entrepreneurship

2018 President’s Award – Andrew and Cindy Kalnow

The 2018 President’s Award was presented to Andrew and Cindy Kalnow. SIEDC President & CEO David Zak chose to give this award to the Kalnows to recognize their contributions to the community.

“It’s wonderful to have the opportunity to publicly thank them, for what they mean to this community and everything they’ve done,” Zak said. “Their passion for preservation, drive for excellence and quality,  and caring for the community.”

The Kalnows have been involved in the Tiffin community for many years, and in a myriad of different ways, contributing to economic, downtown, and community development. Recent large projects include:

  • The purchase of National Machinery LLC in 2002, reopening the facility and bringing jobs back to Seneca County. National is now the largest private employer in Seneca County.
  • The purchase and restoration of the East Tower. The purchase of the building saved this historic landmark from demolition and further investment has readied it for development.
  • The opening of Hawkes Crystal in downtown Tiffin. By purchasing the former Crytal Traditions business, the Kalnows were able to keep the Tiffin glass tradition alive and continue to offer custom glass in a beautiful downtown show space.
  • The restoration of 136-138 S. Washington St. and the opening of the Empire at 138, downtown Tiffin’s premier fine-dining establishment. The restaurant has consistently ranked at the top of restaurants in northern Ohio.
  • Creation of the East Green park and pavilion. The Kalnows used their own private capital to fund this large-scale community project. The amphitheater will be completed in summer of 2018 and inaugurated with a summer concert series. A second phase is also planned for the site, to include a splash pad and community garden.

These are just a few of the projects in which the Kalnows have been involved in recent years.

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz joined in recognizing Andrew and Cindy. “When I think of model citizens or individuals who have contributed in virtually every way possible to a community, Andrew and Cindy, you’re the first two that come to mind,” Montz said.

 

About the President’s Award
The President’s Award is given by the SIEDC President & CEO to an individual or business deserving of special recognition. It is not given out every year.

Tiffin Candle Co. celebrates local history

Tiffin Candle Co.jpgPortion of proceeds donated to local landmarks

TIFFIN, OHIO – May 3, 2018 – A local couple has created a new candle line to celebrate the community’s history, and donate to the upkeep of historic landmarks. The Tiffin Candle Co. combines local history with unique scents to represent local landmarks and give back to the community.

The Tiffin Candle Co. was started by Brian and Chelsea Bilger earlier this year. “We love candles and had the idea to start making them ourselves. We were brainstorming what we could do with the candles and got the idea of naming them after landmarks in Tiffin,” Brian said. “We both love Tiffin, and this seemed like the perfect way to give back.”

All of the candles are handmade and formulated to provide a strong scent with an even, long-lasting burn. The scents are created to complement the landmark they are named for, with the assistance of people with extensive knowledge of the site or organization. The Bilgers work with the Seneca County Museum to provide historical information on the back of the candle tin as well. For each candle sold, Tiffin Candle Co. donates $1 to the landmark the candle represents.

The first three scents available are Seneca County Museum, Oakley Park and Apple Jack Park. There are plans to expand the park series, and feature Tiffin streets in the future. The candles are currently available at the Seneca County Museum and Simply Susan’s in downtown Tiffin, which matches the Tiffin Candle Co.’s donation for each candle sold.

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.

SBA seeking Emerging Leaders for training program

emerging leadersThe U.S. Small Business Administration is seeking 15 applicants for its Emerging Leaders Initiative to be held in Tiffin later this year. This is the first time the program, a seven month course for entrepreneurs looking to take their business to the next level, is being offered in a community of this size.

The training program is provided at no cost to the participants, and the StreetWise Steps™ to Small Business Growth curriculum gives small business owners an opportunity to gain knowledge and experience through a combination of executive education, practical tips based on real-life business experience, and advice from business leaders that can be readily applied.

