Beth Schweitzer receives TSEP President’s Award

Winners named during TSEP Annual Meeting

TSEP President and CEO David Zak presents Beth Schweitzer with the President’s Award during the 2021 Annual Meeting June 3, 2021.

TIFFIN, OHIO – June 30, 2021 – Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership is proud to have honored Beth Schweitzer with the President’s Award during the 2021 Annual Meeting June 3, 2021.

Schweitzer led the Seneca County General Health District, beginning May 1, 2014, and retired April 30. As Health Commissioner, she saw Seneca County through the COVID-19 pandemic.

“When an elected official or elected leader takes office, you always think about the different disasters you’re going to have to deal with. I don’t think any of us, especially our health commissioner, though that we would deal with a worldwide pandemic,” said Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz.

“I think the important thing about Beth, is that she was able to walk the line between protecting the public health interest and protecting the economic interests of the businesses so that it would be safe, but also that it would get started and up and running as soon as it was prudent to do so,” said David Zak, President and CEO of Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership.

As well as working with elected officials and community leaders, Schweitzer helped to explain the situation in the county during regular updates using social media and by answering phone calls with leaders and small businesses.

“Coming onboard as the Executive Director of the Seneca Regional Chamber of Commerce in the middle of a pandemic, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into. So many small businesses were asking me questions about the number of visitors they could have in their shops, about the number of attendees they could have at events – a lot of small business had a lot of questions. When I didn’t know the answer, I always went to Beth,” said Bryce Riggs, Executive Director of the Seneca Regional Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Services.

“She was the right person at the right time. We were never hesitant to take Beth’s advice,” said Seneca County Board of Commissioners President Mike Kerschner.

Montz said he was especially grateful to Schweitzer for her willingness to work with the State of Ohio to obtain a waiver to allow businesses to stay open by appointment only, which he credited as saving a lot of retailers, especially in Downtown Tiffin.

“Beth was so willing to go above and beyond and figure out a way to make things work in a safe and effective manner,” Montz said.

Schweitzer was replaced by Anne Goon, who served as health commissioner in other locations and has consulted with Ohio State University and with health departments helping them through the accreditation process.

Dan Barbee, President Mercy Health Rural Division Hospitals, including Tiffin, Willard and Defiance, was only able to work with Schweitzer for about a year, but he said he knew they would hit it off, both coming from a nursing background. Barbee said he will miss her in the role locally.

“You were wonderful to work with, with myself and my crew, and we wish you the very best in retirement,” he said.

The statements of congratulations were echoed by other members of the community.

“From the mayor’s office and everyone at City Hall, congratulations on the President’s Award. We are really going to miss your presence at the health department,” Montz said.

“Beth, you deserve the award because you are one of the reasons we were able to achieve really strong economic development success, nationally-leading economic development success, and on behalf of the board and the team of TSEP and the entire community, thank you,” Zak said.

To view video of the award winner, click here.

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.

View State COVID Business Grant Webinar Recording and Slides – June 29

Watch the recording from the recent webinar on the new Food & Establishment Grant, Entertainment Venue Grant, Lodging Grant, and New Small Business Grant here:

The slides presented on the webinar are here as well:

If you have any questions please feel free to reach out to David Zak at 419.912.1150 or by email at zak@tiffinseneca.org.

TSEP hires new Operations Manager

Tiffin University business graduate and successful nonprofit administrator to start July 12

TIFFIN, OHIO – June 29, 2021 – After a three-month state and national search, Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership (TSEP) is proud to announce that Corrina Haynes will be joining as the first Operations Manager in the organization’s history. Haynes will be starting in her new role on Monday, July 12, and will be working at TSEP’s offices at 96 S. Washington St. in the heart of historic downtown Tiffin.

“I am excited to be joining this great organization and look forward to being a part of making a big impact on the lives of people in Tiffin and rural Seneca County,” Haynes said. “I am eager to put my passion for nonprofit work, love for this community, and administrative and business skills to use supporting the team. I want to help continue the great growth we’ve seen here in recent years.”

