Amanda Crabtree Joins VCNB Family in Jackson

Vinton County National Bank and Jackson County Banking Center are pleased to welcome Amanda Crabtree to the bank family. Crabtree is a veteran community banker and active volunteer in Jackson County.

Many area residents will remember her working in local community banking for sixteen years prior to being named General Manager at Total Media where she helped consolidate offices and improve efficiencies while rebranding and adding new services for customers. She recently joined the VCNB Financial Family to work from the Jackson County Banking Center as a Senior Business Banker.

Amanda Crabtree

“I’m excited to be part of the VCNB team. The people you work with are everything and VCNB has the best of the best. Jackson County Banking Center has really made me feel at home and it has been an easy transition as I have worked with most of my teammates while in my previous jobs at other banks,” she explained.  “You won’t find a friendlier group or one that’s more dedicated to customer service than the folks at VCNB and I feel fortunate to be able to work with them every day.” 

The Jackson resident is an active community volunteer. She is President Elect of Jackson Rotary Club, Treasurer of Support Our Soccer, Secretary of Apple City Players, Vice President of Southern Hills Arts Council and Vice President of Lillian Jones Museum. She is also a board member of Jackson County Airport Authority, Jackson Area Chamber of Commerce and Jackson County Economic Development Partnership.

She is a graduate of Jackson High School and Ohio Northern University where she majored in Public Relations and graduated with honors. Crabtree and her husband HD have four sons, two of whom are grown and living in Bexley. Their younger sons are teenagers who reside at home. In their free time, she and HD enjoy hiking, golf and travel.

Crabtree said her passion for local involvement stems from her desire to see her community and the entire region succeed.  “I’m a true believer that when one of us succeeds we all succeed. This truth is evident in our communities. When our local businesses are successful, it helps our local economy flourish. I love Southern Ohio and I love working with new and established businesses in the area to help them achieve their goals for success.”

Senior Business Banker Amanda Crabtree can be found at Jackson County Banking Center at 471 McCarty Lane in Jackson. Call 740.577.3562 to speak with her or to make an appointment.

Small Business Spotlight: Downtown Treatery

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! Today we visit Downtown Treatery, a bright and happy donut shop in Jackson where the owners hope to make you smile.

There aren’t many times in life that you will be encouraged to play with your food but that’s exactly what happens at Downtown Treatery. The Jackson donut shop opened just before the pandemic began and has provided much needed smiles for a growing legion of customers.

That’s partly because this isn’t just any ordinary donut shop. Step inside the brightly decorated storefront and you will be greeted by friendly staff, a delicious aroma and uplifting messages on the wall. The positive messages and whimsical décor including a bicycle table are designed to make every customer want to linger.

“Our donuts are great but we want you to come for the experience too,” Nicole Brennen said. She and her husband Brandon developed their unique format that allows customers to customize their orders with an array of icings, glazes and toppings. Essentially, customers can make their donut unique as fun to create as they are to eat.

Customers can also try the Downtown Treatery’s signature donuts with names like Oreo that’s topped with crushed Oreo cookies, the Piglet which features bacon and Extreme Butter Cup which is a chocolate and peanut butter lover’s dream. Their Michael’s Bubble is modeled off a popular treat from another Jackson area business – Michael’s Ice Cream where their daily fresh roasted peanuts top off their signature bubble sundae. These nuts are a prominent part of the Michael’s donut.

Other popular toppings include sprinkles, toasted coconut, Fruity Pebbles and chocolate chips. Icings include flavors like maple, strawberry, cream cheese and lemon while the assorted drizzles include marshmallow, peanut butter, raspberry and classic chocolate.

They also have other menu items like cream horns, brownies, cinnamon rolls, mini pies and beverages.

Another huge piece of the business is custom orders. “We do custom orders for any event you can imagine. We do weddings, birthday parties, bridal showers, retirement parties, gender reveal parties. You name it and we’ve done it,” she said.

