Small Business Spotlight: Totem Supply Company

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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Chillicothe is for Dreamers.  That’s the phrase printed on one of the most popular custom t-shirts at Totem Supply Co. Store owner Courtney Lewis is one of those dreamers.

After growing up in Chillicothe and graduating from Ohio University in Athens, Courtney Lewis decided she wanted to live in a big city.  She moved to Cleveland with a sense of adventure and excitement.  She found inspiration while living there for five years.  The majority of people she met were proud to be from Cleveland.  They held the city and its landmarks in high regard.  She began to miss her hometown and found that she had much pride in her hometown as well.  Realizing that small towns sometimes get a bad rap, she wanted to encourage the same pride in Chillicothe that she had witnessed in Cleveland.

After moving home in 2009 and while working in graphic design, she noticed there was no place to purchase Chillicothe memorabilia.  In 2012 Lewis started to sell custom t-shirts while working at her former career.  All shirts featured logos of former local businesses whose memory lives on in the community.

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In November 2013, with her t-shirt sales doing well, she decided to take a leap of faith and open Totem Supply Co.  Her vision of the nostalgia-based business was to highlight the small town and service the townspeople who enjoy being from the area.

Located in the historic district of downtown Chillicothe, Totem Supply Co is a retail store filled with merchandise created by local authors, designers, and artisans.  Memorabilia with references to Chillicothe are of the upmost popularity.  Everything from Chillicothe logoed coffee mugs to Ohio patterned pillows are arranged beautifully in clusters of like items making it easy to shop.  Some of the other items available include handmade deodorants, greeting cards, jewelry and sustainable toys for children.

T-shirt sales have flourished in the store and remain one of the top selling items.  Lewis often looks back into her childhood memories for which former business logos to use next but she’s also been contacted by families requesting her to make their families’ former businesses into shirts.

Printed on soft cotton tees, these shirts are comfortable to wear and tug at many people’s heartstrings.  Recently, Lewis was contacted by a customer who had purchased a Schachne’s t-shirt for her elderly mother.  Her mother had worked at this popular downtown clothing store in her earlier years.  The customer told Lewis that her mother lit up when she was given the shirt.  This gift sparked a lengthy conversation about her time working at Schachne’s and other stories from her youth.  “It’s so cool to spark memories,” Lewis says.  “There’s something so special for generations to share stories.”

Totem Supply Co. is open Tuesday-Friday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 pm. and Sunday noon to 4 p.m.  Visit them at 11 West 2nd Street in Chillicothe or follow them on Facebook.

 

 

Small Business Spotlight: PBJ Connections

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!

PBJ Connections provides professional behavioral health therapy for children, adults and families through horses, counseling and nature and is one of just a handful of Equine Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) providers Ohio.

Headquartered in Pataskala, PBJ has two full time employees in Holly Jedlicka, Executive Director, and Erica Lewis, Assistant Director. The organization contracts with licensed mental health therapists and trained equine specialists.  Because they partner with four locations, the program works with upwards of 45 equines.  Home base, though, is in rural Pataskala, an ideal location offering serenity and peace as well as ease of access from anywhere in central and eastern Ohio.  This location houses nine horses and two donkeys.

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PBJ Connections is operated by Executive Director Holly Jedlicka and Assistant Director Erica Lewis. They are pictured here with one of the horses they use as Equine Assisted Psychotherapy providers.

PBJ Connections is modeled after EAGALA model of therapy, which uses a team of a licensed mental health professional, an equine specialist, and the animal (horses or donkeys) for mental health therapy. The model follows a strict code of ethics, and contrary to popular misconceptions, the model is completely non-riding.

“Horses are honest and completely reactive to their environment 100 percent of the time,”  Holly explained while referencing other common household pets. “Compare it to a dog or a cat – which make great pets, but they are natural predators that hunt, and there has to be a bit of deception in the hunt.  Horses don’t have that; there is no deception.  It’s immediate, honest feedback.”

