South Washington Street

WSO approved for Sign Enhancement Grant

Washington Street Outfitters has been approved by the Architectural Board of Review for a Sign Enhancement Grant to offset the costs of restoring the signage at their new storefront location, 186 S. Washington St. The approval is the second for the City of Tiffin’s Sign Enhancement Program, which provides a 50 percent reimbursement of expenses directly related to perpendicular signage on properties within the downtown target area, up to a maximum match of $1,000.

Washington Street Outfitters was approved for a $648.03 grant to restore their perpendicular sign. The application states:

“To maintain the integrity and heritage, the current sign’s structure will be restored. The outer edge will be restored with new aluminum and painted black. The general structure, size, and attachments will remain the same. Lighting will be added above the sign.”

This is the second approval for the program, which was implemented at the beginning of 2018 with an allocation of $10,000. The balance remaining in the fund is now $8,351.97.

ABR approves Façade Grant Enhancement Grants


92 S. Washington St. to undergo a complete storefront remodel.

Four projects awarded grants totaling $30,00

TIFFIN, OHIO – March 20, 2018 – Today, the Architectural Board of Review approved four Façade Enhancement Grants for downtown projects, using $30,000 of the city fund for a total investment exceeding $80,000. This leaves $24,834 remaining in the city Façade Enhancement Grant fund for 2018.

Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz commented on the volume of projects approved today. “Even in it’s fifth year, the demand for the Façade Enhancement Program continues to build,” he said.

The projects are:

  • 29-31 S. Washington St. – Awarded a $5,128 grant to replace second and third floor windows.
  • 236 S. Washington St. (Hoffman-Gottfried Mack Funeral Home and Crematory) – Awarded a $7,425 grant to replace porch carpeting, replace handrails, and complete some exterior painting.
  • 127 S. Washington St. – Awarded a $7,482 grant to replace storefront windows, the front door, and upper windows.
  • 92 S. Washington St. – Awarded a $10,000 grant for a complete storefront remodel project.

These grants bring the total investment in downtown building improvements related to the Façade Enhancement Grant for 2018 to more than $410,000.

About the Façade Enhancement Program
This City of Tiffin reimbursement grant program was started in 2014 and provides a 50 percent match of funds for eligible exterior improvements on residential and commercial structures within the downtown historic district, up to $10,000. Each building is eligible to receive up to $10,000 per calendar year.  For more information, visit  (search “Façade Enhancement”). 

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

City receives funding for alley enhancement

Local foundations award $70,000 to pedestrian project


Conceptual drawing, subject to change.

TIFFIN, OHIO – November 20, 2017 – Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz announced at a Tiffin City Council meeting tonight that the city has secured funding to move forward with a pedestrian alley enhancement project in downtown Tiffin.

The city received two grants, $40,087 from the Meshech Frost Charitable Trust and $30,000 from the National Machinery Foundation, which will cover nearly all costs associated with the project.

“Thanks to the support of our local charitable foundations, we are able to move forward with a project that will transform one of the most used alleys in our downtown into a beautiful, inviting, pedestrian-friendly walkway,” Montz said. “The project will create a safe, well-lit connection between parking and downtown amenities, for both residents and visitors.”

The alley to be enhanced is located across from the Ritz Theatre between City Parking Lot #3 and South Washington Street, adjacent to 33 and 45 South Washington Street. The alley will be closed to vehicular traffic, with removable bollards to allow utility vehicle access.

Improvements will include installation of six decorative poles to support overhead string lighting running the length of the alley, a decorative stamped asphalt surface, and benches, trash cans, planters, and bike racks. Detailed design items will be finalized this winter and construction beginning as early as this winter or early spring, with a target completion date before September 2018. Gas and electric utility work has already been completed.

The Seneca Industrial and Economic Development Corp.’s Downtown Design Committee chose the project from the Downtown Tiffin Strategic Growth & Development Plan, adopted by council in 2016, and has been working closely with the City Engineer’s department to plan and fund the project. The plan pinpoints several alleys for enhancement, which will be considered upon completion of the current project.

ABR approves three Façade Enhancement Grants

Assured TitleApprovals bring total investment to $284,000 for 2016

TIFFIN, OHIO – May 17, 2016 – Today, the Architectural Board of Review (ABR) approved three Façade Enhancement Grants, bringing the total investment into downtown facades to $284,000 and the total number of projects to 10 for 2016.

These approvals leave just under $10,000 of the $100,000 set aside by the City of Tiffin for Façade Enhancement Grants for 2016. Tiffin Mayor Aaron Montz is encouraged by the progress: “Every year since we implemented this program in 2014, we have seen an overwhelming amount of interest, and it doesn’t appear to be slowing down, but rather increasing.”

The Assured Title Agency building on the corner of South Washington and East Market Streets will undergo a $20,000 facelift including repair of siding, masonry and windows as well as painting. The largest project of the three is for the Tiffin Elks Lodge #94; a $22,000 roof replacement project. Both projects received a full $10,000 grant, the highest amount possible for the matching grant.

The third approval was for 94-96 South Washington Street, to replace or repair second floor windows. The $17,910 project will receive a $8,955 grant. This building, as well as the Elks Lodge, also received a Façade Enhancement Grant in 2015.

Together, the three projects represent a more than $71,000 investment. Since its inception in September 2014, the Façade Enhancement Grant Program has spurred $1.14 million in downtown investment through 37 projects.

 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

Phat Cakes

Meet Natalie Wertz, founder and owner of Phat Cakes & Cafe. Located in downtown Tiffin across from the Ritz Theatre, the restaurant offers a full menu including craft beer, wine, mixed drinks, homemade soups, salads, sandwiches, quiche, specials, and gourmet desserts.

