Tiffin, Seneca CARES participants receive 2021 Partnership in Development Award

Winners named during TSEP Annual Meeting

Audrey Flood, TSEP Development Director (center), presents awards to (from left) Julie Vogel, Eden Township Fiscal Officer; Jim Distel, Clinton Township Trustee; Aaron Montz, Mayor of the City of Tiffin; and Tyler Shuff, Seneca County Commissioner.

TIFFIN, OHIO – June 23, 2021 – Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership is proud to have named City of Tiffin; Seneca County; the villages of Bettsville and Green Springs; and Bloom, Clinton, Eden, Hopewell and Pleasant and townships for their contributions to the Tiffin and Seneca County CARES programs as the winners of the Partnership in Development Award during the 2021 Annual Meeting June 3, 2021.

In September 2020, The City of Tiffin announced and opened applications for the Tiffin CARES Small Business Relief Program, and Seneca County started its program, Seneca County CARES Small Business Relief Program, in late October. The programs made up to $10,000 in grant funding available to for- profit businesses and non-profit organizations in Tiffin and rural Seneca County and had the goal of providing financial relief from loss of revenue caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“They took some of their funds that they got from the government to address the coronavirus epidemic and said, ‘We want to help small businesses,’” said David Zak, President and CEO of Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership.

Altogether, The City of Tiffin; Seneca County; the villages of Bettsville and Green Springs; and Bloom, Clinton, Eden, Hopewell and Pleasant and townships contributed $1.2 million in CARES Act funding to 186 businesses by the end of 2020.

“So often we talk about collaboration, but in the case of Seneca County, especially when it came to CARES Act money, so many people came together and acted so quickly, we had to make decisions quickly,” said Mike Kerschner, President of the Seneca County Board of Commissioners.

In total, the City of Tiffin contributed $574,000, and Seneca County contributed $390,000, with an additional $205,000 provided by Bloom, Clinton, Eden, Hopewell and Pleasant townships and the villages of Bettsville and Green Springs. Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership administered the programs on behalf of the City of Tiffin and Seneca County Board of Commissioners. The Fostoria Economic Development Corporation had an additional program for Fostoria businesses funded by Seneca County, and Tiffin-Seneca United Way and Great Lakes Community Action Partnership also helped get the word out to businesses about the program.

“They all did their specific jobs when it came to getting needed money to those folks who were affected adversely by the pandemic,” Kerschner said.

TSEP reported that of the businesses that received funding, 81 businesses are in Tiffin and 105 are in rural Seneca County. Participating businesses reported an average of 45 percent decline in revenue when comparing a three-month or longer period from 2019 to 2020. Significantly, more than 700 people are employed at these small businesses.

“Business obviously lost money last year, they lost a lot of revenue because of the shutdown early in the year, but also because of decreased seating capacities or just the general nature of the pandemic, and people not doing as much shopping or dining out,” said Aaron Montz, Mayor of the City of Tiffin.

“Every dollar of this went to help local businesses here in the Tiffin community, the villages of Seneca County and out in the townships” Montz continued.

“We felt that it was important to try to keep that money in the township businesses, in the township community,” said Jim Distel, Clinton Township Trustee.

Zak said the program was successful in sustaining those businesses struggling to keep their doors open, even when they weren’t able to allow customers in.

“This is the longest I’ve not had an audience in front of me in 30 years,” said Michael Strong, Executive Director of the Ritz Theatre.

“The Ritz Theatre was very fortunate that the Seneca County Commissioners decided to disperse the CARES money the way they did to non-profits and businesses in Seneca County,” he added. “They gave us a little hope where we didn’t think we’d have any.”

Kristy Buskirk, owner of Clay Hill Organic, said that pandemic almost completely shut down some of her main sources of businesses, such as farmers markets.

“One of our largest markets went from a 22-week season to just eight weeks,” she said. “Now I feel like we’re set up very well for this 2021 season, to meet new demand and be able to give our local customers here the products that they are now asking of us and that we’re excited to be able to offer, and meet up with all this renewed energy in our local economy and local agriculture.

“I want to congratulate all of them for their ability to act so collaboratively, so quickly, to come together to satisfy the need of those folks who were affected,” Kerschner said.

About the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership

Started in 1983 as the Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp. (SIEDC), the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership is a private, non-profit corporation dedicated to driving positive economic, downtown, and community development in Tiffin and Seneca County, Ohio, which consistently ranks among the top communities nationally for economic development. Learn more about the great things going on in Tiffin and Seneca County at www.tiffinseneca.org.

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