Heidelberg University

$1.6M residential rehab project receives tax credits

Historic restauration awarded $250,000 to offset restoration costs

IMG_1063

Copyright AH Kalnow. Photos may not be reused without permission.

TIFFIN, OHIO – August 14, 2018 – Three residential properties in Tiffin’s historic Fort Ball district were awarded Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credits in the Ohio Development Services Agency’s latest funding round. Monument Properties LLC received a nearly $250,000 credit for the renovation and restoration of 24 and 25 Adams St. and 149 Frost Pkwy, a nearly $1.6 million project.

Monument Properties LLC Owner Andrew Kalnow said the credits will allow for the proper restoration of the buildings’ original architecture. “It is imperative that we keep the historic integrity of the buildings while updating them for modern use. Recouping some of those costs through tax credits makes that goal more feasible.”

IMG_1065

Copyright AH Kalnow. Photos may not be reused without permission.

The three residential buildings are located in Tiffin’s Fort Ball – Railroad Area Historic District. Their construction dates range from c. 1856 to 1895. The building at 25 Adams St. is in Queen Anne style and 24 Adams St. is in Italianate style. After rehabilitation, the buildings will serve as apartments and bed-and-breakfast suites. One building may house a small retail space. The project will move forward contingent upon continued due diligence.

France Hall, a 1926 dormitory located on the campus of Heidelberg University, also received credits in the latest funding round. The three-story building will be rehabilitated to continue use as a dormitory, and the attic space will be finished to provide additional space for meeting rooms. Historic features of the Modern English Gothic-style building will be retained, and ADA accommodations, contemporary mechanical and safety systems, and bathroom updates will be added. The $14.6 million project was awarded nearly $1.5 million in Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credits.

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz applauded the focus on preservation. “We have many beautiful, historic buildings and homes in our community. These restoration projects are outstanding examples to other historic building owners looking to make improvements without sacrificing the elements that make these buildings unique.”

2018 Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credits
The Ohio Development Services Agency awarded $30,228,955 in Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credits for the rehabilitation of 31 historic buildings. Together, the projects are expected to leverage approximately $348 million in private investment in 13 communities. The awards include projects in two new communities (Somerset and Lorain), bringing the total number of Ohio communities with historic preservation tax credit projects to 67.

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.

High school post-grad program receives $10,000 AT&T contribution

Year Thirteen guides students in career pathways

AT&T Check Presentation

Pictured above, left to right: AT&T Director of External Affairs for Cleveland and Northwest Ohio Nicolette Jaworski, State Representative for the Ohio 88th District Bill Reineke, AT&T Director of Governmental Affairs Trint Hatt, Tiffin University President Dr. Lillian Schumacher, SIEDC President & CEO David Zak, Heidelberg University Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost Beth Schwartz, Tiffin City Schools Superintendent Dr. Gary Barber, Terra State Community College Dean of Business, Humanities, and Industrial Technologies Cory Stine, Tiffin City Schools Director of Academic Affairs Amy Wood

TIFFIN, OHIO – August 6, 2018 – The AT&T Foundation presented a $10,000 contribution on Monday to the Year Thirteen, a program providing high school seniors with mentoring and resources to ensure high school success and help them attain post-secondary career goals. The contribution will help fund a part-time director position for the program, which will launch this fall with the Tiffin Columbian High School graduating class of 2019.

Education and student success are a cornerstone of AT&T’s community initiatives. Since 2012, AT&T employees have provided more than 1.6 million hours of mentoring to students, and its AT&T Aspire initiative has committed more than $400 million since 2008 to promote student success in school and beyond. “We are very proud to support this new program for students in Tiffin,” said Nicolette Jaworski, AT&T’s Director of External Affairs for Cleveland and Northwest Ohio. “It aligns perfectly with our desire to see more students be successful.”

The program was modeled after the successful Presidential Pathways initiative started at Marion City Schools under the current superintendent of Tiffin City Schools, Gary Barber. “Much like the Presidential Pathways program, the Year Thirteen will allow us to build and leverage relationships within the community, keep our talent local, and focus on workforce development by putting in place a dynamic system aligned with our community’s needs,” he said. “It will also be a measuring stick for our school system.”

The program focuses on eight key areas designed to promote student success leading up to and following graduation. These areas are: high school success, relationship building, career exploration, career success, job skills, work skills, and community engagement. All students in their senior year at Tiffin Columbian High School will be connected with a counselor that will check in with them periodically throughout the school year and the year following their graduation to promote the student’s success in university, vocational school, or entering the workforce.

