Seneca County unemployment at 18 year low

Unemployment April 2018.jpgFor the first time since 2000, the unemployment rate in Seneca County dipped below four percent, coming in at 3.9 percent for April 2018, an 18 year low for the county. In comparison, Ohio’s unemployment rate was 4.3 percent and the national rate 3.9 percent, according to a May 18 press release from Ohio Job and Family Services.

Many factors contribute to the growth in employment, including the availability and access to jobs. Between 2014 and 2017 alone, Seneca County saw $339 million in business and building establishment and expansion, creating more than 1,400 jobs.

Already in 2018 we have seen several new business announcements, including:

  • Spire Advertising – A satellite office for an Ashland, OH based advertising firm announced in March, opening in June 2018.
  • The Chandelier – A new event space set to open in the former Community Civic Center in downtown Tiffin later this year.
  • Trilogy Health Services – Announced in April, Trilogy is to build a senior living facility that will employ 110, at an estimated investment of $14.5 million.
  • Kiku Fusion Sushi and Steak House – A full-service sushi and hibachi restaurant to locate in the Tiffin Mall later this year.
  • Panda Express – An international chain serving fast-casual Chinese cuisine was approved for a setback to build on the Tiffin Mall site.
  • Senecare – A local pharmacist has started a new business in the Laird Arcade offering one-on-one pharmacy services.
  • Time Staffing – A northern Ohio-based staffing agency opened a branch in Tiffin earlier this year, growing to a total of 9 offices throughout the region.
  • Yoga Chuck Health and Wellness Studio – Longtime yoga instructor Chuck “Yoga Chuck” Burmeister renovated and opened his own studio.
  • The Attic – A new specialty shop in downtown Tiffin, an expansion of a successful Findlay, OH store.
  • Glass N More Store – Another specialty glass shop that opened its fifth northern Ohio location in downtown Tiffin.
  • Stover Veterinary Services – Veterinarian Dr. Amber Stover and her husband launch a mobile vet clinic in early 2018, to be accessible throughout Seneca County.
  • Tiffin Candle Co. – A Tiffin couple has created their own business producing and selling community themed candles with a charitable aspect.
  • Mantra Mind Management – A new consulting business in the Laird Arcade focused on self-discovery, emotional regulation, and vision creation.
  • Wireless Boys – A Boost Mobile retailer opened their doors on W. Market St. in Tiffin earlier this year.
  • Reineke RV – Reineke Family Dealerships purchased and relocated Fort Ball RV to W. Market St. earlier this year.

Fostoria #10 most affordable place to live in Ohio

smartasset2_1000x563_2-4-2014Fostoria was recently ranked the number 10 most affordable place to live in Ohio, according to a study by SmartAsset, a financial calculation firm.

Every year, researchers consider closing costs, real estate taxes, homeowners insurance and mortgage rates over five years among cities with a population of more than 5,000, then see how those figures fit with the communities’ median household income.

This year, Northwest Ohio claimed three of the top 10 slots with Fostoria in the number 10 spot, joining Delphos (#3) and Northwood (#7). Check out the complete SmartAsset study here.

Fostoria is not the only affordable place to live in Seneca County. In 2014, the cost of living in Tiffin was about 20% below the national average, and in 2016 it was listed one of the 20 Most Affordable College Towns.

Tiffin PD cuts crime rate for third consecutive year

2014_04_02 - Tiffin PoliceThe Tiffin Police Department has released their 2015 Annual Report, showing the strides the PD has made in overall crime reduction and working with other communities in Seneca County to provide the best possible safety services.

The report showed a cumulative 74% drop in Uniform Crime Reports crime from 2012-2015. The year 2015 also saw the lowest reports of rape, robbery, burglary and larceny since 2010. From 2014-2015 there was an overall drop in crime of 28.5%. There was also an 18.99% decrease in parking tickets issued in 2015 compared to 2014.

Another highlight of 2015 was working on including Fostoria Police Department in a multi-jurisdictional computer program. This step means that all law enforcement agencies throughout Seneca County will be able to view both reports and units on duty in the county, have a standardized report format, search names throughout the system from any of the other agencies, property searches, vehicle searches, etc. This puts Seneca County ahead of all 88 Ohio counties in multi-jurisdiction law enforcement.

Chief of Police Fredrick Stevens looks forward to continuing these positive trends: “Rest assured that the men and women of the Tiffin Police Department are going to continue to strive to provide the best possible level of professional law enforcement services to our community and it is through the assistance of the Mayor, City Administrator, City Council and its Citizens that make this possible.”

Comparisons of previous years’ statistics can be found here. The complete report can be found at

Crime chart

Largest private employers in Seneca County

Mercy Tiffin

Here is a list of the largest private employers, sorted by number of employees (in ranges). Obtained from publicly available information sources (2014) and other more current research. It is being continually updated.