A Tiffin resident and 2021 graduate of Tiffin University with a degree in business administration, Haynes is leaving her current full-time administrative and victim advocate position at First Step – Wood, Wyandot, Seneca & Sandusky Counties, a family resource center that provides a variety of services runs the first domestic violence shelter built in Ohio and the fourth one built in the nation. There, Haynes was responsible for assisting with helping clients access resources, company reporting, information technology, fundraising strategy and implementation, volunteer recruitment and management, social media and external communications, file and document management, scheduling, staff support, and communicating with stakeholders on a variety of issues.

In addition to working for First Step, Haynes also has volunteered the past few years as a special advocate and guardian ad litem with CASA of Seneca, Sandusky & Wyandot Counties, where she works with the courts and significant people in a child’s life to ensure the best interests of the child are protected. Haynes also has experience in the retail sector, executing merchandising and customer experience strategy for Lowe’s.

“It has taken about a year to get to this point,” said TSEP President & CEO David Zak. “After months of strategic planning, budgeting, developing the position, we received submissions from 33 candidates, which was narrowed down to 12 we interviewed. Three finalists then met with our board of directors, and at the end of it all, Corrina was clearly the best choice. We are so fortunate to have her join our team.”

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.

Terra State to host TechCred Workshop on July 13

TechCred Workshop
Tuesday, July 13, 2021
9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. (in-person & virtual)
Doepker Leadership Center (B101) at Terra State Community College

Pre-registration required. Register today by calling or emailing The Kern Center at 419.559.2464 • kern@terra.edu

Do you want to upskill your workforce and receive state funding to help with the cost?

In partnership with a training provider like Terra State, employers can apply online to be reimbursed up to $2,000* of training costs once the employee has successfully completed a credential. Qualified credentials must be short-term (less than one year to complete), technology focused and industry recognized. *$2,000 per employee, up to $30,000 total available per funding round.

Don’t miss this hands-on workshop with LuAnne Cooke, NW Ohio Liaison with Lt. Governor Jon Husted’s office. This workshop will provide a brief overview of TechCred and assistance with completing your application online. Bring your laptops and the following information:

  • Supplier ID Number
  • Charter Number
  • Federal Tax ID Number

For assistance obtaining these numbers and the full list of information required for the application, visit TechCred.Ohio.gov prior to the workshop.

TechCred can be utilized for:

  • Apprenticeships
  • Business Technology
  • Healthcare Technology
  • IoT and Cybersecurity
  • Military and Smart Transportation
  • Construction Technology
  • Information Technology
  • Manufacturing Technology
  • Robotics/Automation

Below is the agenda for the day:

9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. – Special TechCred Workshop presented by LuAnne Cooke, NW Ohio Liaison with Lt. Governor Jon Husted’s office. She will provide some basic information and any updates followed by a hands-on workshop to assist with the actual application process. Bring your laptops, Supplier ID Number, Charter Number, and Federal Tax ID Number. The attached flyer for the event provides a link to assist you with obtaining these numbers.

11:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. – Join us for a special presentation by Terra State and Great Lakes Community Action Partnership regarding the Job Corps Scholars Program which offers free tuition for career technical training, career coaching, paid work experience, and more.

11:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. – OhioMeansJobs will provide information about additional funding resources and all of their current services available for businesses.

John and Linda Detwiler receive TSEP Special Recognition Award

Winners named during TSEP Annual Meeting

TIFFIN, OHIO – June 25, 2021 – Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership is proud to have honored John and Linda Detwiler with the Special Recognition Award during the 2021 Annual Meeting June 3, 2021.

After 11 years of service, Seneca Regional Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Services President and CEO John announced his retirement from the position in March 2020. Born and raised in Tiffin, Detwiler left the community in his late teens and worked in sales and marketing. In 2009, he and Linda returned to the community where he took the job of president and CEO of the Tiffin Area Chamber of Commerce and she became a professor in the Communication Department at Heidelberg University.

“The work that they put in over a decade really elevated the Chamber to a major player in making this community a great place to live, work, play, visit and study,” said David Zak, President and CEO of Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership.

