Seneca County projects total $108M in 2016

SIEDC announces new community branding and downtown programs

TIFFIN, OHIO – March 23, 2017 – The Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corporation held its Annual Meeting Thursday night, recapping the successes of 2016 and expanding on its direction for 2017.

In 2016, SIEDC recorded 129 development projects throughout Seneca County, creating 227 new jobs and a total investment of $108 million. This earned the county a ranking of 10th in the nation among 576 communities of similar size for the second time in three years.

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz is excited about the momentum: “Tiffin is gaining attention as a community that welcomes new businesses and creates an environment where established businesses can confidently expand.” Seneca County Commissioner Mike Kerschner agrees. “Each year we are seeing more development and expansion in all sectors throughout the County,” he said.

As part of further community promotion efforts, it was announced that Upward, an Ohio-based branding firm, has been chosen to create a community brand through a partnership between SIEDC, the Seneca Regional Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Services, the City of Tiffin, and Seneca County. The firm was unanimously chosen from a pool of seven applicants by a steering committee of stakeholders. Details are expected to be finalized in the next few weeks.

“We are excited to solidify a recognizable identity for our community,” Chamber President John Detwiler said. “The time is right for a new community brand, one that unifies all of its unique parts.”

It was also announced that the Downtown Tiffin Main Street program, administered by SIEDC, was nationally accredited as a Main Street Community after an intensive review process. In December 2016, Tiffin became an Ohio Main Street Community through Heritage Ohio, recognized at the state level.

Finally, plans were also made public for a new city-funded downtown Alley Improvement Plan, in partnership with SIEDC’s downtown program. The new initiative will focus on the beautification of alleys with an aim toward improving pedestrian walkability. Improvements will be decided on a project by project basis and could include decorative asphalt, planters, seating, improved lighting and, in some cases, removable bollards closing the alley to vehicle traffic. The first project will be the alley across from the Ritz Theater, connecting South Washington St. to City Lot 3. Utility and design work has already begun and the project is slated for completion in 2018.

Mayor Montz believes the program will improve pedestrian safety and downtown accessibility. “With all of the exciting revitalization happening downtown we are seeing more foot traffic and a need for pedestrian-friendly alleyways to connect our parking lots to the main streets downtown,” he said.

About SIEDC
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 in Tiffin and Seneca County at www.senecasuccess.com.

ABR approves two Façade Enhancement Grants

$40,000 remains in city fund for 2017

Elks LodgeTIFFIN, OHIO – March 7, 2017 – Today, the Architectural Board of Review (ABR) approved two Façade Enhancement Grants for downtown building improvements. The projects were awarded a combined total of $5,337, for a total reinvestment in downtown Tiffin of $10,675, leaving close to $40,000 available of the $100,000 set aside by the City of Tiffin for 2017.

The Tiffin Elks Lodge, located at 106 E. Perry St., will be replacing the third floor windows to match the second floor, and repairing stucco. This is the third grant the building has received, one for each year of the program. “Being able to apply for Façade Grant funding each year has allowed us to make a strategic plan for building repairs,” Elks Exalted Ruler Joe Steinmetz said. “It also eases some of the burden of maintaining the building.”

Phat Cakes Exterior 2The Phat Cakes building, located at 45 S. Washington St. will also be undergoing some window repair. It was approved for a grant including the replacement and repair of wood trim and flashing around the front windows, as well as roof, gutter and shingle repair.

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz was pleased to see the grant is being used both by repeat applicants and newcomers. “One of today’s approvals shows how the grant has fostered continuous improvements to our downtown buildings, and the other shows that there are still building owners taking advantage of the grant for the first time,” he said.

About the Façade Enhancement Program
This City of Tiffin reimbursement grant program was started in 2014 and provides a 50 percent match of funds for eligible exterior improvements on residential and commercial structures within the downtown historic district, up to $10,000. Each building is eligible to receive up to $10,000 per calendar year.  For more information, visit www.senecasuccess.com (search “Façade Enhancement”).

