small business Tiffin Ohio

Indie art show in Tiffin tomorrow

Local gallery to donate proceeds to art festival, scholarship

Art Gallery 4Local body and visual arts studio Red Raven Tattoo Gallery  will host this Saturday the latest in a series of indie art shows highlighting the creative talents of up and coming local artists. This Saturday’s show will display 21 works in the skateboard art genre by 12 area artists.

The show will run 6 to 9 pm, auction off the pieces, and proceeds will benefit the scholarship of this year’s Tiffin Music and Art Festival (June 12-13). In addition, 125 other art works will be on display and for sale. Separate donations to the TMAF Scholarship will also be accepted.

Tiffin’s vibrant arts scene is beginning to become more well known. Other arts offerings in Tiffin include:

Free small business seminars in Tiffin

Small Business Development Center Director Bill Auxter

Small Business Development Center Director Bill Auxter

Thinking about starting a business? Or wondering how to expand the small business you have already? The Ohio Small Business Development Center at Terra State Community College is offering free, two-hour seminars every month on how to start, buy, or expand a small business. Topics covered include the basics of name registration, licensing, taxes, advisors, business entities, employees, insurance, financing, business planning and more.

Bill Auxter, a small business owner himself (Auxter Printing Services) and Director of the Ohio Small Business Development Center for the area (located in Fremont), will be leading the sessions.

Seminars will be held at the Seneca Regional Chamber of Commerce, 19 West Market Street, from 9:30-11:30 a.m. on the following days:

  • June 10
  • August 12
  • September 9
  • October 14
  • November 11

More information and a complete list of times and locations can be found here. To register, contact Bill Auxter at 419.559.2210 or


Downtown Summit speakers, additional topic announced

With the Downtown Summit  a little over a week away, we’d like to give an update on what to expect and some background on our expert speakers.

Lisa Patt-McDanielWe are excited to announce that a fourth topic, housing, has been added to the agenda. Lisa Patt-McDaniel will apply her experience in housing and development to downtown Tiffin. Lisa joined Ohio Capital Corporation for Housing (OCCH) in 2011 as Director of Community Development. She is responsible for developing relationships and services related to community development, including working with cities and in rural areas around housing issues such as vacant housing, leveraging local community development resources, and convening community development officials around common issues.

Terry FoeglerThe town and gown presenter will be Terry Foegler, President of Terry Foegler & Associates LLC. Terry is a public and private sector planning and development professional experienced in strategic planning, university and municipal planning and real estate, development policy formulation, public administration, complex mixed-use project implementation, public-private development partnerships, economic development, innovative development financing and neighborhood/urban revitalization. His former positions include Director of Strategic Initiatives/Special Projects for the City of Dublin, Associate Vice President, Physical Planning and Real Estate at the Ohio State University, City Manager of Dublin, Ohio, and President of Campus Partners for Community Urban Redevelopment at OSU.

Tedd HardestyTedd Hardesty, ASLA, will be speaking about placemaking strategies. Tedd is a Founding Partner of EDGE and brings over 24 years of experience as an urban designer and landscape architect to his project work. He specializes in the visioning and planning of a wide-range of environments including neighborhoods, campuses, open space systems, and downtowns.  He believes that the physical environment is the foundation for healthy living and that all places should be economically, socially, and environmentally successful.  His recent work includes planning and design projects for Downtown Columbus, Downtown Davenport (Iowa), and the Cleveland Metropark System.

Craig GossmanCraig Gossman, AIA, NCARB, will also weigh in on placemaking. Craig is the owner and principal of Gossman Group Planning & Design and a partner with Source3 Development. Craig has over 35 years of experience in urban design, planning, historic preservation and architecture. He has worked with a variety of clients nationally including city and county municipalities, retail and commercial center developers, and historic property owners. Craig employs a holistic approach to strategic planning by considering the balance between social and economic goals and their impact on physical design for long-term sustainability and timeless placemaking. He has developed strategic vision plans, urban revitalization plans and master plans for numerous communities and mixed-use projects.

Brad StraderTransportation will be covered by Brad Strader, PTP, AICP. Brad is an Institute of Transportation Engineers certified transportation planner.  He has over 25 years of experience in comprehensive planning, downtowns, parking, corridor planning, redevelopment projects, campus planning, and linking land use with transportation.   He has been project manager on over 50 projects in ten states, and the transportation advisor on a number of downtown circulations studies and 1-way v 2-way street evaluations.

The Downtown Summit will be held April 6, 2015 from 4:30-8:15 p.m. at Heidelberg University’s Great Hall. This event is free and open to the public. If you would like to attend, please click here to register, or contact Bryce Riggs at 419.889.3932 or

You can also give your opinion on downtown Tiffin and future development by clicking here to take the SIEDC Downtown Survey.

Sabaidee Coffee House opens next to Tiffin University campus

2014-10-14 08.11.00Stopped by the new Sabaidee Coffee House this morning for the first time and enjoyed a great Blood Orange hot tea (she also tells me her blood orange lemonade is also very popular.) Got to meet Delana Ball, the owner, and thought it would be great to share some information on this new gem in Tiffin.

