Top 10% for economic development

Seneca County in top 10% for economic development

Large projects contribute 120 new jobs and $30 million in new investment

TIFFIN, OHIO – March 3, 2015 – The Seneca Industrial & Economic Development Corporation (SIEDC) announced today that Tiffin and Seneca County have placed in the top ten percent nationally on Site Selection Magazine’s rankings for large, private economic development projects. The rankings, which were made public today, place the community 42nd on the list of 576 micropolitans, or counties with a central city between 10,000 and 50,000 in population. Site Selection has been annually ranking states and cities since 1978.

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz was excited by the news: “We are pleased that our efforts continually get national recognition and that we are one of the best communities for economic development in the country. We celebrate with our industry, the investment they make, and the people they employ. They truly deserve our thanks.” Seneca County Commission President Holly Stacy was pleased, “I am happy to see Seneca County continuing to move forward in a positive way. We have a great business climate, workforce, and infrastructure, and we work every day to make them better.”

This is the fourth year in a row that Tiffin and Seneca County have ranked in the top 100 nationally. This year’s ranking included consideration of the 2014 expansions of National Machinery, Webster Industries, American Fine Sinter, and Irving Equipment. These projects involve the creation of 124 new jobs and $31 million in new investment. Eligible economic development projects must involve at least one of the following: the creation of 50 or more jobs, the construction of 20,000 square feet, and/or the investment of at least $1 million. The new or expanded facilities must also be in manufacturing, distribution, office, R&D, headquarters, or call centers.

Northwest Ohio is also excelling as a region. Other northwest Ohio communities achieving national rankings include Findlay, Fremont, Van Wert, and the Toledo MSA. “This recognition for Northwest Ohio is a testament to the strength of our regional assets and the outstanding collaboration among economic development partners to ensure the continued growth of our region,” said Dean Monske, President & CEO of the Regional Growth Partnership in Toledo. Ohio also placed number two in the country, and had more micropolitans in the top 100 than any other state.

A complete list of the top 100 micropolitans and more information 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, which consistently ranks among the top communities nationally for economic development. Learn more about the great things going on at the company’s blog at

Reino’s offers live music on Saturdays

I was able to stop by to Reino’s Pizza and Pasta in downtown Tiffin on Saturday to listen to Free Wild, a local band led by Martin Koop. Free Wild performed mostly their own music, and it added a lot of great atmosphere to a fantastic restaurant. I love to go at lunchtime and enjoy the buffet, but this was one of my first opportunities to visit in the evenings. I really enjoyed it.

Upcoming bands include Tony Paulus (from Rusty Vinyl) unplugged and Brazin Bull. Weeks earlier Beautiful Loser played. The live music is playing from 8:30 to 11:30 pm, and in addition to the dinner menu, there is pizza available by the slice and $2 drafts. Here is some music from Saturday:

In 1950, Frankie Reino opened Reino’s Pizza in downtown Tiffin, Ohio as the very first pizza establishment in town. It continues today as a cornerstone of this community serving the finest pizza and Italian cuisine. Frankie’s Original pizza, lasagna, and the Italian buffet are favorites. John Reino started working at Reino’s in 1978, and he purchased the restaurant in 1983. In 2012, Reino’s Party Room on South Washington started, and it can seat up to 65 people.


SIEDC seeks Executive Assistant

PrintThe Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corporation (SIEDC) announced today that it has opened up the search for a new team member, an Executive Assistant, to join one of the most dynamic and successful economic development organizations in the country.

The Organization – SIEDC was founded in 1983 as an economic development nonprofit, which added community development in 1991 and downtown development in 2014. In 2013, SIEDC ranked in the top 5% of economic development agencies in the US, and last year it placed in the top ten nationally out of almost 600.

The Team - Our passionate, experienced team consists of Karen Bowers, our Director of Development, who has led community development and helped to run operations for almost a quarter century. She is also grants guru, with a success rate above 80 percent; and she has successfully brought more than $5 million into the county from 18 different sources in the last decade. Amy Reinhart, the second member of our team and our Downtown Development Coordinator, leads Tiffin’s efforts to become a Main Street community and oversees our downtown revitalization initiatives. David Zak, the President & CEO, leads the organization and performs the day-to-day economic development functions. Zak replaced retiring executive Rich Focht in January 2014, and Reinhart joined the team in June 2014.

