Small Business Spotlight: Totem Supply Company

Small businesses are important to communities and running a small business is tough work. That’s why we feature a small business in one of our communities every month! 

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Chillicothe is for Dreamers.  That’s the phrase printed on one of the most popular custom t-shirts at Totem Supply Co. Store owner Courtney Lewis is one of those dreamers.

After growing up in Chillicothe and graduating from Ohio University in Athens, Courtney Lewis decided she wanted to live in a big city.  She moved to Cleveland with a sense of adventure and excitement.  She found inspiration while living there for five years.  The majority of people she met were proud to be from Cleveland.  They held the city and its landmarks in high regard.  She began to miss her hometown and found that she had much pride in her hometown as well.  Realizing that small towns sometimes get a bad rap, she wanted to encourage the same pride in Chillicothe that she had witnessed in Cleveland.

After moving home in 2009 and while working in graphic design, she noticed there was no place to purchase Chillicothe memorabilia.  In 2012 Lewis started to sell custom t-shirts while working at her former career.  All shirts featured logos of former local businesses whose memory lives on in the community.

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In November 2013, with her t-shirt sales doing well, she decided to take a leap of faith and open Totem Supply Co.  Her vision of the nostalgia-based business was to highlight the small town and service the townspeople who enjoy being from the area.

Located in the historic district of downtown Chillicothe, Totem Supply Co is a retail store filled with merchandise created by local authors, designers, and artisans.  Memorabilia with references to Chillicothe are of the upmost popularity.  Everything from Chillicothe logoed coffee mugs to Ohio patterned pillows are arranged beautifully in clusters of like items making it easy to shop.  Some of the other items available include handmade deodorants, greeting cards, jewelry and sustainable toys for children.

T-shirt sales have flourished in the store and remain one of the top selling items.  Lewis often looks back into her childhood memories for which former business logos to use next but she’s also been contacted by families requesting her to make their families’ former businesses into shirts.

Printed on soft cotton tees, these shirts are comfortable to wear and tug at many people’s heartstrings.  Recently, Lewis was contacted by a customer who had purchased a Schachne’s t-shirt for her elderly mother.  Her mother had worked at this popular downtown clothing store in her earlier years.  The customer told Lewis that her mother lit up when she was given the shirt.  This gift sparked a lengthy conversation about her time working at Schachne’s and other stories from her youth.  “It’s so cool to spark memories,” Lewis says.  “There’s something so special for generations to share stories.”

Totem Supply Co. is open Tuesday-Friday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 pm. and Sunday noon to 4 p.m.  Visit them at 11 West 2nd Street in Chillicothe or follow them on Facebook.

 

 

Find Us At The Hocking County Fair!

When the Hocking County Fair opens for business on Monday morning, our Hocking Hills Banking Center will be there. In fact, in addition to sponsoring two days at the fair, some of our employees will be volunteering in different capacities including as organizers of the livestock sales on Friday and Saturday nights.

Autumn Warthman is the Branch Manager of the Hocking Hills Banking Center in Logan and is passionate about the bank’s involvement in the fair. “We always believe it is important to be involved and to give back to our community. We especially love having the opportunity to support local kids.”

Bank representatives will be on hand for the official opening at 9 a.m. Monday, September 11.  The public will meet at the gate for the official opening with fair organizers and sponsors.

The bank will also sponsor the fair on Monday and again on Friday for Kids’ Day. Stop by the Sponsor Tent, next to the Sheriff’s Booth, to say hello and enjoy free popcorn on Monday and free freeze pops on Friday.

Warthman is thrilled to say that her staff will host the Livestock Sale on both Friday and Saturday nights, working on behind the scenes tasks, including tracking buyers and sales, cashing folks out and billing the buyers afterwards.

“We know it’s going to be a busy week but we are excited to be part of this important community event. The Fair and 4-H are such an important part of childhood and the community here in Hocking County that we are honored to play a part in making this year a successful one,” Warthman said as she drew from her own experiences taking animals to the fair when she was a child. “It was an amazing part of my life that I still look back on the memories I made and the people who helped me along the way. It takes a lot of people to make the fair happen and that means a lot of people who are volunteering their time and expertise to help our local youth. We are proud to be part of that tradition,” she said.

