Pataskala Banker Embraces Spirit Of Holidays Through Music

Friendly Bremen Banking Center Personal Banker Mitchell McCrady has a busy month ahead of him. By day Mitchell helps customers in our Pataskala branch with everything from cashing checks to opening accounts. After hours he is a passionate musician who plays French horn with three different Central Ohio symphonies and a local opera company. This month, he will be especially busy with Christmas performances in and around the Columbus area.

In fact, he will take part in four Christmas concerts and a New Year’s Eve fundraising gala this month!

beautiful poinsettia in flowerpot, gifts and Christmas ballsMitchell began playing French horn at the age of ten, learning the instrument with the school band at Berne Union in Sugar Grove. During his teen years, Mitchell took lessons at Ohio University in Athens and further developed skills that he carried into college. In fact, he holds an undergraduate degree in Music Performance from University of Dayton and a Masters of Music in Horn Performance from Indiana University.

He is a member of the New Albany Symphony, Central Ohio Symphony, Newark-Granville Symphony Orchestra and Opera Project Columbus and participates in some seasonal projects as well.

Mitchell came to work at VCNB in 2015 and has since worked in our branches in Lancaster, Canal Winchester and now Pataskala, learning the ropes in retail banking and customer service.  “I feel lucky to work at the bank and pursue my passion at the same time. I’m so appreciative of that,” he said.

Here is the schedule of Mitchell’s upcoming holiday shows:

Central Ohio Symphony
Holiday Concert
Sunday, December 9 at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.
Gray Chapel, Ohio Wesleyan University

New Albany Symphony
Santa and the Symphony***Sensory Friendly Concert***
Saturday, December 15 at 11:30 a.m.
Jeanne B. McCoy Community Center for the Arts
This is a short 45 minute program; perfect for little kids and those with special needs.

Holiday Spectacular
Sunday, December 16 at 3 p.m.
Jeanne B. McCoy Community Center for the Arts

Columbus Dance Theater
MATCHGIRL
Friday, December 14 at 8 p.m.
Saturday, December 15 at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.
Otterbein University, Fritsche Theatre – Cowan Hall

 
Weathervane Playhouse/Newark-Granville Symphony Orchestra
New Year’s Eve Fundraising Gala
Monday, December 31 at 8 p.m.
Weathervane Playhouse (100 Price Road Newark, OH 43055)

Mitchell invites everyone to come out and support, not just these shows, but other local performances in the area. “Every show is different and I would encourage people to go out and support as many as you can. These are local musicians in your own community and we enjoy giving great performances for people,” he said. “We’re lucky to have such a rich, thriving art scene in Columbus and in areas all over Ohio.”

Why We Are Thankful

Give thanks with a greatful heart - Thanksgiving day lettering calligraphy phrase with leaves and hearts. Autumn greeting card isolated on the white background.jpg

We asked our employees to tell us what they’re thankful for this Thanksgiving! Here are a few of their responses.

There are so many things to be grateful for! Faith, family, friends, health and each new day are all blessings I am thankful for. I am also thankful for my job with VCNB and for the opportunity to transfer to a new position this year!

Grace Delong
Indirect Loan Processor

* * *

I am thankful for my two daughters. They are truly the best blessing I could have ever asked for. I’m also thankful for my family and friends. They are always there to help and support me.I am very thankful for my job. Without my job I wouldn’t have been able to provide for my daughters.

Kati Maple
Branch Manager, Pickaway County Banking Center – Ashville

* * *

Most of all, I am thankful for family. I know that sounds so typical but you haven’t met my family! We are not typical!

Barbara Perry
Teller, Pickaway County Banking Center – Circleville

* * *

First and foremost, I am thankful to serve a God who gave his son so that I may have everlasting life. I am thankful to have great family and friends to share my life with. I am thankful to have the ability to pull memories of loved ones who have gone before me. I am happy to live in this beautiful free country where I can make my own choices. I am also grateful to be able to help others as the opportunities arise. All in all I am a very thankful and blessed lady.

