Seneca Regional Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Services

Small Business Seminars held monthly in Tiffin

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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 2017 dates:

  • January 11
  • February 8
  • March 15
  • April 12
  • May 10
  • June 14
  • August 9
  • September 13
  • October 11
  • November 8

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

Contest winners open for business

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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.

Chamber groups provide businesses, professionals opportunities

Chamber LogoThe Seneca Regional Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Services offers a wide variety of programming open to businesses and professionals alike, including networking and educational organizations. Two of those groups are the Industrial Management Council and the Safety Council.

According to the Chamber website, the Industrial Management Council (IMC) exists to influence community and political organizations on items of industrial interest, assist members in attaining improved efficiency and more effective business methods, work as a group in order to contain industry related costs, promote industrial development, support educational programs which encourage free enterprise, and ameliorate relationships and develop better understanding between industry and other facets of the community.

The group meets monthly to hear speakers on industry-related topics and network. There are currently more than 60 members.

The Tiffin Safety Council is an organization focusing on safety in the workplace and is open to all businesses. The group meets regularly to listen to guest speakers and network. The council currently has about 100 members, and anyone is welcome to join.

“It’s an important component of what the Chamber does, providing value to our membership,” said John Detwiler, Program Manager and President of the Chamber. “Many businesses join because safety is important, but some are eligible for grant funding.”

The Bureau of Workers’ Compensation offers resources to help employers improve health and safety, including the Safety Intervention Grant Program – which awarded more than $15 million to 570 employers for the purchase of safety improving equipment last year – as well as programs for employers starting wellness and drug-free workplace programs. These programs help keep Ohio’s workplace injury statistics below the national average.

New maps help visitors discover Tiffin

city-map-for-web_page_1The Seneca Regional Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Services and the Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corporation have partnered to produce the city’s first-ever visitor’s map.

The map directs visitors to restaurants, attractions, entertainment and lodgings, and retail locations – all things a person from outside the town may be looking for. One side of the map encompasses the entire city of Tiffin, with the other side focused on downtown.

Chamber President and CEO John Detwiler brought the opportunity to SIEDC’s Downtown city-map-for-web_page_2Marketing Committee, of which he is the Chair. “We have never had a map of the city for our out-of-town visitors, and the committee was also looking at creating literature specific to downtown,” Detwiler said. “I am happy we were able to partner on this project; community collaboration is key in creating a successful and cohesive message.”

SIEDC Downtown Main Street Manager Amy Reinhart said the map was one of the goals set forth in the 2010 Downtown Strategic Plan and furthers the marketing mission of the Main Street downtown revitalization approach. “We have taken many steps this year to make it easier for visitors, students and residents to find their way downtown, and to promote local businesses. This is a great addition to the Discover Tiffin phone app, the new kiosks in front of the Joint Justice Center and on the university campuses, wayfinding signs at downtown intersections, and new parking signage for downtown lots,” she said.

The maps can be found at the Chamber (19 W. Market St., Ste C), and in several businesses. For a downloadable pdf, click here.

Legacy Title opens Tiffin location

legacy titleLegacy Title, LLC, a full service real estate title company which focuses on real estate title work and title insurance, and provides expertise in closing transactions and acts as closing agent for many lending institutions, has opened a location at 19 West Market Street, Suite F in Tiffin.

Tiffin is the firm’s third location, joining their Fostoria and Findlay offices. “We were looking to expand our business, and there is a need for our services here,” Co-Owner and Managing Officer of the Tiffin branch Lori Welter said. “Tiffin was the next logical step.”

Before moving in, Legacy invested $10,000 into their 2,300 square foot suite and equipment. The space includes offices for staff members to be there full-time as well as conference rooms which can be used for client meetings with Legacy’s four on-staff attorneys.

Regular hours are 8:30 a.m. – 5:oo p.m. Monday-Friday, but they also offer evening and weekend closings, for customer convenience. An official Seneca Regional Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Services Ribbon Cutting Ceremony will take place at the new branch 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. on August 25, with the ribbon cutting at 4:30 p.m. Learn more here.

Ribbon Cutting for Slate Real Estate this Friday

Slate Real EstatePlease come help the Seneca Regional Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Services Ambassadors welcome the newest addition to Tiffin, Slate Real Estate. A Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for the new office will be held this Friday, April 8 at 4:45 PM,  at 1660 W. Market St. Ste. C. 

Slate is a three person team of real estate professionals. They are:

Britny Focht

Britny is an Owner & Manager of Slate Real Estate LLC . Britny is a Tiffin native and a Tiffin University graduate with a Bachelors Degree in Psychology and Addictions Counseling. Britny is a member of the National Association of Realtors, the Ohio Association of Realtors, and the Firelands Board of Realtors MLS. Britny prides herself on providing her clients with excellent assistance every time through every step of their real estate transactions. In her spare time, Britny enjoys actively volunteering her time to her community and spending time with her son Jaxon and husband, Todd.

Marcia Focht

Marcia is also an Owner & Manager of Slate Real Estate. An Ohio State grad, after 30 years of teaching and coaching in the Tiffin City Schools she decided to not retire but start a staging business with her sister Sheila called STAGEPLUS, and then began a real estate career with her daughter-in-law Britny. In January of 2016 they opened Slate Real Estate LLC. She lives in Tiffin with her husband Rich and is enjoying being a Grandma to Jaxon and Sebastian.

Sara Wingart

Sara is a Broker/Owner of Slate Real Estate. She was licensed in 1978,and managed an office for 15 years before becoming a Broker/Owner for Coldwell Banker, Hohman Wingart Realtors and later Colwell Banker Tri-Pro Realty. She was on the Firelands Board of Directors for over 15 years, serves on the Professional Standards, Legislative Forums and was the ChairPerson for the Property Management Forum for 2012, at the state level for the Ohio Association of Realtors. She is also Past President of the Firelands Association of Realtors, Community Hospice Care, and Bascom Long Distance Board of Directors. She and her husband Don have two sons, Scott of Tiffin, and Brett of Columbus area, and two grandchildren, Noah and Zora.

Slate Real Estate is a member of the Firelands Association of REALTORS, a professional trade association of over 500 licensed real estate agents that provides its members with resources and training to enhance the services they provide their clients.

For more information, please contact the office: (567)207-2100.

Hannah Taulbee – Heidelberg Student and SIEDC Intern

Around the Town event welcomes back university students

around the townNearly 1,000 Heidelberg and Tiffin University students will have an opportunity to see what more than 60 Tiffin businesses and organizations are all about at a Welcome Back Students/Around the Town Event this Saturday, Aug. 22 from 3 – 5 p.m. on the courthouse green space.

Around the Town is one of the signature events of the Downtown Strategic Plan, and this is the first year that the event will be held downtown and combine both universities.

WTSC Seneca County Radio will be live broadcasting from the event, playing music and interviewing guests. Several restaurants will be providing free samples, shops and restaurants will hand out coupons and menus, non-profits will provide students with information about how to get involved in their organizations and students can check out local services.

SIEDC Downtown Development Specialist Bryce Riggs is a Heidelberg student the lead organizer of the event. “As a student and lifelong Tiffin resident, I am aware of the opportunities in the community, but the majority of new students don’t know what’s out there or where they can go. Tiffin has so much to offer! I would like other students to know what’s out there, so they can get involved in the local organizations and visit our restaurants and shops,” Riggs said.

Participating businesses and organizations:

Businesses open around the square: