Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership

Seneca CARES Small Business Relief Program opens

Businesses can apply for grants up to $10,000

TIFFIN, Ohio – Oct. 23, 2020 – Seneca County announced that the application process for the Seneca CARES Small Business Relief Program, which provides small businesses in Seneca County, including the cities of Fostoria and Tiffin, with financial relief from loss of revenue caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, is to open next week. For businesses in Tiffin and Seneca County, the program opens at 12 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 28, and close at 5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 9. For business in Fostoria, program guidelines and restrictions will be available on Monday, Oct. 26, and applications will be available on Friday, Oct. 30 at 9 a.m. and will close at 5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 9. The program was approved by the Seneca County Board of Commissioners on Oct. 22, and is being administered by the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership and Fostoria Economic Development Corporation. $500,000 is being allocated to the program.

Each applicant business must complete the online application during the application period; paper applications will neither be available nor accepted.

  • For Tiffin and Seneca County businesses, applications can be found at senecacares.com. Businesses with between two and 30 employees are eligible for grants up to $10,000 and businesses with less than two employees are eligible for grants up to $5,000. After funds are allocated for businesses in rural Seneca County and non-profit business in the City of Tiffin, Tiffin businesses who received $6,000 and $3,000 under the Tiffin CARES program will be eligible for up to an additional $4,000 and $2,000 respectively. Announcements of funding are to be made on or before Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020. If there are more eligible requests than available funds, the winners will be drawn by lottery.
  • For businesses in Fostoria, applications will be available at fostoriaedc.org. Businesses with between two and 30 employees are eligible for grants up to $10,000 and businesses with less than two employees are eligible for grants up to $5,000. Announcements of funding are to be made on or before Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020. If there are more eligible requests than available funds, the winners will be drawn by lottery.

Several townships and villages throughout the county also have chosen to dedicate additional CARES Act funding toward their local businesses. These include Hopewell Township, Clinton Township, Eden Township, Bloom Township and the Village of Bettsville.

Seneca County Board of Commissioners President Mike Kerschner said, “We felt it was necessary to distribute funding to those who are specifically affected right now. We are thinking of the waiters and waitresses, theater employees and people who have lost their jobs as a result of COVID-19. We need to make sure we positively affect as many people as possible.”

For additional information and program guidelines for Fostoria businesses, visit fostoriaedc.org or email president@fostoriaedc.org. For information on the general program and guidelines, visit senecacares.com or email senecacares@tiffinseneca.org, where responses are typically provided within one business day and posted to a Frequently Asked Questions page at senecacares.com. Additionally, a series of public, online meetings are planned. Login at https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/339384213, or call (872) 240-3311, Access Code: 339-384-213. These will be recorded and made available for viewing at senecacares.com. Meeting times are:

  • Monday, Oct. 26 at 10 a.m.
  • Thursday, Oct. 29 at noon
  • Wednesday, Nov. 4 at 7 p.m.

OmniTRAX and Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership Launch Rail-Ready Sites Program to Bring Jobs and Growth to NW Ohio

Rail-served locations have proximity to major markets, solid infrastructure, direct access to Class 1 railroads and skilled workers readily available

Press Release via OmniTRAX

DENVER – OmniTRAX Inc., a comprehensive logistics solutions provider and affiliate of The Broe Group, is launching its Rail-Ready Sites program on the Northern Ohio & Western Railway (NOW) with support from the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership. The Rail-Ready Sites program connects companies looking to maximize supply chain performance with rail-served properties.

OmniTRAX and Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership are marketing three initial sites on the NOW, with parcels ranging from 14 to 72 acres. NOW, which interchanges with Class 1 railroads CSX and Norfolk Southern, currently works with companies in the industrial and manufacturing sectors, as well as producers of limestone, lime and pressed board. To review the sites and learn more about how OmniTRAX helps companies locate on rail-served properties, visit this link

“The I-75 corridor in Northwestern Ohio is bustling due to its proximity to several major markets and great infrastructure. The sites we’ve identified with the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership take advantage of these benefits and the area’s growing industrial base provides great product for attracting new industries,” said Ean Johnson, Vice President of Industrial Development at OmniTRAX.

David Zak, President & CEO of Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership, said, “Seneca County continues to experience strong economic growth due to its strong workforce, business-friendly climate, and local government support. Being able to use a short line transportation company like OmniTRAX also delivers an additional advantage for companies considering siting facilities here.”

About Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership

Started in 1983 as the Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp. (SIEDC), the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership 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.tiffinseneca.org.

Retail, restaurant owners encouraged to join business forum

Weekly program sponsored by Chamber, TSEP

TIFFIN, OHIO – May 18, 2020 – As retail stores and restaurants begin to reopen following the lifting of stay-at-home orders from Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership and Seneca Regional Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Services will be continuing its Weekly Local Business Forum for business owners to share and gain information. The meetings are at 10 a.m. Wednesdays and can be accessed via GoToMeeting or by dialing in on your phone.

Each week, our local Tiffin and Seneca County businesses can come together to discuss challenges they’re facing and ask questions of TSEP and Chamber staff and other businesses. The calls will sometimes also include guests such as Seneca County Health Commissioner Beth Schweitzer, a liaison from the Governor’s office and other authorities who can answer questions. The goal is to share information, provide resources and get feedback from local businesses.

To join the meeting from a computer, tablet or smartphone, visit https://www.gotomeet.me/AudreyFlood/weekly-local-business-forum or dial in by calling +1 (646) 749-3122, Access Code 117-118-341.

For more information, look for “Weekly Local Business Forum (Tiffin/Seneca County)” on Facebook or email Audrey Flood, Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership development manager, at flood@tiffinseneca.org.

About the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership

Started in 1983 as the Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp. (SIEDC), the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership 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 http://www.tiffinseneca.org.

Bid to be the first to support local businesses

Auction of Firsts proceeds to benefit Seneca County establishments

TIFFIN, OHIO – May 11, 2020 – Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership, the Seneca Regional Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Services and Destination Seneca County are partnering to host an online auction of “firsts” that aims to benefit small businesses in Seneca County when they are re-opening. The Auction of Firsts will be a live auction and will take place 6:30-8:30 p.m. Thursday, May 14, with login starting at 6 p.m. All proceeds from the event will go directly to the business.

TSEP and The Chamber already have reached out to local businesses, and the auction will be limited to 60 items. Items may include first haircut, first drink inside a bar, first sit-down meal inside a restaurant, first in-store sale and other unique items or services.

Bill Jones from RE/MAX Unlimited Results Realty will be hosting the live auction and details on joining the event can be found on Facebook by searching for “Seneca County Auction of Firsts.” To bid early on items or to preregister, go to tinyurl.com/senecafirstsaution. You can also visit 419auctions.com and click on the link for “Auction of Firsts Supporting Tiffin & Seneca” listed under “Current Auction Listings.”

For more information, find the event on Facebook. For businesses interested in participating, contact Amy Reinhart, TSEP Downtown Main Street Manager, at reinhart@tiffinseneca.org.

About the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership

Started in 1983 as the Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp. (SIEDC), the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership 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 http://www.tiffinseneca.org.

Seneca County ranks 6th nationally for economic development

Community ranked in top 10 percent for six years

TIFFIN, OHIO – MARCH 2, 2020 – Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership and the Fostoria Economic Development Corp. announced today that Seneca County has placed No. 6 nationally in Site Selection magazine’s rankings for large, private economic development projects out of the 531 micropolitans in the US for the honor. Site Selection has been annually ranking states and cities since 1978.

This is the eighth year in a row that the Tiffin-Seneca micropolitan area has ranked in the top 100 nationally, and the sixth year it has placed in the top 10 percent. In 2019, Seneca County was ranked No. 14. Qualifying projects must involve a capital investment of at least $1 million, create at least 20 new jobs or add at least 20,000 sq. ft. of new floor area.

Companies that completed qualifying projects included Agrati Group, American Plastics, Custom Glass Solutions Fostoria, Laminate Technologies, Morgan Advanced Materials and Technology, Nippon Steel Integrated Crankshaft, Ohio Logistics and Webster Industries.

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz was happy to hear the news. “This is the highest Tiffin has been ranked on this list, and it shows that Tiffin and Seneca County continue to be a great place for businesses to invest. We are proud to be recognized again by Site Selection Magazine.” Fostoria Mayor Eric Keckler agreed, “I’m proud to see that there was so much activity in Fostoria being recognized nationally.” Seneca County Commission President Shayne Thomas added: “I’m proud of the achievement for our businesses in Seneca County. I want to thank everyone involved in our shared success.”

