Small Business Spotlight: Sudslingers Laudromat

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!   

Mark Erslan, Todd Wesaw (Sudslingers), Nicole Scott

Sudslingers Laundromat owner Todd Wesaw is pictured at center with VCNB Head of Lending Mark Erslan and Bremen Branch Manager Nicole Scott. 

For our Small Business Spotlight this month we’re doing a Q&A with Todd Wesaw of Sudslingers Laundromat, Bremen’s newest business! Read on to learn more about the exciting and unexpected things happening at Sudslingers!

VCNB:  Hi Todd!  When sifting through ideas for our September entry in our Business Spotlight Series, our Bremen Branch Manager Nicole Scott suggested we talk to you about Sudslingers Laundromat.  After discussing how exciting it is that a new business has entered the market in the small Village of Bremen, we thought this would be a great feature.  So, that said, why don’t you give me a little background on how Sudslingers came to be? And why Bremen, Ohio?

Todd: As a resident of Bremen since 2005 and a current Village Councilman it’s my job to look at ways of growing our community and expanding resources for our fellow residents. I am always looking for opportunities to bring new business to our Village so I decided to take the leap.  When I encourage new companies to consider Bremen as their location, I felt it would hold more water if my own business was located there.

When I decided to start Sudslingers Laundromat, I considered the population as well as the residents that may rent in the area and not have access to washers and dryers.  Plus the fact that is has been approximately twelve years since there was a Laundromat in Bremen.  Residents were having to travel to surrounding towns, so why not have a local Laundromat that is convenient and here in the Village open daily 8 a.m.-9 p.m.?

The idea was to start Sudslingers Laundromat here close to my home so I could educate myself about the business and hopefully grow into a chain of them with the same concept. As I started my research to determine my offerings, size, location, layout etc., my friend Kevin Newman asked if he could get involved. Since I have other businesses and am holding a Council position, I thought that it would be good to have a partner that could help share the responsibilities, so our partnership came together. Kevin is a truck driver over the road so, with his schedule, it works out that we share opening/closing and daily maintenance.

After putting all the ideas together, the build-out began. I wanted it to be big enough but not too big for this area so I decided to start out with six washers and six dryers. I chose machines that could fit into the budget I had available but could accommodate more than one load of laundry.  After all the planning and testing, we decided to open May 1, 2018.

VCNB:  It sounds like you had a good handle on the business before it ever came to be because of the work you put in beforehand.  Give us a rundown on the business itself – one may hear “Laundromat” and have an image in their head of what they think it is, but we can tell that you are really breaking the old model of this type of business.

Todd: I did not want a typical laundromat like the ones I grew up seeing or using while in college, where you dreaded the laundry piling up only to go to the bank to get change, arrive and sit and be bored for hours, waiting for my chance to start laundry at a dreary and, most of the time, dirty place to the point you felt you needed a tetanus shot after you left!

As part of my planning process, I decided I wanted a place that is inviting, family oriented and, as some of our guests say, “A place to go and get away from the home and relax.” So I decided to build an environment that offers modern conveniences such as climate controlled air, black stainless LG high efficiency/low energy washers and dryers, LED lighting with multiple colors, etc. The floors are exposed concrete and we’ve got exposed lighting, distressed woodwork, a ceiling fan, wrought iron seating tables and chairs, folding tables, and a flat screen TV with cable.  We’ve even got a backyard area with picnic table.  We have a bill coin changer that accepts ones and five dollar bills in-house and we recently added free WiFi for our guests.  They will soon be able to use the WiFi features that our washers and dryers are equipped with!  Guests will be able to download an app to monitor their laundry, which gives them the freedom to enjoy the seating or picnic area, or just leave and comeback as their laundry is complete.

Our walls are decorated in historic images of Bremen and some entertaining signs. We also offer a restroom that is ADA compliant.

