Small Business Seminars held monthly in Tiffin

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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

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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

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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.

Benchwarmers Restaurant and Delivery now open

20161223_141602Tiffin’s newest restaurant is celebrating their grand opening this week! First-time business owners Brandyn Banks-Sherer and Jason Miller have opened Benchwarmers, located at 105 Allen St. (formerly Megan’s Alpine), a restaurant serving traditional American food for dine-in, carry-out or delivery.

Banks-Sherer and Miller met working together at a restaurant, and decided that they would like to build a new restaurant together. “I’ve never worked with anyone like Jason,” Banks-Sherer said. “He’s very motivated.” Miller agreed: “We gelled really well together and we were both ready to work for ourselves.”

Plans for the new venture started taking shape in February 2016, and the partners put together a complete business plan over the next couple months. They found a location and building renovations began in summer. Banks-Sherer and Miller decided on a theme for “the sports lover who didn’t play sports.” The interior features the benches from the old Carey school, so that patrons can “ride the pine,” as well as local sports memorabilia. “There are no pro-sports teams’ jerseys or anything like that,” Banks-Sherer said. “It’s about Tiffin.”

The menu features burgers (including their signature, “The Benchwarmer”), sandwiches, wings, and fresh fries. They have also decided to keep on a favorite menu item from the Alpine: the breaded cutlet sandwich, affectionately named “The Alpine.” The best part is, all of the menu items are available for delivery, even late at night.

The opening hours are Sunday – Thursday 11:00AM – 12:30AM and Friday and Saturday 11:00AM – 1:30AM with delivery until close, dining room open until 10:00PM, and late hours for sporting events.

Stop by or call in!

First annual Local Job Fair set for March 10

job_fair_imageThe Tiffin City Schools Business Advisory Council is sponsoring a job fair on March 10 at Tiffin Columbian High School. The primary purpose of the fair is to assist high school seniors who don’t plan to attend post-secondary classes in the fall.  It is also an opportunity for those who do plan to continue their education to learn about employers who will have a need to hire individuals with the skills they will be learning.  In addition, this event will get 8th graders thinking about their futures and give them the opportunity to learn about local career opportunities and the skills and education they will need to succeed.

The agenda is as follows:

10-11am:  8th graders from the Tiffin Middle School will meet with the employers

11am-12pm:  Lunch

12pm: Columbian seniors will arrive

1-2:30pm:  High school seniors from 10 other area schools will be in attendance

2:30-4pm:  Heidelberg and Tiffin University students have been invited and community residents will also be able to attend

There is space for approximately 50 tables and to date 30 Seneca County employers have responded to express an interest in attending.  To reserve a table, contact Pat Smith at Tiffin City Schools at 419-447-2515.

Students should bring a resume and be prepared for a brief introduction interview.

The Business Advisory Council is committee of the Tiffin City Board of Education and is comprised of people from industry, retail, public relations and journalism, medical fields, construction, government agencies along with parents and educators from elementary through higher education. Members look at the trends in the community, employment needs, and other issues to develop a plan that helps students become career ready.  Together they develop curriculum and/or study existing curriculum and activities that would teach necessary skills, career awareness, and economic knowledge while preparing the students to be good citizens. Meetings began in February 2016 and accomplishments include:

  • Implemented the REACH program for the TCS 4th-6th graders
  • Created student advisory committees at the middle school and high school
  • Have plans for Camp Invention this summer
  • Have plans to implement the STRIVE program for high school students at risk to not graduate (Coordinated with the Tiffin Rotary Club).

Seminar: How Industrial Technology Disrupts American Manufacturing

image001The Findlay-Hancock County Economic Development is hosting a Smart Factory Breakfast Seminar Presented by FORCAM, Inc. titled How Industrial Technology Disrupts American Manufacturing.

The event will be held at Owens Community College (3200 Bright Road in Findlay) in the Education & Wellness Building/Tiered Classroom on Tuesday, Feb. 2. Networking and breakfast will begin at 7:30 a.m., followed by the presentation from 8-9 a.m. Sponsored by FORCAM, the event is free of charge.

The presentation is geared specifically to the CEO, COO and CFO level and covers the following topics:

  • How to reduce waste, downtimes, cycle times
  • How to increase productivity with a fast ROI
  • How to measure production floor productivity today
  • How to increase capacity on all assets
  • How to build a smarter, more economical and leaner production environment
  • How to use OEE as a Key Performance Indicator in American Manufacturing

Invited Experts:

To register online, click here. For more information download the flier.

 

 

First Façade Grants of 2017 approved

ABR approves grants for five downtown buildings

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33 S. Washington St.

TIFFIN, OHIO – January 17, 2017 – Today, the Architectural Board of Review (ABR) approved five Façade Enhancement Grants, the first grants approved in 2017. The projects were awarded a combined total of $30,850, for a total reinvestment in downtown Tiffin of $65,500.

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz says the program is off to a strong start. “Last year was amazing! We ran out of funds halfway through 2016,” he said. “We are in our third year of the program and it is more in demand than ever; the momentum just keeps building.”

Three buildings were awarded grant funds for roofing projects: St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, 25-27 S. Washington St., and 29-31 S. Washington St. Additionally, 132-134 S. Washington St. (Viewpoint Graphics) was approved for a brick tuck-pointing and overall façade painting project, and 33 S. Washington St. was approved for replacement windows.

The building at 33 S. Washington St. will be the first to take advantage of the “façade return” allowance approved in May 2016. Building owner Ned Behm appreciated the ABR including the unique situation. “I received grant funding for the front of my building in 2015, but it didn’t take into account the windows that were a part of the overal ‘façade’ but not technically facing the street,” he said. “I am pleased that program was amended to accommodate my building as well as the other buildings downtown with the same issue.”

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.