West Ohio Tool Co. is a small family run business doing big things in Logan County! Starting as a tool sharpening business, Kerry and Kim Buchenroth began "Buck's Sharpening" out of their garage in 1989. With expanding services and customers, the business eventually outgrew the garage, a remodeled chicken coop/storage building and a steel building that was built on their property. By 2000, the Buchenroths moved to a new building at the Indian Lake Industrial Park and became known as what it is today: West Ohio Tool Co.
In 2019, Kerry had some health challenges, so Kaci (Kim & Kerry's daughter) and her husband, Rea stepped in to manage the company. Kaci had more than two decades of hands on experience. Kerry stayed on as a trusted advisor but unfortunately passed in 2021. Kerry’s vision combined with he and Kim’s work ethic, problem solving, customer service and dedication that built West Ohio Tool Co. lives on more than 30 years after clearing the initial space in their garage. Today, they are not only family owned still, but also 100% woman owned since Kim and Kaci are the current owners. Recently, West Ohio Tool was recognized as the cover story of womLEAD magazine and have certifications pending for WBENC, WOSB (Women Owned on the federal level) and Small Business.
The Chamber hosted its monthly Legislative Impact Meeting on April 11th with a Logan County School Superintendents panel. Scott Mann from Riverside Local School District, John Scheu from Benjamin Logan Local School District, Rob Underwood from Indian Lake Schools, Rick Smith from Ohio Hi-Point Career Center, and Brad Hall from Bellefontaine City Schools all shared about recent wins and challenges at their schools. They asked the community to continue holding the schools and students to a high standard. All students, regardless of economic status, behavior, or other obstacles are still just as capable of learning and being successful in the community.
Several highlights shared include:
Indian Lake upperclassmen are connecting with area employers for employment now and opportunities for the future. Ninety local businesses and organizations set up shop during the 7th Annual Logan County Career Expo held recently at Indian Lake High School. Students from several Logan and Hardin County schools visited booths set up in the ILHS Main Gym, the ILHS Auxiliary Gym, and the hallways nearby. All ILHS Juniors in the College and Career planning class attended the event. Representatives from the fields of agriculture, health care, retail, food service, finance, manufacturing, construction, law enforcement, and more were on hand. Educators encouraged students to talk with as many employers as possible. Some even participated in scheduled and on-the-spot interviews for positions that are available. ILHS Junior Ryan Culp plans to go to college out of high school, but he is already exploring where he might work once he earns a degree.
Junior Callie Burba came to the Expo with a similar plan to make connections at area healthcare facilities. “I’m looking for places that offer therapy and social work so I can help people with their mental health,” Burba said. During the Expo junior Logan Duncan filled out employment applications for a few local factories. He says he wants to work this summer and lay the groundwork for his Plan B. “I’m hoping to go to college for architecture for four years and go from there. But manufacturing and factory work is my backup plan and I’m getting started.”
Logan County Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Ben Vollrath met with students before they entered the Expo.
He says there are still many more jobs available in our area than we have people to fill positions, so this is an exciting day for local employers as they also try to connect with future employees.
The annual Logan County Career Expo is a product of the Logan County Collaborative. It is coordinated by the Midwest Regional Educational Service Center in partnership with the Logan County Chamber of Commerce, Logan County Job, and Family Services, local school administrators, and committee members from local businesses.
The Chamber hosted April’s First Thursday Coffee networking event at Gathering Grounds in Russells Point for the first time ever! Gathering Grounds joined the Chamber last year and was added to the First Thursday coffee shop rotation this year. They provided excellent coffee, tea, and breakfast items for our 30+ attendees at the event.
Our next First Thursday is scheduled for May 4 at Sweetie Pie’s Baked Goods & Coffee Shop in West Liberty starting at 8 a.m. We encourage anyone interested in getting to know other community and business members to join us. We recommend arriving about 10 minutes early to order your coffee and join the rest of the group on the second floor of the West Liberty Village offices in the West Liberty Opera House, which is just across the street from Sweetie Pie’s. There will be small group networking for 5-10 minutes, after which we’ll invite everyone into one large group to introduce themselves and give a 1-minute elevator pitch on their business or organization.
Thanks again to the Gathering Grounds team for hosting us on April 6 – we’re looking forward to coming back in a few months!
Elevate Chiropractic is located at 190 Reynolds Avenue in Bellefontaine. More information is available at www.elevatechirocare.com
Welcome back to Logan County, Dr. Jacob!
