Dehmer building for more than 78 years.

Current owner and preservationist Sharon Gosche acquired the property and business in 1997 and received the first approval for a Facade Enhancement Program grant from the City of Tiffin. The more than $10,000 investment will involve tuck pointing, balcony restoration, roof repair, new awnings and painting with historic colors.

The Clover Club's proposed exterior enhancement is the first one to receive a Facade Enhancement Program grant.

The Clover Club’s proposed exterior enhancement is the first one to receive a Facade Enhancement Program grant.

The building, constructed in 1893, was the original home of Dehmer & Sons cigars and then later became a soda shop. When the Clover Club was opened in 1936, it was “a place for entertainment and gathering musical scores and pictures of musicians showed that singing and laughing often were heard coming from the bar.” The establishment sold not only drinks but a variety of sandwiches, with prices ranging from 10 to 20 cents. (See 2011 article from the Advertiser-Tribune.)

The Wad Cheeseburger

The Wad! Cheeseburger

Today, the restaurant offers one of Tiffin’s largest menus, with more than 100 items, including steaks, seafood, hearty and delicious burgers, reubens, signature sandwiches, wraps, salads, sides and even breakfast (click menu on the website), all while continuing the tradition of a full-service tavern, with 12 taps and over 50 beers in stock.

2014_01_22 - Clover Club Billiards

Here you can see the white tablecloth dining area and the billiards on the tavern side.

Patrons can enjoy the food and drink from the antique art-deco bar, dining room or on the outdoor patio garden. It’s a very popular spot with the locals, families with kids, visitors, and college students from Heidelberg and Tiffin Universities. I especially love the $2 pint night on Tuesdays as well as the Veggie Basket, Quesadillas and Black Bean Burger. I also really like the atmosphere, like the hand-cut glass clover artwork in the window by Irish master craftsman Aidan Scully.

So, if you’re in the mood for great food, beer, or a combination thereof in a unique, historic downtown atmosphere with a lot of charm, the Clover Club Tavern & Eatery is a great option.

Mr. Hero to open new location in Tiffin

Mr. Hero Sign - 5 inches cropTIFFIN, OHIO – November 6, 2014 – Local entrepreneur Jay Bhavsar announced today that he just received approval to develop the next Mr. Hero franchise for the Cleveland-based submarine restaurant chain.  The shop will be located together with the B & B Food Mart at the 263 N. Washington St. location in the “Six’s Corners” commercial district. Renovations have just begun, and the store expects to open before the end of the year.

Bhavsar’s investment into the property, franchise and renovations are likely to surpass $200,000, and he is expecting to add three new employees to the five currently on staff.  He purchased the property in 2011, and sales have increased steadily as people have become aware of the selection of more than 250 import and export beers as well its humidor and specialty cigars. “We have one of the largest selections in northwest Ohio,” he said, “and willing to fulfill almost any customer’s request.”

Discussions with Mr. Hero began this summer, and the company is willing to allow the owner of Tiffin’s newest retail business to expand further. The company currently has more than 90 Ohio locations, and the closest to Tiffin currently are in Toledo and Sandusky. “Tiffin is my home, and my customers and employees are like family,” said Bhasvar, “but if things go well, we will explore other potential locations in the area.”

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz was pleased with the news, “Jay is another one of our great local businesspeople, and I couldn’t be happier for him. It’s also great to see the retail momentum reach the city’s north side, and we’re happy to welcome a new brand to our community.” 

About Our Hero

Started in 1965 on Cleveland’s west side, the chain has grown to more than 90 locations throughout northeast, northwest and central Ohio. The chain uses proprietary recipes and prides itself on the freshness of its ingredients and cooking each order when placed and not using microwaves or warming trays. Its menu features its signature Romanburger and Hot Buttered Cheesesteak, along with other steak, burger, chicken, side, and deli items. More information can be found at

About Jay Bhasvar

A 9/11 survivor, Bhasvar grew up is an entrepreneurial household. His father and grandfather run the largest producer of raw tobacco in India. He came to the United States to work in the finance and insurance industry, working for Blue Cross Blue Shield on the 38th floor of the north tower of the World Trade Center the day of the tragedy. After surviving the attack, he decided to follow in his father’s footsteps and own his own business, eventually coming to Tiffin in 2011 to start B & B Food Mart. He currently resides in Tiffin with his wife, son and daughter. News about the latest happenings at B & B Foodmart can be found at


