South Washington Street

ABR approves three Façade Enhancement Grants

Assured TitleApprovals bring total investment to $284,000 for 2016

TIFFIN, OHIO – May 17, 2016 – Today, the Architectural Board of Review (ABR) approved three Façade Enhancement Grants, bringing the total investment into downtown facades to $284,000 and the total number of projects to 10 for 2016.

These approvals leave just under $10,000 of the $100,000 set aside by the City of Tiffin for Façade Enhancement Grants for 2016. Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz is encouraged by the progress: “Every year since we implemented this program in 2014, we have seen an overwhelming amount of interest, and it doesn’t appear to be slowing down, but rather increasing.”

The Assured Title Agency building on the corner of South Washington and East Market Streets will undergo a $20,000 facelift including repair of siding, masonry and windows as well as painting. The largest project of the three is for the Tiffin Elks Lodge #94; a $22,000 roof replacement project. Both projects received a full $10,000 grant, the highest amount possible for the matching grant.

The third approval was for 94-96 South Washington Street, to replace or repair second floor windows. The $17,910 project will receive a $8,955 grant. This building, as well as the Elks Lodge, also received a Façade Enhancement Grant in 2015.

Together, the three projects represent a more than $71,000 investment. Since its inception in September 2014, the Façade Enhancement Grant Program has spurred $1.14 million in downtown investment through 37 projects.

 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.

Phat Cakes

Meet Natalie Wertz, founder and owner of Phat Cakes & Cafe. Located in downtown Tiffin across from the Ritz Theatre, the restaurant offers a full menu including craft beer, wine, mixed drinks, homemade soups, salads, sandwiches, quiche, specials, and gourmet desserts.

Established as a home-based business in 2009, the hunt for a storefront started almost immediately as Wertz’ customer base grew. Looking to give new life to a building that was targeted for a tear down, the vision to open and coexist with Bunky’s Bicycle Service was put into motion. Demolition started in 2010 and it took a solid year of self renovation.

“At the beginning of construction it was almost impossible to envision that we were going to build this space into anything…demolition alone took months, but I’m glad that we were able to revitalize a vacant building downtown. I chose Tiffin for many reasons. The best one is because of my family and friends that are absolutely dedicated to the core. They have helped with the construction and growth of Phat Cakes from the beginning,” says Wertz.

Awarded the Entrepreneur Spirit award by the Seneca Industrial & Economic Development Corporation in 2014, Wertz and her staff continue to add a positive vibe to the downtown scene.

From Natalie and the amazingly dedicated staff at Phat Cakes & Bunky’s, “We hope to see you soon!

More at Phat Cakes:

  • Gluten Free & Vegetarian Options
  • Party Booking
  • Hosting Benefit Nights
  • Beer Flights 5 for $8
  • A venue for local artists to preform
  • Catering with individualized menu planning
  • Party Trays – Sandwich & Dessert trays
  • Customized Cutout cookies & cakes
  • Desserts including over 100 different cupcake varieties, gourmet cheesecakes, cookies & more
  • Wine & Beer tastings
  • Paint Parties
  • Thirsty Thursday with Live Music at 7pm, $3 Craft Beers & $2 Tacos.

Open after the Ritz Theatre shows

Stop by Monday – Wednesday 10:30-2:30 and Thursday – Saturday 10:30-10pm!

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Two Facade Enhancement Grants awarded

33 CourtLast week, the Architectural Board of Review awarded Facade Enhancement Grants for the building at 33 Court Street, and improvements to the property at 20-22 South Washington Street. The projects were awarded a combined total of $20,000 for a total estimated investment of $82,000.

Improvements at 33 Court Street will include repairs to slate, masonry, windows, cornices, roof, and dormers, as well as painting. The total estimated cost of the improvements is $36,000.

The project at 20-22 S. Washington St. will be a brick veneer for the wall exposed when the two buildings were demolished in February. The estimated cost of the project is $46,000. Property owner Lenny Clouse says the new veneer will not only improve the look of the wall, but also reinforce it.

These projects represent the fifth and sixth Facade Enhancement Grants awarded in 2016, the third year for the program, and bring the total reinvestment into the appearance of downtown Tiffin for 2016 to more than $200,000.

New downtown thrift shop pays it forward

20160316_155209Downtown’s newest retail option is Joanie’s Trash to Treasures, located at 181 S. Washington St. Joanie’s is a thrift store with a great cause: giving back to the community.

Owner Joan Kauffman’s goal is to use her second-hand store to provide assistance to those in need. “I’m here for one reason and one reason only – and that is to help,” she said.

The store holds wide variety of items including clothing, kitchenware, jewelry, books, DVD’s, antiques and games. Joan also sells homemade canned peach, apple, pumpkin and pear butters. With the money she earns from sales, Joan helps out community members in need.

Most of the inventory comes from charitable donations, which can be dropped off during store hours, or by appointment by calling Joan at 567.371.9591.

Store hours are currently Monday through Thursday, 12-6 p.m.

Smith Systems

Smith SystemsMeet James Smith, founder and owner of Smith Systems, located at 193 S. Washington St. in downtown Tiffin. James started his computer maintenance and repair business out of his home in March 2012 and made the move downtown in December 2013. One of James’ first contracts was with the Kiwanis Manor, which he still serves today. “When I started the business, I met Dale Depew and he was a mentor to me. He believed in me and helped me get started and really sold me. He got me started with the Kiwanis Manor,” James said.