The washers start out at $5.00 per load, depending on the size, and that price includes free drying. If you choose to wash at home or elsewhere, we recently added a Dryer Deposit Box for our guests that just need drying for $2.50 per dryer. We currently don’t offer soap and bleach products, however we are planning to add a vending machine that will have these products.  We’d also like to add a beverage machine as the business grows. We do offer pick up and drop off service by appointment only or you can schedule us to come to you and we will do your laundry for you.  These services are at an additional cost and prices vary.

VCNB:  It’s definitely a clean, modern, and well-kept facility and an asset to Bremen.  Do you have any big plans for Sudslingers in 2019?

Todd: Our goals for the future include adding highly visible signage, vending machines, and additional equipment. We’ll be joining the Bremen Area Chamber of Commerce and possibly even adding one to two new locations.

 

VCNB:  We’ll be keeping an eye on it!  We’re always thrilled to see new, thriving businesses in our market areas and we are thrilled when they choose to bank with VCNB.  We thank you for your business, Todd, and wish all the best to Sudslingers!  Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

Todd: Thank you VCNB for the opportunity to share information about Sudslingers Laundromat with you and your other banking customers, and helping us bring Sudslingers Laundromat to Bremen!

We are proud to be a doing business with VCNB and Friendly Bremen Banking Center.  I would also like to personally thank Nicole Scott, Mark Erslan, Kathryn Cooper, and all of the staff and to you for featuring Sudslingers Laundromat for your September Business Spotlight.

Please like us on Facebook and check us out on Google. We are always updating the latest information about Sudslingers Laundromat and have it available at both of these online resources. Come check us out to see why we offer “Loads of Fun” and if you are a regular guest, please hurry back!

We will announce our grand opening in the near future.

 

 

 

 

 

West Fair Branch Remains Open Through Renovations

Our branch on West Fair Avenue in Lancaster is undergoing an expansion and renovation project and we couldn’t be more excited.

This project is a direct result of strategic planning that was done by bank leaders and is part of an effort to focus on transforming VCNB branches to meet the needs of customers. EVP of Marketing Audra Johnson explained the purpose behind this work. “Our goal is to update many of our branches in the next few years, not only in look, but in technology and in convenience as well. We want our customers to feel comfortable in our branches, but also to feel like they leave knowing they received excellent service and the resources they need for a better financial future,” Johnson explained.

The West Fair Avenue expansion and renovation will include the rerouting of drive-thru lanes and changes in the customer parking area. A new addition to the building will be constructed to include a new employee lounge and employee restrooms. While the expanded area will not be open to customers, per se, teams of employees that are essential to the success of the bank will be moving their offices to this new space.

“Customers will not be conducting their transactions or meeting with their personal banker behind the doors of the expansion, but rest assured that the space will be put to good use. We are starting to outgrow many of our branches and also our operations centers. This is a great problem to have because it means we’re growing, we’re employing more people and we’re ensuring we will be there for our customers in the long run,” Johnson said.

In addition to the expanded square footage, the building will receive some cosmetic upgrades as well as changes to the way customers and employees interact. A new roof and face lift to interior design and décor are in the works. More importantly, there will be a new style of employee office meant to create more privacy as well as new teller pod stations instead of the traditional teller line. Finally, the lobby will be outfitted with new technology that will allow customers to interact with the bank’s online and mobile platforms inside the branch.

“To say that I am excited about the upgrades we are making is an understatement. We have a mission to be the best for our customers, shareholders and employees. This is just another step toward upholding that mission,” Johnson concluded.

Customers should rest assured that this office will remain open during construction. “It’s business as usual at our West Fair Avenue office. Our staff there is ready to assist you with all of your banking needs.”

 

Small Business Spotlight: Bay Food 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!  

Bay Food Market 1

If you’ve ever driven the roads of Fairfield County or the streets of Lancaster, you’ve no doubt seen one of the red Bay Food Market vans traveling about. It’s a brilliant yet simple piece of marketing, and the vans have become nearly as iconic as the little market on the corner of Maple and Walnut Streets in downtown Lancaster.

