Meet Your Banker: Cindy Moore Joins The VCNB Family

The VCNB Financial Family is happy to welcome Cindy Moore to our Friendly Bremen Banking Center. Moore is a Business Banker who brings to the job the enthusiasm and experience necessary to help businesses with all their banking needs.

Cindy Moore is a Business Banker in Lancaster.

She has actually worked in the banking world since 1991, serving in a number of positions including branch management, consumer lending, mortgage lending and commercial lending. While she has vast experience in banking, Moore’s expertise may actually be in understanding customers and helping with their needs. “I really enjoy learning about our customers, their business and being able to assist them with all their lending needs,” she said.

She is a graduate of the Blythe School of Banking, American Bankers Association Bank Management School and American Bankers Association School of Consumer Lending.

When asked why she chose to join the VCNB family, Moore referenced the bank’s core values and how they relate to the community and customers. “I chose to come work for VCNB because we pride ourselves in being a community centered organization. I appreciate our core values: integrity, leadership, community focus, progress and our relationship with our customers,” she said.

Moore lives in Lancaster with her husband Eric and they have two grown children and three grandchildren. In her free time, she enjoys hiking, swimming, gardening and being outdoors.

Cindy Moore is excited to serve local businesses and help them reach their banking goals. Find her at our Friendly Bremen Banking Center on East Main Street in Lancaster or call her at 740.687.3920.  

Small Business Spotlight: Castaways Restaurant

Being a small business owner is a tough job! That’s why we feature a different small business in our Small Business Spotlight every month!

This month we are excited to feature Castaways Restaurant in Lancaster, an iconic eatery high on the hill “above the fairgrounds” as the advertisements used to say.  Established over seventy years ago at this very location, Castaways is a Lancaster staple.

While some necessary changes have been made through the years, the meat and potatoes of the restaurant remains the same – the food!  Fresh steaks, chops, and burgers sourced from Bay Food Market accompany a wide variety of seafood, sandwiches, salads, and stone-baked pizzas on the menu.  Their legendary Prime Rib Wednesdays, held bi-weekly, have been satisfying crowds who come in to “eat at the butcher’s house” for decades.

For as long as anyone can remember, the Kraft family has been connected to the historic restaurant.  The connection, first through the Bay farm and then through Bay Food Market, eventually led to Bay Food Market owner David Kraft buying the restaurant in 1997 when original owner Fred Eaton decided to sell.

For many years the restaurant stuck with what worked in more than just the kitchen.  Traditional marketing tactics were used to promote the restaurant and word of mouth was heavily relied upon.  However, in recent years as David’s daughter Micole Ruff has taken on more responsibility with the family business, she’s made the marketing side one of her top priorities.  Step #1 was to make social media a serious part of their strategy.

With an eye for photography, Micole posts to social media nearly every day, whether it be photos on Instagram or updates and shout outs on Facebook.  On Sundays and Mondays, when the restaurant is closed, she even makes an effort to shout out other local businesses and establishments.

Like everyone else, the business had to evolve last year because of the challenges that came with the pandemic. “We just did what they told us we needed to do,” Micole said, referring to operating a restaurant amidst a global pandemic.  “We really didn’t have a choice.  But we were lucky that we already had a good amount of carry-out business before this all happened.”  The already-established base of their carryout business, she says, is a large reason why their temporary but mandatory shift to carry-out only service was successful.

Then they experimented with bringing in musicians to play on the patio for the guests dining outdoors on summer and autumn Prime Rib Wednesdays.  That went from experiment to official part of the schedule each week almost immediately.  Now, musicians are lining up to play once the weather breaks this year. The calendar is already booked through May.

One of the most publicized efforts over the past year was the opening of their kitchen to Jamie Mast, owner of The Original Jimmy’s Jawbreaker concession trailer, another legendary staple of the local dining community.  Several times throughout 2021, Jamie was able to come in and cook alongside the Castaways crew in the kitchen.  On these special nights, the Original Jimmy’s Jawbreaker burgers and homemade cannolis were offered alongside the full Castaway’s menu.  Doing something a little bit different offered a lift to the business.  “Jamie and her businesses have been long time customers so it was a natural fit to partner with her for something like this.  It was great for all of us!”