Several organizations have partnered to participate in the program including: Tiffin City Schools, Vanguard-Sentinel Career & Technology Centers, Tiffin University, Heidelberg University, Terra State Community College, Seneca County Department of Job & Family Services, Family, Adult & Children First Council, and the Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp. (SIEDC).

SIEDC facilitated the grant process, citing a workforce gap as a key county-wide concern. “Unemployment is consistently low, and the biggest pipeline of talent is our educational system – K12 and higher education,” SIEDC President and CEO David Zak said. “Improving college completion and preparing high school students for successful careers is, therefore, a top priority, as the workforce needs are at all skill and education levels.”

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 receives historic tax credits for major restoration project

FranceHall rendering

Architect’s rendering of the France Hall project.

University has innovative plans for women’s residence hall

TIFFIN – Heidelberg University’s planned restoration and renovation of historic France Residence Hall received a major boost today when the Ohio Development Services Agency awarded the university nearly $1.5 million in Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credits for the $7.5 million project (exclusive of planned costs). In July 2017, Heidelberg received $1.2 million in federal historic tax credits, issued by the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service, for the France Hall project, which were contingent on receiving state tax credits.

The announcement of historic tax credits for Heidelberg is great news locally. It’s just the second time that building restoration tax credits have come to Tiffin. Heidelberg administrators are appreciative of the important role community leaders played in the application process.

“We are so grateful for the outstanding support of our community partners, which was essential in our university securing these state historic tax credits,” said Heidelberg President Rob Huntington, who noted the backing of Mayor Aaron Montz, County Commissioner Mike Kerschner, State Rep. Bill Reineke and Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp. President and CEO David Zak. “Heidelberg University is extremely proud to be part of this collaborative effort with all of us working together to make our universities, our town, our county and ultimately, our entire community better for everyone.”

Additionally, Huntington expressed his thanks to Melissa Furchill, owner/president of MCM Co. Inc. in Cleveland, a construction management firm who lent her expertise to the application process.

Heidelberg was among 31 regional projects that will receive historic tax credits in the most recent round of funding. In all, the Ohio Development Services Agency approved $30.2 million in credits for 13 communities, including about $1.71 million for two northwest Ohio projects, both in Tiffin. In addition to Heidelberg’s France Hall project, Monument Properties is to receive a tax credit of nearly $250,000 to renovate three residential buildings in the Fort Ball-Railroad Area Historic District.

When the restoration/renovation project is complete, France Hall will be integral to engaging women with new, innovative living, learning and leadership opportunities, while supporting Heidelberg’s academic programs. The new France Hall will provide residential space for approximately 70 women students and private apartments for two female faculty members. Other features include office space for The Patricia Adams Lecture Series and other campus women’s leadership initiatives, space for all five of Heidelberg’s women’s Greek organizations, community outreach space, and renovations to the building’s Great Hall to create more space for activities and events. It is a major element in Heidelberg’s Residential Living Plan Vision.

To date, private donors have committed more than $3.1 million toward the project.

“France Hall, in its current configuration and condition, no longer meets the needs of our contemporary women students,” Huntington said. “Yet, we recognize the importance of preserving its heritage. The time has come to bring France Hall into the 21st century and transform it into a compelling, exciting and attractive facility for the campus and the community.”

The project has tremendous potential, Huntington added, because of unique opportunities to bring together the university community with the broader Tiffin community.

“This project will put a new and different face on what residential living can look like at Heidelberg,” he said. “It will integrate academic and co-curricular programs, personal and professional domains, and campus and community circles into a rich and powerful total undergraduate experience for our women students, as well as for male students when special events are hosted in France. We look forward to starting this construction work soon!”

France Hall was constructed in 1925 and is named in recognition of Luella Blackwell France, a benefactor of the university. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. It has never undergone a major renovation in its 92-year history.

According to SIEDC, the Tunison Flats housing project received $99,031 in December 2016, designated to rehabilitate and preserve the 1880s-era apartment complex on Frost Parkway.

The Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit program is administered in partnership with the Ohio History Connection’s State Historic Preservation Office. The State Historic Preservation Office determines if a property qualifies as a historic building and that the rehabilitation plans comply with the United States Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation.

Press release provided by Heidelberg University.

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.

Terra State, Heidelberg partnering on new nursing degree

HU Logo 12.8Press release provided by Heidelberg University and Terra State Community College

TIFFIN, OHIO – December 8, 2017 – Heidelberg University and Terra State Community College are partnering to develop a Bachelor of Science in Nursing (BSN) program that will address the rising market need for more highly skilled nurses entering the healthcare profession.