The Position - The Executive Assistant position is a new, permanent, full-time, salaried ($30,000 per year in the approved budget) position that has been created to support the demonstrated success, large volume of projects and initiatives, and aggressive scope of work for 2015 and beyond. The Executive Assistant will perform critical duties that will enable the organization to run efficiently and effectively and will support the rest of the group. This person will work at SIEDC’s office at 19 W. Market St. in Tiffin, Ohio. His or her duties will include, but will not be limited to, the following:

  • Administrative
    • Working reception area, as needed
    • Answering phones
    • Scheduling meetings
    • Taking minutes
    • Various support activities for other team members
  • Operational
    • Handling bills, mail, office & kitchen supplies, filing
    • Assisting with property management
    • Planning and managing events
  • Other
    • Entering data and providing quality control
    • Various other duties as needed

The Ideal Candidate – The ideal candidate will be personable, professional, a self-starter, detail-oriented, and able to handle multiple projects and tasks at the same time. The ideal candidate will possess at least five years experience in successfully handling and enjoying performing administrative and/or operational duties for an organization. That candidate will also be a quick learner, have good oral and written communication skills, and thrive in a fast-paced and challenging environment. Familiarization and skill with Microsoft Office Suite (e.g., Word, Excel) highly desired; familiarization with Adobe products (e.g., Acrobat, Photoshop), Constant Contact, social media and/or a plus. High school diploma is required, and a candidate living in Seneca County is preferred.

The Process - SIEDC will be accepting resumes until 8:00 am, Monday, March 9, 2015. Resumes should be sent electronically to David Zak at Initial will be conducted up until Friday, March 13, 2015, with an offer made the following week. If an offer is made and accepted, then the candidate will be able to start right away and/or within two weeks after acceptance. Any questions, please contact David Zak at 419.912.1150.

Hoperoy’s Gift Shoppe celebrates 40+ years

2015_02_23 - Hoperoys WindowHoperoy’s Gift Shoppe was started in Tiffin in 1974. Current owner Diana Warnement purchased the quaint card, collectibles and gifts business in 1979, and it has been providing downtown Tiffin and the surrounding area a great place to pick up one of a kind items ever since. Last year marked its 40th anniversary in business, quite an achievement.

First, as a Hallmark store, it is the place to go for cards. Racks upon racks of cards for every occasion and mood. Upper end Hallmark cards, Shoebox greetings, funny/amusing, artistic, value cards…tons of selection. There’s a reason Hallmark is the number one manufacturer of greeting cards in the US – it’s the variety and quality.

Next, collectibles abound at Hoperoy’s. Diana carries more than 1,000 different Precious Moments figurines and is the sponsor of the Findlay Precious Moments Club. Waterville, Ohio-based artist George Carruth has a large display of his beautiful home and garden art for sale. You can also find a good selection of Sandicast figurines, Wendell August metal decor, and much more.

Lastly, you can find all kinds of gifts. College sports fans of Ohio State, Michigan, Notre Dame, as well as some sports fans can find everything from baby onesies to sports mugs and wall banners. There are several aroma-inducing options, including Root candles. There is a huge selection of double-walled insulated Tervis tumblers, Root candles, Trollbeads, Ty Beanie Babies, Robeez kids’ shoes, and many other unique gifts. Specialty food items like the salsas of Westerville-Ohio based CaJohns Fiery Foods and Waggoner Chocolates from North Canton, Ohio and Canton-based Ben Heggy’s chocolate and candy can also be found.

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Tiffin cuts crime again to historic lows

2014_04_02 - Tiffin Police

Press Release from the City of Tiffin – Feb. 2, 2015

The Tiffin Police Department‘s Mission Statement states that we are committed to providing a safe community by reducing crime through prevention, education and enforcement of the law and for the second straight year the UCR (Uniformed Crime Report) Part I Crimes have decreased in the City of Tiffin. There was a 6.7% decrease when comparing 2013 to 2014 in the overall Part I Crime.  (See chart below and attachment for more details.)