200-499 employees

National Machinery

American Fine Sinter


50-99 employees

Quick Tab II


Tiffin makes list of best commuter cities

Last week, Tiffin was recognized for another aspect of its great quality of life. The Utah-based insurance company Obrella just published their list of the best commuter cities in Ohio, and Tiffin was in the top 15%, ranking 25th out of 173 communities evaluated.

In its research, Obrella looked at the traffic data from the most recent census survey in cities with a population of more than 10,000 to compile a list of the 40 best and worst commuter cities. There are 173 such cities in Ohio. The results? While the average American travels 25 miles to work each way, the average Tiffin commuter travels less than 20 miles (about a 20% time savings), and the majority of residents travel 15 minutes or less (a 40% time savings).

Add to this the fact that Tiffin also has the third highest percentage of public transit users among the cities listed. For a small community, Tiffin continues to work on its public transit to improve quality of life. SCAT, for instance, provides great, inexpensive transportation throughout Tiffin, Fostoria, and all of Seneca County.

It’s just another reason why it’s great to live, find workers, and grow a business here.

2015_05_12 - 40-best-254


Tiffin cuts crime again to historic lows

2014_04_02 - Tiffin Police

Press Release from the City of Tiffin – Feb. 2, 2015

The Tiffin Police Department‘s Mission Statement states that we are committed to providing a safe community by reducing crime through prevention, education and enforcement of the law and for the second straight year the UCR (Uniformed Crime Report) Part I Crimes have decreased in the City of Tiffin. There was a 6.7% decrease when comparing 2013 to 2014 in the overall Part I Crime.  (See chart below and attachment for more details.)

This is following a 60.3% decrease from the Part I Crimes in 2012 to 2013. (See below chart for a 6 year look back on the Part I stats). This is a direct result to our commitment to tackling the hard crimes in Tiffin whether they are drug busts, robberies, burglaries, thefts, or just the everyday nuisance type crimes. It is our belief that by tackling the small problems some of the big problems will disappear. There is a direct nexus to drug crimes and burglaries and larcenies.

The Uniform Crime Report represents statistics submitted to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, The eight crimes shown below are known as the Crime Index. They provide the “apples to apples” comparison from one jurisdiction to another – from one State to another. Since most States have different laws, this reduction to the simplest elements and crimes provide for a valid State-to-State comparison. All departments are responsible to collect this Part I information and forward it to the FBI.

UCR 2014

Fostoria “right on track” for 2015

2015_01_22 - Fostoria Dream Team

The Fostoria “Dream Team” – Mayor Eric Keckler, Chamber Exec. Sally McDonald, and FEDC Director Renee Smith

I just attended the 100th annual meeting of the Fostoria Area Chamber of Commerce held at the beautiful Good Shepherd Home (which just celebrated a $2M expansion.) In attendance were scores of local and state leaders eager to celebrate the great year that Fostoria had and look forward to the year to come.

New Chamber Executive Director Sally McDonald kicked it off by sharing her theme of “I think I can; I think we can; I know we can; We can;” playing on the Little Engine That Could story. It was totally appropriate given Fostoria’s rail heritage and the fact that 1,000 trains go through the community every day. She set a course for focusing on positive messages – each attendee received the “homework” to provide a positive message for the 100 Days of Good News the Chamber will be sending out. She also pledged to commit to focusing on increasing member benefits and value.

Fostoria Economic Development Corporation chief Renee Smith provided energetic comments about how well things had gone last year, including how industry was expanding and hiring and sharing the fantastic statistic that 40% of all the available industrial properties were sold for a total of $11M+ worth of investment (want to do a future post on that.) She also talked about how her top three priorities for 2015 would be (1) Retention & Expansion; (2) Marketing; and (3) Attraction.

If you haven’t heard, Fostoria has a new tagline – “We’re right on track.” Well, with the great businesses there, a town full of great people, and the Fostoria Dream Team (see above picture), the future of Fostoria is bright indeed.

Tiffin in top 10 nationally for economic development

I am very happy to be sending out this press release this morning:

Seneca County a top ten location in US for economic development

Tiffin’s seven projects with 210 new jobs ranks tenth out of 576 cities

2014_01 - Laminate Technologies Exterior - crop

Laminate Technologies is a US company headquartered in Tiffin that finished up a $2M expansion last year.

TIFFIN, OHIO – March 3, 2013 – The Seneca Industrial & Economic Development Corporation (SIEDC) announced today that Tiffin and Seneca County have placed in the top ten nationally on Site Selection Magazine’s rankings for large, private economic development projects. The rankings, which were released today (see press release), place Tiffin 10th on the list of 576 micropolitans, or counties with a central city between 10,000 and 50,000 in population. Site Selection has been annually ranking states and cities since 1978.

Although Tiffin and Seneca County consistently makes the top 100 and ranked 30th last year, this is the first time it has placed in the top 10. Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz, who just delivered the State of the City address on Tuesday night, was excited by the news: “This is just another example of how Tiffin is on the move.  Our positive momentum in industry, retail, education, and quality of life keeps building.”

