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: Hocking Hills Moonshine

 

 

vintage-car

This 1930 Plymouth is a rare classic car that was made  during the Prohibition era. Today the company sometimes uses this car to delivery product to stores. Don’t worry though – the bullet holes on the door are just stickers!

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! 

The Hocking Hills region has long been known for its moonshine. Once illegally produced in the hills by bootleggers, now the infamous drink is being made legally in the heart of Logan.

Hocking Hills Moonshine is a relatively young company that uses old time techniques to make a timeless drink. “If you think Moonshine is supposed to taste bad and burn all the way down, you’ve never had good moonshine,” exclaimed Brian St. Clair, who co-owns the business with his brother Eric and cousin Ray.

stirring

Brian St. Clair explained the recipe and the manufacturing process while he stirred.

Brian gave VCNB a tour of the distillery and retail store in Logan, providing a combination history lesson and chemistry class. He demonstrated how their award winning moonshine is made, starting with a recipe of cracked corn, sugar, yeast, syrup and fresh water from the family farm.

It’s the water and the small batch production that give their product the sweet, smooth flavor that has made it increasingly popular. Brian indicated that it’s the local water that helped the nearby town New Straitsville claim the title Moonshine Capital of the World back during the Prohibition years.

Brian actually got to meet and learn from some of the old timers who perfected the craft when he started out as a volunteer at the New Straitsville Moonshine Festival in the eighties. “The Moonshine Festival Committee needed volunteers. The festival had a permit to make moonshine whiskey for display purposes only and they needed help,” Brian explained. “I learned from Prohibition era old timers who did it for years,” he said, explaining that until 2010, it was illegal to produce Moonshine in Ohio.

In 2015, Brian, Eric and Ray opened their business and have worked constantly to improve their product and grow the business. Today, their bestseller is 120 proof Buckeye Lightening. They also offer 45 Proof Granny Apple, 45 Proof Blackberry, 45 Proof Peach and 90 Proof. Efforts are underway to offer additional flavors.

Ohio law limits sales to state liquor stores in Ohio and their products are currently available in over 200 stores across the state. Their product can also be purchased in their store. When you visit, allow a little extra time to take a free tour of the facility and to look around. Both the tour and store are family friendly. Speaking of family, the business is a family run affair with help from Ray’s mom Cheryl as well as Brian and Eric’s sister Tammy.

merchandise-display

In addition to moonshine, the store sells locally made items and has a number of antiques on display.

The store features some locally made items as well as Hocking Hills Moonshine shirts and other merchandise. They also have a load of interesting antiques to look at and photograph. One wall is actually constructed of wood siding and a door from a nineteenth century grain bin from the family farm. Brian said that he, Eric and Ray used it as a club house when they were kids and that it seemed appropriate to incorporate into the décor.

They even have a backdrop, complete with antiques, that is perfect for group pictures. An old pot, antique farm implements, milk cans and even a coal miner’s bucket are among the unique items on display. Visitors can also see the awards they brought home from the Denver Spirits International Competition. Over three hundred competitors were judged and their Buckeye Lightening took the Bronze Medal while their 90 Proof brought home the Silver. Earlier this month, the business was recognized as the Hocking Hills Chamber of Commerce’s New Business of the Year.

If you can’t make it in to their Logan location, look for them at some events in 2017 including a bike rally in Ironton and the Sam Jam bluegrass festival in Pike County. Follow them on Facebook to learn about new products and to keep up with new locations where their moonshine is sold.

Hocking Hills Moonshine is located at 519 E Front Street in Logan. Call them at 740. 603.4483 or check out their website.

Pack An Extra Form Of Payment

If you’re planning a vacation this summer, you’re probably eager to pack your bags and hit the road. But before you go, there’s one more thing to pack – one or two extra forms of payment.

