downtown Tiffin Ohio

Sign enhancement grants available for 2019

Downtown properties can receive up to $1,000 for projects

TIFFIN, OHIO – February 6, 2019 – Following a rollout in 2018, the City of Tiffin again is to offer downtown property owners a grant to update hanging signs. For 2019, Tiffin City Council has approved $5,000 in funding for the program which allows for a 50 percent reimbursement of expenses directly related to perpendicular signage on properties within the downtown target area, up to a maximum match of $1,000. This grant is available on a first-come, first-served basis from application approval.

To apply for a grant, the building owner should meet with Downtown Main Street Manager Amy Reinhart to discuss how the program works and obtain an application. Eligible improvements include all exterior perpendicular signage including the bracket. Historical signs, including neon signs, are eligible to be repaired and restored. Once the application is submitted, reviewed and deemed complete and without issues, the Architectural Board of Review will consider it for approval. Projects approved in 2018 include $1,000 to The Ritz Theatre for its marquee, $1,000 to Washington Street Outfitters for its sign and to restore the bracketing and $1,000 to Viewpoint Graphics to restore the historic Leiner Men’s Wear sign.

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz said he was glad to see local businesses take advantage of the program last year and hopes it will continue in 2019. “This is a great opportunity to continue to beautify downtown Tiffin and to increase awareness of the great businesses in our city.”

About the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership

Started in 1983 as the Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp. (SIEDC), the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership 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

New Paks Karate center opens downtown

Tang Soo Do classes to be held in Laird Arcade

Marcos Herrera (left) signs lease with Tyler Shuff (right)

Marcos Herrera (left) signs lease with Tyler Shuff (right)

TIFFIN, OHIO – November 9, 2015 – A new Paks Karate center has opened in downtown Tiffin, in the Laird Arcade. Instructor Marcos Herrera opened the new space after classes ceased at the Tiffin Community YMCA.

“I have been studying for more than 20 years and instructing for one and a half,” Herrera said. “I wanted to be able to continue the classes for the students, and bring new ones in.”

Paks Karate teaches Tang Soo Do, a form of Korean martial arts that focuses on responsibility, respect, honesty and caring. The classes will be held in the Laird Arcade, at the corner of Market and South Washington Streets. The class schedule is as follows:

  • Tigers (ages 4-6): 5:30-6:00 p.m. Monday, Wednesday
  • Beginners : 6:15-7:15 p.m. Monday, Wednesday
  • Intermediate and Advanced : 7:30-8:30 p.m. Monday, Wednesday
  • All levels: 9:00-10:00 a.m. Tuesday, Thursday

Herrera currently has about 20 students, but is looking to expand. He has also brought on another instructor, Casey Dewald. Students wishing to join are invited to come to a class to see what it is all about.

“We’re glad to have Marcos here,” said property manager Tyler Shuff. “With the signing of his lease we are only one space away from 100 percent occupancy, probably for the first time in the building’s history.”

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz said he is also happy to have another activity for kids in downtown Tiffin. “This is a great way for kids to spend their time after school,” he said.


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

Tiffin makes list of best commuter cities

Last week, Tiffin was recognized for another aspect of its great quality of life. The Utah-based insurance company Obrella just published their list of the best commuter cities in Ohio, and Tiffin was in the top 15%, ranking 25th out of 173 communities evaluated.

In its research, Obrella looked at the traffic data from the most recent census survey in cities with a population of more than 10,000 to compile a list of the 40 best and worst commuter cities. There are 173 such cities in Ohio. The results? While the average American travels 25 miles to work each way, the average Tiffin commuter travels less than 20 miles (about a 20% time savings), and the majority of residents travel 15 minutes or less (a 40% time savings).

Add to this the fact that Tiffin also has the third highest percentage of public transit users among the cities listed. For a small community, Tiffin continues to work on its public transit to improve quality of life. SCAT, for instance, provides great, inexpensive transportation throughout Tiffin, Fostoria, and all of Seneca County.

It’s just another reason why it’s great to live, find workers, and grow a business here.