From there, Smith Systems grew very quickly. “I had too much business, and one of my friends, Spencer Williams, does phone repair, so I asked him if wanted to open a shop with me,” James said.

Smith Systems now offers a wide range of home and business computer services. Not only can you bring your computer in for hardware repairs, virus removal, data recovery and laptop screen repairs, you can also have your Apple products repaired, purchase a new or refurbished computer, or even have a computer custom built to fit your needs! Most services and repairs can be completed in 2-3 days, and come with a warranty and service reminder.

Originally from Michigan, James says he loves living in Tiffin and his shop’s location downtown. “Moving here was the best decision I ever made, it changed my life. Tiffin is such a peaceful town, it’s quiet and everyone gets along; it’s a slower pace here, with a strong community feel.”

James is also a supporter of development and growth in Tiffin. “Tiffin’s on the move and I’m really excited for what’s happening. I love it here and I want to live here forever!”

You can stop by Smith Systems for your computer, mobile device or network needs Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. or Saturday by appointment.

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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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Downtown building to get Façade Enhancement

33 S Washington33 South Washington Street to receive funds for external improvements

TIFFIN, OHIO – November 4, 2015 – Yesterday, the Architectural Board of Review approved a Façade Enhancement Grant for the building at 33 South Washington Street.

Owner Ned Behm plans to invest about $15,700 in the exterior of his building. Improvements include second and third floor window replacement, tuck pointing and brick repair, awning mechanism repair and cover replacement, repainting non-masonry materials and a storefront window replacement. The grant will reimburse Behm about $7,800 for the project.

“A lot of work needs to be done to the building, so it is great that this grant is out there to help offset some of the costs of renovating the building,” Behm said.

In the early 1900’s the building was home to Edward S. Pultz Pawn Broker’s. It has also served as a jewelry store and a thrift shop.

Behm’s building is the 15th façade enhancement project approved in 2015 and the 26th since the program was founded in September 2014. Of the $100,000 set aside by the city at the beginning of the year, a little more than $13,000 remains in the Façade Enhancement Grant fund.

On Monday night, Tiffin City Council voted to expand the Façade Enhancement Program to include buildings whose main entrances face an alley, with no entrance facing a major road. The changes will take effect January 1, 2016.

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 www.senecasuccess.com.

Empire at 138 brings fine dining downtown

New restaurant plans winter opening

IMG_20150917_141127TIFFIN, OHIO – September 18, 2015 – This winter, a new, upscale restaurant will be opening at 136-138 S. Washington St. in Tiffin. Called the Empire at 138, the establishment will bring a historic flair to white tablecloth dining in downtown Tiffin.

“The building dates back to the mid-1800s, when it was part of the ‘Empire Block.’ We would like to bring some of that historic Tiffin feel back to the downtown, and create an elite dining experience” partner Rick Reser said.

Focused on preserving and reusing as many historical architectural elements as possible, Reser and wife Renee Perry, also a business partner, are currently renovating 136 S. Washington, which will serve as the dining room of the new restaurant. The other building, 138, is to house the bar ­— a historical piece from McClain’s Restaurant in Bellevue — which will feature a wide range of cocktails and local beer as well as a broad wine list.

Open for both a casual lunch and an upscale dinner, partner and Chef Mike Pinkston describes the menu as, “classic American fare using organic and as many local ingredients as possible.” There will also be vegan and vegetarian options, as well as high-quality meats and seasonal items.

The Empire joins the developing “grow local” initiative in Seneca County currently supported by area organizations and businesses, such as Grow Seneca, the Seneca County Farmers Market and the Beehive Café.

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 www.senecasuccess.com.

Tiffin Art Fair & Art Walk this Saturday

2015_08_07 - Art Walk Map The Tiffin Summer Art Walk is this Saturday, August 8, from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m., in conjunction with the Tiffin Art Fair at the courthouse green space and the Tiffin Art Guild. In addition, the Seneca County Farmers Market on South Washington Street will be extended until 4 p.m.

Throughout the day, walkers can visit Tiffin museums and galleries to view exhibits, take tours, create crafts and enter into drawings for door prizes. There are also 15 downtown businesses participating, with free live music, art displays and demonstrations, and tours.

The following museums and galleries are participating:

Along with the following businesses:2015_08_07 - Art Walk Guide

For a complete map and more information about the museums, galleries and businesses, click here.

$500K renovation to downtown Tiffin church

IMG_20150626_113138Tiffin’s Saint Joseph Catholic Church, at the corner of South Washington and Melmore Streets, is investing $500,000 in new lighting and upgrading the wiring throughout the entire church, thanks to an anonymous donation and fundraisers. It has been 30 years since any work has been done inside the church.

Improvements include replacing the breaker panel, refurbishing the original light fixtures from the 1930s, adding additional lights to the fixtures, adding LED lighting and refurbishing the statues in the sanctuary. Clouse Electric is handling the wiring and Rambusch Lighting in New Jersey, creator of the original lighting fixtures, is refurbishing them.

Work began on May 11 and is expected to be completed around June 26, depending on how long it takes to get the fixtures updated. The goal is to be back in the church by the St. Joseph Festival, July 11 and 12. Until then, masses are being held in the activity center until the project is completed.