Learn more about the fair here.

 

 

 

Small Business Spotlight: PBJ Connections

Small businesses are important to communities and running a small business is tough work. That’s why we feature a small business in one of our communities every month!

PBJ Connections provides professional behavioral health therapy for children, adults and families through horses, counseling and nature and is one of just a handful of Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) providers Ohio.

Headquartered in Pataskala, PBJ has two full time employees in Holly Jedlicka, Executive Director, and Erica Lewis, Assistant Director. The organization contracts with licensed mental health therapists and trained equine specialists.  Because they partner with four locations, the program works with upwards of 45 equines.  Home base, though, is in rural Pataskala, an ideal location offering serenity and peace as well as ease of access from anywhere in central and eastern Ohio.  This location houses nine horses and two donkeys.

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PBJ Connections is operated by Executive Director Holly Jedlicka and Assistant Director Erica Lewis. They are pictured here with one of the horses they use as Equine Assisted Psychotherapy providers.

PBJ Connections is modeled after EAGALA model of therapy, which uses a team of a licensed mental health professional, an equine specialist, and the animal (horses or donkeys) for mental health therapy. The model follows a strict code of ethics, and contrary to popular misconceptions, the model is completely non-riding.

“Horses are honest and completely reactive to their environment 100 percent of the time,”  Holly explained while referencing other common household pets. “Compare it to a dog or a cat – which make great pets, but they are natural predators that hunt, and there has to be a bit of deception in the hunt.  Horses don’t have that; there is no deception.  It’s immediate, honest feedback.”

Horses seek three things – “Safety, Comfort, and Companionship, in that order” she explained.  So the response of the animal to the environment and the signals that are being presented by the client are key to the therapy sessions.  “We get to observe the client’s interpretations of what they’re seeing and feeling from these animals,” Holly explained, before adding “The interpretation of the horse’s actions and demeanor are absolutely key to the experience.”

PBJ Connections’ clientele comes from a variety of sources. Holly indicated that word of mouth has been incredibly important, but community partnerships and referrals from insurance companies are as valuable as it gets.  As a non-profit entity, there’s little budget for traditional marketing channels.  So they do what they can online, like a fantastic website and periodic electronic newsletter, and they’re active on Facebook,  from which they do get referrals.  You can even keep up with client favorite, Rocky the Horse.

Recently, PBJ has partnered with The Ohio State University on an ongoing research project, providing intervention services for the study while OSU collects the data.  Multiple research papers will be published as the project moves forward.  With Holly and Erica’s background with Ohio State (Holly and Erica both hold degrees from the school – Holly with her Masters in Social Work and Erica with her BS in Agriculture), connections through other community partners, and the positive reputation of PBJ Connections, the partnership with OSU was a natural fit.

The amount of additional programs offered by PBJ Connections is staggering.  The CONNECT Program provides Equine-assisted Psychotherapy for youth ages 6-18 and their families as well as adult sessions.  The A PONY Program partners with school systems and serves at-risk and high-risk students in ten week sessions.  Family Coaching offers six week sessions for the entire family, covering communication skills, coping strategies, problem solving, and more.  ON MISSION partners horses with veterans and is free to Franklin County Veterans struggling with substance use through the Access to Recovery Grant.  There group sessions for youth in the PEERS program, offering group sessions on a quarterly basis, and Summer Group sessions.

HelloThe aforementioned partnership with Ohio State is not the only instance of their working relationship; they also partner with them in the James Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Survivorship Program, offering family equine therapy sessions.  And as if that’s not enough, there is the PBJ@WORK program, which PBJ Connections offers “a rich set of corporate leadership and teamwork options that are suitable for work and social teams of all sizes.”

While the EAGALA model of therapy that PBJ Connections follows is non-riding, they commonly co-refer clients looking to local therapeutic riding programs if that is the appropriate fit.

