Business

BG to get needed warehouse space for manufacturers

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green manufacturers will soon have a place to warehouse items, rather than shipping them outside the city or using their own valuable production space. Ground was officially broken Wednesday morning for a 200,000-square-foot warehouse in an expanded area of the Wood Bridge Business Park on the east side of the city, off Dunbridge Road. “This is one of the most collaborative projects I’ve ever worked on,” Bowling Green Community Development Foundation Executive Director Sue Clark told City Council on Monday evening. The project called for teamwork with the Wood County Port Authority, Ohio Department of Transportation, JobsOhio, Poggemeyer Design Group and others, Clark said. And it called for the expansion of the business park into the next 100 acres to the east. “This is a really big event,” Mayor Dick Edwards said of the groundbreaking. “It’s fascinating how the warehouse is already underway,” Edwards said, praising Clark for her skill in navigating through the “minefields.” The warehouse is being built by Mosser Construction, which will own the site and lease it to Ohio Logistics. Clark said the additional warehouse space in the city will free up room at manufacturing sites to be used for production. “For many years, on our economic development visits, companies have relayed concerns about warehousing,” a legislative package given to council stated. “We’ve learned that, in many cases, companies are warehousing out of town.” City officials have also been told by local manufacturers that finding adequate warehousing is important because companies want to find space for new equipment or processes within their existing plants, and moving inventory…

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Farmers, bar owners, beer drinkers gather to toast BG Beer Works’ all-local brew

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News W.C. Fields made its debut in Bowling Green Monday night. No, a cynical comic zombie W.C. Fields didn’t lumber into town. W.C. Fields is the latest brew from Bowling Green Beer Works, and the name stands for Wood County fields, because that’s where the grain and the hops needed to produce the pilsner originated. Farmers, business proprietors, politicians, and those with a taste for craft beer assembled at the brew pub Monday to celebrate the new beer. Justin Marx, the owner of Bowling Green Beer Works, said the beer was a labor of love made from hops and barley grown locally and brewed by Roger Shope into a traditional German pilsner, the “granddaddy” of American beers. The celebration wasn’t just for its crisp taste with just a hint of those local hops, but for the doors the brew opens for local farmers. Some had come in from the hop yard at the Ag Incubator where hops had been harvested that day. Brad Bergefurd, of the Ohio State Extension Service, said that hops provide another crop for small farmers without the large acreage needed to have a viable corn and soybean operation. Hops are labor intensive, he said. Zack Zientek, who works at the Ag Incubator, testified to that.  He checks the hop vines six times a day. But the price they fetch, Bergefurd said, is higher than corn and soybeans. Hops used to grow in Ohio, he said, until Prohibition killed the demand. Now the Extension Service is exploring bringing hops back to service the burgeoning craft brewing business. He said when and another…


Available liquor licenses for restaurants all dried up in BG

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Liquor licenses are hard to come by in Bowling Green. Just ask Ross and Peter Wiley, who are trying to open a Rapid Fired Pizza restaurant in town. The state parcels out liquor licenses based on community populations. In Bowling Green, all the available licenses for beer, wine and liquor are already issued – except for some still available for carryouts and places of private memberships. Since there are no more available liquor licenses for sit-down establishments for the public in Bowling Green, any new business wanting to serve liquor needs City Council’s blessing in order to purchase a license from another community and use it here. So that leaves the Wileys at the mercy of City Council to allow the company to buy an available liquor license from another city and use it at a Rapid Fired Pizza shop opening soon at 852 S. Main St. The restaurant business, founded in Dayton, already has 20 locations. It specializes in a set up where customers pick out their pizza crusts, sauces and toppings, then have it cooked in three minutes. The Wileys would like to offer craft beer with the pizza. Ideally, the Wileys would like to serve local craft beers through a process called “I Pour It.” The self-pour process scans the customer’s driver’s license for age and weight. The process is used successfully at other locations, they told City Council Monday evening. But some council members voiced concerns about allowing another liquor license in the city. Once the liquor license is transferred to the Bowling Green location, it can then…


