Small Business Spotlight: Cook’s Creek Golf Club

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!  

BEST 15 PIC - USE IN ADCook’s Creek Golf Club in South Bloomfield on U.S. 23 in northern Pickaway County is unlike any golf course you’ve ever seen. In addition to simply being a beautiful place, it is known as one of the best public golf courses in Central Ohio. In fact, it was rated the 2017 Top Pick for Central Ohio Public Golf Courses by The Columbus Dispatch. However, what makes the place truly special is the unique story of how it came to be and the family ownership that helps make guests come in as strangers but leave feeling like family.

Cathy Cook’s eyes beam when she tells the story of how the family business came to be some 25 years ago. “This is truly a family business. My son is the Director of Food and Beverage, my daughter as a third year college student is involved with all aspects including operation of the Cookside Café, my dad is the Captain Cook of this ship and I’m the golf pro,  sort of the glue that holds everything together.”

The Cook family name is synonymous with golf – her brother John Cook is a former PGA Tour player with 21 PGA Tour victories, now currently a TV analyst, and Dad Jim Cook has a powerful name in the business of golf as well. Cathy is also known for her work as a pioneer in programs that teach kids to play golf.

Building the 250 acre golf course on farmland bordering the Scioto River and Little Walnut Creek was the logical next step for the golfing family. The property was previously a farm that sometimes struggled when Scioto River flood waters spilled out of the banks into the fields and forests. However, it was ideal property for a golf course.

The year was 1992 and the Cooks pooled their knowledge and experience to begin transforming the property using designs from local architects who were assisted by John Cook. The first nine holes opened in 1993 while the other nine debuted in 1995.

The golf course is bordered by 140 acres of wetlands and forests that the Cooks chose to leave for the wildlife – eagles, blue heron, deer, fox, rabbits, coyotes and other creatures call this place home.

The family actually has a special connection to this land. Here, Cathy’s grandfather, Burt Cook, worked as a young man, watering the livestock for meals and .25 cents a day. A giant sycamore tree and the old fashioned hand pump that her grandfather used all those years ago still stand on the fifteenth hole, near the 1800 farmhouse where Cathy’s parents reside.

While the property is close to U.S. Route 23, the course feels quiet and relaxing. Calming is a word often used to describe the property which is anchored by beautiful lakes and incredible old trees. Each hole is its own sanctuary, not seeing any of the other golfers on the course

“We want people to come here and have fun. We want them to relax. We want to make their day better and make them want to come back. We want them to feel like they’re family,” she said. “Only we won’t put them to work like we would real family,” she laughed.

The Cooks are working to create an environment that is relaxed and friendly for not just the experienced golfer but for the novice as well. That’s why they have active programs for women and for juniors. They also are in the process of developing the menu at Cooks Bar & Grill, hoping to create a dining experience that will appeal to locals who just want to eat.

They invite folks to stop by any time of the year for a full meal or just for appetizers and drinks on the deck.

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They also offer a banquet room that seats approximately 150 people for weddings, reunions, parties and other events. They offer full services including linens and food but event organizers are welcome to bring in their own caterers and decorators as well.

Earlier this month, Cooks Creek even hosted Governor John Kasich who visited an event hosted by House of Representatives District 92 Representative Gary Scherer. She said that Scherer frequently hosts community meetings here and that several organizations and golf leagues use the facilities. They also have a strong following of members and others who simply like to play the course. “It is humbling when someone chooses to spend their time with us,” Cathy said. “It is a high compliment when they choose to come here for an hour or for the day. It validates all the hard work we’ve been putting into this place and the efforts we’ve made to make it the place where people want to be. We don’t take this lightly.”

On a tour of the property, Cathy good naturedly joked with guests, calling them by name and making small talk. She seems to know the entire property like the back of her hand and takes pride in the work they are doing to improve it. The Cook family had actually sold the golf club three times before buying it back in August 2016. She indicated that parts of the property had deteriorated after the Cooks sold the golf club. They are working hard to bring it back to where the family believes it should be. “We have made a lot of progress and we know this because each time people come, they see the progress and they mention it. For a while it felt like two steps forward and five gigantic steps back. But we’re starting to make some real progress and we’re always looking for ways to improve,” she said.

Golf provides great life lessons, according to the seasoned pro. “Golf teaches you to face your fears. If you are intimidated by the water, you have to learn it’s just water. If you focus on where you want to go and let go, you’re fine. A lot of what golf teaches is how to manage yourself and about what you’re focusing on,” she said.

