Small Business Spotlight: Rushcreek Feed & Supply

Being a small business owner is a tough job. That’s why we spotlight a different business each month to help you learn about unique businesses in your own back yard.


Rushcreek Feed & Supply is a landmark in Bremen that has been evolving to meet the needs of customers for over fifty years.

“You have to change with the times,” Rushcreek Feed & Supply owner Bob Pontious repeated.  “You have to.”

This gentleman would know. He has weathered much change in his business, his town and the economy for over five decades. In 1961, Bob and four other Bremen area farmers partnered to purchase the Brown-Burnworth Company, which included office space and a mill that operated out of facilities constructed in the mid and late 1800’s.  The five farmers organized and began operating what is now known as Rushcreek Feed & Supply, a mill that processes and creates seed and mix for the agricultural community.

The business has seen various incarnations of the ownership group but Bob, who just celebrated his 92nd birthday, has remained the only constant and is the sole owner to this day.  His business has continuously evolved, installing new machinery, adopting new processes, and acquiring property to allow growth and efficiency, allowing them to stand out as a staple in rural small town living.

Bremen has seen much change during the last several decades and much of the change has resulted in loss. Bob said that several auto dealers have come and gone and the rail system that once rolled within ten feet of Rushcreek Feed’s building has disappeared.   The cheese factory that existed years ago that was supplied by local dairy farms is long gone.  The number of dairy farms in the area has dwindled from thirty or forty in the 1960’s and 70’s to just two. The number of local hog farms is now down to about ten.  As more folks have moved toward green farming and the landscape of the agricultural industry changes, the needs of the customer have changed.  “It used to be cattle, chickens, and pigs.  Everything was operated by hand,” Manager Terry Bell said matter-of-factly.  “But you have to meet the needs of your clientele.  You really have to diversify.”

“We used to have folks bring in truckloads or trailers of whole ears of corn, which we’d unload by shovel or hand.”  Terry explained.  “Now there’s a hoist and dump pit.  We used to bag feed by hand in 100 pound bags.  That was it – that was all we had.  But we’ve installed a bagging system for 50 pound bags.”

By streamlining seemingly simple processes and taking the “work smarter” approach, Terry says Rushcreek Feed and Supply has been able to expand their facilities, services and offerings.  For example, a warehouse was constructed and a neighboring plot of land was purchased, which included several buildings that now serve as workshops and storage for equipment and inventory.  The old mill was just redone this summer, and within the last five years they’ve added to their custom fertilization capabilities with a new truck and a new sprayer.  Last summer, they installed seventy foot scales to better accommodate semis upon weighing in/out.  Their secret Rushcreek Deer Plot Mix was created and is a hit for deer season, with customers from as far as Pennsylvania and New York ordering regularly.  And recently, they became a licensed dealer for “The Stump,” a long-window weather resistant hunting blind by Banks Outdoors.  As only one of a handful of dealers in the state, they actually keep them in stock so they are ready to go out the door upon purchase.  Terry said that none of this would be possible without their expanded facilities.  “We were running out of room.”

The expansion and rock-steady quality service are due in large part to a great group of people working for their team, Terry said.  “We’ve got our locals (customers).  But we’ve also got people from Franklin, Licking, Meigs, Athens, Muskingum Counties that are regulars.”   Customers are getting quality products, but it’s the quality service from the twelve Rushcreek Feed & Supply employees that make the sustained success possible.  “It works because we’ve got a great staff” Terry added.

If you’d like to visit Rushcreek Feed & Supply, they’re located at 103 S. Broad Street in Bremen, just across the parking lot from our Friendly Bremen Banking Center.  They can be contacted at 740.569.4105 and can be found on Facebook and at their own website

See more images from our visit to Rushcreek Feed & Supply in the slideshow below.

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Community Spotlight: Camp Oty’Okwa


Camp Oty’Okwa is located in the heart of the Hocking Hills region and provides both solace and adventure for young campers and adult visitors alike.

You can tell a lot about a place by the sounds it makes. At first Camp Oty’Okwa seems quiet. There are no cars whizzing by and no dogs barking. Instead, there’s wind rustling in the trees, birds chattering and the distant sound of locusts coming together to create a chorus of summer. But leave the parking lot and walk closer to the camp and you’ll hear music and laughter: the happy, carefree sounds of children at summer camp.

