Seneca County Ohio

American Plastics investing $7 million in Seneca County operations

Company added 5 new presses, improved facility

TIFFIN, OHIO – Aug. 20, 2020American Plastics, a premier plastic injection molding company located just south of Tiffin, Ohio, has announced that it has invested $7 million into its operations at the plant. American Plastics employs 142 people in Seneca County.

The new investment is to support American Plastic’s current customers, and includes the purchase of five new, state-of-the-art presses, tooling investments and facility improvements to increase efficiency and capacity.

American Plastics’s Tiffin facility is the sole manufacturer of shelving for the Craftsman brand, available at the more than 1,500 Lowe’s stores in North America. The plant specializes in the production of plastic shelving, including Craftsman, Commander and Blue Hawk name brands for Lowe’s. American Plastics has 14 other facilities throughout the United States, including facilities in Sycamore and Findlay.

In addition to the investments in the company, American Plastics has committed to increasing the wages of its staff. Starting wages are to increase to $14.50 an hour, with a $1 an hour incentive bonus for attendance, for a total starting wage of $15.50 an hour. An outdoor hiring event has been scheduled for 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 27, at American Plastics, 1780 CR 1. There will be open interviews, with orientations on the spot. Available positions are in first and third shift, and employees work 12-hour shifts for 15 days a month. Social distancing guidelines are to be followed.

Joe Roth, Plant Manager for American Plastics in Tiffin, commented: “I’m proud that American Plastics has made a commitment to invest in our team and facility here in Tiffin. Our continued growth is only possible due to the dedication of our team and the support of our customers. It’s always something new with American Plastics, and we are glad to be a part of the Tiffin growth.”

Seneca County Board of Commissioners President Mike Kerschner said: “It is great news to hear that American Plastics has continued to grow and invest in Seneca County. I hope for their continued success.”

About American Plastics
American Plastics, headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, is a leading designer and manufacturer of innovative plastic-injection molded products for the household and garage storage and commercial cleaning end-markets. The company maintains a national manufacturing and distribution footprint with 15 state-of-the-art facilities across North America, making us the partner-of-choice for our customers, nationwide.

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.com.

Clinton Heights Golf Course expands with driving range

Practice facility open now

TIFFIN, OHIO – June 22, 2020 – Having completed construction in the fall and opening in early May, Clinton Heights Golf Course is announcing that it has expanded with the addition of a new driving range and practice facility. The facility has 5 acres of greens to shoot at, with two tee-boxes and targets at 75, 100, 125 and 150 yards and driving boxes for 150, 200 and 225 yards.

Co-owners Jeannine Curns and Chris Magers, who have owned the course since 2003, said they purchased about 22 acres for the facility in 2019 and completed the project in the fall of 2019. The course employs 20 people, and two additional employees were added for the expansion.

“This was just the perfect opportunity for us to grow, and the community has been very supportive,” Curns said.

“Many local schools and community organizations have events or school function at our course, and this just gives us another opportunity for people to see what we have here in Seneca County,” Magers said, adding that the range also provides a great opportunity for youth and senior citizens to experience the game of golf.

Magers and Curns added that the Clinton Township Board of Trustees have been great to work with through the approvals process.

“We think it’s a great addition to the township. We’re glad to have them expanding here and it’s great for the community,” said Dennis Moyer, Clinton Township trustee.

“I’m glad to see that Clinton Heights is growing and offering an exciting expansion of their services here in Seneca County,” said Seneca County Commissioner Shayne Thomas.

The new facility is to be open 8 a.m.-9:30 p.m. seven days a week, and memberships are being offered for the practice facility as well as daily rates. For more information, visit clintonheightsgolf.com, call (419) 447-8863 or search for Clinton Heights Golf Course on Facebook or Twitter.

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.

Seneca County projects total $108M in 2016

SIEDC announces new community branding and downtown programs

TIFFIN, OHIO – March 23, 2017 – The Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corporation held its Annual Meeting Thursday night, recapping the successes of 2016 and expanding on its direction for 2017.

In 2016, SIEDC recorded 129 development projects throughout Seneca County, creating 227 new jobs and a total investment of $108 million. This earned the county a ranking of 10th in the nation among 576 communities of similar size for the second time in three years.

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz is excited about the momentum: “Tiffin is gaining attention as a community that welcomes new businesses and creates an environment where established businesses can confidently expand.” Seneca County Commissioner Mike Kerschner agrees. “Each year we are seeing more development and expansion in all sectors throughout the County,” he said.