Cook’s Creek Golf Club is located at 16405 US Highway 23, South Bloomfield.  Learn more about Cook’s Creek at their website or follow them on Facebook.

 

 

 

 

A Library Straight From a Fairy Tale

Exterior with signReaders often say they enjoy reading books because it’s an opportunity to be transported to another time and place, to meet people and enjoy special places they otherwise couldn’t access in their daily lives. If a book can accomplish this, imagine a library so special that a walk through the doors is also like being transported to a whole new world.

Such a place does exist and it is situated in the quaint village of Lithopolis on the line of Franklin and Fairfield counties.  The Wagnalls Memorial Library is an imposing building that resembles a castle and that serves so many roles that there are almost too many to mention. If the community is looking for a place to hold an event, to learn, to play, to be enriched, to appreciate history or to engage with others, The Wagnalls is the place to be.

Library Director Tami Morehart speaks of the library, the town and its people with such enthusiasm and love that it’s hard to separate the library from the community as she tells their stories. That’s because library employees are involved in community projects while community organizations and residents are involved in the library.

Morehart’s own life story is closely entwined with that of the library. She began coming to the library and to story time as a child. She met her husband and celebrated their wedding reception here and has worked here off and on since she first started shelving books in 1974. She said that serving as Library Director for the last few years has been a dream come true as she’s had opportunity to give life to projects and to help shape the library’s future while keeping an eye on its intriguing past.

The library’s story begins in the early twentieth century with a gift of humungous proportion. Mabel Wagnalls Jones had the library built as a gift to the town to honor her parents, Adam and Anna Willis Wagnalls, who each were born in log cabins in Lithopolis. Her father was the co-founder of publishing giant Funk & Wagnalls and her mother had always dreamed of doing something special for the village and wanted to provide opportunities that were not available to her as a child.

Mabel was an author and concert pianist who lived most of her life in New York City but who had a fondness for her parents’ birthplace and grew up visiting her grandmother who still lived in the town. She believed that this gift to the town would fulfill her mother’s wish.

Interior reading room.JPGThe Tudor-Gothic library was designed by Columbus architect Ray Sims and most of the workmen were from Lithopolis. Most of the stone was quarried from a site just behind the library and the construction was said to be a true labor of love for those involved.

The original library is considered a work of art in itself, featuring a formal entrance hall, a tower, auditorium with stage and banquet hall. The upper walls have a sculpted grapevine with bunches of grapes to signify plenty. Owls keep sentinel over the room, perched on shields depicting religion, industry, education and patriotism – values held dear by the Wagnalls family. The owls hold their own meaning, representing some baby owls found in a tree that had been cut down during the quarrying of the stone.

The center window contains stained glass inserts that tell more of the Wagnalls’ story. The State of Ohio Seal, a printing press, a log cabin, the lamp of learning and the Seal of the United States are all depicted in this window. The room was furnished with handmade tables and chairs.

 

The library is also filled with countless paintings and memorabilia. Mabel’s favorite Steinway grand piano is on display along with the Loving Cup that was giving to her by the village at the library’s 1925 dedication. Two original Norman Rockwell paintings are on permanent display as well as paintings that were used as covers for Funk & Wagnalls’ magazine The Literary Digest.

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Outside, the grounds and gardens feature rock sculptures made from rocks collected from all over North America, a martin house, and winding paths lined with flowers and shrubs.  The gardens are maintained by the Fairfield County Master Gardeners.

Since the library was dedicated in 1925, it has been expanded three more times – in 1961, 1983 and 1992 – each time to help the library better serve the growing needs of the community. Now it boasts an impressive children’s library with a locally designed and constructed train station and corral for the kids to enjoy.

Administrative offices, a computer lab, a reading room and patrons’ services desk were added on over time as well. While additions and improvements have been made over their 93 year history, efforts have been made to remain true to the integrity of the original building and to create spaces that feel as though they have always been there.

The library continues to grow and adapt to the needs of a changing community and society. For example, they recently completed a Creative Play Space where children are encouraged to put down electronic devices and use their imagination to play with the numerous toys provided. Made possible by a South Central Power grant, this room has been popular with kids and adults. Morehart said that some things are constants in this room, like a play kitchen, dollhouse and a Lego area for older kids. However, she said that some toys will be periodically cycled in and out. “This week we have dinosaurs out, next week it could be something different,” she said. “We want kids to be able to play here, to use their imaginations. There are no computers in here or electronic devices. It’s all creative play.”

