Meet Your Banker: Kati Maple

Our lobbies are available by appointment only but our bankers are still here to help you! Today we continue our “Meet Your Banker” series by talking with Kati Maple. Kati is the Branch Manager of our Pickaway County Banking Center in Ashville.

Katie Maple

Kati Maple is the Branch Manager of the Pickaway County Banking Center in Ashville.

Ask Kati what she likes best about her job and she immediately starts talking about her customers. The twenty-year banking veteran says that her career has always been centered on helping others and that this is the best part of her job.

Before coming to work for VCNB, she had experience working for another bank, was a stay-at-home mom, and sharpened her customer service skills helping antiques venders through the Scott Antique Company. But she describes coming to work for VCNB as “a little like coming home.”

While she has been in Ashville for the last five years, customers in Bremen and Lancaster will know her as well. She started out as a teller in Bremen before being promoted to Head Teller and then to New Accounts Officer before becoming Branch Manager. From there, she moved to our branch on East Main Street in Lancaster to be Branch Manager for five years.

When the bank acquired branches in Pickaway County, Kati’s experience with VCNB and her attention to customer satisfaction made her a good leader for the Ashville office. “I love to offer good customer service. I like to problem solve and love when I can figure out a customer’s issues. That’s rewarding to help and to be a resource for them,” she said. “Even with seventeen branches, we are still a community bank. We’re still allowed enough leeway to help customers in a way that you just don’t find at big businesses. I mean, we all know the Executive Team here. We all know the President. We all are given the confidence and the freedom to work together.”

Kati has a tightknit family and one built around their faith. Her two grown daughters also work in careers of service to others – Haley is a teacher and Lydia is a nurse. She was also proud to welcome a son-in-law, Bryce, to her family last year. As her family’s middle child, she remains close to both her sisters as well.

Her husband Mike is deceased, but Kati remains close to his family and spends much time with her church family where her father-in-law is the pastor. She teaches Sunday School and helps with Bible School every year.

In Ashville, Kati and the staff are involved in a number of community activities. They help with weekend packs of food and snacks for students at Teays Valley Local Schools. The bank provides the chicken for the community’s free Gazebo Gatherings picnic over Labor Day weekend and the staff helps serve. They also pass out water at the 4th of July celebration fish fry. “It’s important to be out in the community and I wouldn’t have it any other way,” she said.

Relationships and people are important to Kati and are at the heart of everything she does. “My home family, my church family, my community family and my relationship with God are the most important things in my life,” she explained. “My relationship with the Lord has brought me to this point and I just want to be a blessing to everyone around me.”

 

Spotlight: Ohio’s Small Town Museum

Mural

When Charlie Morrison was a boy, he wanted to own a museum. So it should come as no surprise that he has championed Ohio’s Small Town Museum since it began down the street as just some shelves in his family-owned grocery store. “I graduated from the school here and didn’t know a thing about my own town,” he said. “People need to know about where they’re from.”

67416041_1451872351618262_3329583880515616768_nToday, the 88-year-old still works most days at the museum he co-founded along with friend Bob Hines and a host of volunteers. Established in 1975, the museum is run by the Ashville Area Heritage Society and a group of volunteers who pitch in to help wherever needed – cleaning, giving tours, curating artifacts and simply keeping the museum ready for visitors.

The museum occupies the corner of Long and Wright streets in buildings that once were the post office and Dreamland Theater which once showed silent movies. It’s packed with photos, artifacts and memorabilia from Ashville and other small towns in the area.

A museum tour with Charlie is a treat for a history buff as he shares stories and personal experiences that give life to the items that line the museum’s cases and walls. In fact, point to an artifact and wait for Charlie to pull from his personal experiences and tell a story.

The old dairy? He’ll tell you about washing bottles there for fifty cents a day and about the horse drawn wagon used to deliver quart bottles of milk to houses up and down Ashville’s streets. “That horse knew the route better than any of us,” he exclaimed.

Charlie was there to assist in digging items like old class photos and a classroom clock from the trash when Ashville High School closed – ask and he’ll show you his and his wife’s senior portraits on graduating class composite photos that were destined for the dump.

cab companytheater seatsHe can tell you about the technology used to test a driverless car on Ashville’s streets in 1969 and about the tinkerer who invented the world’s first traffic light. Charlie’s enthusiasm for the history of his community is contagious as he muses about the stories preserved as well as the ones that have been lost to time.

His expertise on the town was gathered over a lifetime. Born here, he graduated from Ashville High School and took over the family grocery store in the 1950s. He and wife Mona will soon celebrate 69 years of wedded bliss, living in just one place – the home he built for them his senior year of high school. He’s a former town mayor and councilman and the locals call him Mr. Ashville.

That’s why, even though many have worked to make the museum successful, it’s difficult to separate the museum’s story from Charlie’s own story. Luckily, the museum has an arsenal of fascinating things to say on its own.

The prized item here is the world’s first traffic light which was invented by an Ashville man named Teddy Boor. A prolific inventor, Boor used common household items to create a traffic light that looks like something from the Jetsons. It operated continuously from installation in the thirties until 1982 when it was given a permanent home in the museum. Here, it continues to operate and delight museum visitors.

There’s a collection of books by Ashville authors, military memorabilia, antique toys and a display dedicated to James Reeves Hulse V – the only Munchkin in the Wizard of Oz who hailed from Ohio. The Pickaway County man was born March 16, 1915 and, at the height of 4 feet, 6 inches, was ideal to play the part of a Munchkin villager in the 1939 classic.