Horses seek three things – “Safety, Comfort, and Companionship, in that order” she explained.  So the response of the animal to the environment and the signals that are being presented by the client are key to the therapy sessions.  “We get to observe the client’s interpretations of what they’re seeing and feeling from these animals,” Holly explained, before adding “The interpretation of the horse’s actions and demeanor are absolutely key to the experience.”

PBJ Connections’ clientele comes from a variety of sources. Holly indicated that word of mouth has been incredibly important, but community partnerships and referrals from insurance companies are as valuable as it gets.  As a non-profit entity, there’s little budget for traditional marketing channels.  So they do what they can online, like a fantastic website and periodic electronic newsletter, and they’re active on Facebook,  from which they do get referrals.  You can even keep up with client favorite, Rocky the Horse.

Recently, PBJ has partnered with The Ohio State University on an ongoing research project, providing intervention services for the study while OSU collects the data.  Multiple research papers will be published as the project moves forward.  With Holly and Erica’s background with Ohio State (Holly and Erica both hold degrees from the school – Holly with her Masters in Social Work and Erica with her BS in Agriculture), connections through other community partners, and the positive reputation of PBJ Connections, the partnership with OSU was a natural fit.

The amount of additional programs offered by PBJ Connections is staggering.  The CONNECT Program provides Equine-assisted Psychotherapy for youth ages 6-18 and their families as well as adult sessions.  The A PONY Program partners with school systems and serves at-risk and high-risk students in ten week sessions.  Family Coaching offers six week sessions for the entire family, covering communication skills, coping strategies, problem solving, and more.  ON MISSION partners horses with veterans and is free to Franklin County Veterans struggling with substance use through the Access to Recovery Grant.  There group sessions for youth in the PEERS program, offering group sessions on a quarterly basis, and Summer Group sessions.

HelloThe aforementioned partnership with Ohio State is not the only instance of their working relationship; they also partner with them in the James Comprehensive Cancer Center’s Survivorship Program, offering family equine therapy sessions.  And as if that’s not enough, there is the PBJ@WORK program, which PBJ Connections offers “a rich set of corporate leadership and teamwork options that are suitable for work and social teams of all sizes.”

While the EAGALA model of therapy that PBJ Connections follows is non-riding, they commonly co-refer clients looking to local therapeutic riding programs if that is the appropriate fit.

Even with all of this going on, they’re still in the midst of putting the finishing touches on their biggest event of the year – the annual “Helping Horses Help Kids” Charity Event, which celebrates “the many Great Pairings of PBJ Connections and our community.”  This year’s event is a special one, as it’s the tenth annual edition, and will again feature a huge silent auction featuring some exclusive one of a kind items and experiences.  The event is open to the public and will be held on Thursday, September 21, from 6pm-9pm at The Annunciation Banquet and Conference Center at The Greek Orthodox Cathedral at 555 N. High St. in Columbus.  Tickets and sponsorship opportunities are still available, so check out the website for more information.

Holly said her passion for her work is rooted in her own upbringing. “I was one of two children who grew up in a good home.  We had horses, but my family worked really hard to make that happen.  My father insured that we knew what we had and that we appreciated it, and he’s convinced that’s what kept me out of trouble.  And I just wanted to share that passion and responsibility and that’s kind of how this came to be,” she said.

To learn more about many of the topics discussed, please view the list of links below.  Additionally, PBJ Connections is always looking for passionate folks to join their loyal team of volunteers.  They can be contacted at 740.924.7543 or via email at info@pbjconnections.org.

Learn More:
PBJ Connections: http://www.pbjconnections.org
PBJ on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PBJ.Connections/
Rocky on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Rocky.of.PBJ.Connections/
Helping Horses Help Kids Event: http://www.helpinghorseshelpkids.org/
EAGALA: https://www.eagala.org/

Small Business Spotlight: Stoer Farm Market

Small businesses are important to communities and running a small business is tough work. That’s why we feature a small business in one of our communities every month!

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Donna and Jim Stoer of Stoer Farm Market are pictured with a Barn Quilt painted by their daughter Candy Stoer.