About SIEDC
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 in Tiffin and Seneca County at www.senecasuccess.com.

Fostoria #10 most affordable place to live in Ohio

smartasset2_1000x563_2-4-2014Fostoria was recently ranked the number 10 most affordable place to live in Ohio, according to a study by SmartAsset, a financial calculation firm.

Every year, researchers consider closing costs, real estate taxes, homeowners insurance and mortgage rates over five years among cities with a population of more than 5,000, then see how those figures fit with the communities’ median household income.

This year, Northwest Ohio claimed three of the top 10 slots with Fostoria in the number 10 spot, joining Delphos (#3) and Northwood (#7). Check out the complete SmartAsset study here.

Fostoria is not the only affordable place to live in Seneca County. In 2014, the cost of living in Tiffin was about 20% below the national average, and in 2016 it was listed one of the 20 Most Affordable College Towns.

Seneca County in Top 10 for economic development in US

site-selection-magazine-march-2017Earns second such ranking in four years

TIFFIN, OHIO – March 2, 2017 – The Seneca Industrial & Economic Development Corporation (SIEDC) announced today that Seneca County has again placed in the top ten nationally on Site Selection Magazine’s rankings for large, private economic development projects – placing tenth out of the 576 micropolitans in the US for the honor. Site Selection has been annually ranking states and cities since 1978.

This is the sixth year in a row that the Tiffin micropolitan area has ranked in the top 100 nationally and the fifth year for ranking in the top ten percent. Qualifying projects must involve a capital investment of at least $1 million, create at least 20 new jobs, or add at least 20,000 sq. ft. of new floor area. Six Seneca County projects qualified for Site Selection, including expansions at Arnold Machine, Church and Dwight, Owens Corning, Tiffin Metal Products, Poet Energy, and Mennel Milling.

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz cited partnership as a driver of economic development for the county. “Having the city, county and economic development organizations in sync plays a key role in keeping us at the top of development, expansion, investment and employment,” he said. Fostoria Mayor Eric Keckler agreed, “We are pleased with the economic development progress we see going on in Fostoria and in Seneca County. This is a great honor.” Seneca County Commission President Mike Kerschner agreed: “Throughout the county we are seeing record growth in all sectors. The climate for all business and overall quality of life improves with each addition.”

This year, Ohio ranked as the number two state for development projects and the entire Northwest Ohio region posted strong numbers, with Findlay taking the number one micropolitan slot, Defiance tying with Seneca County for tenth, and Toledo ranking seventh in its division. “Northwest Ohio has built incredible momentum over the past few years,” said Dean Monske, President & CEO of the Regional Growth Partnership in Toledo. “National recognition is a testament to the fact that the region is an excellent area to locate or expand a business and to the hard work of our partners in economic development as well as public officials.”

A press release from Site Selection magazine and a complete list of the top 100 micro- and metropolitans is can be found here and more information can be found at siteselection.com.

About SIEDC
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 in Tiffin and Seneca County at www.senecasuccess.com.

Small Business Seminars held monthly in Tiffin

2014_03_24 - BillAuxter

Small Business Development Center Director Bill Auxter

Bill Auxter, Director of the Ohio Small Business Development Center at Terra State Community College, hosts a free, monthly Small Business Basics seminar at the Seneca Regional Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Services. On average, Bill works with more than 150 small businesses each year, which includes pre-ventures, start-ups, and existing businesses.

The Business Basics seminar is a two-hour session designed to answer questions about starting, buying or expanding a small business. Participants are walked through the basics of name registration, licensing, taxes, advisors, business entities, employees, insurance, financing, business planning and more.

The seminars take place at the Seneca Regional Chamber and Visitor Services’ Community Room from 9:30 – 11:30 a.m. on the following 2017 dates:

  • January 11
  • February 8
  • March 15
  • April 12
  • May 10
  • June 14
  • August 9
  • September 13
  • October 11
  • November 8

To register, contact Bill Auxter at 419.559.2210 or bauxter@terra.edu. Click here for more general information.