This is following a 60.3% decrease from the Part I Crimes in 2012 to 2013. (See below chart for a 6 year look back on the Part I stats). This is a direct result to our commitment to tackling the hard crimes in Tiffin whether they are drug busts, robberies, burglaries, thefts, or just the everyday nuisance type crimes. It is our belief that by tackling the small problems some of the big problems will disappear. There is a direct nexus to drug crimes and burglaries and larcenies.

The Uniform Crime Report represents statistics submitted to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, The eight crimes shown below are known as the Crime Index. They provide the “apples to apples” comparison from one jurisdiction to another – from one State to another. Since most States have different laws, this reduction to the simplest elements and crimes provide for a valid State-to-State comparison. All departments are responsible to collect this Part I information and forward it to the FBI.

UCR 2014

SIEDC releases Joint Justice Center studies

TIFFIN, OHIO – January 28, 2015 – The Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp. (SIEDC) released today two reports designed to assist public officials with the decision on a location for a joint county-municipal courts facility, also known as a Joint Justice Center. City and County officials, private investors, and SIEDC have been awaiting the results to help in the site selection process.

Burgess & NipleThe reports released today are designed to complement a state-funded Joint Justice Center Study published in March 2014 by Burgess & Niple and managed by the North Central Ohio Regional Council of Governments. That study was conducted to examine options to resolve security, privacy and other issues in the courts that “pose risk to the public, the City and the County.” After analyzing various options, it advocates for a consolidated courts concept because of operational savings and administrative benefits. The study specifically recommends a new 36,000 square foot facility on the site of the former Seneca County Courthouse, which would connect to the existing 18,000 square foot annex. It estimates the construction costs of that project to be approximately $8.5 million.

East Tower Study CoverStarted in July 2014, the privately-funded East Tower Feasibility Analysis released today examines the idea of repurposing the historic former Columbian High School for a Joint Justice Center as well as a multi-tenant office building. It concludes that the building is in “good condition,” an “architectural gem,” and that a Joint Justice Center should be pursued as a “prime use of the site.” The study also includes consideration of an alternative commercial use for the site, in the event it is not selected for a Joint Justice Center. SIEDC managed the study as a neutral, independent third party.

The study team–made up of the Gossman Group (Cincinnati), Schooley Caldwell Associates (Columbus,) GOP Limited (Cincinnati,) and Via Design (Grand Rapids, MI)–came up with an expandable courts design that renovates 22,000 square feet, adds 32,000 square feet, creates 43 onsite parking places, and includes a separate juvenile-probate sally port. It estimates the adjusted construction costs, with historic tax credits, to be approximately $10.0 million.

The study affirms that “renovating the East Tower into the JJC provides a win, win, win opportunity for the community. City & County government both win with a project that meets current needs and future JJC expansion as well as preserving an iconic landmark building. In addition, downtown Tiffin wins by retaining one of its strongest visual assets, gaining a town green for community functions & events that leverages other strategic investment.” The study also lists a variety of incentives and resources that could reduce the upfront cost and suggest that additional savings might be achieved through the interactive conceptual design process.

DDP CoverAlso being released today is an interim report of the publicly-funded Downtown Strategic Growth & Development Plan, which serves as an update and extension of the 2010 strategic plan. The new plan will redraft the downtown design guidelines as well as identify, review, and develop implementation plans for catalytic projects that will transform Tiffin’s downtown. Tiffin City Council approved funding for the study in October. A consultant team made up of the Gossman Group (Columbus), EDGE Landscape Architects and Planners (Columbus), and LSL Planning (Royal Oak, MI) began work in November.

This report assesses location decisions from a planning and placemaking perspective. It maintains that the guiding principles from the 2010 plan are still valid, and it applies them to the current situation. It concludes that the “East Tower location and preservation and enhancement of the existing green” is “by far the most beneficial,” “maximizes the potential economic impact;” and applies “best practices and also best implements the recommendations of the strategic downtown plan.”