Started in 1983, the Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp. (SIEDC) is a private, non-profit corporation dedicated to driving positive economic, downtown, and community development in Tiffin and Seneca County, Ohio. In 2012, the community was ranked in the top 5 percent nationally for economic development, and last year, it was recognized as one of the top ten communities out of 600 micropolitans in the US. Learn more about the great things going on at the company’s blog at

Strategic Plans for Development

CEDS Cover 1 inchOne of the best things about Seneca County in my opinion is the fundamental belief here that you have to plan. People here agree with some of my favorite quotes: “Failing to plan is planning to fail” (Alan Lukein) and “Plans are worthless, but planning is everything ” (Eisenhower.)

Here is a quick summary of some of the types of plans currently in place.

  • Comprehensive Plan – a long-range (20 to 30 years) and comprehensive (looks at everything) general plan for a geographic area (city, county, state, etc.) that provides policy guidelines on transportation, utilities, land use, recreation, housing, and economic development, among other areas. It is a “community development” plan.
  • Strategic Plan – a short-term (1 to 5 years) general and specific plan for any kind of organization that envisions a future and translates the vision into broadly-defined goals and objectives and a sequence of steps (strategies) to achieve them.
  • Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) – a type of economic development strategic plan required by the federal government to qualify for certain assistance. Must contain (1) background info, (2) SWOT analysis, (3) goals and objectives, (4) public and private sector participation, (5) strategic projects, programs, and activities, (6) a plan of action, and (7) performance measures.

The Plans in Place

Latest Updates

  • Tiffin Comprehensive Plan (CP) – SIEDC, together with the City of Tiffin, are beginning to evaluate when the plan should be updated.
  • Fostoria CPRenee Smith, who just came on board as the new President of the Fostoria Economic Development Corporation (FEDC) in July, is reviewing the Framework (there are large binders for each of the topics in the Summary) and putting together her updates. One of her goals for the coming year will likely be to update and revitalize the plan and Vision 2020, the 501c3 that “owns” the plan.
  • Seneca County CP – The new Director of the Seneca Regional Planning Commission, Roxyanne Burrus, who begins December 1, 2014, will look at the County’s Comprehensive Plan and determine what next steps, if any, need to take place.
  • Tiffin Downtown – Currently, the Tiffin Downtown Strategic Plan is in the process of being updated. On October 6, Tiffin City Council approved $120,000 for a study to be led and managed by SIEDC to not only update the plan but dive deep into catalytic project implementation and design guidelines. The study will be conducted by the Craig Gossman and the Gossman Group.
  • Seneca County CEDS – The Board of the Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corporation (SIEDC) reviewed the County’s CEDS at their Strategic Board Retreat on October 29, 2014. Members voted on the top three goals, and the board reached consensus on the top objectives for 2015. A scope of work and budget for 2015 is being prepared based on this feedback. SIEDC indicates that the plan could be potentially updated as early as 2016 or 2017 (five years later.)


New Downtown page launched

Here at SIEDC, we’re continuing to move forward with leading Tiffin’s downtown revitalization efforts. One small step is a launch of a Downtown tab under the Seneca Success blog/website. We see a lot more further development as we seek to tell the great stories and make it easy to get the information you need about downtown Tiffin. Here is the current page content:

Beehive Cafe Owner Ashlee Decker signs ribbon at Chamber opening event.

Beehive Cafe Owner Ashlee Decker signs ribbon at Chamber opening event.

In 2014, Downtown Tiffin is bristling with business activity. The Beehive Café, a new local “farm-to-table” restaurant opened up at the Laird Arcade, and Phoebe’s at 138 was revamped as a new “from scratch” vegetarian dining option, with monthly cooking classes. Burrito Loko continues construction on their new Mexican restaurant, with plans to open yet this year. Ohio Hydroponics, Smith Systems, Fraser Clemens Martin & Miller, Gem Yoga & Life Enrichment, and Z Pulse fitness studio have also hung their shingles in the downtown, and the local design firm MLAD opened “The Paper Store,” a retail shop with specialty paper products.

The Residences at 145 in the Gold Bond Building renovated their downtown apartments, and Burns Electric celebrated their 50th anniversary. The new downtown Façade Enhancement Program launched and eight projects have been approved or will soon be underway, representing more than $100,000 in building exterior improvements in the town’s core. The City of Tiffin also approved $120,000 for a downtown strategic plan update and new master plan, and Tiffin Tomorrow, the downtown revitalization organization created in 2010, officially became part of SIEDC this year. In June, we hired a new Downtown Development Coordinator, Amy Reinhart, and we became a Main Street Affiliate with Heritage Ohio.

