Final Façade Enhancement Grants of 2017 approved

Funds exhausted in record time

2014_04_15 - Bears DenTIFFIN, OHIO – April 18, 2017 – Today, the Architectural Board of Review (ABR) approved two Façade Enhancement Grants for downtown building improvements, depleting the $100,000 set aside by the City of Tiffin for 2017. The projects were awarded a combined total of $12,754, for a total reinvestment in downtown Tiffin of $50,800, bringing the total investment for 2017 façade grants to $266,000.

The Bear’s Den, located at 60-68 E. Perry St., received approval for a $10,000 grant. The $21,000 project is to include replacement of second floor windows and first floor doors, balcony and tile repairs, painting, and the addition of exterior lighting.

The building at 92 S. Washington St. was the final Façade Enhancement approval of 2017 and received the remainder of the city funds. A grant was approved in the amount of $2,754 for a nearly $30,000 roof repair project.

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz is pleased with the continued success of the city funded Façade Enhancement Grant Program. “It has been another record year for the façade program,” he said. “We have had 17 projects approved this year, the most since the program began in 2014, and all of the allotted funds were used within just four months.”

Since the Façade Enhancement Program began, 54 projects have been approved for funding and $1.4 million invested in downtown buildings.

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  (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, 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

Bourbon bar announced for downtown Tiffin

The Renaissance to open in late 2017


Dave Spridgeon prepares a cocktail.

TIFFIN, OHIO – April 13, 2017 – Dave Spridgeon, partner in the Bourbon Affair of Findlay, has announced plans for a bourbon bar in downtown Tiffin. Located at 129 S. Washington St. and named The Renaissance Refined Spirits, the bar will feature a wide variety of whiskey and wine with a Roaring Twenties theme.

“My hope is to have the widest whiskey variety in the state,” Spridgeon said. Along with whiskey and cocktails, The Renaissance will also provide a range of other beverages including 20-30 wine options and twelve beers on tap – half domestic and half craft brews.

The menu will also offer three small plate options, and patrons are encouraged to order outside food to enjoy at the bar. “We would like to work with local restaurants, and complement other downtown businesses,” Spridgeon said.

Spridgeon also plans to hold regular events, including a monthly whiskey tasting featuring distilleries, and special event such as a Kentucky Derby party and a party commemorating the end of Prohibition.

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz is excited for the new development downtown: “The Renaissance will further our vision of making downtown Tiffin a destination, and provide another high-quality option for residents. This is not just another bar, this is a full experience.”

Spridgeon says it’s about the atmosphere: “If I go to another city, I want to taste their flair, to go home and tell people, ‘you won’t believe it, you need to experience this.’”

Preparations for the opening include a renovation of the interior of the building, carrying the theme of the 1920s throughout. Servers will even dress in period costume. The target completion date is set for late summer 2017.

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

Sentinel students compete at state SkillsUSA Championships

sentinel logoMore than 100 Vanguard-Sentinel Career Center students traveled to Columbus this week to participate in the SkillsUSA Ohio Championships, bringing home 71 medals.

The students displayed projects either as individuals or in groups, showcases projects that they have been working on throughout the year. Students from all 12 Vanguard-Sentinel District programs competed in the chapter display.

Thirty-five Sentinel students won gold medals, giving them a shot at the national competition in Louisville, Ky this June. The district also brought home 22 silver and 14 bronze medals.

Congratulations to all of the Vanguard-Sentinel students and educators!

About Sentinel Career Center
The Seneca County-based Sentinel Career & Technology Center is located in Tiffin (central Seneca County), is part of the two-county district, and serves 560 students (1,100 district-wide). The District received As across the board on its report card from the Ohio Department of Education for technical skill attainment (92%), graduation rate (95% for four years), and post-program placement (98%). Sentinel is also the only vocational technical school in the nation to receive the National School of Character designation from The school has also had multiple students compete nationally at the SkillsUSA challenge.

About SkillsUSA
SkillsUSA is a partnership of students, teachers and industry working together to ensure America has a skilled work force. SkillsUSA helps each student excel. SkillsUSA improves the quality of America’s skilled workforce through a structured program of citizenship, leadership, employability, technical and professional skills training.

Coppus Motors receives Mercedes-Benz “Best of the Best” award

mercedes best of the best

Local auto dealer Coppus Motors recently received a national award from Mercedes-Benz for their 2016 performance:

Press release from Coppus Motors

Mercedes-Benz USA (MBUSA) has announced that Coppus Motors, Inc. of Tiffin, Ohio has once again received the prestigious Mercedes-Benz Best of the Best Dealer Recognition Award based on their performance in 2016.

The “Best of the Best” Program recognizes dealers for their exemplary performance in sales, service and parts, as well as excellence in operations and customer experience. The award supports the Mercedes-Benz brand and recognizes exceptional dealers that rise above all others through achievement and outstanding results.