“We chose bright, happy colors that kids like because we want to be family friendly and we want to people to smile when they come in. Everyone says just coming in brings a smile and we want them to be happy, to enjoy some donuts and to remember that life is pretty good. It’s not so bad. There’s a lot to smile about,” Nicole said.

Nicole and Brandon sweetly tag teamed the telling of the story that led them to want to open this shop. “It was all her idea. She had talked about it for a while. We had visited something similar on vacation years ago and one day she started talking to me about buildings,” he laughed.

“I knew it was something we should do and I just kept waiting for the right time. Everyone loves donuts, they make people happy. I believe that God has brought us to here to help others, to bring joy to others. I’m grateful to Him for that,” Nicole explained as she discussed how special and decorated donuts have become all the rage for celebrations in the area. “Everyone loves it and it’s another way we can bring a smile!”

When they found the building that would become Downtown Treatery, it had been stripped down to the studs, providing a blank canvas to create the space they need. They hung curtains over the front window during the renovation, waiting until opening day for the big reveal to the community.  “When I took down the curtains on the first day, there was a line stretched down the street,” she recalled. “It was incredible the way people showed up for us. I couldn’t believe it!”

That was January 25, 2020. Just six weeks later, the pandemic changed the face of life in Ohio and forced the couple to adjust their business model. “We had to adapt if we wanted to survive and we wanted to survive. Failure wasn’t an option so we started offering curbside pickup. You could order and we would bring your donuts right out to the car. If you’re a small business, you have to get creative.”

Nicole knows something about creativity. As a sports mom, wife, dental practitioner and small business owner she’s always had to balance, juggle and hustle but has done so more than ever this last year. “If it were easy, everyone would do it. I’m no stranger to hard work and I really love the challenge of making things work, finding ways around obstacles and reaching for my dreams,” she said.

Their dining room is open and there’s plenty of room for guests to social distance. Prior to the pandemic, they had welcomed parties of kids in to decorate their own donuts. “We loved doing that and can’t wait to do it again someday,” she said.

While Downtown Treatery is a special place for locals to enjoy, they also have a number of out-of-town guests including some who stop in while visiting town. “Jackson is such a wonderful place. Whether you live here or are just visiting, we welcome everyone to stop by for a donut and smile.”

Downtown Treatery is located at 229 Broadway Street in Jackson. Find hours, menu and more at their Facebook page!  

Darrell Boggs To Retire Friday

When Darrell Boggs took his first job in banking it was to earn some cash while he studied accounting at the University of Rio Grande. In fact, he never planned for a career in banking and had other plans altogether. Yet, he’s still at it and retiring this week after a lifetime of helping local people achieve their financial goals.

Darrell Boggs

“I honestly didn’t intend to stay in banking. I liked my accounting classes. That work made sense to me but I was tired of asking my parents for money. No young man wants to be dependent on his parents like that so I took a summer job doing something completely different and went to school at night,” he recalled.

When a position in banking became available, he jumped at the chance to work in a finance job where he could continue his education at night and make contacts that would serve him in the future. The year was 1978 and the rest, as they say, is history. He started out as Assistant Branch Manager, working his way up through different positions including Regional Manager and Head of Lending.

Darrell left that job in 2005 and spent six years farming with his dad before resuming his banking career with other banks in the region.

When VCNB was planning to open a loan office in Jackson, VCNB Head of Retail Brenda Doles came knocking. The two had experience working together and she thought he would be a good fit for directing the bank’s entrance to that community. Today he’s the Head of Commercial Lending.

“I have really loved working with Mark and for the company. I couldn’t ask for a better way to wrap up my career,” he said. “I’m thrilled with the staff we’ve developed here. Jackson County needed a good community bank and we’ve proven that time and again with the great customers who have come to us and the bankers that we have attracted to work for us here. I’m really proud of what we’ve built here – the building, the wonderful staff. It’s worked out better than we could have imagined.”