Seneca County reached the top ten by registering seven major projects in 2013, involving the creation of 210 new jobs and $27 million in new investment. Eligible economic development projects must involve at least one of the following: the creation of 50 or more jobs, the construction of 20,000 square feet, and/or the investment of at least $1 million. The new or expanded facilities must also be in manufacturing, distribution, office, R&D, headquarters, or call centers.

One of the projects finished last year was a $2 million expansion by Laminate Technologies, a leading manufacturer of laminates to the kitchen cabinet, store fixture and furniture industries. Seneca County Commissioner Fred Zoeller, who is also President & CEO of Laminate Technologies, said, “While I am pleased with the performance of all four of our plants around the country, with our Ohio facility and Tiffin workforce, we are able to do things that exceed the other plants.”

Joining Tiffin in the top 10 this year are Findlay and Fremont, making northwest Ohio the strongest region in the country for micropolitans. “We believe that northwest Ohio is getting some much deserved attention,” said Dean Monske, President & CEO of the Regional Growth Partnership in Toledo. “It’s great to see Tiffin and Seneca County rise to the top nationally.”

Projects for announced, under construction or completed last year included the following:



American Fine Sinter


Ameriwood Industries



Arnold Machine



Jacobson Manufacturing



Laminate Technologies



Tiffin Metal Products



Webster Industries



Totals for 2013



About the Seneca County Industrial & Economic Development Corporation (SIEDC)

Established in 1983, SIEDC is a private, not-for-profit corporation organized for the purpose of attracting, retaining, and expanding business in Tiffin and Seneca County, Ohio. It is also a partner of the northwest JobsOhio network, led by the Regional Growth Partnership in Toledo.

Tiffin crime cut 60%, at historic lows

Fred Stevens

Tiffin Police Chief Fred Stevens

In 1972, a mammoth 932-page book called Safe Places was published. Written by David and Holly Franke, it identified 46 places in the US as the safest communities. They based this on crime statistics as well as taxes, housing, community services and amenities, job opportunities, and medical facilities. Tiffin was the only Ohio community named. The recent announcement by Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz and Police Chief Fred Stevens on the 60% cut in crime from 2012 to 2013 (see crime stats below) helps to solidify the community’s reputation.

Using the FBI Uniform Crime Reporting database, we did an analysis of crime trends for Ohio cities. The most recent data for all cities is 2012, so we looked at rates of decrease from 2011 to 2012 to compare. When looking at property crime (more than 97% of Tiffin’s crime numbers), Tiffin’s 61% decrease is second only behind Broadview Heights, Ohio’s 72% decrease. This is out of 184 cities/counties with both 2011 and 2012 data reported. Of those, 88 have increasing crime, 96 have decreasing crime. The more than 40% decrease in violent crime (17 to 10) ranks Tiffin in the top 15% statewide both for decrease and numbers.

Why are Tiffin’s crime rates at next to historic lows (only year lower on record that I can find is 1990)? Police Chief Fred Stevens has instituted aggressive, proactive approaches to police work that are making an already safe community one of the safest in Ohio. Since becoming police chief in August 2012, and working together with Mayor Montz and Tiffin City Council, Chief Stevens has also hired more officers and revamped the department’s technology.

Crime Stats 2013

It’s also interesting to watch an interview with Chief Stevens from early 2012 to hear about his background (incl. time in Afghanistan) and policing philosophy: 

Want a 20% life discount? Live in Tiffin-Seneca.

Tiffin Cost of Living Index


Today’s post is about another great aspect of living in Tiffin and Seneca County, Ohio. It’s relatively inexpensive. The cost of living is also an indicator of the cost of doing business.

To look at how expensive it is to live in one community over another, we’ll be using a tool called the Cost of Living Index. Without getting down too deep in the theoretical weeds, the Cost of Living Index (COLI) compares the local cost of a variety of goods and services in categories like housing, healthcare, groceries, transportation, and utilities. It then crunches the numbers and compares the overall cost (weighted sum of all goods and services) across the country. The national average is set equal to 100. Accordingly, if your index is less than 100, you are cheaper than the national average and if your COLI is higher, then you are more expensive.

There are a lot of free tools online, but only three (I’ve found) will cover smaller cities and not just metros. So, without further ado, here are the Cost of Living Index results for Tiffin from,, and

Here are the Tiffin results (100 = national average):

1. 80.1 (20% discount)

“Mar. 2012 cost of living index in Tiffin: 80.1 (low, U.S. average is 100).” This means that as of March 2012, Tiffin was 20% less expensive a community to live in than the average community in the US. New York, NY (for reference) has an COLI of 163, meaning it is more than twice the cost of living in Tiffin, or more than 60% more expensive than the national average. Seneca County has an 80.2 index for the same time period.

2.  85 (15% discount)

Just as City-Data does, gives Tiffin an 85, representing a 15% discount off of the national average cost of living. See picture above. You will notice there that we get an “A+” grade from

3. 87 (13% discount)

Tiffin’s overall index is 87% of national average or a 13% discount.