Since 1932, Bay Food Market has been serving up quality meats with great service in a locally owned and operated neighborhood grocery. As Lancaster’s oldest independent grocery, the Fairfield County staple has become an icon in Lancaster and around Ohio.

Bay Food Market was recently selected by Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted to be featured for “Women-Owned Business” month, showcasing a handful of women-owned businesses around Ohio.  The grocery is owned by siblings Karen Kraft Crutcher and David Kraft, who received a special commendation presented by Secretary of State’s Regional Liaison Bob Kalish.

Specials - Ham Steaks & RibeyesThe few who don’t already know about the market are now finding out why local patrons and long-time regular out-of-town visitors make the market a regular visit.  Known for their wide variety of fresh cut steaks and chops, house made brats and fresh sausage, and ham steaks, bacon, pork belly, and a variety of sausages smoked in-house, they are also well known for their variety of high quality and creative beef patties, some made with a variety of cheeses and even bacon.

And while the patties fly out the doors, beef brisket has become a top seller, something that wasn’t always the case, says co-owner David Kraft.  “It wasn’t until people started smoking (brisket) in maybe the mid-2000’s that it was anything special.  We actually used to grind it up.  But those meat smokers changed the game,” he explained.  On a visit to Texas, David said he kept seeing brisket on the menu and offered as a cut in local markets.  Once he saw what was happening and the popularity it was gaining, they revamped their strategy for this particular cut in their own market and stopped grinding it.  It’s become one of the most popular sellers, showing that a business as old as Bay Food Market is never too old to adapt and evolve.

Custom party trays and grill boxes are a hit with customers and it’s not uncommon to find something new and creative being offered behind the counter.  A recent visit saw Apple Brats on the price board, a secret concoction that David said exemplifies the inventiveness of their business.  “We’ll try to make anything – whether it’s by request, or just an idea that pops into our heads!”

And Bay Food Market is not just a meat market – you can find everything you need for your pantry, kitchen, cookout, or even your pet.  Fresh ham salad and beef barbeque are a regular offering.  Fresh produce, baking goods, sauces, spices and seasonings line the shelves, and local favorite Conn’s Potato Chips and Snacks are prominently offered.  Sweet treats like Pumpkin Rolls from Margaret’s Heritage Kitchen in Bremen can be found, as well as massive jars of pickles perfect for your cookout and dog treats and dog bones for your furry friend.

 

However, the meat is what drives business and it all comes from their state inspected meat processing facility – the only fully inspected red meat facility in Fairfield County. This means that an inspector from the Ohio Department of Agriculture is in their facility any time meat is being processed. The inspector is looking for quality and safe food handling practices.  The majority of their meat is not prepackaged or frozen, and their practice of only purchasing from farmers that do not use growth hormones and that limit their antibiotic use to an as needed basis assures that no additives or preservatives are added.

For a fantastic deal on filets or ribeye, smoked ham steak or New York strips, Bay Food Market is where you’ll find it.  The grocery is located at 301 South Maple Street in Lancaster, and can be contacted at 740.653.9606.  For hours, payment options, specials, and answers to frequently asked questions, visit them online at https://www.bayfoodmarket.com/ and find them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/BayFoodMarket.  Pay attention to their frequent contests, as you may be the next Fan of the Week!

 

Turn Coins Into Cash At Select VCNB Locations

If you’re like a lot of us, you probably have in your home a jar or a piggy bank filled with loose change. You empty your pockets each evening and give those pennies and dimes a toss into the jar until it gets full. Now, instead of rolling that coin, you can bring it to some of our banks to run it through a coin counting machine.

These self-serve machines are available at the following locations:

     Friendly Bremen Banking Center – East Main Street branch
Friendly Bremen Banking Center – Pataskala branch
Ross County Banking Center – Western Avenue branch
Ross County Banking Center – Richmond Dale branch
Vinton County National Bank – McArthur branch

To use one of these machines, simply follow the instructions on the screen and dump your change onto the conveyor belt. The machine does all the sorting and counting! Then it prints a receipt which you can take to the tellers to receive your cash or have the funds deposited into your VCNB account.

