Business

BG sees success attracting tourists & their spending

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Wendy Chambers has long been saying that tourism brings big bucks into Bowling Green. Now she has the official numbers to back that up. Chambers, executive director of the Bowling Green Convention & Visitors Bureau, reported to City Council Monday evening that Bowling Green is attracting more visitors. In 2017, BG hotels saw an increase in room rentals of 6.62 percent, with revenue up 8 percent from the previous year. For the first time the state’s study of the economic impact from tourism gave specific numbers just for Bowling Green. According to study, tourism created: $110.9 million in visitor spending in the local economy. $30.2 million in wages. $12.6 million in taxes. 1,527 in employment – or one in every 13 jobs. “Bowing Green is alive and well – and doing well,” Chambers said. The study found that tourism creates jobs in Bowling Green, estimating it sustains 7.8 percent of private employment. The benefits span across various businesses, such as transportation, recreation, retail, lodging, plus food and beverage industries. Of the counties in Northwest Ohio, Wood County ranks third of 22 counties for tourism impact. Ranking first was Lucas County, followed by Erie County in second place. Wood County racked up $504 million in visitor spending, 6,598 jobs with total wages of $139.6 million, and $63.5 million generated in tax revenue in 2017. Recent trends in Bowling Green tourism show a growth in visitor spending from $82.1 million in 2015 to $88.1 million in 2017. In addition to the tourism numbers, Chambers was also excited about the city’s “Best of BG: A Hometown Celebration” planned for Thursday, from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m., at Simpson Garden Park. The event will recognize the city’s second time in the last decade of being named one of Ohio’s Best Hometowns by Ohio Magazine. “It’s a week of celebrations,” Chambers said. The next project for the Convention & Visitors Bureau will be to work with various businesses and groups on designing a “community brand.” “We’re pretty excited about that,” she said. Also at Monday’s meeting, Mayor Dick Edwards recognized Margaret Montague for her service on the city’s Human Relations Commission. “What you have done for our Human Relations Commission is nothing short of truly outstanding,” Edwards said to Montague, who has served on the commission since 2011. “You’ve been so generous with your time.” Montague headed the Welcome BG Task Force, which puts an emphasis on local employment opportunities for legal immigrants, the mayor said. The effort is helping to meet manpower…

Read More

Earlene Kilpatrick leaving BG chamber after decade of service

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News After 10 years on the job as executive director of the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce, Earlene Kilpatrick still gets goosebumps when the awards for individuals and businesses are handed out. The July 20 Mid-Year luncheon will be her last time to preside over such festivities. She’s leaving her job with the chamber on Oct. 1, exactly 10 years from the day she started. That was on the cusp of an economic crisis that gripped the country. Bowling Green wasn’t spared, but it has bounced back. Looking back, Kilpatrick said: “It’s been smooth. It’s been truly a fantastic experience.” That’s despite long hours, and the occasional disappointment. Twice in recent years the Holiday Parade has been canceled. Her husband, Claude Kilpatrick, has teased her that those will be her legacy. That’s hardly the case. “She’s really done an amazing job of growing the chamber to what it is today,” said Jerid Friar, president of the chamber’s board of director. “I would have to say things are more clearly defined than they were. The direction we’re headed is a very positive one.” He praised the way she’s developed new programs, such as the Michael Brown personal development workshops and events such as the business after hours gatherings. This has helped strengthen participation, Friar said. The organization’s annual golf outing, its largest fundraiser raised a record amount this year. Kilpatrick said that overall the membership has increased slightly, though she feels investors’ engagement with the group has increased. “It’s a very intense job,” she said. It can involve 50 to 60 hours a week. “But it’s very rewarding … You create friendships along the way.” She feels satisfaction in working with the chamber’s project teams, or city ad hoc committees, and university town-gown efforts. And she’s proud of the more than 3,400 volunteer hours people devoted to the chamber as well as the efforts of ACT BG raising money for charities. The opening of the Four Corners Center in the former Huntington Bank has lived up to its goals. The building houses the chamber, Downtown Bowling Green, Bowling Green Convention and Visitors Bureau, and the Bowling Green Community Development Foundation. The arrangement allows the agencies to better collaborate and direct business from one to the other. Kilpatrick arrived at the chamber from Main Street BG, now Downtown Bowling Green. During her 10 years leading that group the city completed Heritage 2000, a downtown revitalization project. Her role was to keep open the lines of communication between the city and the business…


