Tiffin Community Reinvestment Group

Bilger’s Lawn and Landscape

Bilger's Ribbon CuttingMeet Brian Bilger, owner of Bilger’s Lawn and Landscape, located at 1761 N. SR 53 in Tiffin. Brian started his landscaping business out of his parents’ garage in 1999 and 17 years later the business is still going strong and growing.

He began mowing lawns in his neighborhood when he was nine, and continued throughout high school. He started the business in his parents’ garage and attended classes in landscape contracting and horticulture science at Ohio State University and Columbus State Community College during the off-season.

Bilger soon outgrew the garage, moved to a larger space, and finally rented a space on SR 53 North of Tiffin. Last year, they built and moved into their own building at  1761 N. SR 53 (a $300,000 investment), giving them more room for storage, including their new storage building and swing set installation services. The company currently employs 18-20 individuals, and Brian says they are comfortable at that number. “We are working on our internal system and setting a standard of quality,” he said.

Brian is also actively involved in the Tiffin community. Several years ago his design skills landed him on a sub-committee of Tiffin Tomorrow, a group dedicated to the revitalization of downtown Tiffin. In 2014, it was absorbed by SIEDC, with the original group serving as the downtown leadership board, and Brian is still a key member of the board. He is also a member of the Tiffin Community Reinvestment Group, the group responsible for the purchase and revitalization of the Laird Arcade in downtown Tiffin.

Additionally, Brian is a part of the Seneca County Home Builders Association, a group of building professionals who hold educational and networking events for their industry partners as well as assist community organizations. He also takes part in their yearly Home Expo event.

“Tiffin is home,” he said. “I love everything about it. I feel fortunate to be here, and everyone has been really great. I want to give back.”

Bilger’s is able to help with all of your landscape needs including digital landscape design, installation, maintenance, lighting, water features, paver patios/retaining walls, drip irrigation, lawn treatment programs, swing sets/storage sheds and retail landscape materials. Check out their Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, or visit their website.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

 

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.

Jolly’s signs lease on downtown location

jollys lairdLocal restaurant moves to Laird Arcade

TIFFIN, OHIO – August 25, 2016 – Today, Jolly’s Drive-In Owner Diane Hassinger signed a lease for a space in downtown Tiffin’s historic Laird Arcade.

Hassinger says the downtown location is the perfect next step for her business. “I was looking for a smaller space, where I could still hold store hours but also prepare food and root beer for the food truck,” Hassinger said. “This location also includes a drive-through window that I hope will give customers some of the nostalgia of the root beer stand.”

The new location faces West Market Street and includes a drive-through window in the alley behind the Laird Arcade. Orders can be called in by phone and picked up at the drive-through window, or customers can come in to order. Hassinger plans to relocate many of the original signs and memorabilia from the original root beer stand, including the front windows signed by Jolly’s employees over the years.

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz is pleased to see the local brand relocate in downtown Tiffin. “Anyone can see that the downtown is transforming, which makes it a desirable place to open a business,” he said. “And it’s great that we get to keep Jolly’s a Tiffin tradition.”

The restaurant will be open 11 a.m – 5 p.m., four days a week. The Jolly’s food truck will also appear at different locations around town. Hassinger will announce the opening date later this year. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/JollysDriveIn/.

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 http://www.senecasuccess.com.

New Greek/pita restaurant to open downtown

 

20160817_162802

Left to right: Property Manager Tyler Shuff, Owner Fotis Diamantopoulos, SIEDC Downtown Main Street Manager Amy Reinhart and Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz

Put N Pita signs lease with Laird Arcade

 

TIFFIN, OHIO – August 18, 2016 – This week, Fotis Diamantopoulos signed a lease for a space in the Laird Arcade at 116 South Washington Street, where he plans to open a Greek and build-your-own pita restaurant, called Put N Pita, this winter.

The son of Greek immigrants, Fotis has lived in Tiffin for a decade, and he is following his father’s footsteps into the restaurant business. “I drive through downtown Tiffin every day and you can tell that things are changing, and I feel the vibe and want to be a part of it. My business model will include my dad’s Greek influence, an American twist and a Subway style,” he said.

Diamantopoulos said the menu is to include gyros and greek salads as well as traditional meats and all kinds of fresh produce that will be assembled to the customer’s order. In the future, he plans to expand the business into other types of ethnic foods and take-home options.

Tyler Shuff, Chairman of the Downtown Business Enhancement Committee through SIEDC said the restaurant fills two desired business categories for the community. “A Pita Pit and a Greek restaurant are on our list of businesses to recruit, and this takes care of both,” he said.

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz said he is happy to see a new type of restaurant opening downtown. “I am excited to see a unique healthy, quick option for lunch in downtown Tiffin,” he said.

Diamantopoulos hopes to cater to times outside of the traditional dinner hour. The starting hours for the store will be lunch time and nights as late as 3 a.m. He plans to open for business in late fall or early winter.

About the Tiffin Community Reinvestment Group

The Tiffin Community Reinvestment Group LLC. is a for-profit organization made up of community minded shareholders. The purpose of the TCRG is to encourage and promote downtown business. In 2012, Tiffin Community Reinvestment Group, LLC. purchased and now operates the Laird Building.

 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 http://www.senecasuccess.com.

Investment group announces new business contest

Winner to receive space at Laird Arcade for a year

LairdTIFFIN, OHIO – March 23, 2016 – Aspiring business owners have the opportunity to win a space in the Laird Building rent-free for one year, as well as business services valued at $12,000. The Tiffin Community Reinvestment Group is holding a contest to fill the final vacant rental space in the Laird Arcade, located at the corner of E. Market and S. Washington St.

Entrepreneurs can submit their business plans and ideas to property manager Tyler Shuff at the Laird Building leasing office. “In just two and half years, we have gone from 30 percent occupancy to 95 percent. A private donor has made it possible for us to lease this last space for free for one year and give someone the chance to start their own business,” Shuff said. “The purpose of the contest is to give someone a chance to make their dream a reality and to bring something new to downtown Tiffin.”

In addition to free rent, the winner will also receive two business organization sessions with professional organizer Reannon Hayes, six sessions from KKR Consult, a business consulting and dream coaching service, as well as information about and assistance with obtaining an intern from a local university.

Applications are available now and will be accepted until June 1. They can be obtained at the Laird Arcade leasing office or online. Finalists will be invited to pitch their business idea in front of a panel consisting of TCRG members, the property manager, and downtown development professionals.

To set up a tour or submit your business plan, contact Tyler Shuff at 419.618.9515 or 114 S. Washington St., Suite C. For more information about downtown incentives and resources, contact Amy Reinhart at 419.619.5517 or reinhart@senecacounty.org.

About the Tiffin Community Reinvestment Group

The Tiffin Community Reinvestment Group LLC. is a for-profit organization made up of community minded shareholders. The purpose of the TCRG is to encourage and promote downtown business.

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.