Contest winners open for business


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.

Kuebler Shoes

KueblerMeet Joe Obringer, owner of Kuebler Shoes, located at 440 W. Market St. in Tiffin. Founded in 1832, Kuebler is the oldest retail store in Ohio, and could possibly be the oldest shoe store in the U.S.! The store carries 25 different brands of shoes and stocks about 8,000 pairs. They also carry a variety of handbags and other accessories, but their best feature is their excellent customer service.

“We’ve made a lot of friends, being in business for so long. I’ve waited on generations of the same family, and have gotten to know their likes and dislikes. We’re not just talking shoes, we’re catching up,” Joe said. He also regularly attends seminars about the shoe market and keeps up-to-date on medical trends. “It really is where the fit makes the difference,” he said.

Stop by Kuebler Shoes Monday & Thursday: 9:30am – 8:00pm Tue, Wed, Fri & Sat: 9:30am – 5:30pm to find your perfect fit!

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Who’s ? Nuts

Who's NutsMeet Matt Molyet, President & Buckologist of Whos ? Nuts, located at the corner of SR18 and US 224 in Tiffin. Matt started out selling buckeye necklaces on the OSU campus in 2001, and opened his shop in 2007. He now offers OSU apparel, accessories, jewelry, glassware, signs, decorations and much more. Matt also creates custom cornhole boards and sells Victory Tailgate boards. He also ships orders to all 50 states and internationally.

Matt moved back to Tiffin after living in Columbus for five years. “This is home, and I have a great location. The Vogels next door at Rock Run Bulk Foods have been great, and my dad’s store, Molyet’s Farm Market & Garden Center is right down the road,” Matt said. “I saw an opportunity to bring something unique that Tiffin doesn’t have.”

Matt still hand makes items at the shop. Outside of his store you can find more than 50,000 buckeyes ready to become buckeye necklaces, key chains, bracelets, necklaces and more.

Check out

or stop by the store for more information.

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Rock Run Bulk Foods

Rock RunMeet Barb Vogel, owner of Rock Run Bulk Foods at the corner of SR 18 and US 224 in Tiffin. Barb started the business decorating cakes out of her home in 1984. In 1993, they opened the store front and have grown their services to include caterings, rentals, party trays, bulk foods, amish meats and cheeses, frozen foods, paper products and more. Barb says the business has always been about family. “Everyone’s gifts and abilities are used,” she said.

The Vogels are also behind Harvest of H.O.P.E., a yearly event that raises donations for F.A.C.T., which assists Seneca County cancer patients. “The whole core of it is to let people know that they’re not alone,” Barb said.

This weekend Dec. 4-5, Rock Run is hosting an Open House, Friday 9-5 and Saturday 9-3. There will be free samples, prizes, hot dogs and drinks. They are also working on rolling out a new website in the near future, which will allow customers to shop and order online.

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RoRo Design and Photography

Meet Rochelle Slosser, founder and owner of Ro Ro Design and Photography, LLC, located at 164 S. Washington St. in downtown Tiffin.Rochelle opened her storefront three years ago this week. The store has a lot of unique items, including up-cycled furniture, vintage items, hand-made, customizable crafts and decorations, and rental wedding items like arbors, barrels and card boxes. Rochelle also creates custom cards and invitations, does wedding and family photography, and works as a freelance graphic designer.

A Tiffin native, Rochelle worked for the Toledo Museum of Art for 10 years before returning to Tiffin and starting her business. “I said I’d never be back, but here I am! Tiffin is a nice place to raise your kids,” she said.

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ThreadsMeet Kelli Dariano, founder and owner of Threads located at 2451 West Market Street in the Wolf Creek Plaza. Threads began as a small woman’s apparel shop in 1999 and has turned into a premiere destination for women’s unique apparel and exclusive accessory lines such as Alex and Ani, Pandora, Vera Bradley, Brighton, Hobo and many others.Kelli says “If we can retain our community members from going out of town, we all win! It’s also important to grow our radius and attract customers from out of town. We love meeting new customers and share all that Tiffin has to offer!”