The Oak Hill area resident doesn’t plan to rest on his laurels in retirement. A lifelong farmer, he’s caretaker for a family farm that his parents moved to in 1967. “I plan to keep my cattle and farm as long as I can but I’m looking forward to traveling in the RV too,” he smiled, describing some of the places he and his wife have been with the RV and others he hopes to see.

His wife Marilyn is a retired Oak Hill Elementary School Principal. The couple have two grown children and two young granddaughters who they look forward to spending time with throughout the year rather than just during summer vacation. “We love to take the girls camping and to have them at the farm. We’re talking about getting everyone together for family trips and just look forward to seeing them more, having more time to enjoy our family.”

Will he miss banking? “I’ll miss the people. I’m ready to go but I’ve been fortunate to work with a lot of great people and have a lot of great customers. I’ll miss all the people.”

However, VCNB President Mark Erslan said that Boggs likely won’t be leaving the bank completely. “Given Darrell’s significant contributions to the bank, we’re working on a way for him to stay involved with the bank and enjoy retirement.”

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.

VCNB Opens New Jackson Branch Monday

Jackson coming soonMonday will be a banner day for our staff in Jackson as this will mark our first day of operation in a newly constructed branch. The new office is located at 471 McCarty Lane, just around the corner from the current Jackson branch.

VCNB President Mark Erslan said that he looks forward to opening the new branch to the public. “We are really excited about the completion of our new office in Jackson. The growth we’ve experienced in the limited time we’ve been in Jackson has exceeded our expectations,” he said.

The bank opened a loan office in a small space on Veterans Drive in 2016. It quickly became clear that there was a demand in Jackson for VCNB to have a full service bank and the Jackson County Banking Center opened in 2017. That space was quickly outgrown and ground was broken last year for this new facility.

Customers will appreciate the state-of-the art drive-thru system and drive-up ATM. The Intelligent Deposit ATM uses no envelopes, accepting deposits of cash and checks and giving customers same-day credit for up to $500 daily. Inside, personal bankers are trained to help customers with nearly any loan or deposit need. A kid’s corner will help keep little ones occupied while their parents do business, and a digital learning area will allow customers who prefer self-service to log into their VCNB online accounts, read account literature and do more on iPads.

Most of all, there is plenty of room in the 6,000 square foot facility for bankers to spread out and help their customers with respect to customer privacy and safety in socially distanced times. “We just can’t wait to service our Jackson County customers with a brand new office that features modern amenities and plenty of room. We’re very pleased with the outcome of the planning, design and construction and looking forward to the chance for everyone to see and experience the new facility,” Erslan said.

The current branch will be open through Friday. This location will be closed on Saturday morning so they can move into the new facility. Visit us in Jackson at 471 McCarty Lane beginning Monday, July 27. We look forward to serving you in our new branch!

 

Meet Your Banker: Callie Duhl

In our Meet Your Banker Series, we visit with Callie Duhl. Callie is the Branch Manager of our Jackson County Banking Center in Jackson.

Callie Duhl

Callie Duhl is the Branch Manager of our Jackson County Banking Center in Jackson.

Chat with Callie about her life and career and one thing is clear. She is devoted to her community, family and bank customers. The Jackson native has spent her entire life in Jackson, graduating from Jackson High School and building a long banking career before joining the VCNB Financial Family last year.

Like many VCNB Branch Managers, she started her career as a teller, working her way through a variety of positions including head teller, assistant manager and lender, seeing the banking business from a variety of angles. “I’ve done lending for most of my career and that’s what I like the best. It’s fun helping people get the things they need or want, the things that improve their lives,” she said.

Yet, this isn’t the life path Callie had envisioned for herself. As a lover of the outdoors, she has always enjoyed spending time caring for flowers, mowing and doing other outdoor work. “I never gave a thought to sitting behind a desk eight to ten hours a day. However, this is the path that God lead me down. My Grandpa always told me that God has a big sense of humor,” she exclaimed. “I’m right where I’m supposed to be and I’m glad to be here.”

Callie and her husband Alan have a fifty acre farm that keeps them busy. They have been married for 35 years and have one son. Their son works for the sheriff’s office and his wife is an RN. They have four young children who Callie adores.