This is a free service to VCNB customers. Anyone who does not have a VCNB account but who wishes to use the machine may do so for a five percent fee.

VCNB Prepares To Host Santa!

You better watch out
You better not cry
Better not pout
I’m telling you why
Santa Claus is coming to town

Kids of all ages are invited to visit with Santa at some of our banks this holiday season. The jolly old elf in the red suit will visit with all the good little boys and girls at several of our offices this December. We invite you and your family to these free events to share treats and stories with Santa himself!

Here’s the schedule:

Ellora Starr cropped

Little Ellora Starr is pictured here snoozing with Santa at our Bremen office a few years ago. 

Friday, December 8
Friendly Bremen Banking Center – 119 W. Main Street, Bremen
3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Thursday, December 14
Friendly Bremen Banking Center – 700 Corylus Drive, Pataskala
3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Saturday, December 16
Ross County Banking Center – 775 Western Ave., Chillicothe
9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Saturday, December 16
Friendly Bremen Banking Center – 1971 W. Fair Ave., Lancaster
10 a.m. to Noon

Wednesday, December 20
Canal Banking Center – 6360 Prentiss School Dr., Canal Winchester
3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

Friday, December 22
Friendly Bremen Banking Center – 521 E. Main St., Lancaster
3 p.m. to 5 p.m.

In all the years that Santa has been coming to our banks, he has visited with children of all ages, some older folks and even a few pets! Bring your camera to be sure and capture the perfect image of your loved one with Santa!

Small Business Spotlight: Creature Comforts Veterinary Center

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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With Fairfield County roots and a deep devotion to their patients, it’s no wonder that Creature Comforts Veterinary Center outgrew their old location. It’s been a busy year for the full service independent veterinary care facility as they have undergone some exciting changes that have helped the business grow.

Creature Comforts was a long time neighbor to our Friendly Bremen Banking Center on West Fair Avenue in Lancaster.  After many years in this spot, it was becoming increasingly apparent that advancements in the facility and the processes necessary to run a clinic were much needed.

They simply had outgrown their space.

With a need for more parking and more room throughout the clinic, owner Dr. Libby Kinsel said that all options were on the table. The Canal Winchester native and Ohio State University graduate began scouting new locations after realizing that a new facility was the best option. “We knew we were going to stay local, but we really wanted to help bridge the gap between Canal Winchester and Lancaster while better serving the community of Carroll.”

After visits to several properties, a chance pass by a vacant property that had recently gone up for sale caught Libby’s eye. “Once I saw the building and the space, I knew this was it.”  Libby’s father, Tom, is a structural engineer by trade and gave his stamp of approval. 

Plans formed quickly and the sale was final in June 2016. Later, Libby purchased additional land around the original parcel. They broke ground in November 2016 for the planned additions and moved into the new space this Spring. In all, the tripled their work area, created a full waiting room and they gained an incredible amount of outdoor space for walks and exercise.  There is also an additional building on the grounds that will eventually be rented out.

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Going from one exam room in the old building to six new exam rooms has meant a more efficient use of time and space. It has also meant more availability for surgical and dental care.  This is a great “problem” to have, and it was clear as the transition was happening that Creature Comforts was ready to bring on an additional doctor.  Libby didn’t have to look far.

“Tiffany (Elgersma) actually worked with us for ten years, starting in the kennels.  She returned to school and graduated and we brought her in as our second doctor right away.”  Dr. Elgersma is a Bremen native who graduated from The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine in May.

The transition has been very smooth.  Going from hundreds of clients to more than 6,000 over the years has forced the increase of staff size in other areas as well.  Registered Veterinary Technicians, an Office Manager, and four support staff members have all been added along with Dr. Elgersma since the new facility opened.  And perhaps most exciting for the entire Creature Comforts staff is the ability to use a real break room!  “It was kind of a free-for-all before” Libby joked.  “Lunch break meant eating in your cars, the back room, the parking lot, you name it.”  In fact, the staff recently got together to have Thanksgiving dinner together in the new space, an act that was physically impossible before the move.  And maybe just as exciting?  A brand new washer and dryer system that will suit the needs of the clinic perfectly.  “Before, we were going through washers and driers by the month!”