“This recognition for Northwest Ohio is a testament to the strength of our regional assets and the outstanding collaboration among economic development partners to ensure the continued growth of our region,” said Dean Monske, president and CEO of the Regional Growth Partnership.

This year, Ohio and Texas won the Governor’s Cups, Ohio for its capital investment activity in 2019 and Texas for having the most qualified projects of any state for the eighth straight year. The entire Northwest Ohio region posted strong numbers, with Findlay taking the number one micropolitan slot, Fremont placed 14, Defiance and Van Wert ranked 59 and Toledo ranked eighth for mid-metropolitans.

More information can be found at siteselection.com.

About the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership

Started in 1983 as the Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp. (SIEDC), the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership 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.tiffinseneca.com.

About the Fostoria Economic Development Corporation

Established in 1956 as the Fostoria Community Industrial Association, the Fostoria Economic Development Corporation (FEDC) is a private, non-profit corporation dedicated to driving positive economic, downtown, and community development in Fostoria and surrounding area in Hancock, Wood, and Seneca Counties, which consistently rank among the top counties nationally for economic development. Learn more about the great things going on in Fostoria at www.fostoriaedc.org.

Supance and Howard receives TSEP Lifetime Achievement Award

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz (left) poses for a picture with the partners of Supance & Howard during the 2020 Annual Meeting Feb. 27.

TIFFIN, OHIO – March 13, 2020 – Going back to 1972, the partners of Supance and Howard have been serving Tiffin both as private attorneys and public servants for almost five decades, earning them the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership 2020 Annual Meeting.

Jim Supance joined the law firm in 1972, under then partners Charles D. “Bud” Hering Jr. and Webb D. Tomb. Also working there at the time was Paul E. Gillmor. He was joined by now partner Jim Nordholt in 1974.

“Everyone in the firm has a feeling that Tiffin, Ohio, is a great place to live and we have been involved in one way or another in community service,” Nordholt said.

Brent Howard joined in 1988, coming to the community with wife, Susan Howard, Hering’s daughter.

Being located in Downtown Tiffin, at 84 S. Washington St., the firm has a record of supporting the redevelopment of the downtown. A few years ago, when Leadership Seneca County wanted to have a mural painted in Downtown, Supance and Howard offered the side of the building.

“We were pleased to offer the side of our building as part of the fabric of the downtown,” Howard said.

The firm deals primarily in probate, real estate and business law. But in addition, the partners all have been involved in public service at some point in their careers.

Supance is the chair of the Sandusky County-Seneca County-City of Tiffin Port Authority, a position he has held for more than 30 years when he was asked to join the board by then mayor Dave Martien in 1989 when the city, county and Sandusky County formed the board.

Nordholt has been on the Tiffin City Schools Board of Education, Tiffin Park Board and was on the first City of Tiffin Charter Review Commission. Nordholt also has served as a public defender and joined the prosecutor’s office.

“Part of what we do is to try to improve our community and make it the kind of place we want it to be for our families,” Nordholt said.

Howard has been the Tiffin law director since 1995, when he, like Supance, was appointed by Martien after the previous law director had stepped down and he was the only candidate who had filed for the seat. And Susan Howard, who is the office manager, also serves publicly as the Seneca County law librarian.

Howard said the desire to serve was instilled on them by their former employers, who also were community minded. Like Nordholt, Hering was on the Tiffin City School Board. And Gillmor also later went on to elected office, first in the Ohio Senate and then as a U.S. Congressman.

“Webb Tomb and Bud Hering set the example of professionalism and service to the community,” Howard said.

“We want to make sure our community is a place that thrives economically and helps everyone in our community be a success.”

About the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership

Started in 1983 as the Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp. (SIEDC), the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership 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.tiffinseneca.org.

Ironwood Steakhouse recognized with Entrepreneurial Spirit Award by TSEP

Seneca County Commissioner Mike Kerschner (from left) poses for a picture with Mitch Felton and Steve Shuff, two of the investors of Ironwood Steakhouse, during the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership 2020 Annual Meeting Feb. 27.