Since joining the Chamber, John has been instrumental in the revitalization of Tiffin, including being involved with Tiffin Tomorrow, a citizen-led group with the goal of promoting and encouraging economic development in downtown Tiffin, and helping to unveil the Downtown Strategic Survey in 2010. John also championed and implemented successful events for the Chamber, especially the Seneca County Farmers Market in Downtown Tiffin. Starting in 2010, John and Linda had been organizing and working the event for two Saturdays a month for much of the year. By laying that groundwork, the Tiffin Seneca Farmers Market now is under the direction of the non-profit organization Seneca County Common Ground.

“Whenever there was a farmers market downtown, you could always find John and Linda in the same spot, watching everything and everybody from start to finish,” said Linda Burns, co-owner of Burns Electric.

“Without John and Linda Detwiler, the farmers market wouldn’t have started, it wouldn’t have been sustained, and look what we have today – we have an independent 501c3, we have a professional market manager, we have a $2.6 million community kitchen project that’s underway, raising money because of what they did. That’s going to be a lasting legacy,” Zak said.

Under his leadership, John brought the county’s visitor services under the direction of the Chamber, renaming the organization the Seneca Regional Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Services and creating a separate organization in Destination Seneca County under the umbrella of the Chamber.

“Coming on board as the next director of the Seneca Regional Chamber of Commerce, I want to thank you for the groundwork you put in to support our members, tourism and this community,” said Bryce Riggs, Executive Director of the Seneca Regional Chamber of Commerce.

“Thank you for everything you’ve done for our members, you’ve done for our community. We wish you well,” he added.

The Detwilers also brought the business community together, with the Chamber’s Annual Meeting, Casino Royale, Golf Outing and ribbon cuttings.

“Congratulations, John and Linda on your special recognition award. What a worthy couple in everything you’ve done in Tiffin,” said Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz.

Montz added that one of his favorite things he does each year is being invited to speak to Linda’s Heidelberg classes about civic engagement.

“I would just like to say to you, John, how much I appreciate the way you led the Chamber. And to you, Linda, over the 13 years that you’ve been a communications professor here at Heidelberg, I really admire the focus and the fire you brought to the classroom for our students,” said Heidelberg University President Rob Huntington.

“Together as a wonderful couple in this community, you helped strengthen our economy, educate our students, and for that, I say ‘congratulations, you really deserve the TSEP 2021 Special Recognition Award,” he added.

To view video of the award winners, click here.

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.

PHOTO CAPTION

TSEP Chair Dean Keller (left), president of First National Bank of Sycamore, presents Linda and John Detwiler with the TSEP Special Recognition Award during the 2021 TSEP Annual Meeting.

TSEP to cohost webinar on business grant programs

>>> Log in to webinar at 2:00 p.m. on June 29 here – https://us06web.zoom.us/j/85157927016

TIFFIN, OHIO – June 25, 2021 – In response to the announcement on Friday of the launch of four business grant programs by Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor John Husted, the Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership is co-hosting a webinar with the Seneca Regional Chamber, Ohio Lt. Governor John Husted’s Office and the Small Business Development Center at Terra State to go over the programs, answer questions, and connect you to the right people. Money has been set aside for businesses in every county, including Seneca County.

The four programs are the following:

  • Food and Beverage Establishment Grant – up to $30,000 to restaurants, bars, coffee shops, and other food and drinking businesses affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. $100 million has been set aside for this program.
  • Entertainment Venue Grant – up to $30,000 to theaters, music venues, spectator sports venues, museums, and other entertainment establishments affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. $20 million has been set aside for the program.
  • Lodging Grant – up to $30,000 to hotels, motels, and bed and breakfast operations affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. $25 million has been set aside for this program.
  • New Small Business Grant – up to $10,000 to small businesses established between Jan. 1 and Dec. 31, 2020. $10 million has been set aside for this program.

The webinar will be available to businesses and anyone interested from the general public and take place at 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, June 29, 2021. The Zoom link can be found at tsepwebinar.com, or attendees can connect directly at https://us06web.zoom.us/j/85157927016 at the time of the event. Preregistration is not necessary.

More details on the program and application to the programs can be found at https://businesshelp.ohio.gov/. Businesses can begin applying to the program that same day.