PT Services – 45 years in Seneca County

mark-somodiMeet Mark Somodi, the CEO and Administrator of PT Services Rehabilitation, Inc., a healthcare provider offering physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech-language pathology, and athletic training services. Their headquarters and administrative office is located on the south end of Tiffin at 2550 S. SR 100, and this year they are celebrating 45 years in business.

PT Services has been incorporated since 1972, with its humble beginnings right here in Tiffin!

Today, the Ohio-based company has 308 employees and manages seven out-patient clinics, six hospital contracts, 25 school district contracts and two nursing home contracts while also providing workplace therapy across the state of Ohio. In 2011, PT became an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) company, turning ownership over to their employees.

The company is in a trend of steady expansion. “We grew from 260 employees to 308 over the past 5 years,” Somodi said. “Our company currently services the state of Ohio and our development group is making great strides in the state of Indiana.”

Somodi has been with the company for 22 years and is continually improving the business through employee education and engagement. His management includes the “Somodi Principles” which are collaboration, cohesiveness, communication, education and trust.

Part of their growth relies on the retention and hiring of employees to fulfill long-term relationships. Since becoming an ESOP company, Somodi says turnover is down and employees are very involved in the operation of the business. He also stressed the importance of changing with the times and using social media to reach prospective employees and new customers. “It’s hard to find licensed therapists, and people aren’t going to the newspaper to find a job anymore,” Somodi said. “Social media is a great recruiting tool and creates a pool of potential employees.”

Contest winners open for business

wso-winning

Zoe and Spenser with the contest judges.

In September of 2016 the Tiffin Community Reinvestment Group held a contest to give a space to an aspiring entrepreneur rent free for one year. From the applicant pool, seven possible businesses were chosen to present their business in front of a panel, who decided the winner. This week, contest winners Zoe Dolch and Spenser Blackiston will open Washington Street Outfitters in the Laird Arcade.

Their store is located on the interior of the Laird Arcade (corner of Market and Washington Streets) and features men and women’s clothing and jewelry as well as new and used vinyl records and home decor. “It’s a mixed-merchandise approach, ” Zoe said. “We have hundreds of items and different styles as well as staple items.”

As winners of the contest, in addition to free rent, they received two business organization sessions with professional organizer Reannon Hayes, six sessions from KKR Consult, a business consulting and dream coaching service, and meetings with Retail is Detail (provided by Heritage Ohio), which provided marketing and demographic information for the area. The Seneca Regional Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Services provided one year of free membership, which includes participation in the Chamber Cash gift certificate program.

After winning the contest, they were also contacted by groups at both Heidelberg and Tiffin Universities looking to take an active role in marketing. The Enactus group from Heidelberg has been helping the pair since a couple weeks after the contest, assisting with tasks ranging from building clothing racks to planning the grand opening. Tiffin University marketing students also started working on a marketing campaign that will be presented to Zoe and Spenser upon completion.

“I love the students,” Zoe said. “Working with them has been a great experience and a lot of fun.”

Zoe and Spenser are recent college graduates who were originally looking to start careers elsewhere and defer their dream of opening their own store when they learned about the business contest. “We didn’t know if we could win, but we knew we could put our whole hearts in it,” Zoe said. “We didn’t anticipate this opportunity, it just came about and it felt right.”

Property Manager for the Tiffin Community Reinvestment Group and organizer of the contest Tyler Shuff said he is working with runners-up of the contest to help them launch their business ideas. “The contest was great and brought everyone out of the woodwork that had an idea. Even though there was only one winner, I want to help all seven finalists,” he said. “We are looking at doing another contest within the next year or two, with the goal of getting people downtown and giving their business a head-start.”

Two of the finalists now have office space in the Laird Arcade – Small Victories Financial Coaching and Lascala IT. Shuff is currently working with a wine and craft bar, dance studio and business incubator to find space downtown.