A visit to Stoer Farm Market is a little like coming home. Here, friends and strangers alike are greeted by the smiling faces of people who are genuinely happy you stopped by to shop and visit. Located just off of St. Rt. 104 in Pickaway County, it’s an easy drive for quality products and for a truly special experience.

What makes this place most memorable is husband and wife team Jim and Donna Stoer who operate the farm and market. The pair were childhood friends and high school sweethearts. They have been married 56 years but still seem like a couple of youngsters when discussing life together.

Jim said they both were farm kids and that Donna actually grew up on this farm where her father ran a dairy and raised other animals. After Jim’s lengthy career in corporate America and more than forty years living in Grove City, they came back to Donna’s home place in 2014. “This all started when Donna started selling sweet corn under a tree in the front yard. She moved into the garage when she outgrew the tree,” Jim explained with a chuckle.

“It’s so nice having our friends stop by and meeting new people,” she elaborated. “I really do enjoy it!”

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Sweet corn is a summer staple that keeps customers coming back to the market throughout the season.

The Market has grown significantly since that first table of sweet corn in the Stoer’s front yard. Now the market offers a range of in-season produce throughout the growing season. The June day VCNB visited, they offered tomatoes, zucchini, potatoes, eggs and some late season strawberries. Soon, their ever popular sweet corn will fly out the door along with a host of other delicious summer favorites. Other times of the year, they sell asparagus, rhubarb, blackberries, raspberries, pumpkins, gourds and an array of other produce.

Their most sought after product is their line of honey, straight from hives on the farm. “Bees are having some trying times now and we wanted to help them out,” Jim said as he explained that their daughter Candy had encouraged them to try working with bees. “Many crops depend on bees for pollination. If they go away, our agriculture will be in a lot of trouble,” he said.

They have a complete line of honey products that includes various size bottles of their wildflower and clover honey, natural honey candy, honey straws, and an all natural creamed honey spread that Donna makes homemade.

Jim and Donna take their job very seriously, practicing natural beekeeping that they hope to pass on to others. “Every beekeeper has different wisdom and different ways of doing things.  You have to put all these ideas together and figure out what really works” Donna explained. “We want to help potential beekeepers get started. There’s knowledge that can be passed down.”

In addition to providing education and honey, they also are available to safely relocate honeybee swarms. A swarm is when a group of honeybees attaches itself to a structure or tree while it looks for a more permanent home. Jim said they often receive calls for assistance and Donna shared a picture of a swarm on their own property. Experts say this swarm on a tiny peach tree was one of the largest this area has seen.

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Experts say the swarm on this tiny peach tree on the Stoer farm is the largest this area has seen.

As part of their natural beekeeping, Jim and Donna began growing flowers. “We started growing lots of flowers to help bees get their food. That means we also have flowers to sell,” Donna said.

They use a mixture of six kinds of fertilizer to enrich the soil and to grow a large selection of healthy, beautiful flowers for cutting including Peonies, Larkspur, Snapdragons, Hydrangeas, Zinnias, Celosia, Dahlias and Lisianthus. We have two plots of wildflowers that are strictly for the bees,” Jim said.

“Of all the work on the farm, there is nothing more gratifying that filling a bucket with flowers and bringing them into the market,” Donna said.

They sell other things at the market including gourmet mustard and jams, lip balm and homemade soaps. They also take weekly orders for Der Dutchman bakery items such as donuts, pies and apple fritters. Their daughter Candy makes custom wood painted quilt blocks for outdoor display and Jim and Donna can put customers in touch with Candy for a consultation.

Donna said she will soon offer salsa, cheese and kettle corn for summer visitors and the pair are already thinking about their plans for another fall event. Last year, the farm hosted weekly events in October that featured fun activities for the family including hay rides, music, dancing and a plethora of fall décor including pumpkins, gourds and straw.

They invite visitors to enjoy the farm. “I just love our customers. They’re our lifeline,” Donna said with pure joy. “So many come here and say they love the farm and we say it’s here for them to enjoy.”