Even with all of this going on, they’re still in the midst of putting the finishing touches on their biggest event of the year – the annual “Helping Horses Help Kids” Charity Event, which celebrates “the many Great Pairings of PBJ Connections and our community.”  This year’s event is a special one, as it’s the tenth annual edition, and will again feature a huge silent auction featuring some exclusive one of a kind items and experiences.  The event is open to the public and will be held on Thursday, September 21, from 6pm-9pm at The Annunciation Banquet and Conference Center at The Greek Orthodox Cathedral at 555 N. High St. in Columbus.  Tickets and sponsorship opportunities are still available, so check out the website for more information.

Holly said her passion for her work is rooted in her own upbringing. “I was one of two children who grew up in a good home.  We had horses, but my family worked really hard to make that happen.  My father insured that we knew what we had and that we appreciated it, and he’s convinced that’s what kept me out of trouble.  And I just wanted to share that passion and responsibility and that’s kind of how this came to be,” she said.

To learn more about many of the topics discussed, please view the list of links below.  Additionally, PBJ Connections is always looking for passionate folks to join their loyal team of volunteers.  They can be contacted at 740.924.7543 or via email at info@pbjconnections.org.

Learn More:
PBJ Connections: http://www.pbjconnections.org
PBJ on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PBJ.Connections/
Rocky on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Rocky.of.PBJ.Connections/
Helping Horses Help Kids Event: http://www.helpinghorseshelpkids.org/
EAGALA: https://www.eagala.org/

Small Business Spotlight: Holzapfel Family Health Care/Urgent Care

Small businesses are important to communities and running a small business is tough work. That’s why we feature a small business in one of our communities every month!

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Vicki Holzapfel is pictured in an exam room at Holzapfel Family Health Care/Urgent Care in Jackson.

Jackson County’s newest health care facility offers patients a place to go for quick but compassionate health care from a local professional. Holzapfel Family Health Care/Urgent Care opened on July 10 with a ribbon cutting by the Jackson Area Chamber of Commerce and the longtime desire of one local woman to own her own business.

Owner Vicki Holzapfel is a Nurse Practitioner with over thirty years of experience in the health care field. She began her career as a Registered Nurse in 1983 after earning an Associates Degree at the University of Rio Grande. She went on to earn a Bachelor’s Degree from Capitol University to become an RN while a working mom. In 2001, she graduated from Wright State University with a Master’s Degree to become a Family Nurse Practitioner.

Holzapfel explained that her thirty plus years in the medical field have given her the knowledge, connections, love for her work and confidence needed to strike out on her own. She has worked as an intensive care nurse, an emergency room nurse and in nursing management. Since becoming a Nurse Practitioner, she also has worked in pediatrics for eleven years, the ER for two years and internal medicine for two years.

“I have done a lot of different things,” Holzapfel exclaimed.  She went on to discuss some of the benefits of her varied career. “Since 1983, I’ve met a lot of people in my field and I’ve maintained good relationships with them. Even if I don’t know the answer to a question, I am always able to refer patients to someone who will be able to address their unique situation.”

When longtime friend and colleague Sherry Russell invited Holzapfel to join her at Russell Family Health Care in Jackson, she thought it was the right move. Then when Russell offered to sell the business to Holzapfel earlier this year, she knew the time was right. “Everything just fell into place. My husband Rex has wanted me to have my own practice for a long time. It just felt like it was the right time to stretch my wings a bit,” she said.

In addition to employing her decades of medical experience, Holzapfel said she is thrilled to use her people skills and the business knowledge she learned from her late father Sam Hatley. Her father was the Vice President of Manufacturing for Austin Powder Company in Vinton County. She credits him for much of her personal development and caring for others. “Dad taught me to appreciate people, to take care of people. The employees and the people around you are the most important thing,” she said. “He instilled in me to be good to people, to be kind to people.”

At this time, Holzapfel employs three people and is able to provide care for all ages by appointment or by walking in. They can perform sports physicals, do lab draws, administer medication, do flu/strep and mono testing, drain abscesses, give flu shots, EKGs, referrals and more.