For some kids who attend camp here, it’s a life changing experience they will never forget. Built in 1942, the camp began as a 165 acre farm that was operated by Big Brothers Big Sisters, primarily to serve the sons of soldiers lost in World War II.  Today the camp is 730 acres and offers a year-round experience for boys and girls. In addition to regular summer camp, there are camps with varying focuses including Science Camp, Grief Camp, Literacy Camp, Seasonal Environmental Education and Girls Week.


Summer camp provides lots of opportunities to make new friends!

David Schirner began his career here as a lifeguard in 1971. Today he serves as Camp Director and Executive Vice President of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Ohio. “I started as a lifeguard and I just never left,” David said with an easy laugh.

He explained there are many things that make this place unique. To start, it is one of only two remaining Big Brothers Big Sisters camps left in the United States. Moreover, Camp Oty’Okwa gives kids the opportunity to experience and explore nature in the breathtaking natural environment of the Hocking Hills where rock outcrops, woodlands and hiking trails abound. At camp, they make new friends and learn lots of skills including how to work with others and even how to deal with adversity.

At regular summer camp, structure exists mainly at mealtimes and there is no set program for the rest of the day. Instead, kids live and play in a setting where a small group and counselor decide what to do each day, considering the needs, interests and limitations of each child in the group. Hiking, swimming, art projects, bird watching and canoeing are just a few of the possibilities. The day VCNB visited, a large group was enjoying a spirited session of Zumba.


David Schirner, pictured here with kids at Holiday Camp, is Camp Director and Executive Vice President of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Ohio.

Cathy Knoop serves as Business Development Coordinator for Camp Oty’Okwa and her devotion to camp shows in the hugs she happily accepts and the interest she takes in what the kids are doing. “They learn to compromise and to work with others. Sometimes a member of the group has a physical limitation and the others have an opportunity to learn empathy and compassion because that child isn’t great at what the others want to do,” Cathy explained.

David said the camp has evolved over the decades to suit the needs of the kids. It began serving kids who lost dads in the war but by the sixties, the camp was evolving as divorce and single parent homes became more common. “The challenge has been changing, adapting to the needs of families and remaining current through 2016. A lot of what we do is social work,” David said.

He indicated that many kids are referred by schools and organizations locally and across Ohio while other children attend simply because they desire a camp experience.

David said that a fair number of campers are from the immediate area. “We’ve found from working with kids in this area that local kids need this place as much as city kids. We are finding they just don’t get outside much. They’re playing video games and watching tv as much as any other kid in America despite having nature so close,” he said.

Cathy and her husband Paul have volunteered at the camp for about six years. Now retired, Paul was Education Director at Aullwood Audubon Nature Center and Cathy was an elementary science teacher. “My husband and I volunteer here because we enjoy getting to know the kids, teaching them, seeing them grow up and being part of their lives,” she said. “Environmental education is important to us and we enjoy sharing that.”

They extend environmental education into all areas of the camp including through a recycling and composting program that prevents most waste. They also buy locally produced food at the Chesterhill Produce Auction as much as possible.

David said there is much work that needs done to keep the camp operating. “We are here to be good stewards for the property and to send kids to camp,” he said. “We have a strategic plan designed to make facility improvements and to keep this camp running for another seventy years. Fortunately, we have a lot of amazing people who like this place and who are willing to give of themselves and to provide funding to send kids to camp. We couldn’t do it without them,” he added.

One of the newest additions to the camp is the Discovery Center. The dining hall is located inside and the walls are lined with stations that use artwork and interactive pieces to teach about the area’s native plants and animals, about recycling and a number of other topics. Outside the building there is a pond, native garden and a compost station.


The camp hosts many events that are open to the public. Michelle Stitzlein will give a presentation on art inspired by nature with recycled materials on November 13, 2016. Tickets for the presentation including soup, salad bar and dessert cost just $20 but advance registration is required at

All this work is not just for campers. Camp Oty’Okwa encourages community involvement through community events and hikes, school group visits, adult education workshops for teachers and naturalists and a host of other events. For a fee, they also teach adult education classes like one on preserving produce and even a weekend survival workshop. Their next free Community Hike will be on October 1. Reserve your spot for this or learn about other events by contacting Al Marietta at or by calling 740-975-6384. Click here for a full list of upcoming events.

Organizations and businesses that need retreat or conference space often use the camp as well. Facilities, food and programming are available for small groups of up to twenty and large groups up to 200.