She also is active as a founding member and treasurer of the Jackson Area Kiwanis. “Up until Covid hit we were staying busy in the community. It’s been different this summer but everything has been different,” she said.

Callie praised her customers for being so patient with lobby limitations during recent months. “Our customers have been just wonderful. So patient and kind to wait their turn. We couldn’t ask for better,” she said.

She takes customer service very seriously. “It’s important to me that we know our customers and that we do as much for them as we can,” she said. “Most of the time, when someone comes in, at least one of us knows their name and I think that’s important for people to feel comfortable coming in and doing business with us. We have all the technology anyone could want and we have the products they’re looking for but most people are really looking to make a connection with their banker.”

The branch will soon move to a new building, just around the corner from the current location. Construction is wrapping up at 471 McCarty Lane, just across the street from the BMV. “We can’t wait to move in and to welcome customers into the new office. It’s going to be wonderful!”

 

 

 

Select VCNB Branches Adjust Hours

Some of our branches are temporarily adjusting their hours to maintain safe environments for our employees. While we regret inconveniences caused to our customers, these changes are necessary. See the list below to learn if your local branch has been effected.

Please remember that most of our branch lobbies are offering services through the drive-thru only at this time. We encourage customers to use contactless means of doing business such as Online and Mobile Banking. Deposits can be made via Express Drop and at most VCNB branch ATMs which we are disinfecting regularly. Our Customer Service team is ready for your calls at 1.800.542.5004 and our branch staff will be happy to serve you via the phone and drive-thru. If you require services that cannot be completed outside the branch lobby, please call your local branch to discuss your options.

VCNB_V_CMYKCommercial Point
Monday – Thursday 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Friday 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Saturday Closed

Grove City
Monday – Thursday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Friday 9 a.m. to 5 pm.
Saturday 8 a.m. to noon

Jackson
This branch continues to practice social distancing as it has no drive-thru at this time.
Monday – Thursday 8:30 a.m to 5 p.m.
Friday 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Closed for lunch from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday
Saturday 8:30 to noon

Richmond Dale
Monday – Thursday 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Friday 8:30 to 6 p.m.
Saturday Closed

Wilkesville
Monday – Tuesday 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
WednesdayClosed
Please note that items place in the Express Drop after 4 p.m. on Tuesday will not be processed until Thursday
Thursday – Friday 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Saturday 8:30 to noon

Bank Where You See Our Logo

Do you know how to spot a VCNB branch?

We have seventeen locations in eight Ohio counties and they operate under a few different names – Friendly Bremen Banking Center, Canal Banking Center, Hocking Hills Banking Center,  Jackson County Banking Center, Pickaway County Banking Center, Ross County Banking Center and, of course – Vinton County National Bank.

Embracing a community name is our way of embracing our communities!  While they may operate with different names, all of these bank branches are a part of the VCNB Financial Family and all embrace the same values and priorities that have been developed since our first bank opened in McArthur in 1867.

But how do you recognize a VCNB branch? That’s easy. Just look for our logo!

VCNB_V_CMYK

Regardless of which VCNB branch you went to when opening an account, you can bank anywhere you see our logo. Need help finding a VCNB office? Click here!

 

Gem Beverages: A Southern Ohio Tradition Since 1923

Black and white

The three Holzapfel Brothers – Henry, Frank and Leonard are pictured watching the first bottles of “Double Dry Ginger Ale” coming off the production line at the Gem Bottling Plant in Wellston in the late sixties.

If southern Ohio had an official drink it would most certainly come from Gem Beverages in Wellston. This longtime family business has been distributing Ski and Gem Brand drinks for decades, delighting generations with their unique flavors and colorful packaging.

The company distributes Ski, Diet Ski, Cherry Ski, Tropical Ski, Double Cola, Jumbo Orange and Gem Cream Soda from the 11th Street location that’s been home to Gem since the fifties.

Owner Rex Holzapfel is just the third owner of the business since it opened in 1923 and is proud of both his product and the business’ history.