Construction for a planned expansion will start in August and will provide for growth in both space and services. The two room clinic will grow to six rooms and will allow them to perform Department of Transportation physicals and aesthetic services like Botox injections and Dermal Filler injections.

“I’m just so happy to be here, to be taking care of people the way they need to be taken care of. I want to treat them right,” she said.

Holzapfel and her husband Rex have two children and four grandkids. They enjoy breeding German Shepherds and are excited to soon have puppies.

Holzapfel Family Medical Clinic/Urgent Care is located at 345 East Main Street in Jackson. Hours are Monday through Thursday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday 8 a.m. to noon. Walk in or call 740-577-3043. Learn more at their website and follow them on Facebook.

Small Business Spotlight: Stoer Farm Market

Small businesses are important to communities and running a small business is tough work. That’s why we feature a small business in one of our communities every month!

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Donna and Jim Stoer of Stoer Farm Market are pictured with a Barn Quilt painted by their daughter Candy Stoer.

A visit to Stoer Farm Market is a little like coming home. Here, friends and strangers alike are greeted by the smiling faces of people who are genuinely happy you stopped by to shop and visit. Located just off of St. Rt. 104 in Pickaway County, it’s an easy drive for quality products and for a truly special experience.

What makes this place most memorable is husband and wife team Jim and Donna Stoer who operate the farm and market. The pair were childhood friends and high school sweethearts. They have been married 56 years but still seem like a couple of youngsters when discussing life together.

Jim said they both were farm kids and that Donna actually grew up on this farm where her father ran a dairy and raised other animals. After Jim’s lengthy career in corporate America and more than forty years living in Grove City, they came back to Donna’s home place in 2014. “This all started when Donna started selling sweet corn under a tree in the front yard. She moved into the garage when she outgrew the tree,” Jim explained with a chuckle.

“It’s so nice having our friends stop by and meeting new people,” she elaborated. “I really do enjoy it!”

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Sweet corn is a summer staple that keeps customers coming back to the market throughout the season.

The Market has grown significantly since that first table of sweet corn in the Stoer’s front yard. Now the market offers a range of in-season produce throughout the growing season. The June day VCNB visited, they offered tomatoes, zucchini, potatoes, eggs and some late season strawberries. Soon, their ever popular sweet corn will fly out the door along with a host of other delicious summer favorites. Other times of the year, they sell asparagus, rhubarb, blackberries, raspberries, pumpkins, gourds and an array of other produce.

Their most sought after product is their line of honey, straight from hives on the farm. “Bees are having some trying times now and we wanted to help them out,” Jim said as he explained that their daughter Candy had encouraged them to try working with bees. “Many crops depend on bees for pollination. If they go away, our agriculture will be in a lot of trouble,” he said.

They have a complete line of honey products that includes various size bottles of their wildflower and clover honey, natural honey candy, honey straws, and an all natural creamed honey spread that Donna makes homemade.

Jim and Donna take their job very seriously, practicing natural beekeeping that they hope to pass on to others. “Every beekeeper has different wisdom and different ways of doing things.  You have to put all these ideas together and figure out what really works” Donna explained. “We want to help potential beekeepers get started. There’s knowledge that can be passed down.”

In addition to providing education and honey, they also are available to safely relocate honeybee swarms. A swarm is when a group of honeybees attaches itself to a structure or tree while it looks for a more permanent home. Jim said they often receive calls for assistance and Donna shared a picture of a swarm on their own property. Experts say this swarm on a tiny peach tree was one of the largest this area has seen.

Peach tree swarm

Experts say the swarm on this tiny peach tree on the Stoer farm is the largest this area has seen.

As part of their natural beekeeping, Jim and Donna began growing flowers. “We started growing lots of flowers to help bees get their food. That means we also have flowers to sell,” Donna said.

They use a mixture of six kinds of fertilizer to enrich the soil and to grow a large selection of healthy, beautiful flowers for cutting including Peonies, Larkspur, Snapdragons, Hydrangeas, Zinnias, Celosia, Dahlias and Lisianthus. We have two plots of wildflowers that are strictly for the bees,” Jim said.