 

The library also continues to add programming and events to keep the community engaged. Yoga classes, board game night, book clubs for adults and teens, cooking classes for adults and kids and a writing club are regular events. They recently hosted a class on phone photography and are offering a summer course to teach kids basic coding. Other interesting programs include a Harry Potter Reading Club and a weekly event where kids can practice their reading skills by reading to a registered therapy dog.

They host an annual Yule Ball in February, will host Santa during a Christmas Open House on Saturday, December 8 and will host a Great Gatsby themed fundraiser on October 6. Their theater group will put on a production of The Adams Family this fall.

“We want to be a destination place for people, for families, not just for books but for connecting with others, for learning, for community,” she said. “When someone is looking for a place to meet or something to do or some kind of resource they might need, we want them to think of us first,” Morehart explained.

 

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The community does use the library and they also often pitch in to help with projects and fundraising. With a small library staff and just two part time maintenance workers, there is an endless list of projects at the 93 year old facility. There is also a Friends of the Library group that raises money to support the library through used books sales and other events. “We are always looking for volunteer groups to help us out,” she said.

She said there are many ways for the public to support the library. They can start by simply using the library or taking part in programs. Volunteerism is another great way to help and supporting fundraisers is another.  In fact, there are many ways to contribute financially through private or corporate donations or through projects like Legacy Brick sponsorships.

interior stained glassThe library also welcomes visitors who simply wish to tour the facility. They offer a walking tour brochure and groups can call ahead to schedule a guided tour with Mabel, as portrayed by Carol Gaal.

Library hours are:
Monday – Thursday: 10:30 a.m. to
7:30 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Friday and Sunday: Closed

A new website contains a massive amount of information on events, library history, giving opportunities and other topics of interest. Visit www.wagnalls.org  or call 614.837.4765 for information and to find out how your group can volunteer. Click here to follow them on Facebook. 

“I think it’s important that we’re here. We want people to feel that it is safe and warm and welcoming here. Our staff is wonderful and they work so hard to be helpful. It’s the kind of place where we know your name and what you read and that you weren’t feeling well last week or that you got a new pet,” Morehart said. “We also are aware that we have to adapt and that we can’t become set in our ways. That’s why we are constantly thinking of ways to bring people in and to bring them together. It’s a living library because we never want to stop growing and changing and being what the community needs us to be.”

Morehart, who grew up in this library, said she has just one regret. “I remember this being such a special place to come to as a kid and it still is, as an adult but I wish I could see it for the first time as an adult and to know what that’s like to experience that wonder and awe! ” Morehart said.

While you may not be able to have that experience, we can tell you what it’s like. It’s like walking into a storybook. It’s magic.

Small Business Spotlight: The Shamrock

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 Shamrock has been a fixture in downtown Logan since before Prohibition. New owner Shad Mace takes pride in keeping his Irish pub friendly, safe and welcoming to all.

It isn’t every day that you find yourself in an Irish pub in southern Ohio.  It’s an even rarer occasion to visit a business with one of the state’s oldest liquor licenses. The Shamrock, in downtown Logan, has a brand new owner but historic roots that are nearly a century old.

While owner Shad Mace doesn’t know the complete history of the business, he knows that it existed prior to Prohibition as a café, pub and hotel. Their liquor license was acquired just after the 1933 end of Prohibition.

Today the bar stands at 62 E. Main St., just a few blocks from its original home at Main and Mulberry streets. Mace said the previous owner moved the business to this location in 2003.

With exposed brick walls and numerous elements from the old bar, the place is quaint, welcoming and packed with character. “They brought over the original bar top and bar back, the booths, a vintage cigarette machine and a Tiffany glass sign to keep a lot of the original feel and the history,” Mace explained.

In 2003, the previous owner relocated the pub to its current location from just down the street. They brought with them the old booths, bar and other fixtures that give the pub a timeless, welcoming feel.

He purchased the pub in March and took over the business just in time for St. Patrick’s Day weekend. “We opened going into the busiest weekend of the year. It was a madhouse in here but it went much better than we expected. It was extremely busy,” he said. “If we could make it through that weekend we can make it through any weekend.”

The Logan native chuckled when asked if he had any experience running a bar. “No, that’s one thing I’ve never done,” he said. “But for some reason, wherever I would go – bars, restaurants that served – I always paid attention to what they were doing and kind of thought to myself that I could do better. That sounds arrogant but that’s just how I tend to think.”

Mace left Hocking County in pursuit of education at the University of Cincinnati where he spent some years as the UC Bearcats mascot. His career later took him to Arizona. After several years of missing the changing seasons, he returned to Logan where he began  a new career in sales for Osburn Associates, Inc.