We know that you love your plastic and we swipe our debit and credit cards more today than ever before.  After all, it’s quick and easy, it’s safer than carrying a lot of cash and, if you’re a VCNB customer using Rewards Checking or our Platinum Visa© Card, you earn UChoose® Rewards Points on purchases.

PrintUnfortunately, plastic is not always foolproof. While most businesses accept credit and debit cards, some mom and pop establishments, festivals and farmer’s markets are not equipped to do so. Also, technology is imperfect and occasionally even major retailers experience a hiccup that prevents them from accepting cards.

Also, with the increased use in debit and credit card usage has come an increase in the amount of fraudulent activity related to cards. That’s why we have a great Fraud Department here at VCNB to monitor your activity round the clock. If we see something that is clearly fraudulent or that looks suspicious, we will place restrictions on your card and then give you a call to confirm that you are actually making those purchases. This is meant to protect you and your money but can sometimes cause an inconvenience for the customer.

We occasionally have customers who are on vacation, spending outside their regular pattern of activity, who will be flagged by the Fraud Department. If you can confirm that it’s really you spending your money, the restrictions will be released and you can go about your vacation. If it’s not you, we will shut down your card to prevent future fraudulent activity and take actions to get you a new card. If that’s the case, you will need another way to pay.

There are many options for a second or third form of payment. If you plan to pay primarily with debit, take along a credit card and some cash too. If your primary payment is going to be credit, a second credit or debit card and some cash might come in handy.

Here at VCNB, we offer credit cards as well as a Reloadable Travel Card. You can use it to make purchases anywhere worldwide that Mastercard© is accepted. It costs $5.99 to purchase but we are waving this fee through the end of July. The Travel Card and other reloadable/gift cards are available in any VCNB branch. Click here to learn more. 

And, of course, cash is still accepted almost everywhere.

By the way, if you’re planning to travel, take a minute and give us a call. If we know you’re out of state or out of the country, you’ll be less likely to experience a disruption in service. Also be sure to give us your mobile phone number. If our Fraud Department does need to reach you, you don’t want them calling your home when your card is being rejected in a restaurant far from home.

 

 

 

Helping Paws Update

Earlier this year we told you about a pet project of the staff at our Hocking Hills Banking Center. After realizing the ever growing need of the Hocking County Humane Society, the staff wanted to help.  First they went shopping on the bank’s behalf and donated a carload of food, litter and other supplies. Then they put out a donation container and a list of items needed and watched the donations begin to come in.

The Humane Society rescues abused and neglected animals, helping animals big and small, including dogs, cats, horses, bunnies, goats and other creatures that need a safe place. The shelter is run by volunteers and operates on a shoestring budget.

Humane Society Grace and Julie with donations 2016

Hocking Hills Banking Center employees Grace Delong and Julie Romine are avid supporters of the Hocking County Humane Society. They are pictured with the donation bin inside the bank lobby. Donations of cash or items are welcome.

Branch Manager Autumn Warthman said it all began because some of her employees volunteer with the Humane Society and they had remarked on the tremendous need the organization faces every day. With their shelter at capacity and resources stretched thin, the office staff wanted to do more.

So the staff put out a collection box for cash and change, as well as a list of items needed and a place to put them. Donations immediately began rolling in.  So far, they have delivered items at least four times and have collected almost $400 in monetary donations.

Warthman believes bank customers appreciate the opportunity to help less fortunate animals in the community. “A lot of them are pet friendly and they are loving that they can help this way. I’ve been shocked and grateful for the generosity so many people have shown,” she explained.

She indicated that bank employees are loving it too. “Two of our employees volunteer there and some of us have adopted pets from there so we have a nice relationship with the Humane Society. It has been uplifting to see how so many people really do care.”

She said a story in the Logan Daily also gained the project a lot attention, encouraging not just HHBC customers but all of the community to give. Needed items include everything from food and cleaning supplies to old towels and newspapers. See below for a complete list of requested items.