“Of all the work on the farm, there is nothing more gratifying that filling a bucket with flowers and bringing them into the market,” Donna said.

They sell other things at the market including gourmet mustard and jams, lip balm and homemade soaps. They also take weekly orders for Der Dutchman bakery items such as donuts, pies and apple fritters. Their daughter Candy makes custom wood painted quilt blocks for outdoor display and Jim and Donna can put customers in touch with Candy for a consultation.

Donna said she will soon offer salsa, cheese and kettle corn for summer visitors and the pair are already thinking about their plans for another fall event. Last year, the farm hosted weekly events in October that featured fun activities for the family including hay rides, music, dancing and a plethora of fall décor including pumpkins, gourds and straw.

They invite visitors to enjoy the farm. “I just love our customers. They’re our lifeline,” Donna said with pure joy. “So many come here and say they love the farm and we say it’s here for them to enjoy.”

Jim emphasized that his wife is the heart and soul of the market. “Donna IS the market. We would have nothing if it weren’t for her,” he said.

Stoer Farm Market is located at 5823 Durrett Rd, Orient, Ohio. They are located just off Rt. 104, approximately 20 minutes north of Circleville. Market hours vary some with the seasons. During the summer, hours are Wednesday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday noon to 6 p.m. They accept cash, Discover, MasterCard, Visa and American Express. Have questions? Call 614-419-2952 and be sure to follow them on Facebook!  Flip through the slideshow to see more pictures!

 

 

VCNB Day To Feature Nineteenth Century Fun

Our bank was born less than two years after the Civil war ended. At the time, the country was still recovering from war and the town of McArthur was a booming place that needed a bank. As it turns out, two banks opened that same year. The Vinton County Bank opened in January 1867 and the bank of Will, Brown and Company opened shortly after. The following year, the two banks merged to form one, keeping the name of the first bank while adopting the leadership of the second.

It’s a story we have told a lot this year as Vinton County National Bank has celebrated its 150th anniversary throughout 2017.

In a few weeks, we’ll have our biggest celebration in our hometown over the 4th of July weekend. We have partnered with the Vinton County High School Athletic Boosters to help them with their annual 4th of July celebration. In doing so, we’re sponsoring a concert by Nashville recording artist Jason Michael Carroll, sponsoring a big hot rod and vintage car show and a host of other things. There will be an open house at the bank and we’ll be offering free wagon rides with John Hutchinson following the parade where we are the grand marshals! Thanks to the Boosters for allowing us this honor!

On Sunday we’re doing something extra special. The Boosters were kind enough to make this Vinton County National Bank Day at the Festival. While they’re having tournament games, vendors and food, we’ll be doing something a little different by embracing our post-Civil War roots. Here’s what we’ve got going on starting at 1 p.m.:

Ohio village muffins19th Century Ball Games – Have you ever thought about how baseball was originally played? The Ohio Village Muffins Men’s Baseball Team and the Ohio Village Diamonds Women’s Team will put on a good show as they play bankers and other community members in nineteenth century style games! The ladies play in skirts and the gentlemen play in long sleeve wool shirts! They didn’t have mitts or protective gear back then and they played by much different rules than we have today! An announcer explains the rules and etiquette and helps spectators understand what’s going on! The ladies play at 1 p.m. and the gentlemen at 3 p.m.

CusterReenactors and Music – Have you ever wanted to meet a President? Ohio’s Premier Abraham Lincoln impersonator will be joining us to talk with folks and pose for pictures. We also have Ohio native General George Armstrong Custer coming for the day and a reenactor who will set up camp, talk with folks about the life of a soldier, do some demonstrations and pose for pictures. Finally, Ohio musician Steve Ball will join us for the day. He and his wife play Civil War era music on period instruments. They do a beautiful job and will surely provide some good entertainment for us all.

Giveaways – The first 150 kids to arrive that day will receive a commemorative 150th piggy bank. One of those banks will contain $25 to help one lucky youngster jump start their savings! We’ll also have some giveaways for adults.