Jim emphasized that his wife is the heart and soul of the market. “Donna IS the market. We would have nothing if it weren’t for her,” he said.

Stoer Farm Market is located at 5823 Durrett Rd, Orient, Ohio. They are located just off Rt. 104, approximately 20 minutes north of Circleville. Market hours vary some with the seasons. During the summer, hours are Wednesday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday noon to 6 p.m. They accept cash, Discover, MasterCard, Visa and American Express. Have questions? Call 614-419-2952 and be sure to follow them on Facebook!  Flip through the slideshow to see more pictures!

 

 

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: Ravenwood Castle

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. Today we’re visiting Ravenwood Castle in Vinton County. 

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The Great Hall of Ravenwood Castle is a popular destination for weddings, gaming conferences, romantic dinners and more!

If you want to get away from your daily life, Ravenwood Castle offers a unique getaway to guests who seek solace and beauty close to home. Ravenwood is one of Ohio’s most talked about lodging places and is just a few miles outside of McArthur.

The design of Ravenwood was inspired by English castles of the twelfth century but only opened for business in 1995. Its location in the Hocking Hills region provides a beautiful wooded setting and sense of isolation that is craved by many who seek relaxation. Yet it’s close enough to other Hocking Hills attractions including state parks, shopping and dining to be convenient for those who wish to strike out for some adventure.

Owners Jim and Pam Reed purchased Ravenwood in 2012 after visiting many times since the mid- nineties. Jim’s twenty years of business experience are put to work managing operations while Pam’s knack for event planning and guest relations have brought new life to the facility.

“This is a great place to get away and to relax. The castle is all about putting the technology down and talking to each other. There’s no WIFI here and there are no tvs in most of the rooms. My kids actually play together and have a great time when we’re here and we hear often that guests like that they can relax and be themselves here. You don’t have to be dressed up. We just want you to feel at home,” she said.

Guests can choose from several lodging options including a Castle suite, a cottage in a medieval village or cabin in Huntsman’s Hollow. All are well appointed and designed with the privacy and comfort of the guest in mind. Guests are treated to breakfast in the Castle’s Great Hall every morning.

Pam noted that the public can enjoy a buffet dinner by reservation most Friday and Saturday nights. In addition, Raven’s Roost Pub provides great atmosphere with a menu of pub fare and selection of hand crafted beers, wines and mixed drinks. It is open most Friday and Saturday nights.

She also discussed the success Ravenwood has enjoyed with a variety of events. She said Murder Mystery Weekends are scripted specifically for Ravenwood and are held, not just for an evening, but for an entire weekend. The experience begins with an email prior to arrival and clues left in the rooms when guests check-in.  Activities take place throughout the weekend until the identity of the murderer is learned on Sunday. “It’s written exclusively for us. You can’t get this experience anywhere else and I think that’s why we have so many repeat guests. People love it so much they come back time after time,” Pam said.

Ravenwood also hosts events throughout the year including beer and wine tastings, a Tudor Christmas and a celebration of Edgar Allen Poe’s birthday. In recent years they have hosted gaming events including a summer gaming convention called Con in the Castle. This event features three days and two nights of gaming activities related to role playing and board games.

Their Hoop and Stick Con is a winter weekend of gaming fun and fundraiser for Children’s Miracle Network. This year, Ravenwood is on track to donate $10,000 to this charity which benefits Children’s Hospital. Pam said that she and her husband have been supporters of Children’s Hospital since their newborn child required some care at Children’s several years ago. “They were so wonderful, especially for first time parents. We’ve just always wanted to give back and realized that we could use this place to pay it forward,” she said.

Those planning weddings should note that Ravenwood also offers a number of wedding packages that range from a wedding of fifty inside the castle to a 150 person outdoor wedding.

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Pam added that they see many repeat guests and that the staff works hard to make every guest want to come back. “Our goal always is to make sure our guests have the best experience they can.  And we always ask ourselves how what we are doing will impact our guests. We have an amazing staff and wonderful innkeepers. They work like a team and it’s truly amazing how much they get done,” Pam said.