In 2017 he learned there was an opportunity to purchase The Shamrock and he set to work on this new adventure. A clear perfectionist, Mace has plans for growing the business and a vision for what he wants it to be.

games and safe

Owner Shad Mace invites friends and families to gather round a table for a friendly game or two. The antique safe is original to the business which began sometime before Prohibition.

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The antique cigarette machine is another piece brought from the original bar. They no longer use it to dispense cigarettes but Mace believes it is in good working condition.

With music acts and food trucks on the weekends, he’s working hard to pack the place when folks are looking for something fun to do. They currently do not have a kitchen but Mace indicated that plans are in the works to have food available this fall. Meanwhile, customers are welcome to bring in their own food to enjoy while hanging out with friends or watching the game on oneof their televisions.

They do have The Golden Tee, an electronic golf game, and a golf league to encourage friendly competition among enthusiasts. A rack of board games like Trivial Pursuit and Sorry provide entertainment for groups large and small, young and old. In fact, they have Game Nights on Monday and Tuesday each week but customers are encouraged to play anytime. “We are very kid friendly here. In fact, kids are welcome to come along. We have games for the family to play and some non-alcoholic beverages that are kid friendly. We try to be a clean cut, casual, respectable place where parents feel comfortable bringing their kids,” he said.

A digital jukebox contrasts nicely against the antique fixtures and gives the place a sense of modernity. Although, not too much – they still have a vintage cigarette machine, an old safe and great vintage advertising art on the walls. A black and white photo hangs above the modern cash register, a tribute to where they come from. It shows the interior of the old bar, staff lined up waiting to help the patrons gathered around the bar.

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“We want to be different than the rest. It sounds like a tired old line but we want to have a friendly atmosphere. We want this place to be warm and inviting and a little different than what you see other places. It’s a small space but it has a lot of character and we’re going to continue building on the good things we have going here,” Mace said.

The Shamrock is located at 62 E. Main St. in Logan and is open 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Call them at 740.216.5110 or follow them on Facebook for their latest events and information.

Help VCNB Welcome Campbell’s Market To Vinton County!

campbells-market-e1512076599728.jpgVCNB invites the public to help us welcome Campbell’s Market to Vinton County! Campbell’s will host a Grand Opening event on Monday, December 4 at 9 a.m. They will have speakers, including local, state and federal government officials and the bank will be there to help celebrate!

First thing in the morning, we’ll have donuts and warm beverages for those who attend the grand opening ceremony. Then we’ll have homemade chili and light rolls for lunch! The chili supplies will come from the new store, including fresh beef straight from the meat counter which already has a reputation for being the best around. Guests will be invited to gather around a fire and enjoy piping hot chili and drinks. They can also enter a drawing for a fire pit and for a $100 gift card. Finally, The Radio will be on site for a live remote from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

In case you haven’t been by, the new Campbell’s Market is located next door to Vinton County High School at 630 W. Main St., McArthur. Click here to follow them on Facebook! 

We are elated that the Campbell family saw potential in our community and had the confidence to build a new store here. Help us welcome Campbell’s Market and thank them for investing in our community! We hope to see you Monday!

 

 

 

 

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/

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: Holzapfel Family Health Care/Urgent Care

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!

vicki holzapfel

Vicki Holzapfel is pictured in an exam room at Holzapfel Family Health Care/Urgent Care in Jackson.

Jackson County’s newest health care facility offers patients a place to go for quick but compassionate health care from a local professional. Holzapfel Family Health Care/Urgent Care opened on July 10 with a ribbon cutting by the Jackson Area Chamber of Commerce and the longtime desire of one local woman to own her own business.

Owner Vicki Holzapfel is a Nurse Practitioner with over thirty years of experience in the health care field. She began her career as a Registered Nurse in 1983 after earning an Associates Degree at the University of Rio Grande. She went on to earn a Bachelor’s Degree from Capitol University to become an RN while a working mom. In 2001, she graduated from Wright State University with a Master’s Degree to become a Family Nurse Practitioner.

Holzapfel explained that her thirty plus years in the medical field have given her the knowledge, connections, love for her work and confidence needed to strike out on her own. She has worked as an intensive care nurse, an emergency room nurse and in nursing management. Since becoming a Nurse Practitioner, she also has worked in pediatrics for eleven years, the ER for two years and internal medicine for two years.