From the SBA:

Emerging Leaders Initiative provides free entrepreneurship education and training for executives of small, poised-for-growth companies that are potential job creators.  This intensive executive entrepreneurship series includes nearly 100 hours of classroom time. It also provides opportunities for small business owners to work with experienced coaches and mentors, attend workshops, and develop connections with their peers, local leaders, and the financial community.

Participants are given the opportunity to work with experienced mentors, attend specialized workshops and develop connections with their peers, city leaders, and the financial community. The Initiative incorporates a curriculum that is research-based and nationally scalable, enabling participating businesses to engage in focused development and expansion strategies, including options for accessing new capital and securing government contracts.

Since its inception in 2008, the SBA’s Emerging Leaders Initiative has trained over 5,000 small business owners, creating over 6,500 jobs, generating over $300 million in new financing, and securing over $3.16 billion in government contracts.

Given the success of SBA’s Emerging Leaders, the SBA has expanded the initiative to include 60 locations to help growing entrepreneurs in emerging markets.

Interested candidates can apply here, or contact Tom Sangrik at (216) 522-4198 or thomas.sangrik@sba.gov.

Additional information about the program can also be found in this FAQ.

Heidelberg to honor 4 local women entrepreneurs

Press release provided by Heidelberg University

TIFFIN – For the sixth year, Heidelberg University’s School of Business, Computer Science and Information Technology will honor four local women entrepreneurs for their contributions to their businesses and the community.

This year’s winners will be honored at a breakfast and award presentation ceremony, titled Celebrating Women Entrepreneurs, on Thursday, April 5.

The recipient of this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award is Karen Klepper, a 1991 Heidelberg graduate who has served on a number of local boards and non-profits, including the Mercy Hospital Foundation, the Tiffin-Seneca United Way, the NOAH Foundation and PatchWorks House. Klepper is currently organizing a community collaborative non-profit, called ReClaim It, a resale shop whose proceeds will be used to improve the lives of local children and strengthen the systems upon which they depend.

Kelli Dariano, the owner of Threads, will receive the Established Entrepreneur Award. Dariano opened Threads 19 years ago after working in sales and management in Chicago and Columbus. In its nearly two decades in operation, Threads has experienced 300 percent growth as it continues to bring the latest fashion trends in clothing and accessories to Tiffin. In 2009, Dariano, a John Carroll University graduate, also launched Club Thread, a loyalty club of customers that has raised more than $40,000 for charity.

Heidelberg will present the New Entrepreneur Award to Zoe Dolch, owner of Washington Street Outfitters in the Laird Arcade. Dolch, a Tiffin native, Dolch received her advanced cosmetology license from Sentinel Career and Technology Center and her bachelor’s degree from Kent State in fashion merchandising. After returning to Tiffin, Dolch realized her dream of opening a business that offers a distinct product assortment, including men’s and women’s clothing, music, home goods and unique gifts and accessories.

This year’s recipient of the Young Entrepreneur Award is 16-year-old Columbian High School student Maya Clouse-Henry. In addition to holding down part-time jobs at Behm and Henry Law Offices and Simply Susan’s, Clouse-Henry also operates her own T-shirt design business and her own photography business, MCH Photos. She also has been assisting Klepper in her efforts to get ReClaim It up and running.

“Celebrating Women Entrepreneurs” is held annually in conjunction with Heidelberg’s spring Patricia Adams Lecture Series (PALS). This semester’s keynote speaker – publisher, educator and philanthropist Monica Lozano – will participate in the awards program. Attendance is by invitation-only.

SBA programs support women business owners

SBAOctober is National Women’s Small Business Month, and the U.S. Small Business Administration is highlighting the programs they offer in support of women in business. Reports by the National Association of Women’s Business Owners state that women-owned businesses are the fastest growing sector of the economy, with 9.9 million in the United States currently employing over 8 million workers and contributing over 1.4 trillion dollars in sales to the U.S. economy. Impressive facts and figures aside, the SBA is still determined to encourage women entrepreneurs through its “three C’s”- Capital, Contracts, and Counseling.