TIFFIN, OHIO – March 11, 2020 – Opened in 2017 as the flagship of the investors of the Seneca Restaurant Group, Ironwood Steakhouse, 4399 S. SR 231, Tiffin, has continued to grow to be an asset to the community. For that, its investors were recognized by Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership at the 2020 Annual Meeting with the Entrepreneurial Spirit Award.

“A lot of the reason the 45 investors stepped up and put their money in was just to be part of everything positive in Tiffin and Seneca County. We’re just excited we can be a small part of that,” said Mitch Felton, president of IS Insurance & Investments and an investor with the group.

“We started with the idea of a hamburger restaurant, modeled after (In and Out Burger), and we had a company called ‘Thick and Thin,’ but after a while we decided that really, steak was better than hamburgers, so we decided that Tiffin and Seneca County could use a really outstanding steakhouse. So, that is the journey that we started through many years of planning, and discussing and looking at sites,” said Steve Shuff, Seneca County Common Pleas Court Judge and member of the investor group.

The group wanted to create a casual and friendly, but nicer dining experience and focus on using quality ingredients at affordable prices. Jimmy Jones, chef and general manager, said that was the idea that was pitched to him during a conversation with Felton.

“The idea seemed appealing to me at the time, being a little more creative, doing things on my own, versus some of the bigger companies I’ve been with,” Jones said.

After doing some searching for locations, Shuff said the group approached the board at Mohawk Golf Course to see if they could take over food and beverage and open the club’s restaurant to the public. After approval, the group went to work to make improvements to the kitchen and dining room, renovating the look of the existing space to give a fresh, modern look.

“We created a place where business people and families could have a little bit more formal dining experience,” said Felton, who was the winner of the 2018 TSEP Lifetime Achievement Award.

Last year, constructed a tent that can hold up to 300 people for events, such as golf outings and weddings.

“We’ve just had a lot of events that are open to the community, open to the public, and the plans are to do a lot more of those things this year,” Felton said.

Felton and Shuff thanked the other investors, their families and the staff, many of whom have been involved from the beginning. Jones echoed their comments.

“I’d just like to thank the investors and the community of Tiffin, Ohio, for supporting Ironwood Steakhouse and making us a slow — but a good — success,” Jones said.

For more information about Ironwood Steakhouse, visit http://ironwoodtiffin.com/.

About the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership

Started in 1983 as the Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp. (SIEDC), the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership 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.tiffinseneca.org.

Fort Ball Pizza Palace recognized as Outstanding Business at TSEP award ceremony

Larry Elchert (from left) and Eric Elchert, co-owners of Fort Ball Pizza Palace, pose for a picture with Weston Reinbolt, member of the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership Executive Committee, during the 2020 Annual Meeting Feb. 27.

TIFFIN, OHIO – March 12, 2020 – Founded in 1978 by Larry Elchert and Bob Gahris, Fort Ball Pizza Palace has been a local favorite in Tiffin for many years, and that is just part of the reason it has been recognized by Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership with the Outstanding Business Award at its 2020 Annual Meeting.

Today, Fort Ball Pizza Palace is co-owned and operated by Larry Elchert and Eric Elchert, with two locations in Tiffin at 91 N. Washington St. and 111 Melmore St. The main branch is located in the Fort Ball area, which is where the name originated from.

Larry said it was a Wednesday afternoon when they first opened their doors 42 years ago, and he looks fondly back at that time.

“The reason I’ve stuck with it so long is that I enjoy people, I enjoy my health, I come down here everyday and it’s always good for a laugh or two,” Larry said. “I would like to continue going as long as I can. I’m coming up on 42 years, I’d like to do another 30. To me, it keeps me young.”

Eric later joined the business.

“When I started at Fort Ball Pizza Palace, I was just in high school, started doing dishes and pans and whatever else needed to be done around the store, eventually got promoted to cook, and then manager, and just keep working and working, and back in 2009, I became co-owner of Fort Ball,” Eric said.

Fort Ball Pizza uses hand-rolled, scratch made pizza dough, homemade sauce and feature are famous for their Italian smorgasbord at the North Washington Street location.

The business is active in the community, sponsoring many events and school functions and donates food and gift cards for Tiffin-Seneca United Way, area sports and events including Pizza Palooza in Downtown Tiffin.

For more information, visit http://fortballpizzapalace.com.

About the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership

Started in 1983 as the Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp. (SIEDC), the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership 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.tiffinseneca.org.