Travis West and OSU Extension will be there to offer old fashioned games for kids and the Vinton County High School Athletic Boosters will be selling ice cream sundaes in addition to all the other fun activities and food the Boosters are planning!

Bring some sunscreen, a lawn chair and a few bucks if you want to buy lunch or snacks. We’ll take care of the entertainment! Visitors will also have access to restrooms inside the high school as well as a shady spot under our big tent to relax and enjoy the day. Want to know about other things happening that weekend? Click here to learn more about what we’re doing and check out the full festival schedule below!

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Open House Set For 150th Bash

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VCNB has been celebrating 150 years of community banking this year and we’ve saved our biggest anniversary bash for McArthur this July 4th weekend. We have partnered with the Vinton County Athletic Boosters to help with their 4th of July celebration and, as part of the celebration, we are also hosting an open house at our McArthur office on Saturday, July 1 from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

This is very meaningful for us. You see, the bank began at this very location in 1867. Aside from a few months back in 1925 when we temporarily relocated during the construction of our existing building, our bank has always operated at this address.

This is our home.

And we are welcoming the community, visitors, customers, non-customers – anyone who wishes to attend – to join us for this important celebration. It doesn’t seem fair to call it an open house because we’re really hoping it’s more like a family reunion. So many people in our community have worked for us and countless others have banked with us. These folks are our friends and neighbors, they’re our families – they’re everything to us because they are our community and our customers.

We hope to see everyone come out to our open house and join in the fun. We will be opening our new Bank Museum and will have entertainment provided by the Adelphi Community Band. We will have ice cream and homemade pies that were baked by the United Methodist Church Women as well as some special giveaway items, speakers and more.

It is an honor to know that people trust us with their money and that they include us in special life events. We have customers who we have known since they were newborns. We’ve watched them grow up, bringing piggy banks filled with change to deposit in their Passbook Savings Accounts. We’ve helped those same kids finance their first car, we’ve helped them buy a home, watched them get married, have babies, save for retirement, upsize, downsize, put down roots and travel to places far away.

We love our community. We love our customers. We love our history and can’t wait to see what the future holds. Won’t you help us celebrate?

Want to learn more about the huge concert we’re sponsoring, the great car show and the truly unique way we’re celebrating on VCNB Day July 2? Read more here!

A Presidential Portrait: Remembering Robert B. Will

In honor of our 150th anniversary in 2017 we are taking a look back at bank history and the people who have helped to shape our bank into the successful, secure institution that it is today. Read on to learn about one of our former presidents!

Robert B. Will Sr.A lifelong McArthur resident, Robert Sr. was a prominent citizen of the community whose personal history was closely entwined with the bank’s history like many other members of the Will family both before and since.

He was born to Aaron Will Jr. and Blanche Buskirk Will on June 15, 1906. He married Helen Burson Will with whom he had two children, Robert B. Will Jr. and Sara Will Crow.

Robert Sr. graduated from McArthur High School and attended Ohio University. He was a member of Trinity Episcopal Church in McArthur, various sportsmens’ organization, the Ohio Bankers Association, the Square and Compass Club of Ohio University and was an Advanced Conservationist.

He also was prominent in Republican political circles in Vinton County and in the region, serving as Secretary of the Republican Executive Committee of Vinton County and serving as Vinton County Commissioner.

In addition, he was prominently identified with the Masonic bodies of two counties. He was a member of Delta Lodge No. 207, F. & A.M. of McArthur, McArthur Chapter, Royal Arch Masons of McArthur, Wellston Council No. 120, R. & S.M. of Wellston and Jackson Commandery 53, Knights Templar of Jackson and Scioto Consistory, Scottish Rite.

Robert Sr. served as bank President from 1951 until his death in November 1965. An avid sportsman, Robert Sr. suffered a fatal heart attack while hunting with close friend John Gill, owner of Gill’s Chevrolet in McArthur.

During his tenure, the bank building was remodeled and enlarged in 1952 and again in 1964. This second renovation brought about the back lobby known as a Quick-Service Lobby, a one-window drive-in and the present brick frontage. The drive-in window was cutting edge for its time and provided customers a convenient, fast way to conduct simple bank transactions without exiting the car.