Coppus Motors performance in 2016 placed them among the upper echelon of all Mercedes-Benz Dealers across the country. They are among 59 dealers out of 383 in the United States to earn this honor, and one of only 4 dealerships in the states of Ohio, Michigan, and Indiana. This contribution helps make Mercedes-Benz the #1 Luxury Automobile brand in the United States, as well as globally.

Coppus Motors Inc. has been in business since 1927 in Tiffin, OH. They began offering the Mercedes-Benz brand line in 1954, making them the oldest continuously operating Mercedes-Benz Dealer in North America.

ABR approves two Façade Enhancement Grants

Projects total nearly $80,000 in downtown investment

20170321_131351TIFFIN, OHIO – April 4, 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 $20,000, for a total reinvestment in downtown Tiffin of $78,000, leaving $23,000 available of the $100,000 set aside by the City of Tiffin for 2017.

The largest project is the façade of 130 S. Washington St. (the former Sports Cuts building), which will be restored to its 1941 look. Work will include removing the brick work added in 1979 and rebuilding the 1941 storefront, including front windows. Second and third floor windows will also be replaced. The total project cost is estimated at $46,000.

In the same block, 144 S. Washington St. (the Bookmyer building), will be receiving a $32,000 update. The aluminum facing on the front of the building will be removed and the previous look of the building will be restored, including the original concrete columns and storefront windows.

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz is pleased to see so many building owners downtown planning restoration projects. “The atmosphere of improvement downtown is contagious,” he said. “The Façade Enhancement Program is helping us transform the downtown.”

Last month, 135 S. Washington St. (Cabin Creations) received a $6,800 grant for a $13,600 roof and chimney repair project, bringing the remaining total of funds for 2017 to $23,000.

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  (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, 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

Ward Law Office helps inventors obtain patents, trademarks

20170316_143837Meet registered patent attorney Jake Ward and his staff at Ward Law Office LLC. Jake works alongside his wife and Business Manager, Kristi; Office Manager, Jenn; and Associate Attorney, AJ, in their office on the second floor of the Laird Arcade building, in downtown Tiffin. The patent and trademark law firm opened their doors this January, although Jake has been practicing patent law for over 12 years.

Quite simply, “We help inventors.  That’s our job,” Jake explains. They have opened over fifty new cases, with more than ten new clients, since January. The firm represents independent inventors and businesses locally, and across the United States.  Local companies include Cooper Tire, Ballreich’s, Ralph’s Joy of Living, and Creative Plastic Concepts. The firm also helps many foreign companies, in countries such as the UK, Brazil, China, Israel, and Canada.

Usually, patent attorneys congregate in large cities, and you pay a premium.  Locating his office in Tiffin has allowed Jake to keep his rates more affordable to entrepreneurs and small businesses. “I’ve been in the Laird a few years; it’s a great space,” Jake said. “I like the energy here, and it’s fun to be a part of it.”

Jake said that at any given time there are about 500,000 patent applications pending in the United States. With only roughly 40,000 practicing registered patent attorneys and nearly 10,000 patent examiners, the process can be lengthy.

The patent process takes about three years, while the trademark process takes about six months to one year, on average. First, the firm learns about the invention, then they conduct research to see if it can be patented. They then file the patent application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) in Washington D.C., and argue the merits until an agreement is reached and a new patent is issued.  Once filed, and prior to issuance of the patent, the invention is considered “Patent Pending.”

Jake is also a recognized authority in his field. He is an adjunct professor teaching patent law and patent practice at the University of Toledo, College of Law.  He often speaks to chambers of commerce, business incubators, technical organizations, and libraries on the topic. “I try to educate people about the changing state of the law,” he said. “Due to the America Invents Act in 2011, which overhauled the patent process in the United States, patent law has changed more over the past decade than it had in the previous 60 years.”

He also maintains a patent and trademark law blog, Anticipate This!, which sheds some light on the industry and his business, while also pointing out humorous and interesting patents.

Jake encourages anyone with an idea to consult with him – “You don’t have to be a genius to be an inventor,” Jake said. “If you’ve solved a problem, then you’ve invented – in a sense, we’re all inventors. So, if you’re considering a new product or process, come talk to us.”  Ward Law Office can be reached by email at or by telephone at (419) 408-5500.

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Tiffin Aire at the Seneca County Airport

20160907_151604Tiffin Aire, Inc. is the company that runs the Seneca County Airport, located at 1778 W US 224 in Tiffin. The company is owned by Brad and Kim Newman, the second generation of the family-owned business. The airport is a unique asset for Seneca County and Northwest Ohio.

The Seneca County Airport is a 24-hour fueling station, a propeller shop, an airplane storage location, an FFA pilot examination location and testing center, an aircraft sales location (one of only three in Ohio), a chartered flight provider and more. The business has 33 employees including pilots, front office, and technically skilled positions in the airplane frame and propeller shop.