The business began in 1923 when two local men – Will Corn and Harvey Malloy started a bottling business in an old garage that was located where the Kroger parking lot now stands. On Saint Patrick’s Day 1938, Holzapfel’s father and two uncles purchased the business with a little help from their mother. “My dad was born in 1923 so he was the same age as the business. He was fifteen years old when they bought it. He was the youngest but he worked and received a paycheck just like the other two,” Rex explained.

The bottling and distribution business expanded over time, as they bottled their own line of Gem flavors. In 1956, they replaced their Gem cola when they began bottling Double Cola. A few years later, the company began bottling Ski, which eventually became a regional favorite.

The elder Holzapfels – Henry, Frank and Rex’s dad Leonard – remained involved in the business even after Rex purchased it in 1996. Leonard would continue working on reports and making bank runs until shortly before his death at the age of 95.
“The three of them would go to Lee’s (Lee’s Steakhouse is a popular local restaurant near the Gem headquarters) every day at 1:30 or two o’clock. They always went for coffee. They could be arguing about something but once the coffee came, the argument was done and that was that,” he said with a smile.

This went on every day for nearly six decades. When Frank died in 1999 and Henry in 2000, Rex said that his wife suggested he needed to have coffee with his dad. “I thought I was too busy but I made the time. Ended up going every day for eighteen years and I’m glad,” he said.

The business has long been a family affair. His brothers, cousins and others have worked after school and summer jobs over the years. Today, Rex’s own children are involved in the family business. His daughter does the books while his son drives a route. “In fact, it seems like almost everyone has worked here at some point. The kids laugh because when I’m out I’ll say, ‘that person used to work at Gem Bottling and that person used to work at Gem’ and the kids will ask ‘WHO didn’t work there!’ I just laugh,” he said sheepishly.

Unfortunately, the industry has seen a number of changes over time that have made his work a bit more challenging. It was a tough decision but Rex said they chose to close the bottling division in 2006 and to focus on the distribution side of the business. “It was a hard decision but it was something that needed to be done. I went from working 55 or sixty hours a week and not making much money at all to turning a better profit in half that time,” he said.

Once up on a time, Rex said that soft drink bottlers could be found in nearly every town. “It’s just how it worked. Local drinks, national soft drinks, they all used local bottlers. Now it’s getting hard to find those smaller bottlers. It’s getting hard to find someone that will bottle for you,” he said.

The highly competitive soft drink industry is ruled by large national names that can afford to buy shelf space in grocery and convenience stores while some large retailers refuse to carry regional brands. “This makes it a lot harder. But our drinks have a following. Ski has a following and the customers demand it around here.”

When asked what he would tell someone who hasn’t tasted Ski, Rex laughed. “I would tell them they haven’t lived! It’s the best thing since sliced bread,” he said. “When people ask what it tastes like I always say it tastes like Mountain Dew but better.”

Ski was born in 1956, a product of the Double Cola Company of Chattanooga, TN. In their advertising, the company boasts that it’s made with “real lemon and real orange juices with a kick.” The country band The Kentucky Headhunters mentioned Ski in their 1989 song “Dumas Walker.”

The band originated in the Greensburg, Kentucky area which was a big Ski bottling area. When suggested that they immortalized Ski with their song, Rex laughed and suggested that Ski immortalized the Headhunters. “We were around a long time before they were,” he quipped.

bottles

Multiple flavors of Ski and Gem brand products are staples in stores across southern Ohio.

Rex is also quick to point out that Ski has continued to grow in southern Ohio while Pepsi and Coke have not. He said that they first introduced Ski in Vinton County in 1961 and that the drink’s popularity spread like wildfire in that community. From there, it gained popularity in Jackson County and beyond and has continued to grow.

Today, Gem Beverages is responsible for distribution of the Ski brand and other drinks in eight counties including Jackson, Vinton, Athens, Hocking, Ross, Pike, Meigs and Gallia. They recently began delivering to the Duke and Duchess stores in Chillicothe because customers requested it.