Clients are constantly being added from Fairfield, Franklin, Hocking, and Perry Counties.  Libby explained that they even work directly with the dog shelters in those counties. “We strive to be a very active part of our community.”

As for the future?  Be on the lookout for a planned “Community Canine Easter Egg Hunt” in the Spring, and for further planned updates and additions to the Creature Comforts facilities.  Dr. Kinsel, Dr. Elgersma, and staff will continue to insure that Creature Comforts acts as “your family’s other doctor!”

For a full list of services, contact information, and staff profiles, visit https://www.creaturecomfortsvc.com/

A Presidential Portrait: Ron Collins

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!

Collins

Ron Collins has been the Vinton County Bank President since 2009.

Ron Collins is the ninth and most recent President of Vinton County National Bank. As the only President to preside over both the Bremen and Vinton County Banks, Ron has provided a helpful bridge between the two bank cultures and operations.

Ron came to Bremen in 1998 to serve as Head of Lending. Before that, he worked as Field Vice President for ITT Financial Services from 1976 to 1993 and then as Vice President of Consumer Lending for State Savings Bank from 1993 to 1998.

He was named President of the First Bremen Bank in 2001 and served in that capacity until being named President of Vinton County National Bank in 2009.

Ron brought to the bank a comprehensive understanding of the lending world that has benefited the bank greatly. He used this experience and worked closely with the Credit Department to address weaknesses in the bank’s loan portfolio. He has since improved the bank’s loan portfolio to make it both healthy and profitable.

One of Ron’s most noted accomplishments during his time as President at Bremen continues to impact the bank today. Ron oversaw the development of the Canal Banking Center in Canal Winchester.

The bank built this office from the ground up in a location that was outside the bank’s comfort zone at the time. Ron advocated for a location in an up-and-coming commercial area off the highway rather than in a downtown location. The Canal office opened in 2002 and was an immediate success. It continues to be a busy, growing branch.

Ron also oversaw ventures into Licking county where Bremen opened its fifth location. The Friendly Bremen Bank of Pataskala opened in 2006.

After being named Vinton County National Bank President in 2009, Ron set to work softening the differences between the two banks, finding common grounds and seeking ways to streamline and improve the combined operation.

Ron is known as a great communicator and many consider him a “President of the people.” His ability to relate to people of all walks of life have served him well at this bank as he is approachable to all and open to their thoughts.

He considers it an honor to be the bank’s President and calls it “a privilege to follow a long history of outstanding leaders.” He credits current employees and those who have come before with helping grow the bank from one office in one county to sixteen offices in seven counties with assets of $885 million.

Ron says that his greatest accomplishment is being able to work with “all the hard working and dedicated employees in keeping with our bank’s history of
outstanding growth while maintaining our principles of being part of the communities we serve and having a safe and sound bank.”

Born in Dayton in 1955, Ron has been married to his wife Gail for 37 years. The pair have two children, Jill and Ron, Jr. as well as three grandchildren. He is a graduate of the Stonier Graduate School of Banking. Ron serves as Board Treasurer for Fox Family YMCA, is a member of the Lancaster Chamber of Commerce Board and is a past board member for the Route 33 Alliance. In his free time, Ron enjoys traveling, fishing and spending time with his grandchildren.

Daniel Will
Aaron Will
John L. Will
Robert B. Will, Sr.
J.G. Will
Robert B. Will Jr.
George Booth
Steve Hunter

Lender Speak: Tips For Choosing A Contractor

You’ve picked out your building site, you have your house plans and you’re ready to build a home. Congratulations! You must be excited! New home construction is one of the most exciting projects that our lenders get to work on. It’s also one of the most complex and has potential to be frustrating. That’s where a seasoned lender and a good contractor come in. VCNB employs some smart lenders who have been in this line of work for a lot of years. Today, we asked a few of them to weigh in with their tips for choosing a good contractor.