Monica Delong
Retail Accounts, VP

* * *

Thanksgiving is here, with another year coming to an end. I have always thought of Thanksgiving as a favorite holiday of mine. We can celebrate together, giving thanks to the God that we serve for what he has done for us. I am thankful for my wife, children, and now grandchildren for the happiness they give me. As I continue to age, I am more and more thankful for the health that I have. We cannot forget the country that we live in, and the freedoms that we take for granted. I will, also, pause to thank VCNB for the opportunities that they give to us to grow and serve the communities that we work in. Lastly, I was born on Thanksgiving!

Dale Massie
Senior Retail Lender, Jackson County Banking Center

* * *

I have so much to be thankful for. God has blessed me with a wonderful family, nice home, a good job and so many other things that we sometimes take for granted. I hope everyone has a Happy Thanksgiving and enjoy your time with family and friends.

Charlotte McCarty
Branch Service Manager, Vinton County National Bank – Wilkesville

* * *

I am thankful for having two healthy little boys who fill my heart with joy, along with my husband who is my biggest supporter and best friend. I am thankful for having a great place to work at that is so understanding to a working mom and the hiccups that happen with having two small children.

Emilee Harper
Branch Manager, Pickaway County Banking Center- Commercial Pont

* * *

I am thankful I work for a company that allows – and encourages – personal involvement with my community and allows me the freedom to make sure I can be there (wherever “there” may be from time to time) for my family. I live a busy life between my professional life and the extracurriculars my family is involved with and the groups and organizations that are important to me. The ability to simply “be there” sometimes is greatly appreciated. Add to the fact that I call Southeast Ohio home – I’m born and raised here – and there’s a certain pride I have in making a living here. I’d feel silly asking for much more than that.

Austin Rohr
Marketing Specialist

* * *

I am thankful for nights that turned into mornings, friends that turn into family, and dreams that turned into reality.

Erin Hart
Teller, Salt Creek Banking Center

* * *

This holiday season, I have the privilege of hosting our family’s Thanksgiving gathering for the very first time. In October, we were blessed with a new home and enough space to accommodate my 20+ loved ones for dinner. I am so very thankful for the opportunities given to me in 2018, and more importantly, to be able to share them with the people I love. To my father who returned home from surgery just last week, I am grateful to have you here to cut the turkey. Happy Thanksgiving to all!

Nicole Scott
Branch Service Manager, Friendly Bremen Banking Center – Bremen

* * *

This Thanksgiving, I have so many things to be thankful for. Here are just a few. First and foremost, I’m thankful to have a God that forgives us and loves us unconditionally. I’m thankful for my family and friends and I’m thankful for our military who fight for our nation’s freedom every single day so we can be free. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Patricia Scott
Senior Teller, Ross County Banking Center – Richmond Dale

* * *

This year I am thankful for another fantastic year with my husband. We have built a beautiful life and I am thankful for it each and every single day. We adopted the sweetest/crazy puppy this past January and have truly enjoyed watching him grow into an amazing companion to us. We have a home that we built together fifteen years ago filled with all of our precious memories. We get to travel and well, just spend as much time together as we possibly can. He is my best friend and I am more than blessed and thankful to get to live my life with him.

Emily Wangler
Personal Banker, Franklin County Banking Center

* * *

I wish to give thanks for all the blessings I have today. I’m thankful for all those around me – my co-workers, customers, friends and my family. I’m grateful for my good health, living life to the fullest with my family, and getting to call beautiful Vinton County my home.

Beth Ann Patterson
Senior Retail Accounts Officer, Vinton County National Bank – McArthur

* * *

I am thankful for my home, family, and for the memories we make everyday.  For the love ones that I lost. Who taught me to live life to the fullest and gave me the opportunity to love them in return. I am blessed each day and thank God for the great scenery.  All the colors in the fall, to the first frost, only to start at the beginning with all the colors of spring. Each day is a blessing and I’m thankful.