Key links:

  • Destination Seneca County – information about things to do; places to eat and stay; events; and visitor info (not just downtown information, but includes all of it.)
  • – another great site for info about events, attractions, but includes photos and blogs.
  • Seneca Success – listing of downtown-tagged posts (including grants, projects, Architectural Board of Review process, etc.)
  • Tiffin Historic Trust – organization working for historic preservation in downtown Tiffin
  • Little Box Shops – great group of downtown businesses that promote together
  • Tiffin Art Guild – place downtown where local artists gather

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“The Very Biggest Manufacturing Plant…in the World”

Front of BuildingIn the book An Odd Couple, author Charles Eisendrath provides the headlines from the February 13, 1907 Tiffin Advertiser, which made the announcement that Towner K. Webster  was moving his company Webster Industries from Chicago to Tiffin, Ohio:

“SECURED for Tiffin is the Very Biggest Manufacturing Plant of its Kind In This Country or in the World.”

Webster expanded the plant and got more headlines soon thereafter, and not much has changed since. The October 18, 2014 headlines in the Advertiser-Tribune read, “Webster expanding, adding local jobs.” Since Webster’s announcement of their $8+ million expansion plans, we thought it would be appropriate to provide a little backstory on this great company.

Their marketing tagline is “American materials, American labor and American pride.” Since 1876, Webster Industries has offered a wide range of products and expertise throughout many different markets. Founded by Towner K. Webster, Webster Industries initially opened in Chicago, Illinois in 1876, bringing to market his Common Sense Elevator Bucket. Webster Industries moved its headquarters to Tiffin, Ohio in 1907, where it still resides today. I find it very interesting that economic development was in full swing even back then. In the book, An Odd Couple, Charles Eisendrath sheds some light on the incentives offered at the time: Webster received an “offer of a free, 30-acre building site” from the “Tiffin Commercial Club,” the precursor to the Seneca Regional Chamber, which was founded in 1914 and led economic development until the creation of the Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp. (SIEDC) in 1983.

Since its beginning making and marketing the elevator bucket, Webster Industries has evolved its product offerings since opening its doors, becoming one of the world’s leading manufacturers of engineered class chains, commercial castings, and vibrating conveyors. Webster Industries’ Tiffin headquarters consists of over 300,000 square feet of manufacturing space. Webster Industries has also helped to Site Selection Magazine rank Tiffin and Seneca County in the top 10 for large, private economic development projects. Webster Industries provided support for the ranking by providing 76 new jobs to the local area and investment plans of $3,000,000. The most recent expansion is in addition to that, which demonstrates how fast the company is growing.

To give the public a chance to see how their products are actually used, the company sponsored an “Our Chain in Action” contest over the summer. The contest gave Webster customers “a chance to let loose their inner Steven Spielberg” by creating a video that highlighted the many features of Webster’s conveyor and steel chain products. The contest ran from mid-July to mid-August. The top videos can be found on the Webster Industries website and the manufacturer’s YouTube channel. One example of a use is Cedar Point’s Blue Streak roller coaster. The amusement park’s oldest coaster, uses a Webster chain to lift riders up a 78 foot hill, before descending 72 feet and reaching speeds of 40 miles per hour (see video below).

Vicek Orthodontics to make major investment in Tiffin’s downtown

VicekVicek Orthodontics to make major investment in Tiffin’s downtown

Company to renovate vacant 6,800 sf building

TIFFIN, OHIO – October 18, 2014 Vicek Orthodontics announced today that it is moving forward with a major relocation and expansion project in downtown Tiffin. The company will be renovating the former 6,800 square foot Seneca County Commission on Aging facility located at 10 Riverside Drive in the north end of downtown. Renovations are scheduled to begin next month, and the company hopes to be open in its new space in the spring of 2015.

Vicek Orthodontics is currently located at 205 Jefferson St., and the move would represent a more than tripling of the current space. The project involves the building renovation and investment into new additional state-of-the-art equipment. Additionally, the company expects to add new staff to their existing eight employees.

Owner Dr. Robyn Vicek is excited about her company’s growth and the momentum developing in the downtown. “We are here to serve Tiffin’s residents, and I and my team are honored that they continue to trust us with their smiles and oral health. This is a great community, and I couldn’t be more pleased with what is going on downtown and for the support we have received. I’m happy to become a part of its renaissance.”