The Reeds are continually making improvements at Ravenwood and she indicated their work is not done. “We’ve been working to improve the property. Refurbishing the rooms has been an ongoing process and we plan to continue working on projects and investing in the property,” she noted. “This has been such an experience, truly a leap of faith, but it has been so rewarding to see it pay off.”

Ravenwood Castle operates every day of the year except for Wednesday and Thursday for Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. The public is welcome to visit the public areas of the Castle during the day. Ravenwood is located just off St. Rt. 93 at 65666 Bethel Rd., New Plymouth. Call 740.596.2606, click here to visit their website, or here to follow them on Facebook.

 

 

 

Small Business Spotlight: Hillside Country Store

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.

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Hillside Country Store offers an array of baked goods, bulk food items, wind chimes, wood furniture, candles, outdoor furniture and much more.

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Hillside Country Store carries seasonal bedding plants, vegetable plants and other supplies to help both the advanced and novice gardener. They currently have a selection of fall mums.

The owner of Hillside Country Store calls his business “an old fashioned store in the middle of God’s country.” Perched on a hill overlooking St. Rt. 180, Hillside is close to Adelphi and not far from Lancaster, Chillicothe or the Hocking Hills State Park. The store smells divine and is a feast for the eyes, nose and taste buds, making it worth the drive into the country.

It is a family run business where the employees are friendly and helpful and many of the customers are regulars. Owner Michael Martin says he opened the store in September 2014 “because the Lord gave me mostly girls and it made a lot of sense.” He grew up in Wisconsin where his father runs a bulk food store but he married a Zanesville girl and moved to Ohio where his own store is filling a real need in the rural community.

Hillside is packed with all sorts of goodies including bulk snacks, candy making supplies, baking and cooking ingredients. Jams, jellies, salsas, pickled foods and maple syrup are popular as well.  An extensive deli offers approximately 35 different kinds of cheeses and at least that many kinds of meats. A popular service of the deli is the made-to-order sandwiches which are delicious and generous in portion. Being close to the Tar Hollow and Hocking Hills State Parks, it’s a good place to pick up sandwiches, cold drinks and snacks for a picnic. Soft serve ice cream makes a delicious treat for a hot day too.

What gives the store its heavenly aroma is the bakery which produces fresh bread daily as well as homemade pies and cookies like the popular Monster Cookie which is packed full of peanut butter, molasses, oatmeal, chocolate chips and M&M candies.

They welcome large orders for weddings and other events and are able to produce large amounts of baked goods as well as meat and cheese trays.

Practical items also line the walls including sewing notions, canning supplies, dish towels, books, bird houses, feeders and bulk bird seed.  An extensive line of poly yard and deck furniture offers maintenance free swings, Adirondack chairs and dining tables and chairs.

In addition, they offer a popular line of gift items like scented candles, windchimes and oak furniture which Michael pointed out are good for any occasion but are especially popular Christmas and Mother’s Day gifts. Backyard gardeners will find hanging baskets, bedding plants, vegetable plants and other seasonal flowers. They currently have a nice assortment of fall mums and Michael said there will be even more in stock soon.

Michael said his family has enjoyed running this business and that he looks forward to the future. “We’re enjoying it. It’s nice to live near the place where you work and we are growing,” he said. In fact, he said they expect to soon add fried pies to the menu, an addition he believes customers will enjoy.

Hillside Market is open 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. They accept cash and plastic and welcome new customers to stop in. Call them at 740.655.3600 or visit them at 10244 St. Rt. 180, Laurelville.

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Small Business Spotlight: JT’s Auto and Truck Glass

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.

Have you ever been driving down the road only to have a rock fly up and hit your windshield?  Did it leave a small chip that you think is too minor to fix?  Well, JT Thacker of JT’s Auto and Truck Glass thinks you should fix it before the problem gets bigger.