As part of further community promotion efforts, it was announced that Upward, an Ohio-based branding firm, has been chosen to create a community brand through a partnership between SIEDC, the Seneca Regional Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Services, the City of Tiffin, and Seneca County. The firm was unanimously chosen from a pool of seven applicants by a steering committee of stakeholders. Details are expected to be finalized in the next few weeks.

“We are excited to solidify a recognizable identity for our community,” Chamber President John Detwiler said. “The time is right for a new community brand, one that unifies all of its unique parts.”

It was also announced that the Downtown Tiffin Main Street program, administered by SIEDC, was nationally accredited as a Main Street Community after an intensive review process. In December 2016, Tiffin became an Ohio Main Street Community through Heritage Ohio, recognized at the state level.

Finally, plans were also made public for a new city-funded downtown Alley Improvement Plan, in partnership with SIEDC’s downtown program. The new initiative will focus on the beautification of alleys with an aim toward improving pedestrian walkability. Improvements will be decided on a project by project basis and could include decorative asphalt, planters, seating, improved lighting and, in some cases, removable bollards closing the alley to vehicle traffic. The first project will be the alley across from the Ritz Theater, connecting South Washington St. to City Lot 3. Utility and design work has already begun and the project is slated for completion in 2018.

Mayor Montz believes the program will improve pedestrian safety and downtown accessibility. “With all of the exciting revitalization happening downtown we are seeing more foot traffic and a need for pedestrian-friendly alleyways to connect our parking lots to the main streets downtown,” he said.

About SIEDC
Started in 1983, the Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp. (SIEDC) 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.senecasuccess.com.

$9M Tiffin Rehabilitation Center project breaks ground

TRC DozerThe Mercy Tiffin Hospital campus is growing with the addition of a new facility. On September 11, 2014, the Volunteers of America (VOA) invited the public to the official groundbreaking event for the new Tiffin Rehabilitation Center and Sojourn at Seneca. The groundbreaking event was held at 5:00 pm at Mercy Tiffin Hospital, located at 45 St. Lawrence Drive in Tiffin, Ohio. The groundbreaking featured several speakers, including hospital administrators, Mayor Aaron Montz, Mercy Tiffin President & CEO Lynn Detterman, VOA national President Mike King and other people associated with the project. Following the groundbreaking event, a reception was held on the first floor of the McMullen Conference Center. The $9 million project is being funded by the Volunteers of America, who operates Autumnwood Care Center in Tiffin.

The facility, set to open in the fall of 2015, is expected to employ 55 and will have two separate wings. In one wing, the structure is to house 20 transitional skilled nursing beds. In the other wing, 24 beds are to be available for seniors in need of short-term mental health services. The project estimates at around $22 million. The facility is to be operated by Sally St. Clair, the current Executive Director of the Volunteers of America Autumnwood Care Center, who will administer both Tiffin facilities.

> View Advertiser-Tribune article here.

Starting a business – Step 4 (money)

Our first three steps to starting a business involve a lot of prep work–getting advice, input, and making a plan. The fourth step–ensuring you have the capital you need to be successful–is part of those first three steps, but we’ll call it out specifically here. I’ll offer six pieces of advice with respect to capital.

The Lean Startup1. Start as lean as possible – Entrepreneur and investor Mark Cuban said in a 2013 Bloomberg interview that only morons start a business on a loan. His point – you have so much uncertainty, keep costs to a minimum, and many businesses don’t need to be particularly capital intensive to start. I like the fact that in that interview he stresses the value of doing your homework (Steps 1-3.) This is good advice. It also ties into the fail fast, fail cheap mantra, which isn’t so much about failing as about continuing to evolve your product or service to better meet customer needs and wants, because an entrepreneur can’t know everything out of the gate. New businesses shouldn’t, as a general rule, buy buildings, equipment or other expensive means of production. They should lease and rent whatever fixed assets they can in the beginning. Again, this is a general rule.

2. Match sources and uses – if you have to invest in fixed assets (physical assets whose life is longer than a year), then make sure that you obtain longer-term financing. I’ve seen businesses invest all of their cash or borrow on credit cards to invest in fixed assets, and then they don’t have the money needed for working capital. Matching sources and uses simply means matching the terms of financing to the life of the asset. This means generally if a piece of equipment has a seven year useful life, then it should be financed with a seven-year loan not with an annually renewing line of credit.

3. Shore up your working capital – a number of businesses fail because they did not plan adequately for enough working capital. As Lahle Wolf  says, “Working capital is the amount of liquid assets (in cash or accessible as cash) to run and grow your business. Start-up capital (which serves as working capital) should cover business expenses for at least one year or until the business is able to generate enough revenue to sustain itself.” Many entrepreneurs underestimate the amount needed.