The last edition of The Pickaway County News, printed July 31, 1969, rests atop an old newspaper proof machine. An entire section is dedicated to longtime Ashville physician Dr. Ralph Hosler while a sign for the Ashville Cab Company occupies a small but prominent spot beneath an antique telephone. Offering 24-hour service, they requested that customers “Call us for pickup and delivery service” at YU 3-2501.

Museum guides will even tell you the story of Buster, the dog who voted for Herbert Hoover in 1928, and of Chic-Chic, the pet chicken who bought his own lunch at a local restaurant for years. Chic-Chic was the pet of Mrs. A.B. Cooper. Every day, Mrs. Cooper would drop a dime on the kitchen floor and say “Chic-Chic, go down to Clyde Brinkers’ and get yourself something to eat.” The chicken would pick up the dime with his beak, and walk to Clyde Brinkers’ restaurant on Ashville’s Long Street where he dropped the dime down on the step. Then he would peck on the door and wait to be fed. Locals still called him the King of Ashville at the time of his death in the 1950s.

67352699_2085485081757304_3404277265918328832_nThere literally is a treasure or charming story in every nook and cranny of the museum and new items are added all the time. One local resident dropped off a vintage camera while we were visiting and someone else had donated a box of pictures from an attic a few days earlier. “When we were getting this started, I think we were in every home and every attic in Ashville looking for things,” Charlie exclaimed with a laugh. “Attics are the best because people put stuff up there and forget about it. Unlike a basement which is always damp, the attic stays dry and the items are preserved.”

Charlie laments how little people know about their own communities – not just in the past but today as well – as modern people prefer television and iPhones to sitting on the porch and visiting; internet shopping over supporting a small business; and driving out of town for entertainment over letting their kids ride bicycles and play with their neighbors.

Yet he recognizes that times have changed and that this is just a natural part of life.  “I just want kids and people in this community to know where they came from, to know about their towns whether it’s Ashville or South Bloomfield or some little town that people have forgotten about,” he said. “I like telling about the little town of Ashville and all the crazy things that have went on here over the years.”

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Ohio’s Small Town Museum is located at 34 Long Street in Ashville. Call them at 740.983.9864, follow them on Facebook or visit their website. The museum is open Tuesday through Friday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturday 9 a.m. to noon. Admission is free but donations are welcomed.

Want to help? They are always looking for Ashville area people to volunteer. You can also join the Ashville Area Heritage Society – rates start at $10 a year for senior citizens and $20 for individuals. Families, organizations and small businesses are $25 a year and large businesses are $200.

VCNB Breaks Ground On New Ashville Branch

PW Campbell, Mark and Tom

From left are Dan Fox and Charlie Sachs of PW Campbell, Community Bancshares Chairman and CEO Tom Will and VCNB President Mark Erslan.

Village Personnel, Mark and Tom

From left are Village Administrator Franklin Christman, Ashville Chief of Police Jeffrey George, Pickaway County Sheriff Robert Radcliff, Ashville Mayor Charles Wise, VCNB President Mark Erslan and Community Bancshares Chairman and CEO Tom Will

VCNB executives, board members, bank employees, local dignitaries and their guests braved the elements Monday to take part in an official groundbreaking event at the site of the new Pickaway County Banking Center in Ashville.

The estimated $2 million facility was designed by renowned financial industry designer/builder PW Campbell. It will replace the former bank building at 26 E. Main Street in downtown Ashville. The branch was temporarily relocated to 18 Long Street to make way for demolition of the old and construction of the new.

VCNB President Mark Erslan said he is enthusiastic about the bank’s future in this Pickaway County community. “The village of Ashville has been good to work with in the planning process and supportive of the project. We are pleased to invest in this community and to grow here,” he said.

Erslan went on to thank the Village of Ashville and its administration for their support through the planning process.

The new one story building will be over 5,000 square feet, boasting soaring ceilings and an open floor plan designed to modernize and simplify the banking experience. With entrances from Main Street and from the parking lot side, accessing the bank will be significantly easier as well. When opened, this branch will use the new VCNB bank model which will put the personal back in personal banking by employing bankers who can each assist customers with nearly every one of their banking needs.

“This new branch will feature a balance of updated conveniences for those customers who like to bank through digital channels along with the in-person service our customers have come to expect,” Erslan explained.

The completion of this branch will be celebrated with an open house in the fall.

Click here to read about our philosophy that an investment in the bank helps the community.

 

Supporting Community By Investing In Ourselves

Artists Renderings of the new Pickaway County Banking Center in Ashville

 

Last month we told you a little about our core values – the things we value most and that make us who we are. We talked specifically about how we value community and the things we do to support our communities through volunteerism, donations and encouraging our employees to get involved.

Another way that we support our communities is through investing in ourselves. That sounds a bit self-serving but we believe in taking care of our buildings and putting our best foot forward whenever possible. A well cared for branch that operates efficiently is an investment in the community as well as in ourselves.

That’s part of the reason we have been undergoing upgrades at some of branches for the last several months. Last year we updated the storefront of our Circleville location and we’re putting the finishing touches on work at our Grove City branch while renovation projects are in full swing at our Laurelville and Lancaster West Fair locations. We recently finished demolition and clean-up of our Ashville building to make way for a brand new facility.

Plans are in the pipeline for improvements at other branches in the coming years.

Supporting the community means being good neighbors and we hope you’ll be happy with the results as we modernize and improve our locations in the coming months and years. The next time you’re in one of the branches under construction, be sure to ask the staff about the plans and have a look at the artist’s renderings of the new work!