2015_05_12 - 40-best-254


Downtown Summit speakers, additional topic announced

With the Downtown Summit  a little over a week away, we’d like to give an update on what to expect and some background on our expert speakers.

Lisa Patt-McDanielWe are excited to announce that a fourth topic, housing, has been added to the agenda. Lisa Patt-McDaniel will apply her experience in housing and development to downtown Tiffin. Lisa joined Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing (OCCH) in 2011 as Director of Community Development. She is responsible for developing relationships and services related to community development, including working with cities and in rural areas around housing issues such as vacant housing, leveraging local community development resources, and convening community development officials around common issues.

Terry FoeglerThe town and gown presenter will be Terry Foegler, President of Terry Foegler & Associates LLC. Terry is a public and private sector planning and development professional experienced in strategic planning, university and municipal planning and real estate, development policy formulation, public administration, complex mixed-use project implementation, public-private development partnerships, economic development, innovative development financing and neighborhood/urban revitalization. His former positions include Director of Strategic Initiatives/Special Projects for the City of Dublin, Associate Vice President, Physical Planning and Real Estate at the Ohio State University, City Manager of Dublin, Ohio, and President of Campus Partners for Community Urban Redevelopment at OSU.

Tedd HardestyTedd Hardesty, ASLA, will be speaking about placemaking strategies. Tedd is a Founding Partner of EDGE and brings over 24 years of experience as an urban designer and landscape architect to his project work. He specializes in the visioning and planning of a wide-range of environments including neighborhoods, campuses, open space systems, and downtowns.  He believes that the physical environment is the foundation for healthy living and that all places should be economically, socially, and environmentally successful.  His recent work includes planning and design projects for Downtown Columbus, Downtown Davenport (Iowa), and the Cleveland Metropark System.

Craig GossmanCraig Gossman, AIA, NCARB, will also weigh in on placemaking. Craig is the owner and principal of Gossman Group Planning & Design and a partner with Source3 Development. Craig has over 35 years of experience in urban design, planning, historic preservation and architecture. He has worked with a variety of clients nationally including city and county municipalities, retail and commercial center developers, and historic property owners. Craig employs a holistic approach to strategic planning by considering the balance between social and economic goals and their impact on physical design for long-term sustainability and timeless placemaking. He has developed strategic vision plans, urban revitalization plans and master plans for numerous communities and mixed-use projects.

Brad StraderTransportation will be covered by Brad Strader, PTP, AICP. Brad is an Institute of Transportation Engineers certified transportation planner.  He has over 25 years of experience in comprehensive planning, downtowns, parking, corridor planning, redevelopment projects, campus planning, and linking land use with transportation.   He has been project manager on over 50 projects in ten states, and the transportation advisor on a number of downtown circulations studies and 1-way v 2-way street evaluations.

The Downtown Summit will be held April 6, 2015 from 4:30-8:15 p.m. at Heidelberg University’s Great Hall. This event is free and open to the public. If you would like to attend, please click here to register, or contact Bryce Riggs at 419.889.3932 or

You can also give your opinion on downtown Tiffin and future development by clicking here to take the SIEDC Downtown Survey.

Tiffin Elks building to receive façade enhancement

Elks LodgeElks Lodge is the fifth Façade Enhancement project of 2015

TIFFIN, OHIO – April 21, 2015 – During a meeting this afternoon, the Architectural Board of Review approved the Tiffin Elks Lodge #94 at 106 East Perry Street for a Façade Enhancement Grant. This will be the fifth façade enhancement project of 2015.

Updates to the building’s exterior will include the installation of windows on the Jefferson Street side of the building, where the original windows have been boarded up, and the painting of the balcony and front façade. The cost of the upgrades is estimated at $6,300, with half of that reimbursed by a Façade Enhancement Grant.

Joe Steinmetz, Exalted Ruler of the Tiffin Elks, is excited about the project. “The lodge is important to our organization, and this grant is going to help us restore the structure and keep the building looking great.”