Warthman said there is an ongoing need for money, supplies and volunteers and that the office will continue accepting donations indefinitely.  Follow the Humane Society on Facebook  and click here to read our first story on this project.

Hocking County Humane Society Donation List

Lending A Helping Paw

Humane Society Autumn with donation

Hocking Hills Banking Center Manager Autumn Warthman poses with some items the bank recently donated to the Hocking County Humane Society.

Last month we asked VCNB employees to submit pictures of their pets to be posted on our Facebook page for Love Your Pet Day. We learned that many of our employees are devoted pet parents who love to talk pets. That started a conversation at our Hocking Hills Banking Center about an organization in Hocking County that could use a helping hand and we decided to get involved.

Branch Manager Autumn Warthman explained that the Hocking County Humane Society is in constant need of donations and that her staff wanted to call attention to the need. “Two of our employees have adopted dogs from the Humane Society and three of them volunteer there,” Warthman said. “Grace, Tammy and Julie all volunteer there every week and they know the need better than anyone.”

The Humane Society accepts only abused and neglected animals and takes practically any kind of animal that needs rescue. Right now they are home to dogs, cats, bunnies, goats and horses. They do not accept strays or surrendered animals.

Operated locally by a volunteer staff, this non-profit organization accepts donations of time, money and supplies. Warthman said the bank recently donated a carload of food and supplies and is inviting customers to donate items as well. She said they will have a donation area inside the bank from now through June. “If they want to make a donation, no matter how big or small, they can just bring it into the bank and we’ll deliver it to the Humane Society.

“Most of our employees are animal lovers and we feel compelled to help the Humane Society help these neglected and abused animals. It’s heartbreaking when you think about it. The Humane Society does a great job helping every animal they can but their resources are stretched thin. It’s expensive to keep them all fed and under roof and we just want to help,” Warthman said.

Donations will be accepted during regular bank business hours through the end of June. Bank staff will regularly deliver donations to the Humane Society. To learn more about the Humane Society or to get involved, call them at 740.380.9109 or visit 36960 Hocking Dr., Logan.

See below for a list of items the Humane Society needs at this time.

Hocking County Humane Society Donation List

 

Small Business Spotlight: Great Escapes Travel

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

In the age of self service and online travel booking sites, many Americans may not think to consult a travel agency for their next vacation. However, there’s one travel agent in Logan who says business is thriving and that her services are as needed today as ever. Great Escapes Travel owner Tracey Adams is a 33-year veteran of the business who says above-and-beyond customer service keeps clients coming back trip after trip.

“Even though people can book online, you would be surprised to know how many people feel more comfortable booking a trip with me,” Adams said. “I can take someone’s vacation savings and turn it into the trip of their dreams. Even if they vacation every year, I want them to come home feeling like it was a once-in-a-lifetime thing.”

ParisFrom Disney trips and Caribbean cruises to international journeys to far flung places, Adams can send a client anywhere in the world they want to go. The real value though is that she provides not just the standard flight, room and car rental, she plans and sees to every step of their journey. “From the minute they leave their home until they return, I take care of everything. Flights, transfers, cancellations, online check-in, hotels, cars, research. You name it and I do it because I want to make it as easy and convenient as possible for my client,” she explained. “It’s a service that my clients have grown to expect. Not every agency will do all that but I think personal service is important.”

The demographic of her client base is broad, including people of all ages and backgrounds. She cites stories of trips she has planned for both young and old, families, couples, friends and singles as well as travelers from all backgrounds. She said that most of her clients are repeat customers, making it easier to recommend destinations and activities because she is familiar with their likes and dislikes.

What are some reasons a traveler might find a travel agent like Adams helpful? The list is long, she says. One important reason relates to experience and knowledge. “Either by research or by first hand experience I am familiar with your destination. I’ve been doing this for 33 years so I can tell you what to see and what to avoid. I know when you’re actually getting a good deal and what you need to do before you leave,” she said. She went on to discuss how so many international travelers aren’t sure about how to get a passport, what inoculations they might need or what to pack. “I do all the research and I take care of you.  I can look after you if a flight is cancelled and be there for you every step of the way.