He also acquired the former Gill’s Chevrolet lot which he turned into a customer parking lot, providing customers ample opportunity to park and bank in addition to the on-the-go service offered at the drive-in.

Another contribution that Robert Sr. made to the bank, which is still felt today, is the creation of the bank’s Management Trainee Program. A student at the Rutgers University Graduate School of Banking, Robert Sr. wrote his graduate paper on how to recruit talented college graduates at community banks. His idea was to recruit the best and brightest young people and to give them challenging work. This program has produced a number of the bank’s finest leaders over the decades and the program continues to leave its mark on the bank more than sixty years since its inception.

Learn more about our 150th year here and about Bank Presidents Daniel Will , Aaron Will and John L. Will.  Find details on our 150th Anniversary Bash in McArthur here.

Small Business Spotlight: Lilly’s Kitchen Table

Small businesses are important to communities and running a small business is tough work. That’s why we feature a small business in one of our communities every month!

Lilly’s Kitchen Table has been a staple of the Grove City Town Center district for years, and is now the reigning two-time Grove City Business of the Year as decided by popular vote and awarded by the Grove City Chamber of Commerce. The breakfast and lunch diner is beloved by the Grove City community and has quite a story to tell.

For the past seven years Lilly’s has been under the ownership and guidance of Tracey Cope, a one-time server for the diner who jumped at the opportunity to purchase the business when the opportunity arose. “So many people were so happy to see Tracey move up and rise to become owner” Manager Sarah Cope explained. “We have so many long-time customers. Some drifted away and have come back to be regulars since Tracey took ownership.”

And take ownership she did. Sarah tells a story of a one night “extreme makeover” seven years ago before the first day of business under Tracey’s leadership. “When it looked like (Tracey) was going to have the opportunity to buy the business, she had a vision for it and started collecting and purchasing items and décor for the restaurant” Sarah said.

“The basement of her home housed all of this stuff. All of it. And once she signed the papers, the night before the farmer’s market, which is our busiest time of year, she and Todd (husband) pulled it all out started bringing it over and they went to work!” In one night, Tracey and family cleaned, painted, and decorated the diner to match the home town diner look and feel of Tracey’s vision moving forward. By morning, they were ready to open the doors with a new look inside. People were amazed at what Tracey and her crew had pulled off and admired their drive and dedication. “She truly took ownership from day one and really hit the ground running” said Sarah.

The diner specializes in breakfast and lunch, soups, and daily specials. Breakfast standards fill the menu alongside specialties like Lilly’s Big Breakfast and the Broadway Buster while sandwiches, subs, wraps, salads, handmade specialty burgers and more round out the lunch menu.

Ask a regular what’s best on the menu and their answer usually is ‘everything!’ Special dishes change daily and Ohio-made products like J.C. Steel pickles and condiments are used in house and sold at the front counter. Tracey’s decorative dishes and displays line the interior, and the back wall features a detailed mural hand painted by local artist David Maple.

Grove City locals have proven to be big fans of Lilly’s, as evidenced by the dramatic growth of their business throughout the past seven years and the aforementioned vote of “Business of the Year” for the second time. Nothing says “community” better than friendly faces and simply being there for one another. And there is never a time to need community more than in the face of tragedy.

Unfortunately, tragedy found this beloved community business in February when Chef and Back of House Manager Chris Cope died in an accident on I-71. Chris was the backbone of the business, not just because of the job he did there, but because he was Tracey’s son and Sarah’s husband. Known for his homemade soups and creative take on old standards, Chris was loved by all who met him. He left behind six children, all of whom are regulars around the restaurant and are well known to customers. “This was his place. He loved it here. This was family, home,” Sarah said.

Tracey, Sarah, and crew have faced these unfortunate circumstances with admirable grace and have received tremendous support from the community. A memorial fund was established at our Franklin County Banking Center and the Grove City Chamber of Commerce’s “Business of the Year” award is being renamed in Chris’s honor. “We’re still figuring out how to do this. But this community is the best. How do we even say how much this has all meant to us?” Sarah recalled, graciously.