With seventy years of experience preparing delicious food, Castaways has a loyal fan base beating a path to the off-the-beaten path restaurant above the city. They invite newcomers to follow their lead and discover what all the fuss is about when people gush about their delectable fresh cut meats, homemade dressings and stone baked pizzas.

Visit Castaways at 1500 North High Street in Lancaster. You can also find them on Facebook or Instagram and view their full menu on their website.  Dine in or carry out your dinner Tuesdays through Saturdays and don’t forget to pre-order your Wednesday prime rib feast a day ahead of time!

Debbie Pickett Will Retire Friday

It’s a new year and soon to be a fresh start for Debbie Pickett who will retire tomorrow. She joined the bank family nearly twenty years ago when she came in to do some business and was invited to apply for a job. That was twenty years and a few job titles ago. While she still enjoys her job, she says it is time to go.

“I had it in my mind that I would retired at 65 and I’m almost there,” she said. “After all, you have to weigh how long you want to work with what you want to do when you finally retire and have time to do the things you enjoy.”

Debbie Picket RetiresDebbie started out as a teller at the Friendly Bremen Banking Center on West Fair in Lancaster.  Since that beginning in 2001, she has taken on other new and challenging positions both on the front line and behind the scenes. “Friendships grew with staff and customers. I have deep respect for those working on the front line. I became the receptionist there before moving to the East Main branch as Ned Hinton’s processor for several years. I learned so much from different seasoned employees which helped me later as I was promoted to a loan officer.”

She went on to serve as Branch Manager at our West Fair location but had developed a curiosity about the bank’s Indirect Department.

“I thought it was interesting, working with all our dealers. I was able to join the department full time in 2015 and have enjoyed working with our dealerships to grow our relationships for auto and other financing opportunities,” she recalled. “I like the relationship that we build with our dealers that provide trust and loyalty to us which in turn provides us with new customers to offer our services to. They choose to do business with us from our personal attention and reputation of good service.”

Before joining the bank family, Debbie had a varied career that started when she was a young car hop at Kenny’s, a popular hangout on Memorial Drive before she went into office supplies and even funeral planning. “I have always worked. It’s exciting to think I won’t have to anymore but it’s strange at the same time. What will it be like to not get up and go to work for someone else?”

The good news is that Debbie has a lot to keep her busy.  She has been saving projects for around the house and especially looks forward to having more time with family including her husband Mark, a daughter, a son, and grandkids.

“I often work after hours and on Saturdays so it will be wonderful to have more free time when the kids are not in school. I won’t have to wait for a day off to plan time with them. It’s also important to be available for my little granddaughters to come over to visit and to spend time at my grandsons’ sporting events. Being involved in their lives means a lot to me.”

Debbie has worked from home for much of the last year and says this time at home has aided in the transition to retirement. “I miss spending time at the office and the people I see there. But maybe having this separation from the office will make the shift to retirement a little easier,” she said. “I have developed friendships with so many of my coworkers. I’m sure to miss all those people.”

She expects to make a cake with her family to celebrate tomorrow night. “Every time we make a cake lately, my granddaughters want to sing the Happy Birthday song. I can hear them changing the words to ‘Happy Retirement to you!” she laughed.

“I have a lot to look forward to and I’m going to enjoy just enjoying life!”

Your Dreams Matter To Us

At Vinton County National Bank, we have spent over 150 years helping customers reach for their dreams. It’s actually our favorite thing to do.

There’s nothing more fulfilling than helping a young person buy their first home, a family take their dream vacation, or to see eyes light up when a customer realizes their dream home is within reach.

But dreams can be lofty and it’s not always easy for individuals to know where to start. That’s ok because we have experienced, proven lenders who not only know where to start but who can also guide you down the road ahead.