Tracy Nichols
Senior Customer Service Representative

* * *

I am thankful every day for our God, family, health, home, friends and neighbors. Happy Thanksgiving to all!!!

Melda Cottrill
Personal Banker, Canal Banking Center

* * *

This year I am especially grateful for our new house and family. From my sister giving birth to two beautiful twin girls in September (I’m an uncle!) to the more recent loss of my grandmother only a few short weeks ago, it’s been an eventful year. I feel lucky to have such a supportive and loving family through the high and low moments of life.

Mitchell McCrady
Personal Banker, Friendly Bremen Banking Center – Pataskala

* * *

I am so thankful for my family. My wife and children and all of my family, whether they’re blood related or not. They all collectively make my life better and without them, I’d be lost. They’re my biggest supporters through everything and my biggest comforters when things aren’t so good.

Johnathon Bentley
Teller, Vinton County National Bank – McArthur

 

From all of us here at VCNB, we wish you and yours a happy and peaceful Thanksgiving. We are thankful to be a community bank with hard working employees and to be serving customers in so many amazing communities. We thank you for your business!

Small Business Spotlight: Sudslingers Laudromat

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!   

Mark Erslan, Todd Wesaw (Sudslingers), Nicole Scott

Sudslingers Laundromat owner Todd Wesaw is pictured at center with VCNB Head of Lending Mark Erslan and Bremen Branch Manager Nicole Scott. 

For our Small Business Spotlight this month we’re doing a Q&A with Todd Wesaw of Sudslingers Laundromat, Bremen’s newest business! Read on to learn more about the exciting and unexpected things happening at Sudslingers!

VCNB:  Hi Todd!  When sifting through ideas for our September entry in our Business Spotlight Series, our Bremen Branch Manager Nicole Scott suggested we talk to you about Sudslingers Laundromat.  After discussing how exciting it is that a new business has entered the market in the small Village of Bremen, we thought this would be a great feature.  So, that said, why don’t you give me a little background on how Sudslingers came to be? And why Bremen, Ohio?

Todd: As a resident of Bremen since 2005 and a current Village Councilman it’s my job to look at ways of growing our community and expanding resources for our fellow residents. I am always looking for opportunities to bring new business to our Village so I decided to take the leap.  When I encourage new companies to consider Bremen as their location, I felt it would hold more water if my own business was located there.

When I decided to start Sudslingers Laundromat, I considered the population as well as the residents that may rent in the area and not have access to washers and dryers.  Plus the fact that is has been approximately twelve years since there was a Laundromat in Bremen.  Residents were having to travel to surrounding towns, so why not have a local Laundromat that is convenient and here in the Village open daily 8 a.m.-9 p.m.?

The idea was to start Sudslingers Laundromat here close to my home so I could educate myself about the business and hopefully grow into a chain of them with the same concept. As I started my research to determine my offerings, size, location, layout etc., my friend Kevin Newman asked if he could get involved. Since I have other businesses and am holding a Council position, I thought that it would be good to have a partner that could help share the responsibilities, so our partnership came together. Kevin is a truck driver over the road so, with his schedule, it works out that we share opening/closing and daily maintenance.

After putting all the ideas together, the build-out began. I wanted it to be big enough but not too big for this area so I decided to start out with six washers and six dryers. I chose machines that could fit into the budget I had available but could accommodate more than one load of laundry.  After all the planning and testing, we decided to open May 1, 2018.

VCNB:  It sounds like you had a good handle on the business before it ever came to be because of the work you put in beforehand.  Give us a rundown on the business itself – one may hear “Laundromat” and have an image in their head of what they think it is, but we can tell that you are really breaking the old model of this type of business.