Cohosts for the program will be the following:

  • Lu Cooke, Ohio Lt. Governor’s Office
  • Bryce Riggs, Executive Director, Seneca Regional Chamber and Destination Seneca County
  • David Zak, President & CEO, Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership
  • Audrey Flood, Development Manager for Rural, Entrepreneurship and Community Development
  • Holly Hoffman, Coordinator of Workforce & Community Education, Terra State Community College

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.

State of Ohio launches 4 new business grant programs – applications open Jun. 29

Press Release from Governor DeWine and Lt. Governor Husted (Jun. 25, 2025):

DeWine Husted Masthead

Governor DeWine, Lt. Governor Husted Announce $155 Million in Business Assistance Programs

(COLUMBUS, Ohio) — Ohio Governor Mike DeWine and Lt. Governor Jon Husted today announced the launch of four grant programs to help small and medium-sized businesses recover from the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

“These four new grant programs will help industries that experienced losses over the last year because of the pandemic,” said Governor DeWine. “Ohio’s economy is moving forward, and with new grant programs like the ones we are announcing today, we are optimistic that our economy will only continue to grow stronger from here.

“The programs will provide $155 million in grant funding to businesses that opened in 2020, food and beverage establishments, entertainment venues, and lodging venues. The funds were made available by the Ohio General Assembly as part of Senate Bill 108 and Senate Bill 109, both of which Governor DeWine signed into law in May. 

All four programs will be administered by the Ohio Development Services Agency (Development). Program guidelines, terms and conditions, and required documentation for all four programs are available now at BusinessHelp.Ohio.GovThe applications will open on Tuesday, June 29, 2021.

“The focus of this funding is primarily on Ohio-owned, small businesses that are important contributors to their local economy and the quality of life for the people who live there,” said Lt. Governor Husted. “The grants will help these businesses buy equipment, hire more employees and make needed updates to their facilities, so they, and the communities they serve, can recover faster.”

Ohio Small Business Development Centers and Ohio Minority Business Assistance Centers are staffed with advisors who can help businesses with the application process. 

“The investments we make through these programs will ensure the survival and stability of our small businesses,” said Director of Development Lydia Mihalik. “Our small business owners and entrepreneurs are the heart of our economy, and we’re optimistic about the future.”

Heidelberg and Tiffin universities receive 2021 Lifetime Achievement Awards

Winners named during TSEP Annual Meeting

Heidelberg University President Rob Huntington (left) and Tiffin University President Lillian Schumacher stand with award presenter Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz, member of the TSEP Executive Board.

TIFFIN, OHIO – June 25, 2021 – Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership is proud to have named Heidelberg University and Tiffin University as the winners of the Lifetime Achievement Award during the 2021 Annual Meeting June 3, 2021.

Heidelberg College was founded in 1850 by members of the German Reformed Church who named it after the Heidelberg Catechism of 1563. The school was as a co-ed campus from the beginning, which was unusual for its time. Heidelberg’s American Junior Year program at Heidelberg University in Heidelberg, Germany, is the oldest exchange program between an American university and a German university. In 2009, Heidelberg College became Heidelberg University, to reflect more appropriately the academic offerings of the school. Heidelberg offers 36 undergraduate courses of study, four graduate programs, 16 minors, and 13 pre-professional programs.

“We’ve always been a welcoming community, a welcoming campus, and we’ve embraced faculty, staff, to come together to help lift students up from all backgrounds that come to Heidelberg University,” said Heidelberg President Rob Huntington.

Tiffin University was founded in 1888 after Heidelberg decided its commercial management division didn’t align with its mission. The school was founded as Tiffin Business College, first located in Downtown Tiffin and then moved to Miami Street to a former school building, which today serves as the Main Classroom Building. Over the years, TU has successfully transitioned from traditional seated students to a mixture of seated and online students, from across the country and around the world. Today, TU offers more than 25 majors through on-campus and online learning that result in real advantages for its students.

“Over our history, we’ve really grown, not only in terms of our student growth, but also in terms of our campus. If you look around our campus today, it looks very different than it even did 15 years ago, 25 years ago, and definitely 30 and 40 years ago,” said TU President Lillian Schumacher.

Having started as an institution that was one, and then going their separate ways, today the administrations at Heidelberg and TU often seek out opportunities to collaborate, such as the annual Around the Town event.