The company was established in 1965 and dedicated in 1968 by Kim’s parents, Dwight and Jeanne Gnepper. It began with only three employees, two single engine aircraft, two hangars, and an office. Over the years, the Gneppers expanded the business, selling it to the Newmans upon their retirement in 1989. By 1996 Tiffin Aire offered aircraft charter, flight instruction and rental, aircraft sales, aircraft maintenance, parts and oil sales, and propeller/governor sales and service.

Tiffin Aire is one of only 13 propeller shops in the entire country. The prop shop was built in 1997 for $750,000, with another $500,000 in equipment. They service all kinds of propellers, and perform inspections and mandatory “overhauls” every six years. There are no chemicals used to strip the paint from the parts, reducing waste, and all grinding of the blades is done by hand.  They are also able to repair wings, and about once a year, they restore an antique aircraft, like an airplane from the 1940’s sent down from Canada that is currently in one of their hangar bays.

The airport currently has 18 separate hangars, the most recent built in 2015 for $400,000. There are 52 planes based in Tiffin, and storage at the Tiffin Aire facility includes oil, fuel, service and a private hangar. Brad says a lot of their business used to come from local business owners keeping their own private planes, however, that is not the case today.

Over the last several years, they have seen their charter business grow. “We have a great location for people coming into town, or stopping over for repairs,” he said. “We’ve got a great network with the businesses in Tiffin, and customers can walk to local restaurants and stores.”

One way Brad would like to increase traffic to the airport and to Seneca County is through a runway expansion. The current runway is 4,000 linear feet. In order to entertain commercial flights, it would need to be expanded to 5,000 feet. The closest airport able to accommodate commercial flights is in Findlay, which does not offer as many services as the Seneca County Airport. “We’d all benefit from a longer runway,” Brad said.

While the runway expansion is in the works, it could be years before the project begins.

Another way the airport benefits the community is through the Federal Excise Tax. For every gallon of airplane fuel sold, 21.9 cents goes to a tax fund that can only be used for airport improvements. This tax applies whether you purchase fuel at an airport, or if you purchase a ticket on a commercial airline. Since 1989, Brad has collected $4 million from that fund, which provides a 90/10 split on improvements, saving the county money as well as bringing funds spent by citizens back to Seneca County.

Brad attributes the business’ success to great community support, and giving back to the community. “I always tried to make my own way and didn’t ask too much,” he said. “And I always supported our local companies and vocational schools.”

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State leaders gather for first-ever business town hall

Agency heads to hold public State Directors Summit on April 4

Prior to the State of the State address given by Governor Kasich in Sandusky, leaders of four state agencies will gather at the Fraternal Order of the Eagles in Bellevue on April 4 for a first of its kind, town-hall style event. Named the State Directors Summit, the event will provide updates on important programs and policy affecting Ohio’s businesses. Following the updates, questions will also be taken from the audience and answered by the participating leaders.

The following department heads will be speaking:

Director Sarah Morrison, Bureau of Workers’ Compensation – Ohio Governor John Kasich appointed Sarah Morrison Administrator/CEO of the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation in May 2016. She leads an agency of more than 1,900 employees that serves more than 250,000 employers and administers nearly 1 million open claims.

Director Jaqueline T. Williams, Department of Commerce – Williams was appointed by Governor John Kasich in April 2015. She oversees the Department of Commerce, the state’s leading regulatory agency. Divisions include Financial Institutions, Securities, Industrial Compliance, Liquor Control, Real Estate, Unclaimed Funds, State Fire Marshal’s office and the Medical Marijuana Program.

Commissioner Joe Testa, Department of Taxation – Joe Testa was appointed Ohio Tax Commissioner by Governor John Kasich in January 2011. Testa leads an agency of about 1,000 employees and is successfully pursuing a mission to reduce staff and department expenditures while improving service to taxpayers by leveraging technology.

Chief of Business Services Daryl Hennessy, Development Services Agency – Hennessy is primarily responsible for helping to transform Ohio’s economic, small business, and technology-based development efforts into a more customer-service oriented, efficient, and effective system.

The event will begin with a networking lunch at noon, followed by a roundtable discussion and workshop at 1 p.m. and concluding at 2:30 p.m. Lunch will be catered by Bone Boy’s Barbecue and Catering. To register, you can visit or contact Bryce Riggs at 419.889.3932,

Tiffin U., Heidelberg partner to offer tuition discount program

Tuition Discount_flyer_v2Incentive would benefit SIEDC, Chamber member organizations

<Joint press release issued by Tiffin University and Heidelberg University.>

Employees who work for organizations or companies that are members of the Seneca Regional Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Services or Seneca Industrial & Economic Development Corp. soon will have an incentive to pursue higher education in Tiffin.