Todd: I did not want a typical laundromat like the ones I grew up seeing or using while in college, where you dreaded the laundry piling up only to go to the bank to get change, arrive and sit and be bored for hours, waiting for my chance to start laundry at a dreary and, most of the time, dirty place to the point you felt you needed a tetanus shot after you left!

As part of my planning process, I decided I wanted a place that is inviting, family oriented and, as some of our guests say, “A place to go and get away from the home and relax.” So I decided to build an environment that offers modern conveniences such as climate controlled air, black stainless LG high efficiency/low energy washers and dryers, LED lighting with multiple colors, etc. The floors are exposed concrete and we’ve got exposed lighting, distressed woodwork, a ceiling fan, wrought iron seating tables and chairs, folding tables, and a flat screen TV with cable.  We’ve even got a backyard area with picnic table.  We have a bill coin changer that accepts ones and five dollar bills in-house and we recently added free WiFi for our guests.  They will soon be able to use the WiFi features that our washers and dryers are equipped with!  Guests will be able to download an app to monitor their laundry, which gives them the freedom to enjoy the seating or picnic area, or just leave and comeback as their laundry is complete.

Our walls are decorated in historic images of Bremen and some entertaining signs. We also offer a restroom that is ADA compliant.

The washers start out at $5.00 per load, depending on the size, and that price includes free drying. If you choose to wash at home or elsewhere, we recently added a Dryer Deposit Box for our guests that just need drying for $2.50 per dryer. We currently don’t offer soap and bleach products, however we are planning to add a vending machine that will have these products.  We’d also like to add a beverage machine as the business grows. We do offer pick up and drop off service by appointment only or you can schedule us to come to you and we will do your laundry for you.  These services are at an additional cost and prices vary.

VCNB:  It’s definitely a clean, modern, and well-kept facility and an asset to Bremen.  Do you have any big plans for Sudslingers in 2019?

Todd: Our goals for the future include adding highly visible signage, vending machines, and additional equipment. We’ll be joining the Bremen Area Chamber of Commerce and possibly even adding one to two new locations.

 

VCNB:  We’ll be keeping an eye on it!  We’re always thrilled to see new, thriving businesses in our market areas and we are thrilled when they choose to bank with VCNB.  We thank you for your business, Todd, and wish all the best to Sudslingers!  Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

Todd: Thank you VCNB for the opportunity to share information about Sudslingers Laundromat with you and your other banking customers, and helping us bring Sudslingers Laundromat to Bremen!

We are proud to be a doing business with VCNB and Friendly Bremen Banking Center.  I would also like to personally thank Nicole Scott, Mark Erslan, Kathryn Cooper, and all of the staff and to you for featuring Sudslingers Laundromat for your September Business Spotlight.

Please like us on Facebook and check us out on Google. We are always updating the latest information about Sudslingers Laundromat and have it available at both of these online resources. Come check us out to see why we offer “Loads of Fun” and if you are a regular guest, please hurry back!

We will announce our grand opening in the near future.

 

 

 

 

 

ATM Freedom Has Arrived For VCNB Customers

VCNB is part of the Money Pass networkVCNB is committed to providing customers with a great banking experience. One comment that we often hear is about the need for more ATM access in the areas around our eight county area. That’s why we have joined MoneyPass®, a network that will provide VCNB customers access to a multitude of ATMS with no surcharge.

With 32,000 MoneyPass ATMs nationwide, you’re sure to find a surcharge-free ATM near you. Whether you’re on vacation, away at college or just hanging out in your own community, there is likely a MoneyPass ATM nearby.

Ready to get started? You can search for an ATM near you on their website or with their app. Just search MoneyPass in the app store of your mobile device or click here to visit their website. 

What Is An HSA?

Healthcare image.jpegAs you’re navigating the world of health insurance you likely have encountered the term HSA. Do you know what HSA means?

HSA stands for Health Savings Account and this is an easy way for folks who have high deductible insurance to save for medical expenses and to reduce their taxable income.   If you are enrolled in a high-deductible insurance plan as defined by the government, you can qualify for an HSA. This year, to be eligible for an HSA, you must have an annual deductible of at least $1,350 for an individual and $2,700 for a family. This is set by the federal government and is subject to change in future years.

