Small Business Spotlight: Bay Food Market

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

Small Business Spotlight: Zaleski Candle Works

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!  

One of southern Ohio’s most unique gift shops is just a stone’s throw from Lake Hope State Park in Vinton County.  The shop is special, not just for the products offered, but because of its location. Zaleski Candle Works is housed in a nineteenth century barn that was once the town’s livery stable, according to owner Susan Tripp.

The cheerful red exterior of the barn combined with a large quilt block at the peak make the shop easy to find. The antique doors and vintage décor outside make it welcoming to come inside where customers will find a fun collection of handmade candles, antiques, vintage items and reproduction vintage décor.

The original wood floors are marked with age, worn in places from carriage wheels and horse shoes. In places the walls reveal impressions of advertising from a bygone era and the old tack room is home to rows and rows of handmade candles.

Longtime visitors to the Hocking Hills might remember Susan’s first shop, Wicker Cabins Gifts, which was located in Vinton County near Ash Cave. She closed the shop when she got married and moved to Zaleski but missed the business and opted to try again in her new hometown.  “I really missed the shop and I missed the people. Some of the nicest people come here from all over the place,” she said with a smile.

Zaleski Candle Works opened in 2010, giving visitors to Lake Hope State Park a place to buy unique finds including Susan’s handmade candles. “People who grew up coming to Lake Hope are now bringing their kids or grandkids. Those people usually stay and talk,” she said.

With over two hundred scents and more in development, Susan’s menu of scents for candles and tarts is constantly evolving. Among her most popular are the Lake Hope and Moonville Tunnel branded candles. Many of the favorites are classic baked goods, apple, coffee and floral scents. Others are a bit more unusual like “Monkey Farts,” a fruity scent with a name that always generates conversation. She said men tend to like the whiskey and bourbon scents.

Some customers blend different scents, using them in different rooms. Susan enjoys blending Kettle Corn and Mulberry because the resulting aroma evokes a childhood memory. She said that Coffee and Hot Buttered Rum is another pair that blends well.

Whatever the scent, Susan takes pride in the fact her candles and tarts hold their scent longer than most of her competitors. “Personally, I want my scents to last longer so I make them that way for my customers,” she said.

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In addition to selling candles from her shop, she also sells at the Lake Hope State Park Gift Shop, the Rusted Barn in Wellston and several Shriver’s Pharmacies. She also can do custom orders where a customer provides the container as well as large orders with custom labels for special events like weddings, reunions and holidays.

The shop also carries a nice variety of antiques, vintage items, primitives and reproduction décor.

In the summer Susan keeps cold drinks and snacks for sale and plans to put a picnic table under the trees for customers to enjoy the shade and a little rest from their hiking or their retail therapy. Another addition she is planning is a line of homemade soaps.

“This has been a really good thing for me, having the store. I like doing my own thing and I’ve always enjoyed making things,” Susan explained. “I also love meeting people and hearing their stories, especially when they’re repeat customers. Some of my customers I look forward to hearing from and seeing every year. It’s just a good fit for me!”

Zaleski Candle Works hosts a fall open house every November. Follow them on Facebook or call 740.596.7054.

 

Small Business Spotlight: Tiffany’s T’s

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!  

In an age of cookie cutter clothing, it’s refreshing to walk into a local business and be able to choose your own designs. That’s exactly the service Tiffany’s T’s of Jackson provides. They have some items ready to buy off the rack but most customers like to choose their own designs and have items custom made.

The list of items the crew at Tiffany’s T’s can create is seemingly endless. From sports uniforms to business hoodies to school fan t-shirts – they make everything in between for people of almost any size, according to owner Kelly Alford. “We can copy a design you bring in. So if a business has a logo or if an individual has something specific they want the shirt to say, we can create something custom. We also have a lot of designs for them to look at and that we can personalize with their team name or player number,” she said. “It doesn’t matter if they need one of something or a thousand, we can accommodate any order size.”

While many customers come to them for sports items, they can cover any theme and any subject matter except those that are copyrighted. They can do any school and any color but most popular schools have been Wellston, Oak Hill, Jackson and Vinton County.

basketball displayCustom creations include:

Sports equipment
Coats
Shirts
Hoodies
Lettermen jackets
Shorts
Sweatpants
Track pants
School uniforms
Team uniforms
Embroidered ear muffs, scarves, hats, bags and blankets
Flags
Magnets
Signs including parking, political and yard signs
Sublimation slates, cups and coasters

For most items, sizes range from 0-3 months to Adult 6X.

Their custom letterman jackets are extremely popular, beating most competitor prices at a base price of just $175.  Other popular items include receiving blankets embroidered with the baby’s name, custom onesies and bibs and first day of school shirts.

Letterman jacketsThey also have the ability to customize designs with different materials. “We’re the only place around that can do rhinestones and we bought a new program that allows us to do all sorts of different kinds of designs you won’t find someplace else,” she said. “We could do glitter, rhinestones and vinyl on one shirt if you want. We want to make things that are special and different than everyone else.”

Organizations like schools, churches and balls teams will be glad to know the store offers fundraising opportunities.  “We can customize a fundraiser to suit the needs of the group,” she explained.