When considering her favorite destinations, she mentioned Disney because there are so many customizable options and because it is incredibly popular with people of all ages. Her absolute favorite trip though is Alaska. “It’s the most amazing place I’ve ever seen in my life. The people are so nice and the air is clean. The ice, the whales, the eagles are amazing in person,” she gushed.

Another favorite is the Caribbean where she not only sends countless clients every year but where she leads an annual trip. This year’s seven day Carnival Western Caribbean trip will be Oct. 1 through Oct. 8 and bookings are still available. Ports of call for this trip include Costa Maya, Isla Roatan, Belize and Cozumel. “This is a huge group from Logan and the surrounding area and we have a blast,” she said with a laugh. “Cruises are great for families and for people who aren’t sure they really want to travel. Men especially are the hardest to get on a cruise but they’re the first to come back and book another because they have the best time.”

To learn more about Great Escapes Travel and how they can help you plan your next trip, call 740.385.1999 and follow them on Facebook. They are located at 60 N. Mulberry St. in Logan.

See below for a few more pictures from Great Escapes Travel!

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A Season Of Giving All Year Round

Lots of folks think of December as a season of giving but here at VCNB we try to maintain a spirit of giving all year long. We think it’s important to give back to the communities where we do business.

While there are a few causes near and to the heart of who we are as a bank, we enjoy supporting all sorts of community and school causes. From park renovations to school programs and from Christmas presents for kids to food pantries, downtown revitalization projects, arts festivals, fire department gear and everything in between, it seems like there is no shortage of efforts that need community support.

We also spend a lot of resources on financial literacy, especially for kids and teens in school. We talk to high school kids about credit and about the basics of managing their finances once they graduate high school. We also work with elementary students through programs like Get Smart About Credit, Bremen Bank Days and Teach Children To Save. Another major project for us, an EverFi program called Financial U, uses video, 3-D gaming, avatars and social networking to bring financial concepts to life for this digital generation. Offered at ten schools in VCNB communities, EverFi helps school districts meet state financial literacy standards.

Our employees often get in on the act too, donating their time and resources to support countless organizations that are important to them. Many of our employees volunteer for animal shelters, nursing homes, food pantries, the American Red Cross and Habitat for Humanity. Hundreds of hours are given by our employees to support efforts they care about.

This month in Ross County, employees of our Ross County Banking Center have been involved in a contest to raise funds for the Salvation Army. Several of our offices have collected funds for organizations like food pantries and Project Backpack.

Autumn Warthman, Branch Manager at the Hocking Hills Banking Center, knows a thing or two about giving back to the community. Warthman’s office has helped with some major projects in the Logan area including the rehabilitation of Kachelmacher Park. Her office donated funds and her employees gave sweat equity to help with the project.

Warthman says that she sees giving back to the community as an important part of doing business. “I think it’s important to give back to help in whatever ways we can, especially for youth education like EverFi. We want people to know that we don’t just do business here. We support the community and we’re here for them in other ways besides banking,” Warthman explained.

We are grateful for the opportunity to do business in so many great communities and look forward to 2016 and the opportunities to do more good!

Find Us At Saturday Events!

christmas nutcracker free imagesWe will be busy bees this Saturday with all the holiday events happening in our communities. We do love Christmas and we thoroughly enjoy taking part in the traditions of our towns so be sure to stop by and say hi if you have a chance Saturday. Here’s where we’ll be:

Logan Santa Parade
2 p.m.
This is a fantastic parade and one of our favorites! The parade winds through the streets of downtown, starting at the Hocking County Fairgrounds and ending at the Tractor Supply parking lot. The parade features many units including bands, businesses, local non-profits and regional event royalty. Best of all, it also marks the real beginning of the holidays in Logan with the arrival of Santa Claus! Parents are invited to bring their children to enjoy activities provided by the Logan Town Center before the parade, meet Santa and enjoy the lighting of the downtown lights. The staff of our Hocking Hills Banking Center will be passing out candy so be sure to wave!