Through capital, SBA’s lending partners provide loans to small businesses that may not qualify for loans elsewhere. Women tend to start with less capital than men because research shows women finance through personal savings and credit cards, while men often opt for loans. Businesses with more capital tend to have higher sales and employ more people, and the SBA offers a Lender Match Tool in addition to a small loan program to help women start their business in the best position possible.

SBA trains entrepreneurs how complete contacts with the federal government. The Federal government is the largest purchaser of goods and services, and SBA’s goal is that 5 percent of contacts are with women-owned small businesses. Events targeting both the federal and private procurement matches the two.

Maybe the most useful tool, the counseling through SBA has helped women increase their self-sufficiency and their confidence, with 47% receiving training that assisted them to open their business. The SBA has 68 district offices and resource partners in communities across the country, among them the Women’s Business Centers. DreamBuilder introduces participants to all areas of business ownership through a carefully crafted and engaging curriculum, featured in English and Spanish. At the conclusion of the program, women leave with a business plan to start their own business or develop an existing one.

Learn about these and other women-owned business programs and resources here.

Taylor Elchert Photography

Meet Taylor Elchert Harrison, owner of Taylor Elchert Photography, located at 113 Melmore St. in Tiffin. Taylor began taking pictures as a hobby, and nine years ago, at the age of 15, launched her own business out of her parents’ home.

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“It was fun,” she said. “My parents were very supportive, and I was so young I didn’t have that pressure to make money.”

Taylor’s family is no stranger to entrepreneurship – her father is the owner of Fort Ball Pizza. Though they have two very different businesses, Taylor said she learned about owning a business watching how hard her dad works at it. “I am inspired by my dad,” she said.

Taylor decided while going to college that she wanted to make photography her profession. “At first I was planning on doing it on the side,” she said. “When I decided it was a full time career, I got serious about it. I needed a storefront.”

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The studio space allows her more freedom in her photo sessions and props. Her building houses a plethora of props, and there is always a seasonal set in place. “The set is real, that’s really important to me,” she said. “It’s all about the experience for the client.”

Taylor specialized in capturing “milestone” moments in peoples’ lives. Her services include photos for maternity, family, births, newborns, and children.

One unique aspect of Taylor’s studio is the finished product and her push away from digital files. “Digital doesn’t last forever. I provide my clients with wall art, and a variety of other tangible products,” she said.

Check out Taylor’s work on her website or Facebook.

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 2018 dates:

  • January 10
  • February 14
  • March 14
  • April 11
  • May 9
  • June 13
  • August 15
  • September 19
  • October 17
  • November 21

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

Plans for downtown Tiffin brewery announced

 

Venture to occupy space in historic Laird Arcade

iron-gate

The intended location of the brewery – the former Iron Gate Cafe space inside the Laird Arcade.

TIFFIN, OHIO – January 11, 2017 – Plans have been made public for a downtown brewery and taproom to be located in the historic Laird Arcade building. Local entrepreneurs Eric Kuebler and Rob Weaver announced their intentions at yesterday’s Tiffin Zoning Board of Appeals meeting.

“Breweries are being added to a lot of communities, and contribute to the livelihood and revitalization of downtown areas,” Weaver said. “Downtown revitalization is already going on in Tiffin and we’d really like to be a part of it.”

The brewery zoning classification was granted by the Zoning Board, pending approval by the Planning Commission and Tiffin City Council. The next major steps will be filing a federal brewer’s notice, a process that takes six to eight months, and obtaining a state liquor license.

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz was delighted by the news. “Tiffin has a long and interesting history of breweries like this run by local entrepreneurs. This is an exciting venture, and we’ll give them all the support we can.”

Kuebler and Weaver, both avid homebrewers, will brew beer on-site. The taproom will offer ten varieties of beer, including six flagship brews to be served year-round as well as rotating seasonal specialties. Half-gallon growlers will be sold and filled, and there are plans to make kegs available to select Seneca County bars and restaurants.