Threads gives back to the community through Club Thread. Members receive $10 off any purchase each month as well as special events in exchange of an annual $25 donation to a charity of your choice. Membership has been extended until November 10th. Over the last several years Club Thread has raised over $19,000 and counting.

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Line Drive Sports Cards

Meet Dan Fox, the owner and founder of Line Drive Sports Cards, located at 112 S. Washington Street, in the Laird Arcade Building. They have been in business since 1990, and specialize in a variety of collectibles, gaming cards, board games and second hand toys. They even host Magic and Yu-Gi-Oh! tournaments on the weekends that include snacks and drinks. Stop in to the shop and see what Dan has to offer!

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$2.1 million invested in Kroger remodel

The Kroger store at 126 West High Street in Fostoria held a grand reopening and ribbon-cutting this morning to celebrate the completion of its $2.1 million remodel.

The renovations began in January and the project was completed in late June. Upgrades include new contemporary décor, an enhanced produce department with a fresh market concept and an expanded natural foods selection. The store also now features a sushi island and six self-checkout lanes.

“Along with its diverse product offerings, the Fostoria Kroger associates will continue their tradition of exemplary customer service, community involvement and commitment to providing the highest quality fresh food products,” Kroger Media Relations Manager Jennifer Jarrell said.

This is the first time the store has been remodeled since its opening in 2006.

Another Man’s Treasure opens in downtown Tiffin

Amt outsidePartners Dave Underwood and Tony Weiner have announced the opening of their new second-hand shop, Another Man’s Treasure, at 20 East Market Street. The building is a mixed-use development featuring a retail store as well as three renovated apartments.

Underwood choose the Tiffin location because of his positive impression about the town. “Tiffin is a nice city, with nice people. It’s clean and people care about the community,” he said. The original concept was to be a second Splinter’s Cafe restaurant, modeled after the original Carey location. A few months ago, Underwood decided it made better business sense to redevelop the property for retail use.

Another Man’s Treasure features furniture, appliances, collectibles and antiques. There are items for everyone from antique collectors to college students, and Underwood and Weiner source their items at estate sales and auctions, finding bargains and fixing up items. “This is what I love to do,” Weiner said, “It’s like a treasure hunt.”

The pair also plans to expand the store in the future. In addition to the current store space, another room is being prepared as a show room, and there are plans to open up a boarded off garage door as a display window. There are also two warehouses in the back with a patio that they plan to use as an outdoor display space. Updates, including new paint, have already been made to the storefront, and further landscaping is planned.

The store is open from 10 am to 6 pm, Tuesdays through Saturdays, and the store can be contacted at 419.455.3146.

Downtown Business Opportunity: Surf ‘N Turf

IMG_20150623_161247Are you interested in specialty foods and looking to own your own business? Surf ‘N Turf Specialties and More is the perfect opportunity for you! The market, located at the corner of Sycamore and Washington Streets in downtown Tiffin, serves up meat and seafood that are just as unique as its location. Owners Dale and Laurie Schwochow are looking to sell the business along with the property, in order to spend more time with family.

Surf ‘N Turf specializes in meats and seafood you can’t get anywhere else, and if they don’t have it, they can special order it. Another unique feature of the business the grilling that takes place every weekend in the ample parking lot. Customers can stop by or call ahead to place an order.

Specialties include filet mignon wrapped in bacon, crab legs, scallops, oysters, lobster tails, house-made sausage, bratwurst, and chicken and salmon balls, while unique items like alligator and shark can be found on the menu as well. Also featured: specialty seasonings, meat rubs, garlic oils, marinades, cooking wines, truffle oils, and bourbon glaze and BBQ sauces, and traditional fare such as deli meats and cheeses, soups, and tuna, chicken, potato and macaroni salads. Products are all-natural and fresh, with no additives.

The building at 300 South Washington Street was built in 1910 and has housed Surf ‘N Turf since 1987. It is 885 square feet and comes with a walk-in cooler and a detached walk-in freezer. There is also a parking lot capable of accommodating 15-20 vehicles.

For more information, contact Dale and Laurie Schwochow at 419.447.7873.