4. Talk to your local banks – local banks, or banks with a presence or representative in your market, can help with financial planning and provide advice on how best to meet your financial needs. Remember to do your homework first (Steps 1 to 3) and make sure you are starting as lean as possible before going to the bank. Have the SBDC (see Step 1) review your business plan (Step 3) to determine if it’s ready for a bank. The point here is, you can approach the banks before you know exactly what you need/want, but you should know and have vetted (checked out by others) before going in. Great local banks in this market include (but are not limited to) Old Fort Bank, Fifth Third, Croghan Colonial Bank, and PNC.

SBA 7a & 5045. Take advantage of public financing programs – there are a myriad of these programs, and they certainly merit a post on their own. As with all of these and other items, please feel free to contact us at SIEDC for assistance.  Ten of the most popular include the following: SBA 504, SBA 7a, Regional 166, Collateral Enhancement Program (CEP), Ohio Capital Access Program (OCAP), local Revolving Loan Fund, Innovation Ohio Loan Fund, Targeted Investment Program, USDA Business & Industry Loan Guarantee, ECDI. A guide to what you should prepare prior to applying for an SBA loan can be found here.

MillstreamAngelClub6. Don’t discount nontraditional financing – there are several alternatives to traditional funding and FFF (friends, family and fools) for entrepreneurs to consider. Crowdfunding is becoming increasingly popular (see listing). In addition, local investment and angel groups are proliferating. For Tiffin and Seneca County, the Mill Stream Angels Group is looking at both traditional (high-tech, high-growth IT, medical, etc.) and non-traditional (food, manufacturing, etc.) businesses for investment. The CoreNetwork, founded in 2003 in Toledo, looks for high growth companies in northwest Ohio.

Starting a Business Series Links:

Seneca Co. companies using $80M state training program

National Machinery in Tiffin

National Machinery was awarded a $40K+ grant under the IWTVP.

The State of Ohio is investing millions of tax dollars into improving the skills of Ohioans working right now.  Those currently employed workers–called “incumbent” workers in workforce development lingo–have often been overlooked by state and federal training programs, which have traditionally helped the unemployed, dislocated workers, and/or new hires get skills to get a job.

The Ohio Incumbent Workforce Training Voucher Program (IWTVP) turns the “new hires”-only model on its head and takes casino fees and delivers it directly to companies in certain targeted industries  to cover up to half of the costs of training those employees, up to $4,000 per employee and $250,000 per company. The first round in 2012 totaled $20 million, and another $30 million was released last year. Another $30 million has been budgeted for the next state fiscal year, beginning July 1, 2014. In the last round, 620 companies were given grants, with more than 51,000 workers planned to receive training.

In Seneca County, National Machinery, a world leader in metal cold forming equipment based in Tiffin, received a grant of more than $43,000 and has used about half of it so far. Church & Dwight, manufacturer of the famous Arm & Hammer baking soda, received a grant of about $7,000 and has spent about 2/3 of it. We would love to see more businesses take advantage of this great program, and Carol Owen Kern, the county Workforce Administrator, will help businesses determine if they’re qualified and help them through the application process. Businesses I’ve talked to love working with Carol, who can be reached by phone at 419-447-5011 (322) or by email at owenc@odjfs.state.oh.us. Given that we’re only four months away from the new state fiscal year, we want companies to begin to become aware of the program now.

Here are some key links for the program:

Seneca County in top 5% for economic development

1303CoverBIGWhen I was exploring various communities, something struck me about Tiffin and Seneca County – its economic development success. It’s a very well-kept secret, but it’s pretty amazing. There are 576 Micropolitan Statistical Areas (or “Micropolitans”) in the US, which are urban areas (counties) around a city of 10,000 to 49,999 in population–which is exactly what Seneca County, Ohio is.

Also, every year, these micropolitans compete for economic development bragging rights by sending in their large private investment projects to Site Selection Magazine. Site Selection then racks and stacks each micropolitan and releases in their March issue the top 100 (20%) nationally in terms of the number of projects. In order to qualify, a project must involve (a) 50 or more new employees, (b) 20,000 or more new square feet of space, or (c) $1 million in investment.

So, here’s the amazing part. For seven of the last ten years, Seneca County has ranked in the top 100 (the top 20%) across the country. And last year, it tied for 30th, putting it among the strongest 5% nationally. This is great news and is a testament to the county’s economic growth, the great businesses here, the community’s support of business, and the great job Rich Focht and Karen Bowers did at SIEDC (my organization). The table below is from the March 2013 edition of Site Selection, in particular the article on micropolitans.

The four projects for 2012 for Seneca County were as follows (source: Ohio’s Private Investment Survey 2012):

2012TopMicropolitans