Each year you will decide how much to contribute to your HSA account although your annual contribution cannot exceed government mandated maximums. For 2018, the contribution limit for an individual is $3,450 and the contribution limit for a family is $6,900. Adults over 55 can add up to $1,000 more.

These contributions are tax deductible and the distributions are tax free when used for qualified medical expenses.

At VCNB, you will receive a debit card and a monthly statement with check images. Your first order of checks will be free and you will have unlimited checking writing. There is an initial $25 set up fee for the account. This fee will be waived for customers who present this coupon.

There is also a $3 monthly fee which will be waived for customers who select eStatements.

Want to learn more or open an HSA online? Click here and look under the Savings Accounts tab.

You can also seek more information or open an HSA in any of our seventeen locations.

 

 

Nine Expenses to Pack in Your Moving Budget

Moving comes with a long, expensive to-do list.

The average cost to for a local move from a two-bedroom apartment or three-bedroom house ranges from $400 to $1,000, according to HomeAdvisor’s True Cost Guide. While you’re choosing a place to live and deciding what to pack, having a plan for expenses can ensure your budget doesn’t get lost in the shuffle.

“It’s very easy to overlook minor details because when you’re moving, you’re looking at getting your stuff from point A to point B,” says Jessica Nichols, a director at Avail Move Management, a relocation and transportation service in Evansville, Indiana.

Preparing for moving costs can help alleviate emotional and financial strain. Consider these less-obvious expenses.

  1. Peak surcharges

Many moving and truck rental companies raise rates during busy times like summer and weekends. If you have the flexibility, relocate in an off-peak period to save money.

  1. Packing materials and equipment

Buying items like boxes, bubble wrap and packing tape can add up. For example, U-Haul sells large moving boxes for $1.63 to $1.99 each, depending on how many you buy. Be realistic about the number you need to avoid costly miscalculations. Or, seek free materials from friends or online.

Additionally, consider the items you’ll need to safely transport your belongings, including furniture covers, hand trucks and bungee cords. If your movers don’t provide them, or you aren’t hiring professionals, renting or borrowing is more affordable than buying.

  1. Excess cargo

The more stuff you schlep, the more you’ll pay. Movers usually factor the number and weight of items into the bill. Expect additional fees for valuable or large items like pianos that require extra time, space or labor.

Hauling everything yourself? A bigger load can require a larger vehicle or more gas-guzzling trips. To save money, donate or sell what you can before you move.

  1. Cleaning

You’ll likely need to tidy up your current place, especially if there’s a security deposit at stake.

Housecleaning services typically charge $200 to $300 for a one-time cleaning, according to HomeAdvisor. You’ll save money by doing some or all of the work yourself.

  1. Utilities

Watch for deposits, taxes, and connection and installation fees when setting up utilities at your new address. These could range from $10 to $200 or more. Ask power, internet and other service providers about charges in advance.

  1. Food

Food expenses can pop up, too. Think snacks for the road, restocking the refrigerator and pantry, and feeding friends who’ve helped. Shopping wholesale clubs could be a smart strategy to feed a crowd.

  1. Lost or damaged items

Some belongings might not survive the journey. Depending on what you’re transporting and how far, it may be worth purchasing protection to repair or replace property.

“Nobody wants to think about their items getting broken. Ideally that would never happen, but in the real world that’s something you need to plan for,” says Nichols.

Most movers provide basic valuation coverage, which limits their liability to 60 cents per pound, per item. For a 40-pound TV valued at $500, that’s $24. Top-tier options and separate insurance plans offer higher or full values, but it will cost extra. If you have homeowners or renters insurance, you likely have some coverage. Check your policy.

  1. Tips

Movers appreciate tips after a long day of heavy lifting. Give tips based on your satisfaction level, but a good rule of thumb is 5% of the total bill.