JT should know as he has been working on cars and trucks since the before the age of 18.  Much of that time was in auto body collision repair and specializing in working with big trucks.  In 2006 he began doing glass replacement and windshield repairs part-time and found that he enjoyed that aspect of the business very much.  He said he loves being able to satisfy the customers with a completed job in a shorter time and being there for customers when they needed him.

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JT and Angela Thacker are pictured standing alongside one of the mobile chip repair vehicles they use for their business JT’s Auto and Truck Glass in Chillicothe.

With the help of his wife Angela, he decided to take the business full time in 2008.  Based in Chillicothe, the business has grown over the past eight years to serve Greenfield, Circleville, Waverly, and all areas in between.  Now JT, along with a staff of two additional technicians, offers service for all vehicle makes and models as well as heavy equipment for private owners, commercial and fleet vehicles.

The work they do includes glass replacement for windshields, windows and sunroofs and on-site repair of window cracks, chips, bull’s eyes and stars.  They also provide Aquapel glass treatments to repel rain from your windshield and on-site diagnosis for window operation issues.

Working with insurance companies can sometimes be daunting for the consumer but JT will work with all insurance companies to take the hassle out of the equation and make auto glass claims a little easier for you.  All you do is make the initial call and they do the rest!

JT said he loves what he does.  “I have found the best way to serve the community and make a living,” he said.

To learn more about JT’s Auto Glass call JT at 740.703.3922, visit their website                       or check out their Facebook page.

 

Small Business Spotlight: Loose Rail Brewing

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.

Loose Rail - LogoThere’s a new business coming to Canal Winchester that has been generating excitement since it was announced last year. That’s when we learned the number one craft beer maker in the United Kingdom will construct its USA headquarters in Canal Winchester. While Brewdog’s new 40-acre campus is a few months from opening, we thought craft beer aficionados and small business enthusiasts would enjoy learning about another much anticipated local brewery prepping to open in the heart of Canal Winchester.

Nathan and Kelley Doerfler, owners of the Canal Winchester landmark Harvest Moon Craft Kitchen and the Garden Herb Shop, originally intended to expand Harvest Moon to a second location but plans changed when another opportunity presented itself. Approximately 18 months ago, the plans shifted toward building a brewery. In a whirlwind time period for the couple and with help from the Canal Banking Center, the perfect location – a former power substation for a rail line that ran until the early 1900s – was targeted and purchased.

Joined by business partners Jonathan Woodruff and Dennis Smalley, the newly minted “Loose Rail Brewing” operation began to take form. The building is located just walking distance from Harvest Moon in downtown Canal Winchester.  What this means for the brewery is that while they won’t have a full kitchen and menu  in the beginning, they will offer a food shuttle service from the Harvest Moon for limited menu items.

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Loose Rail will be a seven barrel brew house, with four fermenters, a taproom, a patio, a bar, and first and second floor seating.  Five beer recipes are being brewed – the craft brew standard India Pale Ale, a Session IPA, an Amber, a Pilsner, and a Stout.  Nathan said it was important to offer something for everyone.  Loose Rail hopes to separate itself by being created as a family-friendly space, in which families large and small can stop in to listen to live music on the weekends, host gatherings, and bring food in to sit outside on the patio to enjoy an evening open-air dining.

The excitement is growing and the promotion of the brewery is well underway.  Buzz is growing on social media and merchandise and apparel are being printed and sold at Harvest Moon.  They’ve already been featured in Columbus CEO magazine, The Dispatch, Columbus Underground, and Columbus Business Monthly.  They also are being added to various Ohio beer trail maps and look forward to bridging the gap between Central Ohio breweries and the growing craft brew hotbed that is Southern and Southeastern Ohio.