“Tiffin University and Heidelberg collaborate in many, many ways – and it wasn’t always like that,” Schumacher said. “Our institutions today work really well together, and I think we’re both very proud of the fact that we are part of the education community of Tiffin, Ohio.”

“We share, as I think all people should share, this common goal which is that we want to attract people from outside the area to come to Tiffin and Seneca County, initially through the educational experience at the college and university level, and then we would like them to stay, to build lives here, which I think is great for the entire Tiffin and Seneca County community,” Huntington said.

“These institutions have had a profound effect on our economy, our community, and, for some of us, professionally and personally,” said Lisa Hohman, TSEP board member. Hohman, CEO of Concordance Healthcare Solutions, is a Heidelberg graduate and TU Board Member.

The Covid-19 global pandemic created challenges for the universities, but both managed to adapt during difficult times.

“This school has worked its way through and survived,” Huntington said. “Going all the way through to the global flu epidemic of 1918 to the global covid pandemic of 2019. We’re leaning into it to work our way through this Covid Pandemic.”

“It has been a long almost 13 months now, and higher education, as well as in education in general, not to mention our world, so many of us have had to adapt and adjust due to the pandemic,” Schumacher said. “It was seamless for the most part, but of course, when you go through disruption like this, you grow and adjust along the way.

“Our students are amazing – the college students today, they are some of the most resilient,” she added.

Schumacher thanked TSEP and its members for recognizing both Heidelberg University and Tiffin University for the Lifetime Achievement Award, which Huntington echoed.

“It is so fitting and so appropriate that we would each and together win this award together at the same time, in the same year,” he said.

To view video, click here.

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.

Ameriwood Industries receives 2021 Economic Development Award

Winners named during TSEP Annual Meeting

Roy Glodowski, plant manager at Tiffin’s Ameriwood Industries facility, poses for a picture after receiving the Economic Development Award from Andy Felter, TSEP Executive Board Member and President of Webster Industries at the 2021 TSEP Annual Meeting.

TIFFIN, OHIO – June 8, 2021 – Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership is proud to have named Dorel/Ameriwood Industries as the 2021 Economic Development Award winner during the 2021 Annual Meeting June 3, 2021.

Ameriwood Industries has operated in Tiffin since 1954, and has been under the ownership of Dorel Industries Inc. since 1998. Locally, the plant employs 218 people.

Dorel Industries Inc., based in Montreal, Quebec, is a global organization, operating three distinct businesses in juvenile products, bicycles and home products. Dorel’s strength lies in the diversity, innovation and quality of its products as well as the superiority of its brands. Dorel Juvenile’s powerfully branded products include global brands Maxi-Cosi, Quinny and Tiny Love, complemented by regional brands such as Safety 1st, Bébé Confort, Cosco and Infanti. Dorel Sports brands include Cannondale, Schwinn, GT, Mongoose, Caloi and IronHorse.

Dorel Home, with its comprehensive e-commerce platform, markets a wide assortment of domestically produced and imported furniture. Dorel has annual sales of $2.6 billion with products sold in more than 100 countries, and employs approximately 10,000 people in facilities located in 25 countries worldwide.

In 2020, Dorel Home, a segment of Dorel Industries, announced that it would invest $3.27 million at its Ameriwood Home facility in Tiffin for machinery and equipment and hire an additional 87 employees at the plant over the next four years. The investment in Tiffin includes $2.57 million in new machinery and equipment and $700,000 in updates to the facility.

At the time, Norman Braunstein, President and CEO for Dorel Home, said, “We are excited to announce that we will be expanding in our facility in Tiffin. Tiffin has been an important partner in Dorel’s business model and will continue to rely on it as the company grows.”

Tiffin-Seneca Economic Partnership and Regional Growth Partnership in Northwest Ohio (RGP) worked with Dorel Home and consultant MarksNelson to bring this project to Ohio. Local incentives include a City of Tiffin’s New Jobs Program and OhioMeansJobs-Seneca County is offering up to $387,000 in potential workforce development grants. At the state level, RGP secured a Jobs Creation Tax Credit, Training Grant and Economic Development Grant through JobsOhio.

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.

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.