  1. Storage

If you can’t immediately move your possessions into your new home, you might have to rent a self-storage unit. Costs vary by size and location. Public Storage units in Austin, Texas, for example, range from about $30 to $300 per month. The less time and space you need, the less expensive the unit.

Make your budget move-in ready

Mentally walk through your moving process from start to finish. Outline the potential items and services you’ll need at least a month ahead. Then, research prices and get multiple estimates for the best deals and service, Nichols says.

Leave wiggle room for unexpected costs and take your time purchasing new home furnishings, says Daria Victorov, a certified financial planner at Abacus Wealth Partners in San Mateo, California. Remember, you don’t have to buy everything at once.

“When you move into an empty house it feels like you need everything right away,” Victorov says. “Before you move, figure out what those essential items are, the things that you use every day and that’ll help you figure out your budget, too.”

This article was written by NerdWallet and was originally published by The Associated Press. Lauren Schwahn is a writer at NerdWallet. Email: lschwahn@nerdwallet.com. Twitter: @lauren_schwahn. The article 9 Expenses to Pack in Your Moving Budget originally appeared on NerdWallet.

 

West Fair Branch Remains Open Through Renovations

Our branch on West Fair Avenue in Lancaster is undergoing an expansion and renovation project and we couldn’t be more excited.

This project is a direct result of strategic planning that was done by bank leaders and is part of an effort to focus on transforming VCNB branches to meet the needs of customers. EVP of Marketing Audra Johnson explained the purpose behind this work. “Our goal is to update many of our branches in the next few years, not only in look, but in technology and in convenience as well. We want our customers to feel comfortable in our branches, but also to feel like they leave knowing they received excellent service and the resources they need for a better financial future,” Johnson explained.

The West Fair Avenue expansion and renovation will include the rerouting of drive-thru lanes and changes in the customer parking area. A new addition to the building will be constructed to include a new employee lounge and employee restrooms. While the expanded area will not be open to customers, per se, teams of employees that are essential to the success of the bank will be moving their offices to this new space.

“Customers will not be conducting their transactions or meeting with their personal banker behind the doors of the expansion, but rest assured that the space will be put to good use. We are starting to outgrow many of our branches and also our operations centers. This is a great problem to have because it means we’re growing, we’re employing more people and we’re ensuring we will be there for our customers in the long run,” Johnson said.

In addition to the expanded square footage, the building will receive some cosmetic upgrades as well as changes to the way customers and employees interact. A new roof and face lift to interior design and décor are in the works. More importantly, there will be a new style of employee office meant to create more privacy as well as new teller pod stations instead of the traditional teller line. Finally, the lobby will be outfitted with new technology that will allow customers to interact with the bank’s online and mobile platforms inside the branch.

“To say that I am excited about the upgrades we are making is an understatement. We have a mission to be the best for our customers, shareholders and employees. This is just another step toward upholding that mission,” Johnson concluded.

Customers should rest assured that this office will remain open during construction. “It’s business as usual at our West Fair Avenue office. Our staff there is ready to assist you with all of your banking needs.”

 

Last Minute Summer Road Trip

By Brandi Betts
VCNB Marketing Specialist

August is here so you probably think it’s too late to get in a summer road trip. However, in my experience, it’s never too late for a little road trip enjoyment. There are tons of fun options within an easy driving distance of southern and central Ohio. It’s just a matter of finding what you’re looking for and figuring out what’s best for you.

A lot of times, we think that vacation only counts if we go far away or if it’s something exotic or expensive. The truth is, you can have fun almost anywhere if you go looking for it. In fact, you can find adventure and relaxation in your own community just as easily as in someone else’s. With that said, I’m the first one in the car if there’s opportunity to leave home and explore someplace else.

Here are some places that literally offer something for everyone and that aren’t too far from home.