In addition to releasing these reports, SIEDC is also presenting information describing the economic benefits of the project as well as both proposed locations. Keeping the project in the downtown is important because upwards of one hundred court employees and attorneys work in the downtown and numerous existing businesses there depend on them daily for their dining and shopping business. SIEDC also projected that the benefits of the East Tower location could translate into more than $5 million in new investment, 50 new jobs, and $1 million in new retail sales over the next five to ten years, which could represent new local tax revenue of up to $1.6 million over ten years when fully realized.

SIEDC’s President & CEO David Zak was happy with the results. “Our mission is to facilitate projects and to work on initiatives that make Tiffin and Seneca County a great place to live and grow a business. We feel that with the studies released today and our economic impact estimate, we are fulfilling that mission and working to provide positive, objective leadership in downtown, economic, and community development.”

SIEDC’s Board Chair Rob Huntington, President of Heidelberg University, concurred, “There is a strong sense that this a seminal moment in Tiffin’s and Seneca County’s history, and we want to help drive projects that will have the biggest transformational impact to the downtown and surrounding area. In the end, it is all about jobs and quality of life for years and decades to come.”


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


Tiffin kicks off $100,000 downtown grant program

Knights of Columbus building

Knights of Columbus building

First façade enhancement grant of 2015 awarded

TIFFIN, OHIO – January 27, 2015 – The City of Tiffin began the second year of its successful downtown Façade Enhancement Program by awarding a $4,900 grant to the historic Knights of Columbus Building, located at 49 E. Perry Street. The Architectural Board of Review approved the grant last week, and the property owner has decided to move forward with the column and trim repair and painting project.

Jack Felton, Grand Knight, was pleased to receive approval for the funds and is happy to announce this additional investment, “The Knights of Columbus have been part of this community since we were founded on Columbus Day in 1901.  We appreciate the support from the City which allows us to be here for many more years to come.”

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz thanked Knights of Columbus for their commitment and continues to be encouraged by Façade Enhancement Program’s impact, “This program has spurred a lot of activity in our downtown. These types of projects will continue the momentum and excitement that is building downtown.”

About the Knights of Columbus Lodge

Completed by 1922 and called “a splendid addition to the city” by the local newspaper, the historic building was designed by local architect George Netcher, who also designed the 1913 Mercy Hospital, the Elks Lodge, the Ohio Power Company offices at 45 S. Monroe St. and dozens of additional commercial and residential buildings throughout Tiffin and northwest Ohio. Last year, the Façade Enhancement Program assisted with door and window replacement for this building. (Source – John Huss, Architectural Board of Review Chair)

About the Façade Enhancement Program

This City of Tiffin reimbursement grant program was started in 2014 and covers 50 percent of eligible exterior improvements on residential and commercial structures within the downtown historic district. Each building is eligible up to $10,000 per calendar year.  Last year, $50,000 in available funds supported 11 projects, resulting in a total investment of more than $150,000. Learn more at (search Façade Enhancement.)


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 almost 600 micropolitans in the US. Learn more about the great things going on at the company’s blog at



Fostoria “right on track” for 2015

2015_01_22 - Fostoria Dream Team

The Fostoria “Dream Team” – Mayor Eric Keckler, Chamber Exec. Sally McDonald, and FEDC Director Renee Smith

I just attended the 100th annual meeting of the Fostoria Area Chamber of Commerce held at the beautiful Good Shepherd Home (which just celebrated a $2M expansion.) In attendance were scores of local and state leaders eager to celebrate the great year that Fostoria had and look forward to the year to come.

New Chamber Executive Director Sally McDonald kicked it off by sharing her theme of “I think I can; I think we can; I know we can; We can;” playing on the Little Engine That Could story. It was totally appropriate given Fostoria’s rail heritage and the fact that 1,000 trains go through the community every day. She set a course for focusing on positive messages – each attendee received the “homework” to provide a positive message for the 100 Days of Good News the Chamber will be sending out. She also pledged to commit to focusing on increasing member benefits and value.