 
Pataskala Cookie Walk
2 p.m. to 5 p.m.
Who doesn’t like cookies? With the donation of either one dollar or one canned food item, participants will receive a bag and a map for an approximate one mile walk around downtown Pataskala, collecting a cookie from each of the nearly three dozen stops on the route. Along the route there are children’s activities, food, and live music and entertainment. The Friendly Bremen Banking Center is a proud supporter of this year’s event and we’ll be participating with our own cookies so be sure to come see us. Learn more at the Main Street Christmas – Pataskala Facebook page!

 

Christmas in Downtown McArthur
3-6 p.m.
Enjoy a good old fashioned holiday celebration in downtown McArthur. This free event, hosted by the Vinton County Chamber of Commerce, features free wagon rides, door prizes, kids crafts, music, chinese auction, a parade, Santa and more! There’s even a 5K earlier in the day! Stop by our bank to enter our drawing and for your child to put together our Christmas craft project! Learn more here.

 

 

 

What’s Your Next Step?

Next Step 160x600 Audience Network (VCNB)

We have been busy talking about next steps here at VCNB. Everyone has a next step in life. Maybe it’s a huge step like getting married, starting a family or buying a home. Maybe it’s a small step like the bathroom remodel you have been planning for years. Perhaps it is a far off step like retiring or becoming an empty nester. As we look around the VCNB Financial Family we see people taking next steps every day: babies, promotions, military service, weddings, retirements, new homes, smaller homes, new hobbies, children going off to college, and adults going back to school. There have been some unhappy next steps along the way as we have said goodbye to parents, siblings and mentors as well. While we hope all your next steps are happy, the good and the bad are all a part of life. With this in mind, we want to be with you along the way for whatever your next step in life is, no matter where it takes you. Home loans, savings accounts, cutting edge services and good old fashioned customer caring are some of the things we do every day. Plus, for a while we are offering you a chance to earn money for becoming our customer. Now through June 30, you can get $100 for opening a new checking account with a debit card. You can also earn $50 for opening a new savings account. These accounts can be opened online or in any of our seventeen branches. We also want to help some neighbors in need as they take their next steps. That is why we will donate $10 for every qualifying checking or savings account opened during the promotional period. The money will be shared by two charities – Sojourners of Vinton County and Maywood Mission of Lancaster – to purchase shoes for people in need. We will donate up to $1,000 at the end of the promotional period.

Next Step Promo Terms and Conditions_Final

Click Image To Enlarge Terms and Conditions.

Click the terms and conditions at right to view a full screen description of complete details. Visit www.vintoncountybank.com for account information or to get started opening an account. You can also stop by any one of our seventeen branches to speak with an expert and open your new account today. Are you thinking about your next step? Comment below to tell us what it will be! We are excited to hear your stories!

Building a Home? Start With Expert Advice!

New ConstructionBuilding a home can be one of the most rewarding things you do in your lifetime but it can also be extremely stressful. That’s why it is important to speak with an expert before you start. VCNB decided to help you in the process by talking to a builder who has decades of experience. We asked him about the things he wishes everyone knew before they begin building their new home.

Bob Brown, owner of Brown Builders Custom Homes, is not only a skilled builder of homes but a builder of dreams. He works with clients all over Ohio, helping them build their dream home. When we sat down with Bob, we wanted to know how someone who has never been through the home building process could get from start to finish with their sanity and their wallet intact.

Bob told us you should involve a builder as soon as you begin looking at land for your new home. He recommends talking with a couple of builders of your choice before deciding who you trust to do the job. “The builder you select must make you feel comfortable, should not pressure you and should never tell you that you cannot do something you want to do. If you hear them say ‘you can’t do that’ during the initial get-to-know-you process, you should be wary. This project is all about you, about what you want, not about the builder,” Bob explained.