If you just have a day or two:

Consider Cincinnati! There tons of museums and historic sites, state and metro parks, shopping, amazing hotels and restaurants here. Plus they have one of the best zoos and aquariums anywhere! The greater Cincinnati area is a neat mix of metropolitan and small-town mom and pop type communities. Now, with a soccer team (that’s about to go Major League and that’s doing really well for themselves) along with the Reds and Bengals, this is truly a destination for sports lovers too.  Hop a ride on a streetcar and take in a concert at Riverbend, Cincinnati Music Hall or one of the other great venues.

Personally, one of my favorite places to visit here is the American Sign Museum. It’s about 20,000 square feet packed with antique and vintage signage that may remind you of your youth as well as a lot you’ve never seen. Other favorite stops for me include the 85,000square foot Ohio Valley Antique Mall at Fairfield and one of the two Jungle Jim’s locations I always pick up a few bottles of craft sodas and have fun touring all the international foods here!

If history is your thing, the National Park Service operates the William Howard Taft National Historic Site. This is free to tour and lends some great insight into the life and career of our 27th President. It’s not too far from the downtown attractions and about a ten minute drive from the zoo. I recently read about something I had never heard about – it’s an old fashioned root beer stand that looks and sounds like a time capsule in all the pictures. The Root Beer Stand is on my agenda very, very soon.

Cincinnati is one of those places where you could spend as long as you want and keep finding more to do.

 

If you have a long weekend:

If you have longer, Wytheville, Virginia may be a good fit for you. For as long as I can remember, Wytheville (pronounced WITH-vill) was just an interstate stop on the way to the beach. There’s a collection of hotels and gas stations and a Cracker Barrel convenient for the weary traveler but it wasn’t until recently I learned what’s hiding just beyond the highway.

Downtown Wytheville is a beautiful place with tree lined streets, cute storefronts, lots of history, easy access to the mountains, great architecture and interesting places to stay in downtown. The area boasts state and national parks with recreational experiences for almost anyone. Big Walker Mountain National Forest Scenic Byway winds through sixteen miles of forest land, ideal for both cars and motorcycles. Fishing, camping, hiking, mountain biking are popular here too.

When I went this spring, I visited the birthplace of first lady Edith Boling Wilson and found amazing pizza at a little hole in the wall that is a local hangout. There are several hotel options but if you’re looking for something special, the Edith Boling Wilson Hotel is awfully nice. It’s located in downtown and is known for service and luxury. Speaking of downtown, be sure to check out the big pencil outside Wytheville Office Supply. While it’s not something to plan a trip around, it certainly adds a little character to your journey! They are also known for a number of fun events throughout the year including a hot air balloon rally and some big car shows.

Personally, I love the character of Wytheville. It’s a laidback, southern town where the people are friendly, the food is tasty and where you feel like they truly want you to come back.

If you are craving the water

If you’re craving water and sun but don’t have the time or money for a long beach trip, Lake Erie could be a good compromise.

I love lighthouses and the 75-foot tall Marblehead Lighthouse is the best Ohio offers. For a small fee you can tour it and learn about this 1822 lighthouse that is still keeping ships safe. If you have kids, or if you’re a kid at heart, there is a Merry-Go-Round Museum. I will admit that I have never gotten to visit so I’m hoping some of our readers will go and send pictures. It sounds like fun and looks like a real feast for the eyes.

Maumee Bay State Park, Magee Marsh Wildlife Area, Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge and Kelleys Island provide countless opportunities to get outdoors and take in your surroundings.  Put-In-Bay village is about a twenty minute boat ride from Port Clinton and it has been a destination for over 150 years. Guided tram tours, backroads for biking, a winery and Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial are among the attractions here. And of course, there’s the water activities on Lake Erie and Cedar Point Amusement Park for the roller coasting riding thrill seekers in the crowd.