Chamber Celebrates The Photo Booth
Heather Wirtz, Chief Experience Officer at Richwood Bank, led a workshop for Chamber members on March 22 to help walk through the process of strategic planning. She shared the 6 Iron Laws of Strategy and provided valuable information on the best ways to think about your organization holistically to achieve greater success. Special thanks to Heather and the Richwood Bank team for an excellent Lunch & Learn!
The Pursuit of Excellence series will host 4 quarterly events in 2023, with future topics such as “Hiring & Retaining Top Employees” and “Time Management & Handling Personal Burnout.” The Chamber is excited to host the second annual Pursuit of Excellence Signature Event this fall with nationally renowned keynote speaker Pete Blank. Mark your calendar now for Thursday, October 12 and stay tuned for additional details, which will be posted on our event calendar here.
The 2023 Pursuit of Excellence Series is sponsored by Ascend Consulting. Thank you to the team at Ascend for their continued support of our business programming!
Congratulations AlerStallings & Golden Reserve! We hosted a ribbon cutting for these two businesses on March 22 to recognize their new offices at 139 S. Opera Street in Bellefontaine. AlerStallings and Golden Reserve each play an important role in helping people entering retirement to protect their assets and investments. AlerStallings, a law firm with over 30 locations, opened its second office in Bellefontaine years ago to offer estate planning and elder care law services to Logan County residents. Golden Reserve retirement planners help clients in or near retirement protect their assets from excessive tax burdens, market risk, and investment fees.
As Golden Reserve retirement planner Todd White shared, “We see life as a mountain; you spend the first part of your life climbing the mountain, and reach retirement at the peak. We want to help people on the journey back down.”
Congratulations to the teams of AlerStallings and Golden Reserve on your new location!
Calvary Christian School
Calvary Christian School (CCS) opened in the fall of 1979 under the leadership of Calvary Baptist Church Pastor Earl Decker and School Administrator Larry McFadden. The school began with 25 students across kindergarten through 4th grade, and a staff of three full-time and three part-time teachers. Over the first 30 years, CCS’s average enrollment was between 100 and 200 students, and expanded the grades served through 8th grade. Since the beginning, CCS has operated out of Calvary Baptist Church and benefited greatly from the kindness of the church - including having operating deficits covered by the church budget. As enrollment gradually grew, School Administrator John Taylor crafted a vision to expand into high school education to provide a full primary education experience for students. Through Administrator Paul Green and current Administrator Ryan Hyde, the school has experienced sustained enrollment growth and now forecasts a significant opportunity to increase enrollment in future years. Growth has been especially robust under the leadership of Mr. Hyde, who has guided the school through accreditation with the Ohio Department of Education (2021), managed the Covid crisis and brought the Ohio High School Athletic Association to the sports program (2022). By the 2021 school year, it became evident that Calvary Christian School had outgrown the facility capacity at Calvary Baptist Church. Enrollment had grown to 336 students, with trends showing more future growth! In partnership with Calvary Baptist Church Pastor Jeff Willetts, their Board and the Administration and Board at CCS, the decision was made to empower CCS to develop a new, state-of -the-art education complex. Calvary Baptist Church graciously gifted 40 acres of land plus some expenses for the CCS development, where their new building on County Road 9 is located. The story of CCS is that of a school that has steadily grown over decades, building a strong culture and differentiated education experience, and now is maturing into a robust institution that delivers a top-tier academic, athletic and social experience for families and students in Logan and surrounding counties.
Mad River Mountain
This year, Mad River Mountain is turning 60! Where "every day is a snow day," they are using this big birthday to bring the fun back to Mad River Mountain! You'll be able to attend new events like listening to live music, First Tracks for pass holders (exclusive 1-hour early access to the slopes), free s'mores (every Sunday in January and February from 1-2pm) and the launch of the newly rebranded bubly Tubing Park!
Originally named Valley High, this farmland area was transformed into one of Ohio's first and largest ski hills by a visionary named Ralph Shoots. At the time, Mr. Shoots was inspired by the state of Michigan, who boosted 94 ski areas - while Ohio had zero! In 1975, Mr. Shoots retired and Valley High was sold to Charles P. Conrad and renamed Mad River Mountain. Today, it is the largest ski hill in Ohio and is now owned by Vail Resorts. With an Epic Pass, you can ski both locally and/or take a trip to one of Vail's many destination resorts!