The initial meeting should last an hour or two and should be your opportunity to assess the builder. “It’s kind of like a marriage,” Bob said. “You must completely trust this person to have your best interest at heart at all times. This is probably the most money you will spend on anything in your lifetime and you want it to be exactly what you want for you and your family.”

Bob also recommends taking the builder to the lot you are considering for purchase. “It is important for the builder to see the lot, to discuss it with the buyer and to get a feel for exactly what the buyer has in mind. Sometimes, the lot is not conducive for the type of house they want to build and we can tell them that. We can also discuss different options they may have never thought about before,” Bob explained.

The next step in the process is financing. Your builder will want to see pre-approval from your bank so that he or she knows exactly how much you can spend on your new home. From there, you will move into financing the lot and begin talking construction costs. This process could take three to four weeks or, sometimes longer. Patience is virtue during this process. From start to finish, a home can take anywhere from five to nine months – or more to complete. “It depends on each individual house as to the time-frame. Some take less time, some take more. It depends on the client and whether or not they want a custom, semi-custom or production built home. Your builder should review these options with you upfront,” Bob told us.

Once your financing is secure and you break ground on your new home, the planning game turns into a waiting game. “If you are working with a sound builder, they should plan your project up front. They should tightly manage the scope, time-frame and budget. I give my clients weekly progress updates and ample time to make decisions about things. I don’t want there to be any surprises. It should not be a guessing game,” Bob added.

Keep in mind that the process of building a new home and selling your current one can result in life disruptions. That means you may need to find alternative housing if you sell your home before the new one is move-in ready. “The best time to sell your home is between March and August. If you want to be into your new home before the holidays, plan accordingly,” Bob explained.

Bob recommends that you select a reputable builder and lender that you trust. It is also key to always communicate your needs. “Communication is king when building a house. It can make the process much smoother, can erase any fears or doubts and can keep a project on track. It is the most important ingredient in a builder/client relationship,” Bob said.

At VCNB we pride ourselves for working well with our customers and their builders. If you follow Bob’s tips and if you work with VCNB as your lender, there is no need to be apprehensive about building your new home. We are here to help.

The next step in the process is financing. Your builder will want to see pre-approval from your bank so that he or she knows exactly how much you can spend on your new home. From there, you will move into financing the lot and begin talking construction costs. This process could take three to four weeks or, sometimes longer. Patience is virtue during this process. From start to finish, a home can take anywhere from five to nine months – or more to complete. “It depends on each individual house as to the time-frame. Some take less time, some take more. It depends on the client and whether or not they want a custom, semi-custom or production built home. Your builder should review these options with you upfront,” Bob told us.

Once your financing is secure and you break ground on your new home, the planning game turns into a waiting game. “If you are working with a sound builder, they should plan your project up front. They should tightly manage the scope, time-frame and budget. I give my clients weekly progress updates and ample time to make decisions about things. I don’t want there to be any surprises. It should not be a guessing game,” Bob added.

Keep in mind that the process of building a new home and selling your current one can result in life disruptions. That means you may need to find alternative housing if you sell your home before the new one is move-in ready. “The best time to sell your home is between March and August. If you want to be into your new home before the holidays, plan accordingly,” Bob explained.

The building process can be hair-pullingly stressful and can take months to complete. Remember though, it is worth it to have the home you have always wanted, the home of your dreams. Bob recommends that you select a reputable builder and lender that you trust. It is also key to always communicate your needs. “Communication is king when building a house. It can make the process much smoother, can erase any fears or doubts and can keep a project on track. It is the most important ingredient in a builder/client relationship,” Bob said.

At VCNB we pride ourselves for working well with our customers and their builders. If you follow Bob’s tips and if you work with VCNB as your lender, there is no need to be apprehensive about building your new home. We are here to help.