clothing store

Tiffin native returns with clothing store Kesler and Co.

New retailer opening in mid-August

TIFFIN, OHIO – Aug. 7, 2020 – After having left the area for 14 years, Tiffin native Chelsea Lonsway is returning to Seneca County and opening a business in Downtown Tiffin, Kesler and Co., in mid-August. The new clothing store, at 184 S. Washington St., specializes in women’s clothing for all body types, with styles ranging from comfortable lounge wear to boho-chic for a night out on the town. Lonsway’s focus has been on body positivity and ensuring each individual customer feels confident and enough in their own skin.

Lonsway had been living in Michigan and has been selling clothing primarily online for four years in her close-knit community on Facebook. She said she is looking forward to interacting directly with customers in the store and to build on her relationships with the clients she already has in Tiffin. 

“It’s been a dream of mine to have a storefront, and now that I’m moving back home, it just seemed like the right time,” Lonsway said. “Tiffin’s downtown is really flourishing, so I’m excited to integrate into the business community here and engage with the city.”

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz said, “It’s wonderful to see a new retailer coming to Downtown Tiffin. It’s also great to see someone return who is excited about bringing their talents to the community.”

Kesler and Co. recently became a member of the Seneca Regional Chamber of Commerce & Visitor Services. For more information and business hours, visit keslerandco.com or find Kesler and Co. on Facebook.

About Downtown Tiffin

The revitalization of downtown Tiffin began in 2011, when a group of community members came together to for “Tiffin Tomorrow”, with the goal of promoting and encouraging economic development in downtown Tiffin, and creating plans, programs and actions to ensure long-term vitality and prosperity. In 2014, the city of Tiffin contracted with SIEDC to act as the downtown organization and “Tiffin Tomorrow” came under the SIEDC umbrella as the “Downtown Development Committee,” which serves as the governing board of the downtown organization. In 2015, Tiffin joined Heritage Ohio’s Ohio Main Street Program. For more information, click here.

Tom Rodgers Flowers expanding at downtown Tiffin location

Business partners with national clothing wholesaler

TIFFIN, OHIO – JANUARY 28, 2019 –Tom Rodgers Flowers announced today that they have finalized a deal with Jim’s Formal Wear to expand their operation and sell and rent designer clothing at their 245 South Washington Street location in downtown Tiffin. The store upgrades, including dressing rooms, will be complete this year and products are to be available by Valentine’s Day. Brian Ferguson, Owner and President of Tom Rodgers Flowers, expects to add two more staff members this year as well.

Based in Trenton, Illinois, Jim’s Formal Wear provides clothing nationally through seven service centers, eight regional hubs, and 5,000 retail locations nationwide. Currently, there one location in Attica (Seneca County), and other area stores can be found in Fremont, Findlay, Maumee and Upper Sandusky. The company specializes in clothing for weddings, formal dances and special events and offers items from designers such as Michael Kors, Calvin Klein, Jean Yves and Lauren by Ralph Lauren.

Ferguson is pleased the project is moving forward: “Jim’s Formal Wear is a great strategic partner, and it will allow us to expand our business throughout the area. We service a lot of weddings, homecomings and proms, so I think this is a really good fit for our business.”

Established in 1947, Tom Rodgers Flowers has a successful history of providing quality floral arrangements, Ohio-made or -packaged homemade and gourmet food products, memorial items for funerals, gifts and customized gift baskets, as well as home decor. The company also recently expanded its delivery fleet and becomes the fourth business to offer clothing in the downtown area, joining stores like Washington Street Outfitters, Simply Susan’s and Tuxedo Junction.

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz was excited about the announcement: “Every new business and business expansion in Tiffin and in the downtown enhances quality of life for residents and makes our community more attractive for students, visitors and investors.”

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 http://www.tiffinseneca.com.

Contest winners open for business

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Zoe and Spenser with the contest judges.

In September of 2016 the Tiffin Community Reinvestment Group held a contest to give a space to an aspiring entrepreneur rent free for one year. From the applicant pool, seven possible businesses were chosen to present their business in front of a panel, who decided the winner. This week, contest winners Zoe Dolch and Spenser Blackiston will open Washington Street Outfitters in the Laird Arcade.

Their store is located on the interior of the Laird Arcade (corner of Market and Washington Streets) and features men and women’s clothing and jewelry as well as new and used vinyl records and home decor. “It’s a mixed-merchandise approach, ” Zoe said. “We have hundreds of items and different styles as well as staple items.”

As winners of the contest, in addition to free rent, they received two business organization sessions with professional organizer Reannon Hayes, six sessions from KKR Consult, a business consulting and dream coaching service, and meetings with Retail is Detail (provided by Heritage Ohio), which provided marketing and demographic information for the area. The Seneca Regional Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Services provided one year of free membership, which includes participation in the Chamber Cash gift certificate program.

After winning the contest, they were also contacted by groups at both Heidelberg and Tiffin Universities looking to take an active role in marketing. The Enactus group from Heidelberg has been helping the pair since a couple weeks after the contest, assisting with tasks ranging from building clothing racks to planning the grand opening. Tiffin University marketing students also started working on a marketing campaign that will be presented to Zoe and Spenser upon completion.

“I love the students,” Zoe said. “Working with them has been a great experience and a lot of fun.”

Zoe and Spenser are recent college graduates who were originally looking to start careers elsewhere and defer their dream of opening their own store when they learned about the business contest. “We didn’t know if we could win, but we knew we could put our whole hearts in it,” Zoe said. “We didn’t anticipate this opportunity, it just came about and it felt right.”

Property Manager for the Tiffin Community Reinvestment Group and organizer of the contest Tyler Shuff said he is working with runners-up of the contest to help them launch their business ideas. “The contest was great and brought everyone out of the woodwork that had an idea. Even though there was only one winner, I want to help all seven finalists,” he said. “We are looking at doing another contest within the next year or two, with the goal of getting people downtown and giving their business a head-start.”

Two of the finalists now have office space in the Laird Arcade – Small Victories Financial Coaching and Lascala IT. Shuff is currently working with a wine and craft bar, dance studio and business incubator to find space downtown.