There are few dreams bigger than building a house. Most customers have a floor plan, they have a vision of a big kitchen with a farm sink or a living room with just the right spot for the Christmas tree. Few are experienced with choosing a contractor or the hiccups that come with every home built.

We will guide you through this process because your dreams matter to us.

Ready to build? Now is a great time to start! Visit VCNBConstruction.com to get started.

In Their Own Words: Community Banking According To Our Branch Managers

We are proud to be a community bank. What does it really mean to be a community bank? We asked some of our branch managers to tell us in their own words what community banking means to them and what they like best about being a community banker. Here’s what they had to say!

“One of the things I appreciate about working for a community bank is that we get to know our customers and their unique needs. Growing up on a farm, I understand a farmer’s business and their needs. They don’t have to explain their life and the challenges to me the way they would to someone without that background.”

Katy Hanes

“I like being able to get to know my customers and I think they appreciate the personal touch they get from us. That’s not something that’s encouraged or even possible at big banks so it feels really good to offer it here.”

Matt Hearn

“One thing I really like about VCNB is that they encourage us to get involved in the community, they reward us for volunteering and they want us to know our customers.         I never had that before at my old job.”

Christina Wine

“The thing about working in a bank in a small community is that you get to know almost everyone and they get to know you. It feels good when someone calls and asks for you. It tells you that that you’re doing something right – that you’ve built a relationship with that person and that they trust you to take care of them.”

Charlotte McCarty

“It’s going to sound cheesy but I love helping people, especially the problem solving aspect of what I do. I appreciate that we are taught about why a policy or procedure exists and the bank gives us the tools and leeway to work with our customers.
We’re sometimes able to find ways to help the customer whether it’s helping them get approved for a car loan because their car just blew up or finding ways to help them
stop over drafting an account.”

JJ Wright

“You don’t find that community feel just anywhere but our involvement in the community allows us to be a resource to customers. That extends to employees too. When your staff and coworkers feel like family, you all work together better. You help each other out more and you feel like we’re all in this together.”

Brittany Walters

“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. 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 Maple

“Do you know how important it is to work for a company that encourages employees to get involved? And it’s not just about opening savings accounts and lending money. It’s about helping out at events and going to the fair to buy livestock. I was a 4-her once and I remember how important it was to have businesses support the livestock sale. That’s where I got the money to open my savings account, from taking hogs to the fair!”

Jeremy Robson

“This is so much more rewarding than corporate banking which is very black and white. In corporate banking, there’s no opportunity to get to know your customers or to help someone who you’ve had to tell they can’t have what they want but that there
may be another solution. It’s like night and day when you go to work for a bank that actually wants to work with customers.”

Matthew Giroux

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Meet Your Banker: Katy Hanes

Our Meet Your Banker series continues today with Katy Hanes who is the Branch Manager at our Friendly Bremen Banking Center on East Main Street in Lancaster.

Katy Hanes

Katy  Hanes is the Branch Manager of our Friendly Bremen Banking Center on East Main St. in Lancaster.

For Katy, her job, family and connection to the agricultural community are so closely intertwined, it is hard to separate the three. The Amanda area native grew up in a farm family and is happy that her job allows her to serve so many customers who are part of the local agricultural community.

She grew up on a crop and cattle farm, belonged to 4-H for 12 years, and learned to value the agricultural community so much that she went after a degree in Agricultural Business at Ohio State University. While she didn’t intend to become a banker, Katy said that the job gives her an opportunity to help lots of people and to use her experience in agriculture to specifically help area farmers.

“One of the things I appreciate about working for a community bank is that we get to know our customers and their unique needs. Growing up on a farm, I understand a farmer’s business and their needs. They don’t have to explain their life and the challenges to me the way they would to someone without that background,” she explained. “And it’s sort of fun when a customer comes in and they recognize me from 4-H. We’ve never met but they remember me as that little girl showing her steer at the fair years ago. It’s important for a banker to be able to relate to their customers and this is an area where I can definitely relate.”