Volunteers are welcome for trail repair, camp winterization and other project work days. The public is also encouraged to attend events at the camp and cash donations are always appreciated. “We value our community and the partnerships we have here.  The volunteers, the donors, the wonderful people who support what we do. We couldn’t do it without them.”

Camp Oty’Okwa is located at 24799 Purcell Rd., just a few miles from the Old Man’s Cave Visitors’ Center.  Click here for more information.

Click through the slide show below for more images from Camp Oty’Okwa.

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Rake In The Points At VCNB!


With the arrival of September, we’ve noticed that some leaves are starting to turn colors and fall. While raking leaves in your back yard isn’t so fun, we think you’ll like our offer to “Rake in the Points” this fall.

Rake in the Points is our latest offer for new Rewards Checking customers to receive 5,000 extra points when they sign up online.*

We bet you’re wondering what these points are all about. Customers who use VCNB Rewards Checking earn UChoose Rewards® points for their regular banking habits. Customers can earn points for using Online Bill Pay, Direct Deposit, and for making automatic loan payments. They also earn one point for every three dollars spent using their debit card. Additional point earning opportunities are available to customers. Read more here.

These points can be redeemed for gift cards, cash back, concert tickets, travel, merchandise and more! Rewards Checking offers so much added value that we’re seeing more and more customers embrace  the Rewards Checking lifestyle every day!  Click here to read an example of how an average customer might earn points.

Opening an account online is easy and can be done in five easy steps. What are you waiting for? Put down that rake and pull up a chair. You can rake in the points at VCNB with just the click of your mouse!

*Limit two per household. Personal accounts only. Account must be opened online and have a $100 minimum deposit, an activated debit card and a debit card registered with within 60 days of opening account to receive the bonus. Points will be awarded within 30 days of meeting criteria.


Take Control Of Your Debit Card!

VCNB just introduced a new feature that we think our debit card customers will really like. It’s called CardValet and it’s a free app to help customers take more control over their VCNB debit cards.

Some of our employees have been testing CardValet and one thing we hear repeatedly from them is they like being able to restrict where their card can be used. They also enjoy being able to completely turn off their card when they don’t need it. You read that right: you can turn your card on and off with the flip of a switch in the app!

Here are some popular features of the app:

  • Turn off international card usage
  • Set the geographic locations where the card can be used.
  • Restrict transactions based on merchant type
  • Set transaction amount limits
  • Receive alerts for certain transaction types
  • View card balances and recent transactions

Perhaps you want to limit the types of merchants where your card can be used. You can turn on and off several categories including gas station, grocery, restaurant, entertainment, travel and more. You can also set spending limits to deny a purchase over an amount of your choosing. If you are in the store and find you need to spend more than your CardValet limits are set for, you can simply log in to the app and set new limits.

Turning the card on and off is so fast and easy that you can keep your card off all the time and simply turn it on when you’re in line at the store and ready to use your card. Customers can also set a variety of alerts to let them know when their card has been used.

With the prevalence of fraud in the world today, we think many of our customers will be pleased to know that this control feature is available to them.

Ready to get started? Download the CardValet app from the Apple® app store or Google Play™ Once you have the app installed on your phone, it’s easy to register and get started. As always, we encourage customers to set strong passwords and to not share that information with others.  Multiple VCNB debit cards can be linked and customers will soon be able to use VCNB credit cards with the app as well.

Our employees are loving CardValet and we think you will too. Give it a try today!

Small Business Spotlight: Hillside Country Store

Being a small business owner is a tough job. That’s why we spotlight a different business each month to help you learn about unique businesses in your own back yard.

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Hillside Country Store offers an array of baked goods, bulk food items, wind chimes, wood furniture, candles, outdoor furniture and much more.


Hillside Country Store carries seasonal bedding plants, vegetable plants and other supplies to help both the advanced and novice gardener. They currently have a selection of fall mums.

The owner of Hillside Country Store calls his business “an old fashioned store in the middle of God’s country.” Perched on a hill overlooking St. Rt. 180, Hillside is close to Adelphi and not far from Lancaster, Chillicothe or the Hocking Hills State Park. The store smells divine and is a feast for the eyes, nose and taste buds, making it worth the drive into the country.

It is a family run business where the employees are friendly and helpful and many of the customers are regulars. Owner Michael Martin says he opened the store in September 2014 “because the Lord gave me mostly girls and it made a lot of sense.” He grew up in Wisconsin where his father runs a bulk food store but he married a Zanesville girl and moved to Ohio where his own store is filling a real need in the rural community.