“My best advice is to take your time and ask lots of questions. First, get an estimate from more than one contractor and look at their history. You want to use a contractor with a solid history and not someone doing their first job. Another important thing to do is to look at other jobs they have done.”
Fred Wright

Fred works at our VCNB Loan Production Office on Veterans Drive in Jackson.

*   *    *

“Interview and meet with a lot of different builders. Look for a builder you will connect with and who you trust will meet your expectations.”
Donna Kopis

Donna works at our Friendly Bremen Banking Center on East Main Street in Lancaster.

*   *    *

“Choosing the right builder is the biggest decision one will have to make when building a home. I suggest speaking with multiple builders. Then choose one you feel you can trust to build the home the way you want and in a timely manner. It is vital to choose the builder who communicates clearly with you.”
Chris Coryea

Chris works at our Canal Banking Center on Prentiss School Drive in Canal Winchester.

*   *    *

“I have been fortunate to be involved in construction lending for nearly 20 yrs. Though customers may not realize it, a seasoned construction lender can help the process of building a home go smoother by helping them avoid common pitfalls and helping maintain the relationship between customer, lender, and contractor. Customers should be prepared to do a good deal of homework up front and that includes choosing the right contractor. The wrong contractor will make the project a nightmare very quickly and a struggle to complete. I encourage the customer to ask for references from the contractor and go look at some of their work including some projects that are in the process of being completed. Also, ask your lender about the contractor you are considering. If the lender is not familiar with the contractor, they will need to meet to make sure they are agreeable to our procedures. Those procedures are there for a reason and can help make sure we get a finished project. Ultimately, the customer and the bank are at risk until we get a finished project and neither of us want an unfinished home.”
Joe Risch

Joe works at our Pickaway County Banking Center on Court Street in Circleville.

Lender Speak: The Best Part Of Home Construction Lending

The VCNB Financial Family has some excellent, experienced lenders on staff. These folks have the privilege of working with customers to finance their dreams – their dream car, their dream kitchen, their dream home and a host of other projects that make life good. We talk a lot about what it’s like for the customer to finance a project with us but we don’t always stop and consider what it’s like for the lender.

Today, we’re asking some of our lenders about their favorite part of financing a home construction project! Here’s what they had to say!

 

“I love the excitement of it all. I love the excitement of the borrower once they know they are approved and the excitement of the borrower when the home is move in ready.”   Donna Kopis

Donna works at our Friendly Bremen Banking Center on East Main Street in Lancaster.

 

 

“The best thing is seeing a family’s dreams that started on a blueprint come true when they are given the keys to their new home. It’s a great feeling knowing we helped achieve their goal.”   Chris Coryea

Chris works at our Canal Banking Center on Prentiss School Drive in Canal Winchester.

 

 

“I like to see the excitement of the customers. It’s great helping them with their dream of building their own home and seeing that dream become reality.”    Fred Wright

Fred works at our VCNB Loan Production Office on Veterans Drive in Jackson.

 

“My favorite part of a construction loan is being able to help the customer fulfill a dream of building their very own home. The end result is very rewarding and helps mend the stress that it may have caused in the process. I enjoy seeing the different types of homes people build. Also, the process is very interesting – when it’s in the foundation/ framing stage it looks huge, then when drywall goes on it looks too small, then when it is painted and trimmed it gets bigger and usually just right. It’s a perception thing. As an owner, they may only build one or two homes in a lifetime. As a lender, we build several per year. It is this experience that can help both parties navigate through process and can also be rewarding knowing that you were instrumental in making it happen.”   Joe Risch

Joe works at our Pickaway County Banking Center on Court Street in Circleville.

Small Business Spotlight: The Well

 

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! 

A business in downtown Lancaster with a passionate following is getting ready to celebrate their third anniversary. It is a spot that was created for families to come and eat clean, wholesome foods, gather for coffee and conversation, and have a little fun. To call it a restaurant would be misleading; to simply call it a coffee shop wouldn’t be enough. Introducing: The Well.