Fostoria Economic Development Corporation chief Renee Smith provided energetic comments about how well things had gone last year, including how industry was expanding and hiring and sharing the fantastic statistic that 40% of all the available industrial properties were sold for a total of $11M+ worth of investment (want to do a future post on that.) She also talked about how her top three priorities for 2015 would be (1) Retention & Expansion; (2) Marketing; and (3) Attraction.

If you haven’t heard, Fostoria has a new tagline – “We’re right on track.” Well, with the great businesses there, a town full of great people, and the Fostoria Dream Team (see above picture), the future of Fostoria is bright indeed.

New photography studio to open in downtown Tiffin

Melissa Perry - Outside AngleTIFFIN, OHIO – January 19, 2015 Melissa Perry Photography has made it public that they will be opening a new downtown studio at 70 E. Market Street. The lease was signed towards the end of last year, renovations are fully underway, and the business expects to open its new location within a month.

An Ohio native, Melissa Perry started her custom photography business six years ago, and the company has grown to the point of needing a storefront studio. After identifying the renovated 1854 Laird Arcade as her preferred location, she applied for a downtown Façade Enhancement Grant to assist with exterior improvements and was approved last month. Other businesses to open in the Laird within the last year include Gem Yoga & Life Enrichment, Burrito Loco, the Beehive Café, law firm Fraser Clemens, Knights of Columbus Insurance, Z Pulse Studios, and Level Up.

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz was pleased with this latest announcement, “I want to congratulate Melissa and wish her well as she moves forward with her project. It’s fantastic to see how vibrant our downtown is becoming.” Downtown Development Coordinator Amy Reinhart has been working with the business and is excited to see it move forward. “Attracting artists like Melissa to locate downtown is part of our strategic plan,” Reinhart said. “We believe it enhances our brand and creates a more interesting visitor experience.”

About Melissa Perry Photography

Founded in 2008, Melissa Perry Photography is a high-end, full-service photography studio specializing in custom photography for various occasions, including weddings, family pictures, and senior portraits.  Melissa also photographs lifestyle sessions and seeks to provide her clients with a unique and memorable experience that is unlike anything else you can find locally.  She has worked hard to bring a luxe and exclusive feel not only to her photo sessions, but also to the studio which will house photo shoots, client meetings and many other exciting events.   Find additional information 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


Splinters Cafe to open in downtown Tiffin

Splinter's Cafe - DoorNew business to open and create 15-20 jobs

TIFFIN, OHIO – January 18, 2014 – Splinters Café and Spirits announced that they will be locating their second location at 25 E. Market Street in downtown Tiffin. The property will be closed on later this month, and renovations are set to begin. The restaurant expects to open in the spring of 2015 and be open from 5 am to 9 pm, Tuesday through Saturday.

Splinters Café is an American style casual dining restaurant that has been serving the residents of Carey, Ohio and the Northwest Ohio region breakfast, sandwiches, chicken, steaks and other hearty fare since 2006. The project is expected to begin with a staff of 15 and possibly hire up to 20, depending on need. Renovations to the interior, exterior and potential back outdoor patio are being planned.

“It’s great to move forward with the project,” owner Dave Underwood said. “We love the location, want to renovate and restore the building, and are looking forward to providing the Splinters experience here in Tiffin.” Underwood is also pleased about the city’s Façade Enhancement Program and expects to apply. Last month, Tiffin City Council approved $100,000 in new funds for the 50 percent reimbursement grant program.

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz congratulated Underwood on the announcement. “We are doing everything we can to revitalize the East Market Street area and the entire downtown. This is another piece in that puzzle. We welcome Splinters Café to Tiffin.”

About Splinters Café and Spirits

Founded in 2006 by seasoned restaurateur Dave Underwood, Splinters Café and Spirits is a casual dining establishment operating in Carey, Ohio. The restaurant offers a full breakfast and dinner menu including subs, salads, chicken, and steaks. The restaurant has a strong local following and enjoys a solid reputation.


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