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz was thrilled with the news. “The downtown is beginning to hit its stride, and Dr. Vicek’s investment is another great chapter in the story. The renovation of a vacant building on the north entryway into our city center will also make a great positive impact.”

The project has made application under the City’s new Façade Enhancement Program, where the company could receive a grant up to $10,000. The City’s Architectural Board of Review will decide on the grant this coming Tuesday.

About Vicek Orthodontics

Dr. Robyn Vicek graduated from the University of Evansville in 1994, earned her DDS from Case Western Reserve University in 1997. In December 2000, she completed her Orthodontic Residency at SUNY at Buffalo. In January 2001, she took over the Drake Orthodontics and founded Vicek Orthodontics in Tiffin with the mission to provide each client a unique dental experience by guiding them in a caring, family atmosphere to achieve improved oral health, self-esteem, comma, and a beautiful smile. The company has grown to eight employees and continually invests in state-of-the-art technology and continuing education. Learn more at


Started in 1983, the Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp. (SIEDC) is a private, non-profit corporation dedicated to driving positive economic, downtown, and community development in Tiffin and Seneca County, Ohio. In 2012, the community was ranked in the top 5 percent nationally for economic development, and last year, it was recognized as one of the top ten communities out of 600 micropolitans in the US. Learn more about the great things going on at the company’s blog at


Taiho to hold 2nd Open House and Hiring Event

taiho-2On Monday and Tuesday of next week, the Taiho Corporation of America will hold its second open house and hiring event at its Tiffin, Ohio headquarters.

The event will take place between 1:00 and 5:00 pm on Monday, October 20 and Tuesday, October 21. Everyone in the community and potential job-seekers are invited to attend. Please be aware that the plant tour requires long pants and no open toed shoes.

Those interested in employment can talk with company representatives or send a resume to 194 Heritage Dr., Tiffin, OH.

Taiho Corporation is a $60 million company founded in 1944 that has operations worldwide, employing ca. 1,650 employees. Their first overseas plant was established in Tiffin in 1996, where they manufacture bearings, crank washers, bushings, and piston shoes for the automotive industry. Taiho in Tiffin sits on 20 acres and has two facilities – one that is 117,000 square feet and one at 70,000 sf.  Within the last couple of years, they constructed 40,000 additional square feet of space and indicated they would be adding 45 new positions. The total investment of that expansion was $13 million.

For more information, please check out their US website and their parent company website.

Webster Industries announces $8M expansion

Andrew and Lisa

Webster President & CEO Andrew Felter talking about the project with JobsOhio representative Lisa Wagner from Regional Growth Partnership.

Webster Industries announces $8M expansion

Project expects to create 65 jobs in the next three years

TIFFIN, OHIO – October 17, 2014 – Webster Industries announces today its intention to select Tiffin as its location for its next three-year, $8.3 million expansion. Tiffin beat out Meridian, Mississippi – where Webster has another manufacturing location – and northern Alabama, who has been recruiting the company for months. The decision is contingent upon the finalization of state and local incentives.

The project is expected to create 65 new jobs and retain all 294 existing employees at their Tiffin headquarters. A new 38,000 square foot expansion will be constructed onto their existing facility, the headquarters will be renovated, and an additional $4.5 million investment into new machinery and equipment will be made. The project is motivated by new global business opportunities, expected increases in targeted markets, new product offerings, and continued improvement in service through vertical integration.

President & CEO Andrew Felter attributes the decision to strong growth opportunities, a committed and experienced workforce in Tiffin, an established localized supply chain, and significant support from state and local government. “We are proud to be an employee-owned company located in Tiffin, Ohio.  Webster’s people are and will continue to be the key to our success. These reasons and the committed incentives from JobsOhio and the City of Tiffin pushed the decision over the top.”

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz was very pleased by the news. “Tiffin is a community on the move, and this investment continues our track record of success in economic development. We are proud Webster calls Tiffin home and appreciate their contributions to our economy.” Dean Monske, President & CEO of the Regional Growth Partnership, “We are pleased to serve as the JobsOhio regional partner and work with Webster and Tiffin to make this deal happen. Northwest Ohio is experiencing an industrial renaissance, and Webster is part of that story.”