Hillside is packed with all sorts of goodies including bulk snacks, candy making supplies, baking and cooking ingredients. Jams, jellies, salsas, pickled foods and maple syrup are popular as well.  An extensive deli offers approximately 35 different kinds of cheeses and at least that many kinds of meats. A popular service of the deli is the made-to-order sandwiches which are delicious and generous in portion. Being close to the Tar Hollow and Hocking Hills State Parks, it’s a good place to pick up sandwiches, cold drinks and snacks for a picnic. Soft serve ice cream makes a delicious treat for a hot day too.

What gives the store its heavenly aroma is the bakery which produces fresh bread daily as well as homemade pies and cookies like the popular Monster Cookie which is packed full of peanut butter, molasses, oatmeal, chocolate chips and M&M candies.

They welcome large orders for weddings and other events and are able to produce large amounts of baked goods as well as meat and cheese trays.

Practical items also line the walls including sewing notions, canning supplies, dish towels, books, bird houses, feeders and bulk bird seed.  An extensive line of poly yard and deck furniture offers maintenance free swings, Adirondack chairs and dining tables and chairs.

In addition, they offer a popular line of gift items like scented candles, windchimes and oak furniture which Michael pointed out are good for any occasion but are especially popular Christmas and Mother’s Day gifts. Backyard gardeners will find hanging baskets, bedding plants, vegetable plants and other seasonal flowers. They currently have a nice assortment of fall mums and Michael said there will be even more in stock soon.

Michael said his family has enjoyed running this business and that he looks forward to the future. “We’re enjoying it. It’s nice to live near the place where you work and we are growing,” he said. In fact, he said they expect to soon add fried pies to the menu, an addition he believes customers will enjoy.

Hillside Market is open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. They accept cash and plastic and welcome new customers to stop in. Call them at 740.655.3600 or visit them at 10244 St. Rt. 180, Laurelville.

See below for more pictures.

Start With Student Checking



Piggy bank with glasses and blackboard

Begin with the basics. That’s what we tell young people who are interested in opening a bank account. This is why we have introduced a checking account specifically for young people and for students who wish to learn how to manage their money and their accounts responsibly.

With our new Student Checking account, students as young as 14 can have a checking account with all the bells and whistles including a debit card, online banking, VCNB Mobile, account alerts, direct deposit and more.

With Student Checking, young customers can learn good money management skills that will last a lifetime and develop a relationship with a bank they can trust. A parent or guardian must be made a joint owner of the account if the student is under 18 years of age. Visit this link to read the full details of our new Student Checking account and to open online.

Student Checking accounts can be opened online or in any of our seventeen VCNB offices. Click here to find one in your neighborhood!

Peace, Love and Points Offer Ends Soon

Peace, Love & Points - FBBC (Nauman Digital)

Peace, Love and Points has been our theme here at VCNB all summer long and we’ve had a fun time embracing our inner hippie. Sadly, all good things must come to an end and this campaign is no different. Have you taken advantage of this opportunity to earn up to 20,000 Bonus Points with a Rewards Checking and a Platinum Credit Card at VCNB?

It is good through August 31, both in office and on our website.

Customers who qualify for a Visa© Platinum Credit Card may receive a bonus of 10,000 UChoose Rewards® Points. With our Platinum Credit Card, customers can receive bonus points for using it to make regular purchases. Those points can be redeemed for gift cards, travel, experiences and merchandise.

Customers who open a new Rewards Checking account or switch an existing VCNB account to Rewards Checking will be eligible to receive a bonus of 5,000 points. Those who opt for self-service and open a Rewards Checking account online will be eligible to receive a bonus of 10,000 points.

To receive a Rewards Checking bonus, the customer must activate a debit card and register it through within sixty days of account opening to receive the bonus. New accounts must be funded with a minimum $100 deposit within 30 days of account opening. Click here to read the full terms and conditions for this promotion.

Click here to open your Rewards Checking account online  or stop by any of our seventeen offices to apply for a Platinum Card or to open a Rewards Checking with one of our friendly staff.

What are you waiting for?  The summer of Peace, Love and Points will end soon but your point earning opportunities with Rewards Checking and a Platinum Visa will continue every time you use them!

Have You Tried Rewards Checking?