The Cope family is beyond thankful for the support the community has shown throughout this time of incomprehensible loss, and says they are still putting the pieces together on moving forward. Thanks to the outpouring of support, they also have an excellent staff they can rely upon to keep the business moving. “We have amazing servers and a great team!” Sarah said of the crew of fourteen. “This is our family business and Tracey considers this her legacy. My kids are already asking to help out and they love to come in here. Visitors know them and love to see them – two of them are actually in that painting on the wall. So maybe someday they’ll be here alongside us.”

It’s easy to see why you can expect Lilly’s to be a staple of the Grove City community for years to come.

“One time visitors turn into lifetime customers. It’s not just a place to eat when you come here. People know our names, and not because of our shirts (which include names). They know our stories and we know them. We know their families, their kids, their orders. These are our friends and family, not just customers.”

Lilly’s Kitchen Table, open daily at 7a.m.-2p.m., is located at 4008 Broadway, Grove City and can be found online or on Facebook. Contact them at (614) 801-0771 or stop by for a good meal and friendly conversation!

Those looking to donate to the Christopher Cope Memorial Fund can contact the Franklin County Banking Center via phone at 614.875.8700, in person at 2250 Stringtown Road, Grove City, and contributions are being accepted via mail at Franklin County Banking Center, P.O. Box 201, Grove City, Ohio 43123.

Small Business Spotlight: Sweet William Blossom Boutique

Small businesses are important to communities and running a small business is tough work. That’s why we feature a small business in one of our communities every month! 

Nestled in historic downtown Chillicothe, Ohio is a boutique shop unlike any other. While some may call it a flower shop, using only that title underestimates the range of specialty products they are known to carry.

Opened in August 2011 by co-owners Anni McDonald and her Aunt Lori Botchie, Sweet William Blossom Boutique is truly a family affair. Anni attended Ohio University in Athens and while there worked for a florist learning many of the techniques used in the shop today. After graduating with a degree in Communications and Marketing she held a couple of jobs while searching for her passion. Feeling unfulfilled from those jobs, she approached Lori with the idea to open a flower shop. Lori was inspired by the idea but visualized a store that sold more than just flowers. She proposed adding fruit arrangements and sweet confectioneries to the line of products. Lori’s degrees in Business Management and Communications, also from Ohio University, make them the perfect pair for this venture.

Sweet William Blossom Boutique offers fresh seasonal flower arrangements custom designed to suit their client’s needs. Focusing on the flowers and not fillers to create eye-catching collages, their works of art are identifiable as SWBB creations due to their distinctive design. They specialize in floral arrangements for weddings, sympathy, and proms/homecomings. Located inside the boutique is a self-serve floral area called the Blossom Bar. Accessible as a grab ‘n’ go option, the Blossom Bar offers a selection of different styles of flowers and vases in different price points so customers can design their own bouquets for less.

One aspect of the business that sets them apart from other flower shops is their fruit arrangements. Using apples, strawberries, pineapple, grapes, blueberries and other assorted fruits, they cut and shape the produce to create one-of-a kind edible art.

Another edible aspect to the business is their gourmet caramel apples and specialty strawberries. The apples come in nine signature flavors such as salty caramel, buckeye, and their best seller apple crisp. All apples are Granny Smith in variety and are the perfect size for sharing, although they are so delicious you many not want to. Strawberries come in three different forms: chocolate-covered, crème-filled, and chocolate cheesecake. Orders can be all of one type or any combination of the three. McDonald says that their strawberries were a top seller this past Valentine’s Day.

McDonald and Botchie are committed to providing local products whenever possible and even sell candles in store made by another local company. These candles, produced by Small Batch Candle Company, are showcased in repurposed glass bottles. Pair one of these candles with flowers or confections and you have the perfect gift for any occasion.

Sweet William Blossom Boutique is located in the heart of downtown Chillicothe at 90 West Second Street. Visit them from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. You can also call them at 740.779.9600. Follow them on Facebook or on Instagram.