Today Katy lives on a 140 acre farm with her husband Calvin and their two kids. They have about 75 cows and their calves and enjoy the farm life. The farm, work and family keep her busy but she does find time to enjoy the bank’s involvement in various community activities. Her kids, ages five and seven, both love horses and their practice and competitions keep the whole family on the go.

“I talk a lot about agriculture because that’s what I grew up with and that’s what I know best. It’s what I’m most passionate about but I really love getting to know all kinds of people. We live in a great community and that shows in the wonderful customers we have here!”

 

 

 

VCNB Employee Uses Kindness Rocks To Spread Beauty

20200315_215622“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” – Maya Angelou

VCNB Accounting Manager Cathy Rutter has made it her personal mission to spread a message of kindness with her newfound talent of painting on something unexpected – rocks!

While vacationing in Florida last year, Cathy stumbled across a beautiful hand painted rock, known as a kindness rock. Kindness rocks are painted and hidden to be found. Their journeys can then be tracked on various forms of social media.

Cathy Rutter

VCNB Accounting Manager Cathy Rutter spreads beauty with kindness rocks.

This sparked a fire in Cathy to start an endeavor to become a painter even though she had never painted before. She gathered the essentials including paint, brushes and rocks for her canvas. “Some of my first projects looked like kids’ work,” she said recalling the process to her painting success. “It’s amazing what you can do when you set your mind to it – turns out I have a gift I was able to develop and improve with work and determination.”

She developed her self-taught skills by studying other paintings and pictures for guidance. Nature is her inspiration including flowers, birds and scenery.

What started as a hobby has developed into a passion and one of her favorite ways to relax. Cathy has progressed from painting on dull creek rocks to sparkling Santorini stone. Her rocks are truly a work of art waiting to be found.

As Cathy’s journey of painting has evolved, so has her career with VCNB. She began as Management Trainee at The Friendly Bremen Bank nearly thirty years ago and has worked in several bank departments throughout her career.

She resides in Bremen with her husband Vince. Together they leave kindness rocks at various places, spreading kindness as they travel. Keep your eyes open for a painted treasure!

See below for a slideshow of her art.

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Meet Your Banker: Nicole Scott

Our lobbies are available by appointment only but our bankers are still here to help you! Here we continue our “Meet Your Banker” series by talking with Nicole Scott. Nicole is the Branch Manager of our Friendly Bremen Banking Center in Bremen.

Nicole Scott

Nicole Scott is the Branch Manager of our Friendly Bremen Banking Center in Bremen.

When Nicole talks about life as a community banker during COVID-19 the conversation quickly turns to others. “I miss seeing our regular customers and I worry about many who are struggling. In fact, I really miss a lot of the face-to-face contact that we’ve always taken for granted,” she said. “Most of all, I miss being able to shake hands with my customers.”

Nicole’s path to Branch Manager was somewhat unusual. She has a degree in Human Services and Corrections from Hocking College but she took a job with another bank’s operations department about fifteen years ago. The work suited her and she moved to a similar role at VCNB four years later. She calls her time in that department “rewarding and training like no other.”

In 2016, Nicole was involved in an accident that put her on a year-long path of recovery, nearly causing the loss of her arm. “I did some soul searching. That kind of experience makes you wonder what will happen if you don’t get better. It makes you question if you’ve done everything you should be doing” she said. “I define failure as making the choice not to do more when you know you can do more. So when I felt like I hit a plateau in my position in operations, I knew it was time to challenge myself and set new goals.”

She believed her purpose was to help customers. So she took the leap into the VCNB Personal Banker Program and worker her way up to Branch Manager in Bremen. Today she enjoys leading her branch employees and helping them grow. She also has strong feelings about community involvement. “I just love helping where I can.”