We have been amazed at the customer response to our new VCNB Rewards Checking account. When we introduced this account to customers last year, we knew we had something special but we weren’t expecting such an incredible response. Months later, we continue to hear from customers about how much they love this account and we are simply delighted. After all, community banks are about providing personal service to customers and providing them with the banking tools they need and want.

If you haven’t tried Rewards Checking, it’s exactly what it sounds like: a checking account that rewards you for your regular banking habits. You receive points for spending money with your debit card, for using direct deposit and Online Bill Pay, among other things. We even give you points to get you started when you open the account.

Those points can be used to receive cash back and gift cards for major retailers and restaurants. You can also use those points for travel expenses, merchandise and experiences like concert tickets.

We are thrilled to offer this account and to reward our customers for their loyalty.

If you have signed up for Rewards Checking, we have a reminder for you: Be sure to register your debit card with the UChoose Rewards® website so that you can begin earning and spending all those points! Registering is very simple and can be done by clicking here.

Once you’re registered, take a look for special offers under the “Earn Points” tab. Here you will find point earning opportunities that are only good online as well as some special opportunities that must be activated to learn. You can also browse all the great things you can redeem your points for under the “Redeem Points” tab.

Learn more about Rewards Checking by visiting our website.

We sometimes offer bonus rewards points so pay attention for those offers as well!

Turn The Key On Your New Home

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Ready to turn the key on your new home?

Since 1867 we have been helping countless individuals and families reach their goal of home ownership. Whether you’re building your dream home or buying your starter home, our experienced lenders are knowledgeable and ready to help.

What are you waiting for? Click here to prequalify online!  

We also welcome you to visit one of our offices to meet with a lender or call your local office to get started. Member FDIC.  Equal Housing Lender.

Banking For College Students

If you’re headed off to college this fall, you’ve probably signed up for your classes, picked up supplies for your dorm room and are packing up to leave soon. But have you thought about how to manage your money or how to get money from home?

Electronic banking has done wonders for us all, making it easier to manage our money and even to receive money from others. Here are some VCNB products that will make your financial life better:

Checking Account
Everyone needs a checking account. Even if you don’t have a job or a lot of money to manage, a checking account is the best way to handle the funds you have. A Checking My Way or Rewards Checking account are great options for most young adults. Click here and select “Checking Accounts” to learn about these accounts and to open online!

VCNB Mobile/Online Banking
teenager laptop cell phone headphones.jpgYou may be far from home but we offer two convenient tools for accessing your money 24/7 from anywhere your smartphone or computer works. Login to your accounts at or with VCNB Mobile, our easy to use mobile app. Here you can check balances, transfer funds, pay bills and a deposit a check with Mobile Deposit. You can also access Popmoney® personal payment service. Not sure what all this means? Keep reading. We’ll explain!

With online and mobile banking, you can transfer funds between your accounts. Say you saved all your graduation cash in your savings account but need some to buy a textbook or pay for a movie ticket. You can easily and quickly transfer the funds into the account where you need them. It’s easy and a free service.

Account Alerts
Since this is your first time managing money on your own, it’s a good idea to keep a sharp eye on what you’re doing. You can set up account alerts to tell you when your balance falls below a certain amount of money, when your debit card has been used to make a purchase and when a deposit is made to your account among other things. There are nineteen different types of account alerts,  each of which can be sent via text or email free of charge.

Popmoney® personal payment service allows you to securely send and receive money quickly, using just the recipient’s email or mobile phone number and your own VCNB checking or savings account. A lot of our customers use it to pay back friends and family or to send gifts. We also have many parents and grandparents who use it to send money to their college students who are always grateful for the extra cash! There is a fee of .50 per transaction and you can learn more about it here.

Reloadable Card
A Reloadable Mastercard© is a good option for those who do not qualify for a traditional checking or who don’t want one for fear of accidental overdraft. This card is accepted anywhere that takes Mastercard but is loaded for a specific amount of money. Once it’s spent, it’s gone and there is no risk of overdrawing an account. Funds can be directed deposited or be added as you wish. Reloadable cards are great for college students as parents are able to deposit money as needed. You must be 18 years of age to purchase and there is a $5.99 purchase fee and other fees related to reloading and maintaining this card. Click here for complete details including fees.

At VCNB we are excited to see young people venture out on their own and will be glad to help you get started by answering questions and setting you up with VCNB accounts and other products. Give us a call or stop by our office to talk to an experienced account representative today!