What would you call The Well? “That’s a good question,” says Adam Leu, who owns the business along with his brother Aaron. “We’re a place to gather; a restaurant, a retail shop, a coffee shop, a place to bring your family in to play. We’re here to teach and educate, to service, and to build relationships and be a light in our community.” The words on the glass along the entryway say it best: “A Modern Gathering Place.”

The Leus’ intent was always to create a business with a family atmosphere that their own relatives and friends would want to enjoy; a modern place to eat, drink, play and live. “You see it too much that a small business consumes you. We didn’t want that,” Adam says. He continued, “Our priorities were always very clear – we have families and we wanted them to be involved, to come around and to enjoy this place. We wanted to do that for others.”

The idea for “the Modern Gathering Place” came about after Adam and Aaron held discussions about their next move in business. Inspired by several family play cafés the brothers had seen, Adam and Aaron came out of their discussions realizing they felt it was an exciting idea and something they thought the public would enjoy as well.

The search for a location began in 2013, and when scouting locations in Lancaster, they came across the old Hammond’s Clothier building at 203 S. Broad Street. It was pretty clear from first sight that it would be perfect. Hammond’s had been open since the early 1900’s and the building and its décor reflected so much of that history.

Plus, with the added bonus of empty gallery space below and above the storefront, Aaron felt it’d be a perfect spot to renovate and create a home for him and his family. After several meetings with the Lancaster-Fairfield Area Chamber of Commerce and Destination Downtown Lancaster, the decision to purchase of the building was made, and in May 2013 the plans of opening in time for The Lancaster Festival’s Art Walk in July were laid out. And once work began, those hopes were quickly dashed. “We were pretty ambitious. We worked on the living space first, and Aaron wasn’t able to move in until December of that year- and the shop wasn’t opened until March of 2014,”

Adam laughed as he recalled. “But we did most of the work ourselves. We added the kitchen area and the bathroom, but the building was in good shape. It was mostly cosmetics.”

Now filled with self-constructed décor, hand-made crafts and goods, organic snacks and sweets, art, and a play area the family built taking up a large portion of the rear, The Well has blossomed into a popular place for locals and out-of-towners alike. And the word of these loyal visitors has been key to their success.

“We really haven’t had to pay for advertising.” Adam revealed. “The Eagle-Gazette ran an article the week we opened, which we didn’t plan on, and the Dispatch called right after that for another piece. And it’s just grown from there.”

The space, and the menu especially, were originally intended to serve a very niche market. They just didn’t realize how large that niche market was. “After the Eagle-Gazette article, we were slammed. We had lines out the door and we were thinking ‘what are we doing?’ We weren’t ready for this.” Adam looks back. They seemed to have figured it out, though, and the crowds continue to grow.

The rotating menu features organic, gluten free vegetarian foods and smoothies, juices, coffees, and treats utilizing local growers and coffee beans from around the world (and never roasted more than fourteen days prior!). The Buckeye Bar, the sweet specialty of Tim, their father, has proven to be a hit! In fact, VCNB employees may or may not consistently keep a few of them at their desk.

The Leus have taken calls from interested investors looking to add locations and businessmen looking to franchise. “But we’re just not interested in that, that was never the priority.” Adam explained, again citing the desire to have a place for his family. “I’m here, Aaron, our mother (Pat), our father (Tim), Bob’s a friend, and Mary’s helping us too. Our wives help us, our kids come in here and hang out with us. You just can’t do that if we go somewhere else. Our desire wasn’t to come here and be a restaurant, and be hidden back in a kitchen all day. We want to see you and we want you to take some of this with you. We’ll give you any recipe or information you want. We’re a part of this community and we want to be here building relationships with you.”

Visitors can stop by The Well from 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. on weekdays. The retail and play space can also be rented after hours at $150 for three hours. You can get connected on Facebook or call 740.573.7011.