Today, the two institutions took a step toward Terra Logo 12.8finalizing the program when they signed a 1+2+1 articulation agreement on Heidelberg’s campus.  When the new program is launched, nursing students would begin with one year of study at Heidelberg, proceed with two years of nursing study at Terra State and finish their Bachelor of Science in Nursing degree with a year of coursework at Heidelberg.

Academic leaders from Terra State and Heidelberg have been working to establish the groundwork for the new program.  The strengths of both institutions will be leveraged for the benefit of nursing students, who will take advantage of two years of tuition costs set by each institution. This blended model will reduce the overall educational expense for students interested in a BSN degree.

“We at Terra State Community College are so pleased to be partnering with Heidelberg University to expand educational offerings and opportunities to those interested in the nursing profession,” said Terra State President Dr. Jerome Webster. “Our faculty and staff, and especially our nursing faculty, are pleased to pledge our support to this initiative.”

Terra State is committed to working with Heidelberg “for the educational delivery of a high-quality, licensed, state-accredited and nationally accredited Registered Nurse program to Heidelberg students,” he said.

Noting that the two institutions’ share a core value to place students at the center of the learning experience, Webster added, “Our partnership with Heidelberg only strengthens our transformational journey and we are thrilled to join in this collaborative and innovative partnership with such an outstanding institution.”

President Robert H. Huntington echoed those sentiments.  “Heidelberg is especially thrilled to craft this educational partnership with Terra State Community College in order to give a top-quality and affordable new professional program to students interested in a nursing career,” he said.

Huntington added that the new nursing program is the perfect intersection of the liberal arts and professional education, which has been at Heidelberg’s core since its founding. “Now is the time,” Huntington said.  “Together, we have developed an innovative learning opportunity to make the beginning, middle and end of this program very successful.  This will be a wonderful four-year experience for our students.”

In addition to both presidents, Dr. Jennifer Spielvogel, vice president for Academic Affairs at Terra State, and Dr. Beth Schwartz, vice president for Academic Affairs and provost at Heidelberg, participated in the signing ceremony.  Both thanked their faculty members who have played an important role in developing the new BSN program.

“This will be a great way to serve students at both institutions and also serve the healthcare needs of the community,” Schwartz said.

Also on hand for the signing were: Terra State representatives Susan Kajfasz, associate professor of nursing; Holly Penhos, director of nursing; and Amy Anway, dean of Allied Health, Nursing and Human Services; and Heidelberg representatives Dr. Bryan Smith, dean of the School of Natural Sciences and Allied Health Sciences; Dr. Pam Faber, professor and chair of the Biological and Environmental Sciences Department; Ryan Musgrave, assistant professor and director of athletic training; Doug Kellar, vice president for Enrollment Management; and Phil Ness, vice president for University Advancement and Marketing.

In the coming weeks and months, work will continue to finalize the program in anticipation of a formal announcement about its launching in 2018 (pending review by the Higher Learning Commission).  The expectation of both institutions is that students will be able to enroll in the new program beginning in the fall of 2018.

Berg Bistro 1850 is the new Fireside Cafe Pub

Berg BistroImproved, but not exactly new, the Berg Bistro 1850 has replaced the Fireside Cafe Pub on Heidelberg University’s campus. Located inside the University Commons, the Berg Bistro is part of the school’s new Parkhurst Dining options. The outdoor and indoor seating areas remain the same, keeping the same cozy, modern atmosphere with TV’s and a fireplace, but the restaurant revamped with an exciting new menu.

Berg Bistro 2Artisanal sandwiches, salads, soups, and gourmet flat breads are made with quality ingredients and from-scratch preparation. Hand-spun milkshakes and Crimson Cup coffee are now offered, and for those that don’t have time to sit down an expanded coffee bar and pastries provides a quick and delicious option. The Berg Bistro accepts cash, credit, and student Berg Bucks, making it not only a great place for students to hang out, but a restaurant everyone can enjoy. Events such as the monthly Pints with Professors, the weekly Coach’s radio broadcast, and trivia nights will still be hosted.

Downtown Tiffin wins Heritage Ohio Award

SIEDC, Chamber, universities recognized for Around the Town event

TIFFIN, OHIO – October 18, 2017 –  The Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corporation (SIEDC) Downtown Marketing Committee and the Seneca Regional Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Services received the Heritage Ohio Award for “Best Main Street Committee Event” for the annual Around the Town event in a ceremony at the Ohio Statehouse October 17.