 

In addition to custom creations, they also have a selection of locally made gift items.

Tiffany’s T’s is a family affair. The staff includes Kelly’s daughter Tiffany McManis, her cousin Tammy Stapleton, Kelly’s parents Gary and Jean Dixon and her grandma Norma Beatty. Her daughters Molly Miller and Leah Alford help out too as does her two year old grandson who occasionally likes to pitch in behind the scenes. “It’s been fun but it has been a real learning experience. We’ve gotten a lot of good feedback so that’s been exciting,” she said.

Kelly was enthusiastic to discuss future plans in the works for the business. Soon customers will be able to place custom orders on their website.  They also intend to use an expansive space in the store’s basement to offer batting cages. Kelly and her husband Mike have been involved with the softball program at Jackson High School and understand the need for this service. With the batting cages, they plan to use their connections in the softball community at Ohio University, Marshall and in Columbus to offer camps that focus on softball.

The store is located at 211 E. Main Street in Jackson. However, geography is no problem as all items can be shipped. Regular business hours are Tuesday through Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.  Follow them on Facebook to see new products and to keep up with new developments at the store! See below for a slideshow of pictures from this great downtown Jackson store!

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Small Business Spotlight: Big Woods Woodworking

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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Big Woods Woodworking is located on State Route 56, just outside Laurelville.

Spend some time talking to Marcus Mast about his business Big Woods Woodworking and one word consistently comes to mind.

That word is “quality.”

It clearly is important to Marcus that he provide a quality product and quality service to his customer as well as a good quality of life for his family. He is very quiet in the way he describes his products but the wood furniture and other items created at Big Woods Woodworking speak volumes.

This is the place to go when you are in search of just the right piece of wood furniture for the home or outdoors. That’s because each piece is handmade with care and to suit the needs of the buyer. It is so well made that it is easy to imagine that much of his work will be passed down through generations and will someday be considered heirlooms.

The showroom is packed with samples of the furniture he makes along with some smaller pieces that are available for sale. But the real draw is the fact he makes each order by hand, specifically to suit the needs of his customer.

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The showroom at Big Woods Woodworking is packed with samples of handmade items that can be adapted for the customers’ needs.

Log beds and log furniture to complete a bedroom suit are among his most sought after pieces. Dining room tables and chairs, desks, coffee tables, side tables, armoires, bar tops, chess tables and lamps are also popular. Slab tables and bar tops have live edges, lending a sense of rustic charm and natural beauty that would be appropriate in many settings.

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Log beds and the dressers and nightstands that match are among their most popular items.

For the outdoors, Big Woods makes custom porch swings, arbors, tables and chairs.

His wife Rochelle does wood burning on some pieces and their children sometimes pitch in to make small items that are sold in the shop.

The lumber he uses most comes from all over the region and the country. Aspen, with its worm holes and beautiful color, is often used in slab tables. He also uses red cedar from Missouri, pine from Ohio and Michigan, hickory, and walnut from around Ohio.

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This chess/checkers table has two drawers to contain the pieces when not in use.

“I like to say that God makes the trees and He makes the beauty. We just go find it, we find the beauty,” Marcus explained.

In addition to the pieces he regularly makes, Marcus said that customers often come with ideas of their own. He can design furniture to suit their needs. An example is a cupboard he designed that features a cutting board top and adjustable book stand for cookbooks. He is currently working on an enormous bar top designed to suit a specific space in a customer’s home. Another project is an armoire he is building with walnut that the customer brought to him. “Some people just can’t visualize what they want but they can describe their needs. Their eyes light up when they see the finished product and they say it’s just what they wanted. That’s good to see,” he said.

Marcus said he learned his trade through years of experience. “All my life I’ve done little projects, things for the home, things for us,” he said. He went on to explain that he worked in someone else’s shop prior to opening his own. “There’s been some trial and error and some trial and success. It’s the kind of thing you learn as you go.”

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This child sized table and chairs would be perfect for any youngster’s playroom! 

It is clear that while he is intent on creating a quality product for his customers, he also focuses much on providing a good life for his family. “It has always been my dream to work at home where the children can come down and be with me. My wife enjoys dropping in too. This business is a way to do that and to provide for my family,” he said.

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This table was made using logs from the property.

It’s also a way to teach his children valuable skills. “Just the ability to use your hands, that’s what I enjoy and that’s what I want for my children. I want them to have a broader experience than I can provide for  them through my shop here and so by teaching them to use their hands, to think things through, to plan and to connect everything together, to have a finished product . . . those are skills they can use their entire lives,” he said.

Wait times for custom orders vary depending on current workload. At this time the wait is approximately four weeks but can be longer. He said they work hard to accommodate the scheduling needs of the customer. A discount is available for the purchase of a four piece log bedroom suit.

Call Big Woods Woodworking at 740.607.8184. The showroom/shop is open Monday through Saturday and is located at 1577 St. Rt. 56 East, just outside of Laurelville. They accept cash, check or credit card.

See below for additional pictures from Big Woods Woodworking.

 

 

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!

Jim and Donna

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.

Peach tree swarm

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.

See below for more pictures.