The old railroad building at 37 Waterloo Street is really starting to take a life of its own as Loose Rail Brewing and though adding a brewery to their business portfolio has been an exciting process so far, it hasn’t all gone smoothly.  Nathan says Loose Rail was originally targeted to open this summer but an overwhelming amount of nationwide permit requests within The Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau has caused the opening to be delayed.  It’s now tentatively slated to open on Labor Day Weekend but, at this point, they are playing a waiting game as it’s out of their hands.  The good news?  There are a host of people anticipating the grand opening, anxiously awaiting the official announcement.  “This community has been really supportive and there is a lot of excitement for this,” Nathan says.  “We can’t wait to get going!”

Click here to visit them on Facebook! 

 

 

Small Business Spotlight: Cultivate

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.

Matt Yerkes has a knack for finding the unique in the often overlooked. Case in point is his latest a venture, a century old vacant building in Grove City’s Town Center District, that he has recently given a new life. Regular readers will remember Matt from last year’s Small Business Spotlight on Venue 62. It was during this project that the wheels began turning for his next idea: a much-needed facility for Grove City business owners and entrepreneurs to grow their business.

The Broadway Street building has been known throughout the years as a car lot, a mechanic shop, and most notably as Grove City Hardware. It was vacant for a decade before Matt purchased it in June 2014 and began pursuing a vision.  After gathering financing through personal funds, financial support from the Grove City Towne Center grant, and the Franklin County Banking Center, Matt set out to oversee all areas of the demolition, rehab, design, and construction of the building with the idea of a small business incubator.  The physical labor would last nearly two years before the doors opened of what is now a non-profit known as Cultivate.

What came out of the work is not a typical office space.  The metal pan formed ceilings feature concrete beams originally built to withstand the large loads of the former car lot’s second floor show room.  Adjustable half-walls were created from lumber removed from other areas of the building, allowing users of the first floor meeting room to create meeting space as large or as small as they need.  A buffet table in this same room is even created from old heaters from the second floor.

The second floor was built to spec on either end for anchor businesses Rampart Hosting, LLC and a Keller Williams Realty franchise. Between these two businesses are thirteen cubicles of varying shapes and sizes that are available for rent.

Matt says the real work began after construction and when it was time to attract tenants and develop partnerships. “We’ve worked quite a bit with Rev1 Ventures and they’ve been a great help in all of this.” Matt says.  Rev1, a Central Ohio venture development organization with expertise in helping entrepreneurs in building companies, has worked very closely with Matt in getting Cultivate up to speed.

While the building boasts historic features, potential tenants should know there is nothing old about the technology or how Cultivate operates. Free WiFi, secure 24/7 key-fob entry for employees and customizable work spaces are featured new age technology.

Matt expressed gratitude to Rampart, a tech company that he said will be a priceless resource to many tenants as they can provide tech support, consulting and other services. He called their presence the “wow factor” that so many entrepreneurs seek today.

An administrative assistant is also available to tenants to work with member businesses, and a concierge is available for all of the seemingly endless errand-running that running a small business requires. Perhaps most enticing is what lies inside the ground-level front entry to the building: Orchardfields and Arbor Café, a start-up café that also serves as Cultivate’s in-house spot for a bite to eat and drink.

As if that’s not enough, plans for several small workshops and seminars are underway to help tenant businesses, effectively turning Cultivate into a full-blown resource center, in addition to a spot to simply get work done.  Matt says he wants Cultivate to be more than a place to sit down and work on the computer.  “I want there to be more.  If you want to get away from the desk, sit down and relax for a moment or even take a meeting with someone over coffee, you can do that here.”

Cultivate is open and a grand opening is planned for this summer. If you or someone you know has interest in being a tenant business, or if you’d like information on pricing or sponsorship opportunities, please contact Matt Yerkes directly at matt@quicksquare.com.  Check out Cultivate on social media, at the official website, or in person at 3989 Broadway Street in Grove City.

Small Business Spotlight: Sundowner Aviation

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.

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Lonnie Watts and Pat Rooney pose with a plane at the Fairfield County Airport. They operate Sundowner Aviation, a flight school based at the airport.

If you have dreamed of following in the footsteps of America’s great aviators, there is a business in Lancaster that can help. Sundowner Aviation is a flight school based at the Fairfield County Airport that can make your dream of flying a reality.