Other Options

Not sure about these places? Looking for something a little different? I say look around you. The Buckeye State is packed with activities, interesting sights and ways to while away these last days of summer. People travel to Ohio from all over the country to visit our Amish Country, the Pro Football Hall of Fame, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, amusement parks… the list goes on and on. While they’re here, they’re also finding the smaller attractions that make our state special like our Quilt Barn trails which started down in Adams County and the little mom and pop roadside places that make us who were are.

Pack up the kids or grab a friend and hit the trail before this summer slips away. Need more inspiration? Our friends with Ohio tourism have some ideas.

 

All photos by Brandi Betts

 

Prepare Now For Happier Holidays

There are about 22 weeks until Christmas.

You’re probably wondering why your bank wants to talk about Christmas during the hottest days of summer but there is one really good reason: we want to see our customers have a nice holiday season without accumulating a mountain of debt.

Calculating the Cost of the HolidaysLots of folks wait until November to start thinking about what they’ll buy and how they will fund it. Others just buy without thinking and worry about it when the credit card bill comes in January. We would rather see you start planning and saving now and we’ll tell you why. Without the stress of money worries weighing you down, the holidays will be much more enjoyable. It’s that simple.

Luckily, there are still almost six months left to prepare.

How Much Will You Spend?
First, you need to know how much money you will want to spend. Make a list of each person you buy gifts for as well as other expenses related to the holidays. Do you host a big Christmas Eve bash or do you travel to see the in-laws? Do you make charitable donations during the holidays or send Christmas cards? List all those things too.

Then assign an estimated dollar amount to each person or category and add it all up. That’s the amount you need to aim for saving. If it sounds like too much, you might need to adjust your spending expectations.

Create a Savings Plan
Take your budgeted amount and divide it by the number of pay checks you will receive before Christmas. That’s the amount you need to save each pay. For example, if you plan to spend $500 on Christmas this year and are paid weekly, that means you would need to save about $23 per pay to be ready in time for the holiday.

Think you don’t have extra money to save every paycheck? Keep reading.

There are sneaky ways you can save money. If you budget $100 for your electric bill and it’s just $95, then save the extra $5 instead of spending it. If you have a vice like drive-thru lunches, pack your meals occasionally and save the extra. Save your change and bring it to a VCNB location with a coin machine for easy counting. Be intentional with how you use any extra amount of money, no matter how small it may be, and save it.

Automate That Savings
Whether you join the VCNB Christmas Club or just schedule automatic transfers, automate your savings plan. Schedule an automatic transfer of that $23 every single payday. It will be just like any other bill and you won’t have to lift a finger to make it happen. And while we’re talking about savings accounts, you may choose to open a savings account just for your Christmas spending. You’ll have easy access to your cash when you need it and can just transfer it back to your checking account when ready to spend.

Think Ahead
Stores and online retailers are filled with clearance racks and good sales every day of the week. Keep your eyes peeled and you may be able to pick up a few gifts long before the Black Friday frenzy begins.

Also, if you do travel during the holidays, nail down your travel days and start looking for deals on flights and hotels.

If you have a big family, it may be time to have a conversation with your siblings about gift giving. Do you want to buy gifts for everyone or just for the kids or maybe gifts for couples rather than individuals? We aren’t telling you to be stingy but you may find that some people in your life are relieved to have less shopping to worry over.

Reward Yourself
VCNB offers a Rewards Checking account that literally rewards you for spending your own money. Saving these points throughout the year to redeem before the holidays is another great way to save! Customers who use Rewards Checking receive one point for every $3 spent and 200 bonus points when they have 21 or more transactions per statement cycle. These points can be redeemed for cash back, gift cards, travel and more!

There is a coordinating Visa® Platinum Card that allows you to earn one point for every dollar spent. These points can be redeemed for exciting merchandise, gift cards and travel. Customers who use both Rewards Checking and the Visa Platinum Card can link their points in one account to make redemption a breeze.

Ready to get started? Open online or learn more about Rewards Checking or open that new Passbook Savings to get started with your holiday savings today!