Tiffin City Council will first be reviewing applications for the 50 percent, ten-year Enterprise Zone tax exemption and a 50 percent, five-year Municipal Income Tax Credit on Monday, October 20. The project is also expected to receive a JobsOhio Economic Development Grant and go before the Ohio Tax Credit Authority at the end of the month for a potential Ohio Job Creation Tax Credit.


About Webster Industries

From their beginning in 1876 in Chicago, Illinois, Webster has grown into a premier leader in industrial conveyor chain and vibrating conveyors, used in a wide variety of industries including forest products, food, automotive, cement, grain, asphalt, recycling, and steel industries.  The company employs more than 300 nationally at its Tiffin, Ohio (Established 1907), Meridian, Mississippi; and Portland, Oregon locations. Learn more at


Started in 1983, the Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp. (SIEDC) is a private, non-profit corporation dedicated to driving positive economic, downtown, and community development in Tiffin and Seneca County, Ohio. In 2012, the community was ranked in the top 5 percent nationally for economic development, and last year, it was recognized as one of the top ten communities out of 600 micropolitans in the US. Learn more about the great things going on at the company’s blog at

About JobsOhio

JobsOhio is the private economic development marketing and sales arm of the State of Ohio, developing and implementing the state’s economic development strategy and crafting incentive and support packages to spur economic development in key targeted industries. In 2013 alone, JobsOhio reported projects involving 18,000 new jobs and $3.6 billion in capital investment. Learn more at

About Regional Growth Partnership

Based in Toledo, Ohio, the Regional Growth Partnership (RGP) is private, nonprofit corporation designed to drive job creation and new capital investment in northwest Ohio through business attraction, retention and expansion efforts. The RGP also serves as the JobsOhio Northwest network partner, serving as the JobsOhio point of contact and customer service for state incentives for an 18-county region. Learn more at


Buffalo Wild Wings coming to Tiffin

LogoBuffalo Wild Wings coming to Tiffin!

Marion-based franchisee receives corporate approval for new restaurant

TIFFIN, OHIO – October 16, 2014 – The Mastro Group announced today that it is moving forward to develop a new Buffalo Wild Wings store in the city of Tiffin following the issuing of final approval late last week by Buffalo Wild Wings corporate to do so. Various site options are being considered, and the final location should be determined within the next couple of months, with construction beginning sometime in the first half of 2015.

The Tiffin Buffalo Wild Wings is expected to be the new “Stadia” model, involving a 5,500 to 6,500 square foot restaurant and bar with an “urban” look and “really, really big” TV screens. The project is expected to represent at least a $1.2 million investment, create more than 65 jobs, and add a well-known brand to Tiffin’s retail mix.

In making this announcement, Mike Mastro, President & CEO of The Mastro Group, talked about how great Tiffin is. “I love this town…so much so that my family and I are moving here by the end of the month. The great people, quality of life, and support we received from the Mayor’s office and SIEDC have been nothing short of amazing.” Louis Mastro, Executive Vice President with The Mastro Group in charge of development, was equally enthusiastic, “We fundamentally believe Tiffin is a great, growing market and that there is strong demand for the Buffalo Wild Wings experience here. It is a great business decision.”

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz was very pleased by the news, “We’ve been working with Mike and Buffalo Wild Wings for more than a year and a half. I couldn’t be happier that our efforts have helped move it forward. This will be a great addition for our residents and students.”

About Buffalo Wild Wings

Headquartered in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Buffalo Wild Wings is a $1.2 billion casual dining and sports bar franchise founded in 1982. The company has grown to more than 1,000 locations in every state in the country and in Canada as well as more than half a billion in assets. The company’s tag line is “Wings. Beer. Sports.” Learn more at

About The Mastro Group

The Mastro Group and affiliated companies began around 1972 with a Perkins in Marion, Ohio and has grown to become a diversified franchise and real estate company owning, managing or leasing space to Perkins, Buffalo Wild Wings, Mexican restaurants, Hometown Urgent Care, and Davita Kidney Car, among others. The company employs more than 200 employees at their locations in Marion, Findlay, and Springfield, Ohio.


Started in 1983, the Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp. (SIEDC) is a private, non-profit corporation dedicated to driving positive economic, downtown, and community development in Tiffin and Seneca County, Ohio. In 2012, the community was ranked in the top 5 percent nationally for economic development, and last year, it was recognized as one of the top ten communities out of 600 micropolitans in the US. Learn more about the great things going on at the company’s blog at