American Plastics receives Economic Development Award at TSEP meeting

Managers of American Plastics pose for a picture with Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership Treasurer Scott Kromer (back middle) during the 2020 Annual Meeting Feb. 27.

TIFFIN, OHIO – March 10, 2020 – American Plastics, a premier plastic injection molding company located just south of Tiffin, Ohio, was the recipient of the Economic Development Award at the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership 2020 Annual Meeting. TSEP recognized American Plastics for its investment of $4.5 million into the Tiffin operation and hiring of more than 130 employees.

“We’re very honored and very excited to be the recipient of his year’s economic development award,” said Joe Roth, Plant Manager for American Plastics in Tiffin.

“American Plastics is very pleased to be growing alongside the City of Tiffin. It’s a great community, we decided to put business here, put our investments here because there are a lot of roots here in the City of Tiffin. There are good, quality people in this city and we really enjoy being part of that.”

American Plastics was founded in 2017 by High View Capital and Victor Park equity firms, and as a whole, the company has 15 facilities nationwide, including plants in Sycamore and Findlay.

In Tiffin, the company services 26 injection mold machine and one extrusion machine. The plant specializes in the production of plastic shelving, plastic totes and storage boxes, including the Commander and Blue Hawk name brands for Lowe’s; and Husky for Home Depot; and Tough Box for Sam’s Club. American Plastics has 14 other facilities throughout the United States, and Arizona. In the past 12 months, American Plastics has been primarily producing plastic shelving and totes for the Craftsman brand. The Tiffin division is the sole manufacturer of plastic shelving for the Craftsman brand, to be available at the more than 2,000 Lowe’s stores in North America.

In 2019, American Plastics invested $3.5 million in new presses at the 68,000-square-foot Hopewell Township plant, adding to the completion of $1 million investment in equipment and facility upgrades in 2018. Company employment, which was 27 at the beginning of 2018, was at more than 160 by the end of 2019. Roth said it was an extreme team achievement to have grown that amount while improving relations, quality standards and earning outstanding safety records.

“To think back to where we were two years ago, with only 27 total associates, diminishing contracts and to see where we are just two years later, it takes a total buy-in of everyone from the top to the bottom,” Roth said. “My management team I have here have bought in to it 100 percent, and they are really the key to core to the success of the Tiffin facility.”

Roth said that he believes in providing quality benefits for his employees that go beyond base pay. American Plastics offers a $2 an hour incentive for employees who show up to work on time for a week, management greet employees on the floor and many of the updates at the facility have been done to improve employee morale.

“At the end of the day, you can set your hourly pay structure as high as you want, but we believe that class of people deserve a safe, comfortable, friendly and appreciative environment,” he said.

About the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership

Started in 1983 as the Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp. (SIEDC), the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership 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.tiffinseneca.com.

Vanguard-Sentinel Career & Technology Centers receives Partnership in Development Award

TIFFIN, OHIO – March 9, 2020Vanguard-Sentinel Career & Technology Centers, opened in 1968, was recognized for their role in providing educational opportunities to youth and adults with the Partnership in Development Award by Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership during its 2020 Annual Meeting.

“Then-(Ohio Gov. Jimmy Rhodes) had this vision that if we could to bring in multiple partners together — our schools, our community members, our businesses partners — we could create a network of schools in one central location that would bring even more opportunities for students to get career training, workforce training and meet the demands of the workforce,” said Vanguard-Sentinel superintendent Greg Edinger.

The school has evolved over the past 50 years. Today, Vanguard-Sentinel serves more than 1,200 high school freshman to seniors, 700 more high schools through other satellite programs in the communities and 3,000 adult students in the Adult Technical Center.

The centers provide multiple opportunities to high school in short-term training or classes for one to four years, and offer opportunities for industry credentials for technical skill attainment, pre-apprenticeship opportunities, advanced placement in business of their choice.

Vanguard-Sentinel makes it a priroty to be involved with the community. In 2019, staff and stuents participated in 4,000 hours of community service.

“While there are always many new and exciting changes happening in the district, the one thing that has stayed constant and will not change is the importance of working hand-in-hand with our community and business and industry partners, and with that, being honored with this award just makes us all so proud here at Vanguard-Sentinel,” Edinger said.

About the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership

Started in 1983 as the Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp. (SIEDC), the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership 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.tiffinseneca.org.