By Matt Sanctis - Springfield News-Sun Staff Writer
Ethan Snyder was selling vegetables at farmer’s markets throughout the Columbus area when his dad offered a suggestion that led to the creation of a growing business in St. Paris.
Old Souls Farms, a hydroponic produce farm in Champaign County, has been in business for two years now. But the business is preparing for an expansion this fall after steadily adding clients at restaurants and grocery stores throughout the Columbus area, including Whole Foods. The big change, Snyder said, came when his dad suggested switching from farming outside to growing hydroponic lettuce in a quarter-acre greenhouse.
“My dad came to me and said, ‘I think I have a better idea,’” Snyder said.
For the past two years, Snyder and high school friend Vic Kaczkowski have been studying hydroponic farming techniques to provide lettuce, basil and other herbs to their clients year-round. They went to high school in Delaware County, but built the business in Champaign County in part due to its proximity to other markets like Cincinnati and Dayton. The biggest challenge, Snyder said, was breaking old habits about how to grow produce.
Joshua Keeran | Urbana Daily Citizen, Employees of SVG Motors and Trenor Motors gathered in the Scioto Street dealership Friday during the announcement of a change in ownership. Pictured in the center shaking hands are SVG Motors President Steve VanGorder, right, and Trenor Motors President Roger Tehan Jr., left. VanGorder said the plan is to keep as many former employees of Trenor Motors as possible while also hiring additional staff to join SVG Urbana.
by Joshua Keeran, Urbana Daily Citizen
One of the Urbana’s oldest operating businesses is no longer. Trenor Motors, family-owned and operated since 1926, was acquired Friday by SVG Motors.
Headquartered in Dayton, the SVG auto group consists of two new and used car dealerships – SVG Chevrolet in Greenville and SVG Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram in Eaton – along with SVG Motors, a used car dealership in Dayton.
Steve VanGorder, president of SVG Motors, said he has been in talks with Roger Tehan, owner of Trenor Motors, for the past two-and-a-half years about the possibility of acquiring the Urbana dealership.
“I’m very appreciative of Roger Tehan and his family for affording me this opportunity to be able to do this,” VanGorder said. “This is an honor to be a Chevy, Buick and GMC dealer. I’m living my dream. This is what I’ve always wanted, and I’m on top of the world right now.”
He added the plan for the 90-plus-year Urbana staple is for it to continue to operate as a Chevrolet, Buick and GMC dealership under the name of SVG Urbana.
“We feel this is a great community, and there is no reason why this store can’t sell and service a lot of cars,” he said.
“In my opinion, (this location) is the best piece of real estate in the county – in between the two most traveled roads (routes 29 and 36) going through the county.”
VanGorder said the dealership will tie in perfectly with his other stores, which will allow SVG Motors to continue to be home of the “Superior Value Guarantee (SVG).”
“(The dealership) just seems like it fits what we are doing with the synergies of all our other stores with our marketing and advertising,” he said. “It will allow us to have a larger footprint digitally and on television. We will also be able to offer our customers bigger discounts because we have multiple locations.”
Changes In Store
[READ MORE at UrbanaCitizen.com]
URBANA — A historic, vacant building in the heart of downtown Urbana might get new life if tax credits are approved by the state.
The building that once housed Little Nashville, a bar just south of the roundabout, has been empty for two years and investor John Doss with Dye and Doss Insurance wants to change that.
“I didn’t really see any prospects of anybody doing anything with it,” Doss said as to why he decided to take up the project. “And besides that, in the ’40s and ’50s, my grandfather owned it. So it’s kind of a sentimental place.”
His insurance office is just south of the old bar. An application for historic tax credits filed with the Ohio Development Service Agency shows the total cost to renovate the 4,475-squarefoot building will be about $222,000. The building will house one office inside and have two residential spaces on the second floor.
Doss has requested $31,000 in tax credits, which are sold to investors to provide money for the development. He said he hopes to have the project completed by next summer.
“The historic tax program is a pretty good deal and it is really nice for small buildings,” he said. “The tax credits makes this project a viable thing.”
Putting buildings to use in downtown Urbana helps everyone in the community, said Marcia Bailey, economic development coordinator for the Champaign County Economic Partnership.
“We have a beautiful downtown with our historic overlay,” she said. “The more we can preserve and restore those buildings, the better our downtown will be.”
She took a tour of the building with Doss after he bought it about a year ago and said it has a lot of opportunity.
“Any new business is more than welcomed,” she said. “The foot traffic will benefit every business in downtown Urbana.”
READ MORE from staff writer Parker Perry at the Springfield News-Sun.
by Casey S. Elliott, Urbana Daily Citizen
Urbana resident Michelle Smith always wanted her own shop.
“It was always my dream to open my own shop,” she said. “The opportunity never came up while raising four kids. But now they are grown. When the opportunity came up to buy it. I jumped on it.”
Smith is the new owner of Kaleidoscope, 117 N. Main St. She was a vendor at the shop for more than a year and a vendor in primitives over 10 years.
Smith graduated from Kenton Ridge High School in Springfield and moved to Urbana 24 years ago.