He said the best way for customers to get a product in their local store is to simply ask store management to carry it. “That’s how we ended up in Duke and Duchess, customers were asking for it,” he said.

The drinks are available in a variety of sizes including twelve and six packs of cans, 20 ounce bottles, 12 ounce long neck bottles, 16.9 ounce six packs and two liters.

In looking toward the future, Rex says he plans to “just keep doing what we’re doing. By the grace of God, we’re still here,” he said. But he has a secret weapon in the form of a nineteen year old who he calls “the face of the future.”

Rex and John 2

Josh Lung and Rex Holzapfel are pictured outside Gem Beverages in Wellston.

Josh Lung started at Gem with an after school job a few years ago and says that he loves working there. “I just love being here. I don’t know. It’s a great place to work and great people to be around,” Josh said with a huge smile.

“You know how some kids like to play sports? Well, work has always been Josh’s sport,” Rex said of the young man who he has known since he was a small tot. “He reminds me of me sometimes, the way he gets so excited about this place. He’s definitely the new face of Gem.”

Today, Rex also enjoys working with his son Kevin and daughter Kerri. His wife Vicki owns Holzapfel Family Clinic in Jackson and the couple have four grandchildren- Olivia, Kash, Easton and Maizy plus another on the way.

Small Business Spotlight: Wellston Flowerland

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!   blog window.jpgWhen Michelle Canter’s job as an X-Ray Technician was eliminated by corporate downsizing last year, she knew it was time for a change. That’s when her husband suggested that she return to her roots as a florist and open her own flower shop. Business has flourished since opening Wellston Flowerland on February 3 and the rest, as they say, is history.

Many area residents will remember the old Flowerland, which occupied the First Street building beginning in the mid twentieth century. It changed hands a few times over the years and the name eventually changed before the business was shuttered for some time, leaving the city without a local florist. However, when Michelle and Alvin Canter looked at the building, the sun shone on the faded outline of the Flowerland name on the store windows, and she knew that would be the name of her shop.

blog ladderWith some paint, elbow grease and hard work, the space has been transformed into a beautiful shop with a large workspace for Michelle’s floral work. The store sells floral designs and planters that are ready to buy but Michelle specializes in orders for custom work as well. Balloon and candy bouquets are also popular as well as custom quilt angels and other remembrance items like throws and pictures.

Gift items include Willow Tree Angels, Ohio State University jewelry, quilts, wall décor, seasonal décor, greeting cards and food mixes for cheeseballs, dips, soups, pancakes and cider.  Fall décor will be out soon and mums from Lucy’s Gardens Greenhouse in Jackson will arrive the week of the Coal Festival. Plans are underway for Christmas décor and poinsettias as well.

“I try to keep a lot of variety in the store,” Michelle said. “I like things that are unique, that are a little different that make people feel like they are getting something special. I try not to make the same arrangement twice.”

In addition to unique and quality flowers and gifts, Michelle said she tries to keep the prices affordable.  “I work to keep prices affordable and will work with people to make sure that no casket goes without something and that they stay within budget for what they need,” she explained.

She said that some customers are uncertain of what they want. In that case, she asks a lot of questions about the purpose, the recipient’s favorite color or flower, budget, etc. “We ask a lot of questions and can generally steer them in the right direction,” she said.

This is very much a family affair as her husband and daughter are involved in the shop operation. Michelle’s mother and mother-in-law help with deliveries as well.

“This has very much been a building year but I’m excited to see what next year will bring,” she said.

When asked why she chose this profession, Michelle smiled and said “I like it because when people are grieving, I can do something to help. When they need a gift or something to brighten someone’s day, I can help. Besides, everyone likes to get flowers!”

Wellston Flowerland is located at 111 East First Street in downtown Wellston. Stop by to browse the store and check out their seasonal window displays. They are open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday 8 a.m. to noon. Call Michelle at 740.577.6978. Follow them on Facebook or visit them online to place an order or browse their selection of floral arrangements.