Heritage Home Brew sells supplies, hands-on experience

20161117_165424Heritage Home Brew is a one-stop-shop for all of your wine and beer home brewing needs. Beer and wine making enthusiasts Jon Bird, Jason Bird and Matt Prenzlin opened the shop about a year and a half ago, and their business is growing.

With the nearest dedicated home brew store nearly a half-hour drive away, “We started the shop so we didn’t have to travel so far to get our supplies,” Jason said.

The shop offers everything you need to brew a beer or wine, as well as soda bases. Even if you are new to the hobby, the guys at the shop know their stuff and can walk you through all of the equipment you will need, as well as how to design a brew. When the weather is cooler, you might also find a live outdoor brewing demonstration.

Not only do they carry everything needed to make your favorite beverage at home, a few months ago they started offering wine making group classes by appointment. “They learn about everything. From sanitation to using hydrometers, and the process from choosing a recipe to bottling and corking,” Jason said.

“It’s a chemistry lesson, it’s a microbiology lesson, it’s also the horticulture of growing grapes and other ingredients,” Prenzlin added.

For $34 per person, a group of 6-8 can make a six gallon batch of wine – 28 bottles – in any flavor they choose. After 6-9 weeks, the wine is ready to be bottled, corked and labeled. The price includes the use of equipment, a wine making kit, wine samples, hors d’oeuvres, bottles and corks. They even print customized labels for each group.

In the future, they hope to expand these private classes to include beer making, as well as soda making for kids.

Check out Heritage Home Brew at 453 E. Market St. in Tiffin, right next to the BMV. They are open Tuesday-Friday 1 p.m. – 6 p.m., and Saturday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. You can also shop online here.

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SERVPRO helps businesses stay prepared for emergency

servproSERVPRO, a fire and water damage mitigation service, has a partnership with the American Red Cross to offer Emergency Ready Profiles to commercial businesses at no cost. The profile is a plan that can be accessed by any employee during an emergency, either in a hard copy or on the convenient mobile app, and is intended to minimize damage to the business.

“The program is a couple years old, but there have been so many changes and advancements over the last year – like the app – that we are really pushing businesses to take advantage,” Jacob Elchert, Client Care Specialist with SERVPRO of Huron and East Seneca Counties, said. “As many as 50% of businesses close down following a disaster, according to the latest research. Of the businesses that survive, the overwhelming majority of them had a preparedness plan in place.”

The Emergency Ready Profile is prepared at no cost and includes an assessment of your facility and a folder containing steps employees should take in case of emergency, emergency contact information and property information useful to first responders. SERVPRO of Huron and East Seneca Counties also posts helpful tips and their latest news on their blog.

“We are really all about helping people know what to do and be prepared,” Elchert said.

You can find more information about SERVPRO in Seneca County here.

Community seeks new branding


Image source: Hooka on Branding

Download full RFP here.

On November 9, 2016, the Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp. (SIEDC) issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for a community branding strategy and creative. Working with the City of Tiffin, Seneca County Commissioners, and Seneca Regional Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Services, SIEDC and its partners describe what they are looking for in this way (from the RFP):

“With the contract resulting from this RFP, SIEDC–together with the City of Tiffin, Seneca County, the Seneca Regional Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Services, and potentially other stakeholders–intends to develop a new community brand and sub-brand strategy and related creative elements. We seek a firm that has demonstrated success and creativity in developing brand identities for other communities, preferably with experience with meeting the needs of multiple and diverse stakeholders. Creating and helping the community and key stakeholder organizations to execute (a) strong destination brand(s) strategy to meet the different needs of participants and facilitating a process that results in informed, engaged, and supportive stakeholders as well as a consistent and comprehensive verbal and visual identity are essential.”


  • Distribution of RFP – November 9, 2015
  • Deadline for receipt of responses – December 7, 2016 (5:00 pm EST)
  • Interviews – December 2016, January 2017
  • Final Selection and Project Commencement – Not later than Feb. 1, 2017

For additional information not provided in the RFP, please contact David Zak, SIEDC President & CEO, at 419.912.1150 (cell) or by email at zak@senecacounty.org.



Tiffin shop relocates, renovates, recycles

20161027_161317Tiffin couple Jason and Sasha Raitz have moved from Raitzy’s Chop Shop, which also housed Moxie salon, and expanded their services with the opening of Meraki Salon and Barber in downtown Tiffin. The building was purchased in June and opened at the beginning of October after a $100,000 renovation.