Nicole is Vice President for the Bremen Area Chamber of Commerce and will soon graduate from the Fairfield Leadership Program. She also seeks opportunities to show kindness to others both in her personal life and through charitable giving at the bank. For example, when she heard about an effort by the Mithoff to provide Fairfield County families with Easter baskets and holiday dinners, she jumped right in to help. “They provided dinners for about six hundred families and baskets for several hundred kids. What the bank was able to contribute, what I was able to contribute, was very small in the context of so many in our community who stepped up to help,” she said. “I was in awe of what they were able to accomplish with everyone pitching in.”

Nicole has three children and is the author of two published novels. She also enjoys long range rifle shooting and is proud to say she can hit a target at a thousand yards. An avid traveler, she seeks out unique and memorable experiences.

She looks forward to the day lobby doors are again open to customers. “We try to check on many of our customers now. We want them to know we are thinking about them but it will be a joyous day when we can open our doors and see them again!”

Meet Your Banker: Josh Palmer

Our lobbies may be closed but our bankers are still here to help you! Today we kick off our “Meet Your Banker” series by talking with Josh Palmer, the Branch Manager at our Friendly Bremen Banking Center of Pataskala.

Josh Palmer

Pataskala Branch Manager Josh Palmer

Josh came to work for the bank in 2015 when he was hired for the VCNB Management Trainee Program. This program gives college grads an intimate look at the bank and an overview of several important departments. “I met my wife at college and she had taken a job in Wellston so I was looking for work near her. I saw the ad and it talked about this management trainee program where you could do research and learn different jobs. It sounded right up my alley so I applied,” he explained.

The OU grad has a B.A. in History with a minor in Business. He had worked as a teller for another bank so he had some valuable customer service skills as well. As a Management Trainee, he worked in a few departments but mainly in Chillicothe and McArthur. After the two year Management Trainee Program, Josh was assigned to be the first Branch Manager for the Jackson County Banking Center, the bank’s new branch in Jackson. “That was a challenging and fun adventure,” he recalled.

However, he and his wife Jess are central Ohio natives and longed to be closer to family. She accepted a position teaching for Teays Valley Schools and he was able to transfer to a new adventure in Pataskala. “It worked out well that my wife found a job up here and we had an opening in Pataskala,” he said.

Josh has been managing this office for about 16 months and says he has enjoyed getting to know the community. “There are so many wonderful things about this job but one of them is that we are encouraged to be involved in the community and to get out and meet people. In Jackson it was Rotary and Community Action. Here it’s things like A.M. Spirit in Granville. You don’t find a lot companies that really value community,” he said.

In his free time, Josh enjoys the arts and has long been motivated and excited by drawing. He also enjoys running and is excited to again be part of the bank’s Buck Fifty team in Ross County.

One interesting quality about Josh is that he has this creative side but he’s equally at home with spreadsheets. “I love to do research and to track progress. It’s fun for me to help others get the spreadsheets and things they need or to help them learn from the data they have. I know it’s strange to enjoy that” he exclaimed.

While the bank lobbies are currently closed because of COVID-19, Josh reminds customers that they can still do all their banking and accomplish their goals. “We just have to be creative and stay positive right now. You can still accomplish what you need to do – it just may not be the way you normally do it. You may need to learn a new skill set and you may find that the new way is better than the old,” he said. “Regardless, we are still here for you and we are ready to find solutions for whatever you need.”

Small Business Spotlight: Robert K. Fox Family YMCA

YMCA - Debt Free - Ron Collins with Board of DirectorsThe Robert K. Fox Family YMCA in Fairfield County was one of the first stories in our Small Business Spotlight series. Many exciting things have happened here since that first spotlight in 2015.

The latest and most exciting piece of news is that theorganization heads into this new decade debt-free!  That’s right – the loan taken out for their nearly twenty year improvement project was paid off at the beginning of this year thanks in large part to the generosity of an anonymous donor who has been contributing to the cause for nearly a decade.  This project officially got under way in 2000, allowing for the expansion and renovation of the main campus. Paying it off has allowed the program – and its personnel – to breathe a little easier.