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz is happy to see another positive change downtown due to the Façade Enhancement Program. “The Elks Lodge is a historic part of Tiffin and I am glad that they are able to use the grant program to revitalize the building’s look.”

According to local historian John Huss, the contract for the Elks Lodge construction was given to Emil Converse of Massillon for $30,000 in June 1914. The building was designed by local architect George Netcher, who also designed the Tiffin Knights of Columbus building, and was described by a local newspaper as the “acme of architectural perfection.” Several thousand people toured the facility at an open house held after construction was completed in June 1915.

 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 at the company’s blog at

SIEDC to host Downtown Summit

2014_04_15-town-center-signEvent features updates on downtown development and a panel discussion

The Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corporation (SIEDC) will hold its Downtown Summit on Wednesday, May 6, from 4:30-8:15 p.m. at Heidelberg University’s Great Hall. The event will begin with a meet and greet, followed by a project review and updates by SIEDC and the Planning Team. Distinguished speakers will also present on topics relevant to downtown Tiffin, followed by a panel discussion.

The topics covered will include town and gown, placemaking and transportation.

Tiffin’s downtown is anchored by two universities that play a dynamic role in the local economy. Town and Gown describes economic strategies for partnerships that foster local development as well as community relationships through college and city collaboration. Examples of how educational institutions have boosted downtown development will provide inspiration for Tiffin, The Education Community.

Placemaking is the driving concept behind current best practices in downtown planning. It is an approach based on connecting people to place by creating inviting, dynamic spaces. Great placemaking is the result of coordinated planning, urban design, visioning, implementation and management efforts that capitalize on a community’s assets, inspiration, and potential and market opportunities. Simply put, placemaking is creating environments that promote peoples’ health, happiness and well-being.

Complete transportation systems integrate parking, bike lanes, sidewalks, and traffic calming concept elements into roadways to create safe, vibrant corridors. Converting one-way streets into two-ways may also enhance pedestrian safety and revitalize downtown economic vitality by reducing traffic speeds and providing more direct access to destinations. Methods to enhance transportation systems will be discussed in the context of downtown Tiffin.

Light hors d’oeuvres and refreshments will be served. To RSVP for the event click here, or contact Bryce Riggs at 419.889.3932 or no later than April 29, 2015.

 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 at the company’s blog at

New Downtown page launched

Here at SIEDC, we’re continuing to move forward with leading Tiffin’s downtown revitalization efforts. One small step is a launch of a Downtown tab under the Seneca Success blog/website. We see a lot more further development as we seek to tell the great stories and make it easy to get the information you need about downtown Tiffin. Here is the current page content:

Beehive Cafe Owner Ashlee Decker signs ribbon at Chamber opening event.

Beehive Cafe Owner Ashlee Decker signs ribbon at Chamber opening event.

In 2014, Downtown Tiffin is bristling with business activity. The Beehive Café, a new local “farm-to-table” restaurant opened up at the Laird Arcade, and Phoebe’s at 138 was revamped as a new “from scratch” vegetarian dining option, with monthly cooking classes. Burrito Loko continues construction on their new Mexican restaurant, with plans to open yet this year. Ohio Hydroponics, Smith Systems, Fraser Clemens Martin & Miller, Gem Yoga & Life Enrichment, and Z Pulse fitness studio have also hung their shingles in the downtown, and the local design firm MLAD opened “The Paper Store,” a retail shop with specialty paper products.

The Residences at 145 in the Gold Bond Building renovated their downtown apartments, and Burns Electric celebrated their 50th anniversary. The new downtown Façade Enhancement Program launched and eight projects have been approved or will soon be underway, representing more than $100,000 in building exterior improvements in the town’s core. The City of Tiffin also approved $120,000 for a downtown strategic plan update and new master plan, and Tiffin Tomorrow, the downtown revitalization organization created in 2010, officially became part of SIEDC this year. In June, we hired a new Downtown Development Coordinator, Amy Reinhart, and we became a Main Street Affiliate with Heritage Ohio.