Established as a home-based business in 2009, the hunt for a storefront started almost immediately as Wertz’ customer base grew. Looking to give new life to a building that was targeted for a tear down, the vision to open and coexist with Bunky’s Bicycle Service was put into motion. Demolition started in 2010 and it took a solid year of self renovation.

“At the beginning of construction it was almost impossible to envision that we were going to build this space into anything…demolition alone took months, but I’m glad that we were able to revitalize a vacant building downtown. I chose Tiffin for many reasons. The best one is because of my family and friends that are absolutely dedicated to the core. They have helped with the construction and growth of Phat Cakes from the beginning,” says Wertz.

Awarded the Entrepreneur Spirit award by the Seneca Industrial & Economic Development Corporation in 2014, Wertz and her staff continue to add a positive vibe to the downtown scene.

From Natalie and the amazingly dedicated staff at Phat Cakes & Bunky’s, “We hope to see you soon!

More at Phat Cakes:

  • Gluten Free & Vegetarian Options
  • Party Booking
  • Hosting Benefit Nights
  • Beer Flights 5 for $8
  • A venue for local artists to preform
  • Catering with individualized menu planning
  • Party Trays – Sandwich & Dessert trays
  • Customized Cutout cookies & cakes
  • Desserts including over 100 different cupcake varieties, gourmet cheesecakes, cookies & more
  • Wine & Beer tastings
  • Paint Parties
  • Thirsty Thursday with Live Music at 7pm, $3 Craft Beers & $2 Tacos.

Open after the Ritz Theatre shows

Stop by Monday – Wednesday 10:30-2:30 and Thursday – Saturday 10:30-10pm!

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Two Facade Enhancement Grants awarded

33 CourtLast week, the Architectural Board of Review awarded Facade Enhancement Grants for the building at 33 Court Street, and improvements to the property at 20-22 South Washington Street. The projects were awarded a combined total of $20,000 for a total estimated investment of $82,000.

Improvements at 33 Court Street will include repairs to slate, masonry, windows, cornices, roof, and dormers, as well as painting. The total estimated cost of the improvements is $36,000.

The project at 20-22 S. Washington St. will be a brick veneer for the wall exposed when the two buildings were demolished in February. The estimated cost of the project is $46,000. Property owner Lenny Clouse says the new veneer will not only improve the look of the wall, but also reinforce it.

These projects represent the fifth and sixth Facade Enhancement Grants awarded in 2016, the third year for the program, and bring the total reinvestment into the appearance of downtown Tiffin for 2016 to more than $200,000.

New downtown thrift shop pays it forward

20160316_155209Downtown’s newest retail option is Joanie’s Trash to Treasures, located at 181 S. Washington St. Joanie’s is a thrift store with a great cause: giving back to the community.

Owner Joan Kauffman’s goal is to use her second-hand store to provide assistance to those in need. “I’m here for one reason and one reason only – and that is to help,” she said.

The store holds wide variety of items including clothing, kitchenware, jewelry, books, DVD’s, antiques and games. Joan also sells homemade canned peach, apple, pumpkin and pear butters. With the money she earns from sales, Joan helps out community members in need.

Most of the inventory comes from charitable donations, which can be dropped off during store hours, or by appointment by calling Joan at 567.371.9591.

Store hours are currently Monday through Thursday, 12-6 p.m.

Smith Systems

Smith SystemsMeet James Smith, founder and owner of Smith Systems, located at 193 S. Washington St. in downtown Tiffin. James started his computer maintenance and repair business out of his home in March 2012 and made the move downtown in December 2013. One of James’ first contracts was with the Kiwanis Manor, which he still serves today. “When I started the business, I met Dale Depew and he was a mentor to me. He believed in me and helped me get started and really sold me. He got me started with the Kiwanis Manor,” James said.

From there, Smith Systems grew very quickly. “I had too much business, and one of my friends, Spencer Williams, does phone repair, so I asked him if wanted to open a shop with me,” James said.

Smith Systems now offers a wide range of home and business computer services. Not only can you bring your computer in for hardware repairs, virus removal, data recovery and laptop screen repairs, you can also have your Apple products repaired, purchase a new or refurbished computer, or even have a computer custom built to fit your needs! Most services and repairs can be completed in 2-3 days, and come with a warranty and service reminder.

Originally from Michigan, James says he loves living in Tiffin and his shop’s location downtown. “Moving here was the best decision I ever made, it changed my life. Tiffin is such a peaceful town, it’s quiet and everyone gets along; it’s a slower pace here, with a strong community feel.”

James is also a supporter of development and growth in Tiffin. “Tiffin’s on the move and I’m really excited for what’s happening. I love it here and I want to live here forever!”

You can stop by Smith Systems for your computer, mobile device or network needs Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. or Saturday by appointment.

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RoRo Design and Photography

Meet Rochelle Slosser, founder and owner of Ro Ro Design and Photography, LLC, located at 164 S. Washington St. in downtown Tiffin.Rochelle opened her storefront three years ago this week. The store has a lot of unique items, including up-cycled furniture, vintage items, hand-made, customizable crafts and decorations, and rental wedding items like arbors, barrels and card boxes. Rochelle also creates custom cards and invitations, does wedding and family photography, and works as a freelance graphic designer.

A Tiffin native, Rochelle worked for the Toledo Museum of Art for 10 years before returning to Tiffin and starting her business. “I said I’d never be back, but here I am! Tiffin is a nice place to raise your kids,” she said.

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