Around the Town is an annual event introducing incoming Heidelberg and Tiffin University students to businesses and organizations in the community. For 20 years, the event was held on the colleges’ respective campuses. In 2015, the Chamber partnered with the Downtown Marketing Committee through SIEDC and event was brought to a central location downtown, bringing both schools together and highlighting the proximity of downtown to the students.

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz applauded the partnership and stressed the importance of downtown revitalization efforts. “Around the Town is a wonderful event bringing together the college students and the community,” he said. “It is great to see our community organizations working together, and our commitment to the Main Street downtown approach paying off.”

Tiffin officially became a Heritage Ohio Main Street community in 2016, after two years of affiliate membership. The Ohio Main Street Program works with communities across the state to revitalize their historic or traditional commercial areas. The program works on a four-point approach emphasizing, organization, design, promotions and marketing, and economic development in downtown revitalization.

About Heritage Ohio
Heritage Ohio is the statewide, not-for-profit preservation organization, dedicated to encouraging and assisting people and organizations to protect, preserve and revitalize Ohio’s heritage. Formed in 1989, is the coordinating agency for the Ohio Main Street Program. In 2002, Heritage Ohio was designated as the statewide partner of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Heritage Ohio mission is to help people: save the places that matter, building community, and live better. Learn more at www.heritageohio.org.

Many communities, organizations and individuals submitted nominations for consideration. The awards recognize the numerous preservation and revitalization accomplishments of people, businesses, and organizations across the state. The Selection Committee reported an increased level of quality in nominations, awarding 16 categories at this year’s event.

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 University’s graduate counseling program lands $1.3M grant

HU Logo 10.17Press release provided by Heidelberg University.

Heidelberg University’s Master of Arts in Counseling (MAC) Program has received a four-year, $1.3 million grant to train counselors to fill gaps and unmet needs in Health Professional Shortage Areas (HPSA). The grant, titled Project KITE, will target the rural counties of Erie, Huron, Seneca and Sandusky and three urban cities, Cleveland, Toledo and Columbus.

Through the Behavioral Health Workforce Education and Training grant, graduate counseling students in their final internship will be eligible to receive a $10,000 scholarship during their field experience/internship. Working in interdisciplinary behavioral health care teams, the students will focus on providing trauma-informed care and substance abuse mental health services in rural and underserved areas throughout northwest Ohio.

This is the second grant the graduate counseling program has received from the Health Resources & Services Administration as part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Last fall, the program received a $214,286 grant to assist in the training of counselors dealing with at-risk children.

“What’s attractive about the grant is that it gives our students who are accepted into the scholarship program a $10,000 stipend to do their field experience as well as first-hand experience working with interdisciplinary teams in various agencies and schools,” said MAC Program Director Marjorie Shavers. The funding “opens up opportunities for our students and also speaks to the deficit we have in mental health providers” in the area.

In all, 78 scholarships will be available over the four-year lifespan of the grant.

Counselors trained through Heidelberg’s MAC program are being prepared to serve mental health clients with issues specifically related to the ever-growing drug epidemic, Shavers explained.

Jo-Ann Lipford Sanders, dean of the School of Education and Counseling at Heidelberg, said certain geographic areas historically have had less access to behavioral health care. “There’s a real serious shortage of both medical and behavioral healthcare in these areas for myriad reasons,” Lipford Sanders said, noting that by 2025, HRSA projections indicate “an additional shortage among many healthcare providers, specifically psychiatrists, psychologists, social workers, counselors and school counselors.”

“There are really strong demands for these behavioral healthcare personnel trained in comprehensive service delivery as the demand for services from models such as the Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHC) continues to grow,” Lipford Sanders said.

In addition to the student scholarships, Heidelberg will use the grant funding to recruit men and minorities into the MAC program, develop an interdisciplinary behavioral healthcare conference working with consultants from The Ohio State University, the University of Michigan and Arizona State University, and ongoing education for faculty and clinical supervisors. A full-time project coordinator will be hired to administer the grant.

Heidelberg’s grant partners are the Sandusky City Schools, Mercy Health, the Neighborhood Health Association of Toledo and the Erie County Health Department.

ABOUT HEIDELBERG
Founded in 1850, Heidelberg offers 30 majors, 30 minors and 10 pre-professional programs, awarding the bachelor of arts, bachelor of science, bachelor of music degrees, as well as master’s degrees in education, counseling, business administration and music. Heidelberg has been consistently ranked as one of the top colleges in the Midwest by U.S. News & World Report Magazine. For more information visit the web site at www.heidelberg.edu.

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 www.tiffin.edu/local-benefit or the Heidelberg website at www.heidelberg.edu/community-discount.

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.”

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.