“I knew I wanted to be in business,” she said, noting when her children were younger they had a business pouring candles. That business, 3H’s, named after her daughters Heather (Mike White), Heidi (Justin Geer) and Hannah Smith, helped pay for their sports costs.
Now that they are older and on their own, she has the time to devote to her own business. She plans to keep the Kaleidoscope tradition alive, with vendors who are always looking for unique antique and vintage items.
Read More at http://urbanacitizen.com/news/55693/urbanas-kaleidoscope-gets-new-owner
by Joshua Keeran, Urbana Daily Citizen
With the south side of Urbana currently serving as a hotbed of sorts for economic development, Colorado-based Crop Production Services (CPS) has decided to add to the ongoing construction in the area by redeveloping the former Interstate Truckers Inc. facility at 668 state Route 55 into a fertilizer distribution center.
“We’d like to be open and have some type of functionality this fall,” said Steve Emery, the southern Ohio division manager for CPS. “Fall is fertilizer season as harvest takes place, so we’d like to proceed as far as excavation and things of that nature.”
To get the ball rolling on the project, the Urbana Planning Commission on Monday approved a preliminary site plan contingent upon all comments made by the city’s Technical Review Committee, zoning officer and community development manager being addressed and incorporated into the final site plan drawings.
“While we don’t have everything fine tuned, we are certainly willing and want to cooperate with your board and city regulations as best we can,” said Jim Sawyer, an engineer with J&S Engineering, the firm hired by CPS to work on the project.
By being granted preliminary site plan approval, CPS is allowed to begin excavation or site work – includes foundation and utility work – on the 10-acre property located just west of Honeywell Aerospace.
“I think it will be a great shot in the arm for Champaign County and, in particular, the city of Urbana,” Sawyer said.
CPS’ plans for the site include adding onto the existing building, which will be the main office space, building a 20,000-plus-square-foot liquid fertilizer storage facility, and constructing a 12,000-plus-square-foot dry fertilizer storage building.
Considering the facility will be housing fertilizer, Emery and Sawyer assured the Planning Commission that all necessary precautions will be addressed to make sure the property complies will all laws and regulations.
“Being the largest wholesaler of agricultural fertilizer in the world, (CPS) pretty much sets a pretty high bar for safety,” Sawyer said.
Marcia Bailey, executive director of the Champaign Economic Partnership, called the upcoming project “another boost in the economic outlook for our community.”
“The opportunity to bring a vacant building back to use is always a good thing,” she said.
Bailey added the company anticipates the facility being fully operational by spring 2018. By this time, CPS anticipates the Urbana location will employ eight to 10 full-time employees and four to six part-time seasonal employees.
Bailey added CPS’ investment in the property along with bringing new employment to the area is important to not only the city, but also the county as it will add to the current tax base.
With several construction projects already underway in the general vicinity of the planned CPS fertilizer distribution center, what’s next for the city’s south side is anyone’s guess.
“The corridor (southern entrance) is being enhanced with the new Urbana City Schools (building), and the continual expansion and investment along state Route 55 (Lewis B. Moore Drive) creates the opportunity for further progress with additional business opportunities,” Bailey said.
Joshua Keeran may be reached at 937-508-2304 or on Twitter @UDCKeeran.
The Board of Directors for the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Bureau wishes to announce the selection of Lydia Hess as the new Executive Director, due to the recent resignation of Sandi Arnold after her 5 years of service in the position.
Lydia was born and raised outside of St. Paris, Ohio and she has been with the chamber since May 2014. She understands the dynamics of our community, the strong bonds between families and neighbors, and the deeply instilled values that make Champaign County a great place to live, work and play. She has a deep commitment to our local communities. Lydia has held a variety of positions that have helped to develop her management style, organizational and project management skills. Over the years, Lydia has continued to build lasting relationships with community members, leaders and elected officials while building on the diversity of our community. The board has great confidence for Lydia continuing the positive business trends that have developed for Champaign County over the last 5 years, as a community let us continue this confidence.
Additionally, we would encourage the local community to visit the Chamber’s new website, it has been updated to promote our locally owned businesses and tourism. Lydia has been instrumental in partnering with locally owned Berry Digital Solutions, LLC to help develop the content for the New Champaign County Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau Website www.champaignohio.com. Berry Digital Solutions, LLC focuses on building websites, social media management and digital advertising for local businesses. They currently service about 50 local small businesses across Champaign, Logan and Union Counties. Some of Berry digital’s other local successes include website development for CEPOhio.com, GloriaTheatre.com, and MyWestLiberty.com just to name a few.
This year’s Chamber of Commerce Dinner scheduled for April 28. Our dinner this year will be a great time to congratulate Lydia, network, and view our new website created by Berry Digital. Owners of Berry Digital Solutions LLC, will be available to demo the website and provide education to local business on how they can better use the Chambers resource to grow their business.
Lastly, if you are not a member of the Champaign County Chamber of Commerce, we would encourage you to take a look and consider joining. There are many exciting things happening locally that can help us all to build a stronger community. Please stop by the Chamber and join us in congratulating Lydia in her new role.