ABR approves five Façade Enhancement Grants

147-madison

147 Madison Street

Total of ten grants approved in 2017

TIFFIN, OHIO – February 8, 2017 – Yesterday, the Architectural Board of Review (ABR) approved five Façade Enhancement Grants for downtown building improvements. The projects were awarded a combined total of $23,274 , for a total reinvestment in downtown Tiffin of $46,550, leaving $45,800 available of the $100,000 set aside by the City of Tiffin for 2017.

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz urges interested building owners to submit their 2017 applications quickly. “We depleted the city Façade Grant funds in six months last year,” he said. “At this rate, it is likely we will go through the 2017 funds even faster.”

The former Crystal Traditions building at 147 Madison Street was approved for a $9,000 grant for a $18,100 project. Improvements include the replacement of storefront windows, man doors and a garage door, as well roof repairs.

The Hank and Associates building at 137 S. Washington Street was approved for a grant of $2,250 for a $4,500 project. Improvements include exterior painting and new signage.

The buildings as 187 and189 South Washington Street received separate approvals for window replacement projects for a combined grant total of $6,000 toward nearly $15,000 in exterior renovations.

Lastly, 91-95 East Perry Street received a $5,950 grant approval for a $11,900 roof repair and painting project.

The Façade Enhancement Program was established in September of 2014. At the end of 2016, the City of Tiffin had invested $250,000 in 38 projects, for a total reinvestment in downtown revitalization of nearly $1.2 million.

About the Façade Enhancement Program
This City of Tiffin reimbursement grant program was started in 2014 and provides a 50 percent match of funds for eligible exterior improvements on residential and commercial structures within the downtown historic district, up to $10,000. Each building is eligible to receive up to $10,000 per calendar year.  For more information, visit www.senecasuccess.com, search “Façade Enhancement”)

About SIEDC
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 in Tiffin and Seneca County at www.senecasuccess.com.

Heidelberg Career and Internship Fair Set for April 11

career-fair-flyer-1Heidelberg University is hosting a career and internship fair on April 11 from 1 p.m.-4 p.m. at the Wickham Great Hall (see the campus map). The fair is an opportunity for students as well as community members to interact with 20-30 local companies.

Space is still available for those wanting to exhibit. A table and tablecloth are provided as well as sign up sheets and electrical outlet access by request.

To request a space or more information, contact Mark McKee, Director of Career Development & Placement at Heidelberg University, at 419.448.2194 or mmckee@heidelberg.edu.

Trivia Night in Tiffin heads downtown

trivia-night-in-downtown-tiffinThe Tiffin-Seneca Public Library has teamed up with SIEDC to bring their popular Trivia Nights in Tiffin downtown!

Announcement from TSPL:

Tiffin-Seneca Public Library, the Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp. (SIEDC) and Phat Cakes will partner to host “Trivia Night in Downtown Tiffin” on Tuesday, February 28, 7:00 to 8:30 pm at Phat Cakes (45 S. Washington St., downtown Tiffin.)

Hosted by Tiffin Middle School History teacher, Ben Gillig, families of all ages are invited to compete in four rounds of general trivia questions. Answers will be judged by local celebrities that include John Reino (Reino’s Pizza & Pasta), Jessica Williams (Bailiwicks Coffee Company) and Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz.

Participants are asked to form teams of two to four members, which can be composed of all ages. Teams will write their answers to be judged by local celebrities. Questions will be geared towards ages 12 and up. No phones, tablets or electronic devices may be accessed during the contest. A traveling trophy will be awarded to the winning team.

That night, Phat Cakes will offer $2 tacos, from 5:00 to 7:00 pm. Participants are encouraged to order prior to the event.

Space is very limited. Team captains are asked to register by calling the Library at 419-447-3751 or through the library’s online calendar at http://bit.ly/FebTrivia.

For more information please call the Library.