It’s been open almost two months. At the end of August,  the Seneca Regional Chamber cut the ribbon to mark the start of Tiffin’s newest retail venture. Housed in the old Java House across from Tiffin Univeristy, Sabaidee Coffee House is located at 45 South Sandusky Street, providing coffee, chai, tea and other iced and warm beverages to the city of Tiffin. According to  Delana, Sabaidee comes from the Laos language, translating to “Hello. How are you?” in English. Ball spent the last seven years in Laos, a country settled next to Thailand and Vietnam, teaching English as a second language and helping the individuals of the nation.

Delana Ball’s decision to open a coffee house was a time in progress. Having lived internationally for the past several years, Ball returned to the United States feeling changed. She learned a lot while in Laos and knew the transition back was going to interesting. She took some time to think about her newest dream and passion, and it turned out that it was opening a coffee house next to a university. While she initially considered Bowling Green, she ultimately decided on Tiffin. After talking with the previous owners of Java House, her decision was made and the ownership transitioned to Ball. Ball added her own personal touches to the coffee shop. Sabaidee Coffee House offers a variety of coffee beverages and other beverages, including tea and soft drinks, along with offering bagels, muffins, and hummus.

Most of her coffee and tea come from Staufs Coffee Roasters in Columbus, a micro-roaster who sources premium Arabica beans from more than 20 countries worldwide. The coffee house can be enjoyed between 7:00 am – 7:00 pm Monday through Friday, and on Saturday between 8:00 am and 3:00 pm. Parking is available in front on Sandusky, behind McCartan’s Grocery or next to Rosie’s Soup & Such on Clay St.

You can read Delana’s interview with the Advertiser-Tribune here.

Starting a business – Step 1 (advice)

Small Business Development Center Director Bill Auxter

Small Business Development Center Director Bill Auxter

Almost 60 businesses start up in Seneca County each year, or more than one every week. People ask me for advice on what to do, so I wanted to get my thoughts down. I wrote a series of articles five years ago on this very subject, and I think a lot of that advice is still fundamentally sound. I wanted, though, to provide and updated and improved guide specific to Tiffin and Seneca County.

The federal government (Small Business Administration or SBA) recommends ten steps, beginning with a business plan. My steps start before the business plan, as some future business owners don’t know what a business plan is or how to do one and/or they don’t know yet if they should invest the time in creating one.

Step 1. Take advantage of free consulting

In addition to getting all the input entrepreneurs will get from friends, family, and their own network, my recommended first step is to also get feedback from publicly funded business counseling. Believe it or not, there is a lot of very good free (yes, I know that sounds like an oxymoron) business counseling (aka consulting) paid for by state and federal taxpayer dollars. After I get some positive feedback about the counselors locally (which I have,) I recommend people start there. The most appropriate type of counseling depends on whether or not the business is primarily technology-based. That is – are you seeking primarily to commercialize (bring to market) a product based on an innovative new technology?

1a. Talk to the Small Business Development Center

If you are primarily not technology-based, you should talk to the Small Business Development Center (SBDC.) The SBDC program is a federal program started in 1975 and supporting 1,000 technical assistance “centers” across the country. A center is typically made up of (federally) certified small business counselors with real world experience who can help businesses and provide free, confidential one-on-one business advising, management training, educational programs and technical assistance. In Ohio, the program was established in 1985 and consists of a state network of 38 SBDCs statewide managed by the Ohio Development Services Agency (ODSA). The center serving Tiffin and Seneca County is located at Terra State Community College in Fremont and is run by Bill Auxter.

Beginner – attend a Small Business Basics seminar

If you starting a business is new to you or if you want to brush up on your basics, attend one of these sessions hosted by the Seneca Regional Chamber of Commerce and taught by Bill Auxter. These two-hour sessions are free and take place every second Wednesday of the month (except July and December), from 9:30 to 11:30 am.

Intermediate – make an appointment with Bill Auxter

If you have experience starting businesses, I would recommend setting an appointment with Bill directly by calling him at 419.559.2210 or e-mailing him at

1b. Talk to Rocket Ventures

2014_03_24 - Savage_Bob 2

Bob Savage talking about the impact of Rocket Ventures at a recent NORED meeting.

If you are trying to commercialize a new technology and believe you are “technology-based,” I would advise skipping the Small Business Development Center and reaching out directly to Rocket Ventures.

Founded in 2007 and based in Toledo, the Rocket Ventures organization fundamentally is a resource for capital and commercialization assistance to Northwest Ohio technology-based companies, including those in Tiffin and Seneca County.  Signed client companies are eligible for funding consideration and automatically access our professional team, who provide unparalleled knowledge, assistance, and track records of success in launching early-stage tech companies.

Rocket Ventures is run by Bob Savage, a co-founder and managing partner of Savage Consulting and the angel group CoreNetwork, who previously worked in mergers and acquisitions at Libbey-Owens-Ford and Seagate Venture Management. Prior to that, he was with Monoky Associates, where he was a consultant and trainer.

The number for Rocket Ventures is  (419) 464-0353 or you can fill out their online contact form. They will work to determine whether you are a good fit for their services.

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