The Raitz’ bring nearly 40 years of combined experience to the table. The shop is truly a salon and a barber shop as the two areas are separated, each with their own unique designs. In the future, the Raitz’ plan to add massage and/or aesthetician services.

Meraki is a Green Circle Salon, meaning they recycle everything possible – including hair and chemicals. “Salons produce a lot of waste,” Sasha said. “This system greatly reduces our carbon footprint.”

Another green choice for the salon is the Davines hair products, which are made from all-natural, vegan ingredients right down to the food-grade packaging. In addition, the salon features a free-floating dryer support system which not only looks neat, but is also better for the stylists by relieving the stress on their arms.

The salon is also unique in that stylists can be either booth rent or commission. “I would like to nurture new stylists and keep them here. Most stylists can’t do booth rent when they just start out. I was new once, I know you need someone to take a chance on you, and I would like to do that for others,” she said.

Sasha said that though there is a lot of competition in Tiffin, there is also collaboration. “As long as your business is doing something different, there’s room for everyone,” she said.

As for the new name, Sasha said it’s a Greek word she came across while searching for a word that meant to be passionate and love your job, to put your soul into it. “I can’t believe how well it has all come together,” she said. “It’s perfect.”


Seneca County Land Bank awarded over $4 million

ni-programPress release from the Fostoria Economic Development Corporation

The Seneca County Land bank received over $4 million in Neighborhood Initiative Program funds to demolish blighted houses in the county – $4,025,000 to be exact.  Seneca County was one of the highest funded counties which speaks highly to the quality of the project, the application and the partners involved.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for Seneca County,” Seneca County Treasurer Damon Alt said.  “This kind of money will allow us to eliminate blighted houses and increase overall property values in area neighborhoods.”

Currently, the Land Bank has identified 161 properties throughout the county for potential demolition with this award.  This allocation was made possible because of the large number of partners, including (but not limited to) the Seneca County Commissioners, the Seneca County Treasurer’s Office, the Seneca County Prosecutor’s Office, the City of Tiffin, the City of Fostoria, and the Fostoria Economic Development Corporation office.

“For a community like Fostoria, this kind of money will have a tremendous impact,” said Renee Smith, President of the Fostoria Economic Development Corporation.  “Citizens will see the results of this funding and it will benefit the entire county.”

Seneca County formed the Land Bank in November of 2015 by resolution of the Seneca County Commissioners.  A Land Bank is a tool used to strategically acquire properties, return them to productive use, reduce blight, increase property values, and improve the quality of life for county residents.  The formation of the Land Bank demonstrated our elected official’s commitment to healthy, sustainable community redevelopment within Seneca County.

The Seneca County Land Bank will begin acquiring the identified properties and demolition activity will then follow.  This will be an ongoing process but will directly impact property values, safety and even community pride.


Leadership Park announced


Preliminary rendering of Leadership Park design.

Two years after the Leadership Seneca County class of 2014 reached their goal of raising $45,000 for a downtown park,  Leadership Park has been announced at the corner of South Washington Street and Riverside Drive in downtown Tiffin.

2014 LSC graduate John Kerschner spoke on behalf of his class. “We would like to thank all of the donors that made the project possible. This park has been a work in progress for quite some time; it’s very exciting to see the tangible results of all the hard work done behind the scenes by the Leadership class and the City of Tiffin,” he said.

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz has been an advocate for the project since it was announced, helping to form a partnership between the Leadership class and the city in which the city contributed $20,000 to the park. “I am very pleased by the way this project came together. This park will be a beautiful addition to our downtown and a great community gathering place,” he said. “It is also a great example of what private-public partnerships can accomplish for the community.”

The design has been laid out and construction will begin soon. Park features include decorative pavers, a gazebo and benches. The City of Tiffin and the Seneca Regional Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Services have also collaborated to install a live white spruce tree, to serve as the community Christmas tree.

“While we enjoyed the temporary downtown green space, it is great to have a permanent park downtown, and a living tree that will be in that location for the community to enjoy for years to come,” Chamber President and CEO John Detwiler said.

New maps help visitors discover Tiffin

city-map-for-web_page_1The Seneca Regional Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Services and the Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corporation have partnered to produce the city’s first-ever visitor’s map.