Scavenger hunt helps international students discover downtown BG

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Students from around the world got a chance to explore downtown Bowling Green Wednesday afternoon. The international students from Bowling Green State University came from many countries—France, Taiwan, China, Saudi Arabia, Germany, Zimbabwe, Netherlands – just to name a few. A scavenger hunt organized by the Four Corners Center had them searching out all the treasures they could find in the downtown. That included the coffee shops, restaurants, gift shops, restaurants, and even the farmers market. Teams of about half dozen students each buzzed about town. Members of one group said they didn’t have time to talk as they hurried off to find Homeworks. Elisa Erbrech, a business student from Strasbourg, France, said, those on her team were too intent on winning to even stop and taste the cookies and coffee the Wood County Library had set out. And they accomplished their mission. The team was the first to finish. Marcia Salazar-Valentine, the director of International Programs and Partnerships, said the idea behind the scavenger hunt was to introduce the students, all of whom had just arrived at BGSU, to the downtown, and to introduce downtown businesses to the students. “The international students are so important,” said Wendy Chambers, the director of the Wood County Convention Visitors Bureau, one of the Four Corners entities.  “We wanted to welcome them to the community.” BGSU enrolls more than 1,000 foreign students. “I think it takes a while because they have so much to do the first weeks,” Salazar-Valentine said. She remembers arriving as an international student in Bowling Green. “I came downtown and learned so much…


Penta Career Center plans satellite school in BG

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Penta Career Center may soon have a satellite school in Bowling Green. The Bowling Green Board of Public Utilities voted Monday evening to transfer acreage in the Bellard Business Park on the northwest side of the city to the Bowling Green Community Development Foundation. Two acres of the business park, near the intersection of Newton and Brim roads, will then be sold to Penta Career Center. Penta plans to construct a building to hold morning and afternoon classes for students who will be able to travel to local employers to continue their training and education. The school is also considering using the facility to offer adult training classes in the future, said Brian O’Connell, director of the city’s public utilities. City council will have a public hearing Monday on an ordinance that will pave the way for the vocational training school use in the city’s zoning code. The Bowling Green Community Development Foundation has been working with Penta Career Center to find a permanent location for a satellite school. The school is seen as a first step for collaboration with business parks for training and workforce development for existing manufacturers. One of the biggest needs expressed by local manufacturers is the lack of a skilled workforce, according to Sue Clark, executive director of the Bowling Green Community Development Foundation. The city owns the acreage in the business park, and the community development foundation markets the properties for sale. Penta’s purchase of two acres leaves 3.1 acres remaining open for development in Bellard Business Park. Also at Monday’s meeting of the Board of…


For Keeps throws a party to mark 20 years of peddling life’s fun, non-essentials

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Amy Craft Ahrens is celebrating 20 years of running For Keeps in downtown Bowling Green, and she wants her customers to have a piece of the action. That’ll be especially true for one lucky customer in particular. As part of the celebration, the shop is holding a party under a tent Saturday Aug. 19 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. The shop is handing out puzzle pieces. One of those pieces will complete a puzzle on display in the party tent. The person who gets the piece will receive a $250 gift card. Another 50 prizes will be given out as part of puzzle game. Craft Ahrens said that every year she has a sale to mark the anniversary of the opening of the store, but this year being a milestone she decided to expand the celebration. There’ll be cookies from the Cookie Jar, in keeping with Craft Ahrens’ shop local philosophy. Mimosas until their gone and beer, wine and soft drinks. Grab bags for $1, $3, $5 and $10 containing “a hodgepodge of goodies” worth at least twice the price. Customers can participate in a trivia contest about the store with questions such as how many women named Amy have worked there. And there’ll be goats. Craft Ahrens fancies goats, and when she was in Boston to run in the marathon earlier this year, the hotel she was staying in had goats, so she thought: “Why can’t I?” The sale will run from Friday through Sunday. Balloons will be strewn about the floor, and inside will be a tag denoting a discount from…


Pop’s Seafood reels in customers with fresh perch, walleye

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   For years, Brandon Keiser has been at home on the water, reeling in perch, walleye and more exotic fish. Now, he finds himself in the kitchen, cooking up fish for customers. Keiser has combined his two loves – cooking and fish – into his business called Pop’s Seafood. The restaurant is named after his father, Jim Keiser, who also shares a love for fishing and worked for a period as a charter captain on Lake Erie. “It’s been something we kicked around the last few years,” Brandon Keiser said of the restaurant in Bowling Green’s Greenwood Centre, 1616 E. Wooster St. “Bowling Green needed something other than pizza, wings and fast food,” he said. The restaurant features Lake Erie perch and walleye, as well as shrimp, hush puppies, fries and tater tots.  The fish is fresh – at least until the lake freezes over. The fish is hand-breaded and deep-fried in rice oil, which means it’s far less greasy. “It’s been a hit,” Keiser said. “As for deep-fried, it’s the healthiest you can get.” The servings are large, and Keiser is trying to hook more customers by offering all-you-can-eat fish and shrimp specials. The winner so far for shrimp-eating is one customer who downed 100 shrimp. “He’s got the record so far. He’s up on our Facebook page,” Keiser said. “I want people to go away full and satisfied,” he said. The restaurant’s décor features stuffed fish, lobster traps, nets and photographs of Keiser’s family fishing outings. “We wanted it to be a very friendly, fun atmosphere, feeling like you’re at the…