“I have done a lot of different things,” Holzapfel exclaimed.  She went on to discuss some of the benefits of her varied career. “Since 1983, I’ve met a lot of people in my field and I’ve maintained good relationships with them. Even if I don’t know the answer to a question, I am always able to refer patients to someone who will be able to address their unique situation.”

When longtime friend and colleague Sherry Russell invited Holzapfel to join her at Russell Family Health Care in Jackson, she thought it was the right move. Then when Russell offered to sell the business to Holzapfel earlier this year, she knew the time was right. “Everything just fell into place. My husband Rex has wanted me to have my own practice for a long time. It just felt like it was the right time to stretch my wings a bit,” she said.

In addition to employing her decades of medical experience, Holzapfel said she is thrilled to use her people skills and the business knowledge she learned from her late father Sam Hatley. Her father was the Vice President of Manufacturing for Austin Powder Company in Vinton County. She credits him for much of her personal development and caring for others. “Dad taught me to appreciate people, to take care of people. The employees and the people around you are the most important thing,” she said. “He instilled in me to be good to people, to be kind to people.”

At this time, Holzapfel employs three people and is able to provide care for all ages by appointment or by walking in. They can perform sports physicals, do lab draws, administer medication, do flu/strep and mono testing, drain abscesses, give flu shots, EKGs, referrals and more.

Construction for a planned expansion will start in August and will provide for growth in both space and services. The two room clinic will grow to six rooms and will allow them to perform Department of Transportation physicals and aesthetic services like Botox injections and Dermal Filler injections.

“I’m just so happy to be here, to be taking care of people the way they need to be taken care of. I want to treat them right,” she said.

Holzapfel and her husband Rex have two children and four grandkids. They enjoy breeding German Shepherds and are excited to soon have puppies.

Holzapfel Family Medical Clinic/Urgent Care is located at 345 East Main Street in Jackson. Hours are Monday through Thursday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday 8 a.m. to noon. Walk in or call 740-577-3043. Learn more at their website and follow them on Facebook.

Small Business Spotlight: Sweet William Blossom Boutique

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! 

Nestled in historic downtown Chillicothe, Ohio is a boutique shop unlike any other. While some may call it a flower shop, using only that title underestimates the range of specialty products they are known to carry.

Opened in August 2011 by co-owners Anni McDonald and her Aunt Lori Botchie, Sweet William Blossom Boutique is truly a family affair. Anni attended Ohio University in Athens and while there worked for a florist learning many of the techniques used in the shop today. After graduating with a degree in Communications and Marketing she held a couple of jobs while searching for her passion. Feeling unfulfilled from those jobs, she approached Lori with the idea to open a flower shop. Lori was inspired by the idea but visualized a store that sold more than just flowers. She proposed adding fruit arrangements and sweet confectioneries to the line of products. Lori’s degrees in Business Management and Communications, also from Ohio University, make them the perfect pair for this venture.

Sweet William Blossom Boutique offers fresh seasonal flower arrangements custom designed to suit their client’s needs. Focusing on the flowers and not fillers to create eye-catching collages, their works of art are identifiable as SWBB creations due to their distinctive design. They specialize in floral arrangements for weddings, sympathy, and proms/homecomings. Located inside the boutique is a self-serve floral area called the Blossom Bar. Accessible as a grab ‘n’ go option, the Blossom Bar offers a selection of different styles of flowers and vases in different price points so customers can design their own bouquets for less.

One aspect of the business that sets them apart from other flower shops is their fruit arrangements. Using apples, strawberries, pineapple, grapes, blueberries and other assorted fruits, they cut and shape the produce to create one-of-a kind edible art.

Another edible aspect to the business is their gourmet caramel apples and specialty strawberries. The apples come in nine signature flavors such as salty caramel, buckeye, and their best seller apple crisp. All apples are Granny Smith in variety and are the perfect size for sharing, although they are so delicious you many not want to. Strawberries come in three different forms: chocolate-covered, crème-filled, and chocolate cheesecake. Orders can be all of one type or any combination of the three. McDonald says that their strawberries were a top seller this past Valentine’s Day.

McDonald and Botchie are committed to providing local products whenever possible and even sell candles in store made by another local company. These candles, produced by Small Batch Candle Company, are showcased in repurposed glass bottles. Pair one of these candles with flowers or confections and you have the perfect gift for any occasion.

Sweet William Blossom Boutique is located in the heart of downtown Chillicothe at 90 West Second Street. Visit them from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. You can also call them at 740.779.9600. Follow them on Facebook or on Instagram.

 

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.