The Beat balances rigor & joy in its dance training

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Colleen Murphy’s mother enrolled her in dance classes in Toledo when she was 3. “I don’t remember not dancing.” Now as the owner of The Beat dance studio she’s the one helping to shape the moving memories of hundreds of young girls, and a handful of boys. The Beat Dance Company just completed its 10th year in business, and its first full year in its new studio space at 1330 Brim Road in Bowling Green. Like the parents of many of her students, her mother wanted to give her an early start. Murphy said she has mothers of children as young as 18 months inquiring about signing them up for dance lessons. The little ones have to wait a year before they can start in the studio’s Mini Movers program. From there they can continue through high school, and beyond. College students who studied at The Beat will return in the summer for classes, Murphy said. She said she can often spot the young students who will stick with dance. “It’s how eager they are to be here. They get here early and don’t want to leave at the end.” The demand for dance, driven by such pop culture phenomenon as “Dancing with the Stars,” remains strong. Despite a number of other studios locally and in the area, The Beat has 250 students. Some dancers take recreational classes in a few styles while others are more serious and audition for the studio’s competitive team. Recent auditions attracted 100 dancers. “Dance is a nice balance between physical activity and the fun of putting on a show and wearing the costumes,” Murphy said. For the youngest they learn basic coordination and “how to take direction from someone other than mom or dad.” She stresses a balance of good technique while having fun, exploring movement working together with their peers, and technique specific to a style. The older dancers work on artistry and, as their schedules get busier, learn to manage their time and see a commitment through. Some dancers participate in their high schools’ dance teams or in theater. “It’s fun, too,” Murphy said. “We’re always having fun in class.” And “for some it becomes their second home, they get really close to their fellow dancers and their teachers,” Murphy said, Her business partner and assistant director Elise Hanson said she likes that they are able to approach teaching dance with a sense of fun, and yet stress technique and discipline. The dancers need to know, she said, that “when you’re…


BGSU’s supply chain management program ranks in top 25

From BGSU OFFICE OF MARKETING & COMMUNICATIONS The Bowling Green State University College of Business supply chain management program has been ranked among the nation’s top 25 supply chain management programs by Gartner, a leading IT and supply chain management research and advisory company. The Gartner 2018 Supply Chain University Top 25 ranked BGSU’s supply chain management program No. 21 in the nation, making it the second-highest ranking supply chain management program in Ohio. This is the BGSU program’s first appearance on the list. BGSU’s supply chain management program features an integrated approach to the movement of goods from the supplier to the final customer. BGSU supply chain graduates work in a variety of industries, including technology, manufacturing, retail, logistics, health care and consulting. The Gartner Supply Chain University Top 25 is a biennial program that assesses and ranks undergraduate and advanced supply chain degree programs in North America.


BGSU camp leads young women down the path of business

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Sitting in the classroom in the college of business, 35 high school seniors seemed poised to develop the next big idea. For now they are trying to turn trash into musical instruments. The students are at Bowling Green State University for the Young Women in Business Leadership Camp being held this week. Kirk Kern, the director of the entrepreneurship program on campus, is cheerleading their efforts and aspirations. Entrepreneurs aren’t just men like Steve Jobs and Henry Ford, he tells them. Their ranks also include Isabella Weems. When Weems was 14, younger than the campers, she decided she wanted to save to buy a car. Her parents told her she’d have to earn the money. She had a choice: She could get a job or start her own business. With her parents backing, Weems started Origami Owl, making personalized pendants. The product took off. She earned more than enough to buy a car. By 2016 the company had sales of $25 million. Susan Kosakowski, the recruiting manager for the College of Business, said the residential camp has two goals. The first is “to help young ladies develop their leadership skills so they can take those back to their high schools and then continue them through their college years.” The other is to make them aware of the opportunities in business for women, she said. Even though about 55 percent of the undergraduate students at BGSU are female, in the College of Business two-thirds are. The college, Kosakowski said, would like to see more diversity, not only in gender but ethnicity and culture as well. “We have so many opportunities we want the women to start taking advantage of them,” she said. “People get very closed minded about what’s involved in business. Every time you walk in a store you’re engaged in business.” The camp aims to show young women how business impacts their lives. The entrepreneurship program is one draw for women, she said. Students from any major can minor in entrepreneurship. The program’s signature event The Hatch, where budding entrepreneurs pitch their ideas to potential investors, attracts as many women as men – six of 10 participants this year were women. The Hatch also draws interest from across the university, from photochemical science to music, including graphic design, apparel merchandising, and early childhood education. The students attending the camp had a similarly wide range of interests. Madelyn Krueger, Pettisville, is interested in being a chef, and she envisions opening her own restaurant someday. Nadia Jeelani, Cincinnati, is interested…