Key links:

  • Destination Seneca County – information about things to do; places to eat and stay; events; and visitor info (not just downtown information, but includes all of it.)
  • – another great site for info about events, attractions, but includes photos and blogs.
  • Seneca Success – listing of downtown-tagged posts (including grants, projects, Architectural Board of Review process, etc.)
  • Tiffin Historic Trust – organization working for historic preservation in downtown Tiffin
  • Little Box Shops – great group of downtown businesses that promote together
  • Tiffin Art Guild – place downtown where local artists gather

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Thousands attend 8th largest festival in Ohio

The Budweiser Clydesdales in the Heritage Festival parade. *Photo courtesy of the Tiffin Seneca Heritage Festival's Facebook page.

The Budweiser Clydesdales in the Heritage Festival parade.
*Photo courtesy of the Tiffin Seneca Heritage Festival’s Facebook page.

This month marked the 36th time Tiffin has celebrated the annual Heritage Festival. Friday, September 19th kicked off Ohio’s eighth largest festival with festivalgoers celebrating in the downtown and at Hedges-Boyer park, where people were treated to food vendors and live music throughout the night. On Saturday, September 20th, families gathered for the annual Heritage Festival parade in historical Downtown Tiffin. The parade featured local school bands, dance groups, Heidelberg and Tiffin University international students, Heritage Festival royalty, and a visit from the Budweiser Clydesdales. Following the parade, a short meet and greet with the Clydesdales was conducted in front of The Ritz Theatre.

Following the parade, festival attendees explored the Heritage Festival’s Downtown Area. Downtown featured food vendors, children’s activities, and a kid’s inflatable area in Courthouse Lawn. In addition, Frost Parkway featured a stage of live music and entertainment performers, along with an Arts and Crafts show. Finally, the night was once again filled with live entertainment throughout many Downtown locations.

Along with the Downtown festivities, the Heritage Festival features a living history village in Hedges-Boyer Park. The living history village takes attendees back to the Civil War era, where visitors experienced Civil War encampments, Native American villages, and Pioneer camps. Guests enjoyed open fire food vendors, vintage baseball matches, a kid’s craft area, miniature steam engine rides, and a Civil War military ball. In addition, a Heritage 5K and youth race occurred at the park.

Get your donut fix downtown at The Coffee Break

2014_03_10 - Coffee Break - Pat DanishOn a Monday morning, I thought I would do a post about The Coffee Break, what I call a great traditional “donut diner” located in downtown Tiffin. I visited the restaurant on Fat Tuesday, during the rush of the Paczki season, to get a flavor (pun intended) of this little homegrown coffee shop. Owner Chris Demith owns The Coffee Break, the main The Tiffin Bake Shop bakery on the south side of downtown, and the Tiffin Bake Shop retail store in the Westgate Shopping District

Located in the beautiful historic 1854 Laird Arcade, which was purchased in 2012 by the Tiffin Community Reinvestment Group, a local downtown investor group. The first thing that hits you is the sheer variety. Donuts, danish, 8 variety of paczki, turnovers, cream horns, strawberry cream cheese muffins, Serbian strudel with almond paste, and the list goes on and on (see pictures below). All served up by the friendly, knowledgeable staff. Pat McDonald, who helped me that day, had been with The Coffee Break for more than 20 years.

In addition to their weekly donut specials (cake donuts on Thursday are 25 cents, and on Wednesday cream sticks are 3 for the price of 2), they offer daily soup and sandwich specials as well as a standard lunch menu with items like cheeseburgers, chicken wraps, and tuna salad sandwiches. And all their comfort fare can be enjoyed in the back dining area, with window outlook to the restored Laird Arcade common area.

So, if you’re looking for a sugar rush and a good cup of coffee along with a bite to eat in the heart of downtown Tiffin with friendly folks, then I can heartily recommend The Coffee Break. I know former presidential hopeful John McCain had stopped here in 2008 while touring the US, and I’m sure he wasn’t disappointed. It’s got great food and atmosphere that won’t “break” the bank. The Coffee Break is open Monday through Friday, 6:30 am to 2:00 pm.  The main location and Westgate are also open Saturdays.