Tiffin University and Heidelberg University are partnering to offer a tuition discount of up to $200 for graduate and undergraduate coursework for students who are employees of Chamber or SIEDC members.

The employees would be required to meet the academic requirements, be accepted for admission at Heidelberg or Tiffin University, and enroll in courses, according to a joint statement by Jeremy Marinis, vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs at TU, and Doug Kellar, vice president for Enrollment Management at Heidelberg.

At Heidelberg, a $200 per-credit-hour discount can be applied to all undergraduate degree programs and Master of Business Administration degree courses. Tiffin University is offering a $200 per-credit-hour discount for Tiffin campus undergrad programs and a $100 per-credit-hour discount for graduate degree programs, online and off-campus bachelor’s degree programs.

The tuition discount will remain in place until students graduate, transfer or withdraw. The agreement takes effect in May.

The tuition discount partnership is another in a growing number of ways Heidelberg and Tiffin University are partnering together to elevate both institutions and the community. HU and TU come together every August for the Around the Town event to introduce new students to local businesses and organizations they will encounter during their time in Tiffin. The schools have partnered on job fairs, international events and community service projects, most recently joining efforts to collect food for the Salvation Army in recognition of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

The partnership was announced during SIEDC’s annual meeting Thursday (March 23). Additional information about eligibility and other requirements is available on the Tiffin University website at or the Heidelberg website at

Tiffin University President Lillian Schumacher:
“Tiffin University has always been committed to providing an affordable, professionally focused education, and is so glad to be partnering with Heidelberg and our local community. We believe this partnership and discount will help expand learning opportunities to the Tiffin community.”

Heidelberg University President Robert Huntington:
“This partnership is a win for everyone involved. We are pleased to provide greater access to high-quality education and strong professional preparation for the members of our community, and we’re happy that we can share that goal with our friends at Tiffin University.”

David Zak, President and CEO, Seneca Industrial & Economic Development Corp.:
“A well-educated workforce provides a strong foundation for economic success, which is a great boost to SIEDC’s economic development efforts. This partnership and offer of reduced tuition will be a great incentive in our ongoing efforts as we recruit new businesses to Tiffin and Seneca County and help established businesses expand.”

John Detwiler, president and CEO of the Seneca Regional Chamber of Commerce:
“Our member organizations are appreciative of our two local higher education institutions stepping forward with this offer for their employees,” Detwiler said. “This tuition discount partnership is yet another resource available locally and a terrific way that local employers can invest in their workforce.”

NCOESC is Awarded Grant for Public Safety Services

Press release from NCOESC:ncoesc

The North Central Ohio Educational Service Center (NCOESC) was awarded a $163,000 grant from Ohio’s Local Government Safety Capital Grant Program. The Ohio Development Services Agency (ODSA), along with the Local Government Innovation Council, informed NCOESC that the grant application was approved.

The IT Safety Project includes computer equipment and new fiber lines to enhance the safety of our local communities. The collaborative partners include NCOESC, North Central Ohio Regional Council of Governments (NCORcog), Seneca County, the City of Tiffin and the villages of Attica, Bettsville, Bloomville, Green Springs, New Riegel and Republic.

The Local Government Innovation Council provides funding in two ways: Local Government Innovation Program (LGIP), which offers loan assistance to communities for plans, and projects that create more efficient service delivery at the local level; and Local Government Safety Capital Grant Program (LGSC), which offers communities assistance to enhance public safety. Together, these programs assist communities with shared services and efficiency projects in all aspects of operations.

NCOESC and NCORcog were also successful with a $100,000 grant to conduct a feasibility study regarding Information Technology Connectivity. After the review of the study, a $500,000 no-interest loan was awarded to subsidize the implementation of the study.

According to David Goodman, director of the Ohio Development Services Agency, the Local Government Safety Capital Grant Program, provides opportunities to enhance public safety. Goodman stated, “Communities are working together to improve their safety service and save taxpayers money.”

NCOESC’s Superintendent/CEO, Dr. Jim Lahoski, was very pleased that this grant opportunity will provide additional revenues to the community. Lahoski stated, “The efforts made by NCORcog Director, John Davoli, along with NCOESC Information Technologists Kathy Mohr and Brian Rupp, demonstrate a wonderful spirit of cooperation between the NCOESC and many political subdivisions of Seneca County.” He further expressed appreciation to local law enforcement officials that provided vital information to complete the successful application.

Director Davoli stated, “This grant will provide collaborative opportunities to work with officials from Seneca County, the City ofTiffm, all Seneca County villages and SIEDC.” Davoli indicated that the next step will be to meet with all the partners and to set a timeline for the work to begin the initial phase and that NCOESC will continue to pursue additional funding to complete the project.

The Local Government Safety Grant Program is a highly competitive grant that had over 400 applicants in this second round with only 10% of the applications funded.