For some, becoming a student here is a step toward a career in aviation. Others are crossing a dream off their bucket list or just doing it for fun. Regardless of the student’s intent, the instructors at Sundowner are happy to teach others to do something they personally love.

Lonnie Watts and Chief Pilot Pat Rooney recently talked aviation and gave VCNB a tour of their facilities. “The flying community is less than one percent of the population of the United States. You might say it’s an elite club because when you get your license it’s earned, not given and it’s for a lifetime,” Lonnie explained.  “Anyone who tries it usually can’t get enough.”

They will celebrate their fourth year in business this June, offering lessons, plane rental and even maintenance services. In 2013, they took over the management of the airport as well. Pat said the company was founded as a means to support a hobby. It wasn’t until the business had taken flight, so to speak, that they could see the 10,000 foot view: a flight school was a much needed service in the community.  “It’s costly to store a plane so we decided to start teaching to offset the costs. Then we found out that people really needed us and it got a lot bigger than we thought it would ever be,” Rooney recalled.

The flight school began in a 50×50 foot hangar that doubled as a classroom.  It truly got off the ground when they took over airport management. “We started with two airplanes and now we have six. We can give you almost any license you want and we offer maintenance. Not a lot of people do that,” Pat explained. “We’ve had people come from all over – from Kentucky, Ohio – we’ve had them from Tennessee, Texas and even a guy from China. There just aren’t a lot of flight schools around.”

Pat began flying with the United States Air Force in 1973. In the 43 years since, it seems that he has done and seen everything. He served the Air Force for 25 years, spending more than 17 years as an instructor. He served three years as a B-52G Aircraft Commander based in Barksdale AFB, Louisiana. After the Air Force, Pat flew the Boeing 737, 757 and 767 on international routes for a major airline.

His eyes sparkled when asked what it is like to fly. “It depends on what plane you’re flying. The super sonic? It’s great fun to have all that power and speed,” he laughed. “But take a beautiful, clear day and you can see forever. On a clear, cold winter night, cruising along at 30,000 feet, the stars are like diamonds.”

Describing the clouds as “cathedrals in the sky,” he concluded “there’s a lot of magic in it.”

Lonnie has been flying for twenty years and said it was a lifelong dream. “I’ve been obsessed with planes and flying since I was a little kid,” he said while explaining that a lot of their students also consider flying a lifelong dream. “I went up once and was head over heels for it forever.”

The school tends to have fifty to sixty students at a time. The average age, according to Pat, is late thirties to mid-forties but they currently have a student who is 15 and another who is 82. Before committing to flight school, individuals can take what they call a “Discovery Flight” which allows them to see what flying is like and to even take the controls.

Hours in the cockpit and in a simulator give students ample time to learn the skill. Plus they are required to understand the plane. “Knowledge is power,” Pat said. “You have to know the rules of the road, you have to know how instruments works, how planes fly. You need to know about aeronautics. You have to know things inside out. Remember, if something goes wrong when you’re driving a car, you just pull off the side of the road. If things go wrong up there,” motioning upward, “you have to know what to do.”

Visitors to the airport terminal will notice some interesting things. “When someone completes their solo, we cut off their shirt tale. They sign it and we hang them up around the room,” Pat explained. “Then when they earn their license, they visit the lemonade stand.”

The lemonade stand is a slightly damaged propeller, displayed on a wooden stand that features countless signatures from students who are invited to sign the propeller after receiving their license.

The Airport Pilots Association periodically hosts events for the public including movie nights and cookouts. Many events feature a Young Eagle component where kids 7-17 are introduced to aviation for free. “It’s good for the airport and it’s good for everyone to invite the community in and give them a chance to interact with the pilots and have a little fun,” Lonnie explained.

Discovery Flights are available year round and gift certificates can be purchased. For more information on Sundowner Aviation, the Fairfield County Airport, or upcoming events, find them online at www.sundowneraviation.com or call 740.475.8188.

See below for more pictures from our visit to Sundowner Aviation.