The map directs visitors to restaurants, attractions, entertainment and lodgings, and retail locations – all things a person from outside the town may be looking for. One side of the map encompasses the entire city of Tiffin, with the other side focused on downtown.

Chamber President and CEO John Detwiler brought the opportunity to SIEDC’s Downtown city-map-for-web_page_2Marketing Committee, of which he is the Chair. “We have never had a map of the city for our out-of-town visitors, and the committee was also looking at creating literature specific to downtown,” Detwiler said. “I am happy we were able to partner on this project; community collaboration is key in creating a successful and cohesive message.”

SIEDC Downtown Main Street Manager Amy Reinhart said the map was one of the goals set forth in the 2010 Downtown Strategic Plan and furthers the marketing mission of the Main Street downtown revitalization approach. “We have taken many steps this year to make it easier for visitors, students and residents to find their way downtown, and to promote local businesses. This is a great addition to the Discover Tiffin phone app, the new kiosks in front of the Joint Justice Center and on the university campuses, wayfinding signs at downtown intersections, and new parking signage for downtown lots,” she said.

The maps can be found at the Chamber (19 W. Market St., Ste C), and in several businesses. For a downloadable pdf, click here.

Sentinel Career Center expansion underway

vanguard_sentinel-_career_1Vanguard-Sentinel Career and Technology Center has begun work on a $1.5 million, 11,000 square foot facility at their Tiffin campus.

The building will be the new home of the Public Safety Program.  The addition of space will move the program from just a classroom space to a lab environment that will allow the instructor to train the students in a setting similar to a real academy.  There will be adequate space for physical and tactical training, an evidence and booking room, and also a bay entrance for equipment for the program. It will also have classrooms for the Adult Education and Collision Repair Programs, and a Wellness Center. The school has also partnered with the Seneca County Commissioners that will allow the new facility to be a secondary location for their Emergency Operation Center in the county.

vanguard_sentinel-_career_2Clouse Construction is the contractor for the project, but now that the building is under roof, Sentinel students will gain hands on experience in their field of study as they work to complete the project, including (but not limited to) constructing walls and running the electric.

Another project underway at Sentinel is the “AIM” Mobile Career Tech bus.  This will be a mobile lab used to introduce K-8 students in 13 school districts to in-demand careers and the 12 career clusters available at Vanguard-Sentinel Career and Technology Centers. It is designed to engage students with career connections and experiential learning to better prepare for in-demand careers at an early age.   This re-purposed bus (a partnership between Automotive and Collision Repair) will be a mobile and multi-functional CTE lab.  An instructor will deliver exposure and hands-on experiences to students at their home school  that will help AIM them in the right direction towards their future goals.   This should be completed for the 2017-2018 school year.

Vanguard-Sentinel is also looking at continuing to help mitigate a crisis in workforce preparation for advanced manufacturing careers and skilled trades with RAMTEC. Funded by the Ohio Department of Education’s Straight A Fund, RAMTEC supports a holistic approach to economic/workforce development by allowing students to demonstrate mastery of skills on equipment identical to that used in Ohio manufacturing industries. There will also be an expansion of programs, that will add and expand opportunities for  Freshman through adults, continuing to focus on industry credentials but expanding opportunities including early placements and pre-apprenticeship programs designed in close collaboration with local business and industry partners. Sentinel is also involved in the strategic planning process for a county-wide Workforce Development Plan.

Sentinel opened in 1985, and in 1997 the Family Learning Center was added in partnership with Seneca County.  Five years ago, the entire facility underwent a complete renovation which included energy efficient upgrades to lighting, HVAC, and technology.  The total cost of the renovation was $7 million.

Tiffin Historic Trust celebrates 40 years

historic-trust-invitationThe Tiffin Historic Trust is inviting the community to celebrate with them their 40th anniversary with an open house at the Grammes-Brown House Oct. 27, 5:30-7:30 p.m.

From the Tiffin Historic Trust:

A Brief History of the Tiffin Historic Trust in Celebration of its 40th Anniversary

In the fall of 1976, during the nation’s celebration of its Bicentennial, a group of citizens met at the Tiffin-Seneca County Public Library.  Harold Hossler presided at the meeting during which Kenneth E. Davison, chairperson of the local Bicentennial Commission, made the motion to create a new organization, the Tiffin Historic Trust.  In mid-October 1976, William D. Fletcher, Mary Lewis, and Barbara J. Howe signed the Articles of Incorporation.

