Spenser Blackiston

Washington Street Outfitters to relocate, expand

WSO moves to 186 S. Washington St.

IMG_6897.jpgTIFFIN, OHIO – August 27, 2018 – Downtown boutique Washington Street Outfitters will be moving to a new location this fall. The storefront space at 186 S. Washington St. will provide the shop room to expand their product offerings and selection.

Owners Zoe Dolch and Spenser Blackiston are looking forward to providing a better experience for their customers. “The new space has the right aesthetic, gives us a larger area to work with, more storage in the back room, better ease of access, and more readily available parking, as well as a more visual storefront,” Dolch said.

WSO got their start through the Laird Business Contest. Dolch and Blackistan submitted their business plan and competed with six other entrepreneurs to win one year of free rent for a space in the Laird Arcade, courtesy of the Tiffin Community Reinvestment Group.

“The Laird allowed us to get on our feet and learn,” Dolch said. “We are thankful for the opportunity and experience, and we are ready to take what we’ve learned and use it on a larger scale.”

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz congratulated the pair on their success. “With Washington Street Outfitters, Zoe and Spenser have proven that their concept works in downtown Tiffin and that young entrepreneurs can thrive here,” he said.

WSO is still open at their current location inside the Laird Arcade Tuesday – Thursday 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Friday – Saturday 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. Visit their Facebook and Instagram pages for more information and updates.

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.

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.