“We are both from Tiffin and looking to give back to our community, by providing quality products with thirty years of combined experience,” Kuebler said.

Along with beer, they plan to offer locally produced snacks but leave heavier fare to local restaurants. “This is a cooperative venture with our neighbors, at the Laird and in the surrounding community,” Kuebler said. “This will benefit them as much as it benefits us.”

According to The Brewers Association, Ohio is one of the leading states for craft beer, ranking fourth in barrels produced annually (1.4 million) made by 143 craft breweries statewide. The annual economic impact is in excess of $2.1 million and growing.

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 the community at www.senecasuccess.com.

 

AJ’s Heavenly Pizza continues to grow

20170104_164712AJ’s Heavenly Pizza has been a Tiffin staple since 1981. Owner John Hill recently invested significantly in his business, painting the exterior, implementing a new point of sale system in the Tiffin and Findlay stores, and installing a new oven and hood to decrease order turn around time.

“To help the business grow, you need to find the reason for lack of growth,” John said regarding the recent improvements. “The POS has made a huge difference and so have the ovens; everything is faster.”

John said the next frontier is franchising. He and his son-in-law, Joshua Elchert – owner of the Findlay store, have been working diligently to create franchise agreement documents and manuals in order to ensure that the quality of the product and service is the same across all locations. However, the secret recipes will remain a mystery, as franchisees will receive mix packets created at the Tiffin location, meaning everything from their signature jumbo pizza to the one-of-a-kind pepperoni rolls to the house salad dressing will taste the same.

At the age of 21, John and his business partner – a childhood friend who also worked in pizza shops and, like John, a born again Christian – came from Michigan and set out to open a store in Galion. After being turned down in Galion, the pair took a wrong turn on their way to Perrysburg and found the perfect location in Tiffin. After marrying, John and his wife moved to Oklahoma, where they lived for nine years and started two AJ’s locations. Missing the small town life, John and his family moved back to Tiffin. Today, AJ’s is a strong family business, with John’s four children, their spouses, and his five grandchildren lending a hand. For more history of AJ’s Heavenly Pizza, click here.

Heritage Home Brew sells supplies, hands-on experience

20161117_165424Heritage Home Brew is a one-stop-shop for all of your wine and beer home brewing needs. Beer and wine making enthusiasts Jon Bird, Jason Bird and Matt Prenzlin opened the shop about a year and a half ago, and their business is growing.

With the nearest dedicated home brew store nearly a half-hour drive away, “We started the shop so we didn’t have to travel so far to get our supplies,” Jason said.

The shop offers everything you need to brew a beer or wine, as well as soda bases. Even if you are new to the hobby, the guys at the shop know their stuff and can walk you through all of the equipment you will need, as well as how to design a brew. When the weather is cooler, you might also find a live outdoor brewing demonstration.

Not only do they carry everything needed to make your favorite beverage at home, a few months ago they started offering wine making group classes by appointment. “They learn about everything. From sanitation to using hydrometers, and the process from choosing a recipe to bottling and corking,” Jason said.

“It’s a chemistry lesson, it’s a microbiology lesson, it’s also the horticulture of growing grapes and other ingredients,” Prenzlin added.

For $34 per person, a group of 6-8 can make a six gallon batch of wine – 28 bottles – in any flavor they choose. After 6-9 weeks, the wine is ready to be bottled, corked and labeled. The price includes the use of equipment, a wine making kit, wine samples, hors d’oeuvres, bottles and corks. They even print customized labels for each group.

In the future, they hope to expand these private classes to include beer making, as well as soda making for kids.

Check out Heritage Home Brew at 453 E. Market St. in Tiffin, right next to the BMV. They are open Tuesday-Friday 1 p.m. – 6 p.m., and Saturday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. You can also shop online here.

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