The stated purpose of the organization was to “promote historic preservation in Tiffin by meetings, publications, tours or whatever other means may be chosen by the corporation.”  The articles stated it would be a non-profit organization, with the goal of raising funds through grants, donations, etc., in order to promote and develop a total plan for the preservation and restoration of Tiffin, and to work with all interested groups or individuals to put this plan into effect.

172-jefferson-st-grammes-brown-house-jpgSince its founding in 1976, the Trust has done the following:

  • Compiled an inventory of Tiffin’s public and private buildings; the entries were submitted to the State and National Register of Historic Places.
  • Funded and had the city install signs designating the Historic Districts within Tiffin.
  • Worked with college interns who prepared studies of Tiffin Architecture.
  • Influenced a streetscape project that led to the Court Street design with a booklet published with grant support.
  • The Court Street Extravaganza event led to the creation of a Tiffin Heritage Festival with architecture as the theme.
  • Submitted a bridge design to the Ohio Department of Transportation and convinced them to install historically compatible replacement bridges over the Sandusky River in Tiffin.
  • Sponsored architectural workshops, seminars and conferences, including two Building Doctor Clinics.
  • Prepared various publications, including a set of walking tour brochures focusing on Tiffin neighborhoods, sidewalks, streets and alleys.
  • Created a revolving fund to assist owners with their restoration needs.
  • Established the Annual Dinner Meeting in May, during National Preservation Week/Month.
  • Created the Annual Preservation Awards program.                                                   -cont-
  • Applied for Tiffin to be an early “Main Street” community and narrowly missed being selected, until it was achieved in 2016!
  • Wrote a design review program for downtown Tiffin; although not accepted, Tiffin did eventually implement similar legislation.
  • Accepted the bequest of the Grammes-Brown House from the late Rosina Brown, restored it to its Victorian grandeur, and now use it as its headquarters and for events.
  • Purchased a threatened downtown building and later found a retail business buyer for it, thus saving it from destruction.
  • Arranged for the cleaning of the William Harvey Gibson statue in front of the Courthouse.
  • Fought to preserve major architectural buildings within Tiffin, including the East Junior High School/Old Columbian building, and the 1887 Courthouse.
  • Assisted with the preservation of the Spiva-Manley House.
  • Hosted tours of historic homes and the annual Holiday House tour.
  • Created a series of wooden replicas of historic buildings made by the Trust volunteers. The replicas, along with note cards, were an important fundraising project for many years.
  • Held summer garden tours, and Victorian teas as fundraisers.

Tiffin to host Heritage Ohio Workshop Nov. 9

revit1As a newly minted Main Street Community, Tiffin will be hosting its first Heritage Ohio Workshop: The Economics of Aesthetics on Nov. 9. The workshop is part of the Heritage Ohio Revitalization Series and will feature speakers presenting on the importance of creating memorable, attractive and pedestrian friendly places and how to go about creating such places. Topics will include fostering high quality private investment, creating walkable places, and increasing community engagement. The workshop will conclude with an afternoon placemaking activity facilitated by DS Architects, in which attendees will walk the downtown and reconvene with placemaking ideas specific to the town.

The tentative agenda is as follows:

8:30      Registration

9:00      Welcome

9:15      Understanding Public Space – DS Architecture, Kristen Crocker and Doug Fuller

10:00    Community Engagement and Walkability – Placemakes, Stacy Buttari and Jessica Matthews

10:45    Planning for the Aesthetic- Small Changes BIG Ideas – OHM – Aaron Domini

11:15    Tiffin Downtown Revitalization Projects – Amy Reinhart (SIEDC’s Downtown Main Street Manager for Tiffin)

12:00    Lunch on your own

1:45      Place Game – Facilitated by DS Architecture Staff

4:00      Review Place Game Results

5:00      Workshop Concludes

The event will be held on the second floor of the Tiffin Knights of Columbus and is open to all Tiffin community members. Click here to register (select the Main Street Community option) or learn more.

About the Revitalization Series

The Heritage Ohio Revitalization Series is a quarterly workshop covering each of the Main Street Four Points during the course of a year. The series features expert presenters from Ohio and beyond discussing such topics as fundraising, volunteer management, bikeability, special events, marketing, real estate, business development and much more. Each workshop is held in a different Ohio Main Street Community and will benefit anyone working in community development or downtown revitalization.