CFO Kerry Sheets recalled how it came about.  “I remember it was Christmas time in 2013, which is already a stressful time.  And an individual approached our office and said they wanted to help.”  The donor laid out a plan and committed monies on the spot – seven payments over seven years to be exact.

“I cried.  Oh, I cried” Kerry recalled.  Without this donor, the YMCA in 2008 would have faced some hard decisions.  Operating funds were being set aside in order to ensure payment of the huge loan they had undertaken, and expenses were being evaluated.  After the donor’s offer, the situation essentially changed overnight.  “And sure enough, I woke up, came in one morning, and there is a donation check waiting for us.”  This continued six additional times, and was a key factor in the Y’s ability to celebrate their “Debt-Free 2020.”

In addition to paying off the loan, they also recently opened the River Valley Campus (RVC) branch, a brand new second location created in partnership with Fairfield Medical Center.  Officially opening in September 2019, the RVC was a years-long project that evolved far beyond the initial concept.

“We were approached initially by Fairfield Medical Center who were in the planning stages and they had some ideas about child care” said Robert K. Family Fox YMCA’s CEO, Howard Long.  The YMCA was intrigued by the potential partnership, so as the ideas began to flow and the model for what the medical center could be began to evolve, so too did the Y’s involvement in the project.

“We all have the same goals.  We just want the community to be healthy” explained Howard.  It made the partnership a no brainer, and what came out of it was a brand new, fully functional YMCA facility, operated and maintained by YMCA employees.

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From day one the public response to the spacious facility and the latest and greatest in exercise science equipment has been nothing but positive.  “It’s been an amazing partnership” Howard beamed, before referring to the value the new facility adds for Fairfield Medical Center, the YMCA, and their members.  “Our brand has a value and that was recognized.  Our logo is prominently displayed.  It’s fully functional – a brand new second branch.  It’s instant value for our members!”

The RVC has quickly become a model for YMCA programs across the state to follow.  “I’m taking calls and meetings all the time” said Howard.  “They want to know how we did it, and this is really a model of how to do it right.”

But Y members will be happy to know that the newest locationisn’t the only facility getting all of the attention.  The main branch’s Wellness Center has seen updated carpeting, equipment, and HVAC systems, and the RecPlex continues to see growth.  The gymnastics program, in particular, has seen explosive growth and now requires the use of the facility’s second floor.  Additionally, their childcare program has grown significantly and has expanded into the former Sanderson Elementary School building.

This physical growth and expansion is in addition to program success – old and new – at the Y.  For example, Darkness to Light, a newer offering featuring the Stewards to Children program that Howard has been involved with since before his arrival to Fairfield County in 2018, helps adults learn how to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to child sexual abuse.  To date, 253 adults have been trained through this program in Fairfield County. Our strong partnership with the Harcum House and United Way have made this program possible.

To say that the staff here is pleased with this growth would be an understatement.

However, all of the success and growth of the Robert K. Family Fox YMCA program would not be possible without the numerous donors and partners that contribute a tremendousamount of support.

Someone else who played a huge role in the YMCA we know today was the organization’s namesake – Dr. Robert and Dorothy Fox. “Without the Fox family and their foundation, the (main campus) addition wouldn’t exist.  We truly wouldn’t be where we are today without the generosity of them and their continued financial support,” Kerry said.

Donations from the community go directly into the Y’s Annual Giving Campaign (AGC), which topped $210,000 in 2019.  As part of that $210k, over $10,000 came from the generosity of the selfless YMCA staff members themselves.  Fittingly, the success of the AGC meant that the YMCA turned no one away in 2019 for their inability to pay.

If you’re interested in joining the Robert K. Family Fox YMCA, consider their Better Together program – a referral program that can earn you a savings of 20 percent.  For more information, contact Annie Weaver at 740.654.0616 x234 or at aweaver@ymcalancaster.org.

For full information on the Robert K. Fox Family YMCA and their programs, visit them online and follow all their latest happenings on Facebook.