Maggie Fawcett brings home work with new Danberry Realtors’ office in BG

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Maggie Fawcett is happy to be doing business in her hometown Bowling Green, and that her business is helping people make the city their hometown. Earlier this year, Fawcett opened a Danberry Co. Realtors office at 311 S. Main St., Bowling Green. Opening the office, she said, fulfills one of the goals she set for herself when she joined the Toledo-based real estate firm four years. She and several agents lived in BG, and Danberry was doing an increasing amount of business here, yet it did not have an office here. “People in Bowling Green like to do business with Bowling Green companies,” she said. “That we didn’t have a physical location was posing a problem for a lot of our clients.” With the absorption of Welles-Bowen’s agents, Danberry now has an 18 percent market share locally. In the Toledo Region, she said the company has a 30 percent share, the market leader. A third generation broker, she is one of a trio of brokers who now own a minority share in the company. She, Dan McQuillen, and Kevin Warren are the future of the company as it undergoes a slow transition under the guidance of majority owner Lynn Fruth. As part of establishing his legacy, Fruth has launched an initiative to encourage agents to do community service, and recognizing that work. Fawcett said that she’s glad to be able to contribute to many of the programs, she enjoyed when she was a child growing up in Bowling Green. The daughter of John Fawcett and Mary Noll, and sister of Joe Fawcett, she enjoys seeing her children participating a softball and soccer, and all the other parks and recreation programs she enjoyed as a kid. Fawcett and husband, Bryan Hartzler, have three daughters, age 4, 7, and 8. Fawcett worked in the summer parks program from high school into college. When she enrolled at Bowling Green State University, her plan was to be a parks and recreation director. Then she realized that meant she’d be working all summer. So she switched to education, earning a Master’s Degree with the goal of being a math teacher and softball coach. She decided to join her grandfather Al Newlove’s real estate business. “I went into real estate to learn from my grandfather while he was still active. I thought it would be something fun to do on the side. It grabbed hold, and I never thought about teaching again.” After 10 years in the family’s agency, Fawcett moved north to Danberry. It…


Firefly Nights takes wing with well-received opening street fair

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Firefly Nights, a series of summer festivals spearheaded by a groups of downtown businesswomen, got a huge boost from Mother Nature. Clear skies and temperatures in Goldilocks range, neither too hot nor too cold, set the tone for what organizers and visitors alike declared a success, Friday night. Hundreds of people enjoyed music, shopping, craft booths, activities for children, food, beverages and just hanging out with friends and neighbors, along two blocks of Main Street that were closed to traffic for the evening.. “It was beyond good, it was exceptional. It literally brought tears to all of our eyes to see the overwhelming amount of support we have in the community,” said Stacie Banfield, the owner of Mode Elle Boutique. She along with Laura Wicks, of Grounds for Thought, Kati Thompson, Eden Fashion Boutique, and Gayle Walterbach, of Coyote Beads, banded together early this year to discuss a summer community celebration in downtown. Firefly Nights was launched. Late Friday as they started wrapping up the event, Thompson and Banfield reflected on the first street festival. “This exceeded all our expectations,” Thompson said. “It’s all we could have hoped for and it happened on the first night. Amazing.” The organizers recruited other businesswomen and a mixed-gender crew of 80 to 100 volunteers to help stage the event. Those interested in lending a hand can visit fireflynightsbg.com to volunteer. As director of the Bowling Green State University student union, part of Patrick Nelson’s job is to bring visitors to campus. He was impressed by the response to Firefly Nights. “Bowling Green is alive and well tonight,” he said “You couldn’t ask for a better first night.” He and his family, including visitors from New Mexico, came downtown. His family from out of state wondered: “Is it like this every night?” Nelson said he hoped people got a chance to visit the downtown businesses that stayed open late to reacquaint themselves with what’s here. Even as closing hour approached, customers were still coming into Finder’s Records. The store had stayed open an hour later, something it does for Record Store Day and the Black Swamp Arts Festival, and now Firefly Nights. “It’s been very positive for our business,” said clerk Marissa Medley. “It’s really fun.” Zach Baroudi, the owner of Kabob-It, also gave the event a thumbs up He had a food stall out on Main Street. “Everything was perfect,” he said. “Good for the community, good for us, good for surrounding restaurants. We’re very happy with it.” He did a brisk…