Business

Phoenix Technologies gets 1 out of every 20 plastic bottles recycled in US

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bob Deardurff loves the scene in “The Graduate” when a character shares the secret of success with Dustin Hoffman. Just one word – plastics. That one word has proved to be Deardurff’s success at Phoenix Technologies in Bowling Green, which was named Wood County Corporate Citizen of the Year on Wednesday evening. In fact, the company has had so much success that one out of every 20 plastic bottles recycled in the U.S. comes to the Bowling Green company, Deardurff said. Phoenix Technology takes plastics full circle by using items from the recycling center on North College Avenue, washing the items at its plant on East Poe Road, then converting the plastic into pellets at its plant on Fairview Avenue. “We have an opportunity in Wood County and Bowling Green, so we can close the loop,” all within a half mile, Deardurff said. The recycled plastic is then returned to items for packaging food, beverages, pharmaceuticals, shampoo, soap and detergents. When introducing the Corporate Citizen of the Year, Wood County Commissioner Doris Herringshaw noted the company’s beginnings in 1985 in Toledo. “The business flourished,” she said, and by 1991 was manufacturing bottles for Palmolive dishwashing detergent. In 1992, the company opened in Bowling Green, and by 1993, the company had one manufacturing line and eight employees. Before long, they added two more lines. Then in 1999, they patented the technology to be able to serve larger markets. “All the while they were focusing on be environmentally friendly and green,” Herringshaw said. The company now employees 96 people at its two facilities in Bowling Green. “They are the key to making this company successful,” Deardurff said of the employees. Much has changed since 1973 when the technology was first developed to use plastic for making bottles instead of glass. “Much of that technology was done here in Northwest Ohio,” Deardurff said. The company continues to advance the value of recycling through technology, he said. Also at the annual meeting of the Wood County Economic Development Commission on Wednesday evening, speaker Jerry Anderson offered a tribute to former county commissioner Alvie Perkins who died in January. “We all knew he was a giant of a public servant,” Anderson said. “He always put public service before politics.” The economic development commission also installed new officers, with Doug Miller as president, Jerry Greiner as treasurer, Jack Jones as member-at-large, and Lane Williamson as immediate past president.          


Young entrepreneurs poised for revamped Hatch at BGSU

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Fledgling entrepreneurs at Bowling Green State University hatch all kinds of ideas, and every year at The Hatch they get to test how those ideas will fly with a panel of possible investors. The fourth Hatch event, modeled on ABC’s “The Shark Tank,” will be presented April 7 from 6 to 8 p.m. in the ballroom in the Bowen-Thompson Student Union on campus. The event culminates E-Week, a week-long series devoted to entrepreneurship. This year eight ideas, ranging from a solution to a dorm room space problem to a solution for a type of water pollution, will be among the ideas pitched by individuals and teams to a panel of BGSU graduates with money to invest. Kirk Kern, director of the Dallas-Hamilton Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, said that the major changes for the event are adding graduate students and students working in teams to the mix. “What we’re trying to do is get a better quality of ideas,” he said. Kern said the vision is to expand even further to include faculty, staff and alumni. Already, he said, graduates will approach staff at the Dallas-Hamilton Center for help developing their business ideas. “That’s a logical extension,” he said. The event is also moving back to the ballroom after one year at the Stroh Center. Last year, Kern said, with 3,500 people attending, the event seemed too overwhelming. The focus is on the business ideas. The eight pitches were culled from 130 applications. Those students selected are then paired up with business mentors who help them refine their ideas. For Khory Katz, a sophomore studying finance in the College of Business Administration, that meant a trip over spring break to Cleveland. Katz is working with fellow finance major Meredith Moore on a no-hassle loft bed. The idea is to make it easier to adjust the height of a dorm loft bed to give students more space flexibility in their rooms. As it stands now, Katz said, the bed gets set at the beginning of the semester and that’s where it stays. In Cleveland, he visited Balance, Inc., a company that supports product innovation, to review his proposal. They provided useful insight into how to develop it and expressed interest in working further with Moore and him. The company, Kern said, was so impressed they told him they wanted to be involved in the program in the proof of concepts stage. The Hatch was the reason Katz wanted to enroll at BGSU. He attended while he was in high school when…


Bowling Green Beer Works Draws Steady Following

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News This is the closest that Bowling Green gets to a speakeasy. The establishment sits tucked away in a cluster of old garages at 322 North Grove St. On weekends – Friday, 4:30 to 10 p.m. and Saturday, 1 to 10 p.m., customers slip in through a back door. A newcomer can be forgiven for suspecting a secret word may be required to gain entry. Inside a couple dozen people hang out, all with pint canning jars of beer in front of them. Some of the beer is golden, some the color of caramel, others dark as chocolate. Not a “lite” beer in sight. Welcome to Bowling Green Beer Works. Here the beer is consumed within a few feet of where it is brewed. In the cooler in the corner rests the beer they’ll be sipping next week. Consumption takes its rightful place as the last step in the brewing process. The micro brewery’s owner Justin Marx presides over the scene. He makes suggestions, describes his product, accepts comments, most of them compliments. These Friday and Saturday tastings culminate his week of work making the up to 10 varieties that he offers on any given night. “I love my clientele,” Marx said. “We like to have a neighborhood feel. I can’t believe the tremendous amount of support we’ve gotten.” He first applied for his permit back in September, 2014, and finally secured all his federal, state and local paperwork, so he could open the tasting room, in September, 2015. His love of beer making dates back further than that. Back, Marx, 42, said, to before he was legally of age to consume his product. That was in the State of Oregon, then the epicenter of the craft brewing movement. In the late 1980s, Marx said, the business model was pairing the beer with burgers. But when the market contracted in the late 1990s, the brewers shed the beef and put all the emphasis on their beer. Craft breweries have sprung up across the nation. Ohio now has close to 150, Marx said. A 2012 change in Ohio regulations that cut the price for a tasting license from $4,000 to $1,000 also helped. He doesn’t view these other operators as rivals. Small brewers are more like a fraternity. “It’s an all-ships-rising mentality,” he said. At this point craft brewers represent 9 to 11 percent of all beer sales. “We realize the competition is about changing the palate of average Americans.” For Marx the appeal of brewing is “you can travel around…


Nightlife ain’t no life without Corner Grill; Howard’s show to benefit displaced workers

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Saturday’s benefit for employees of the Corner Grill should help out Patrick McDermott’s finances. He’s been out of work since an early morning fire destroyed the interior of the landmark Bowling Green eatery on Feb. 1. Still for him the show, which will run from 1 p.m. Saturday to 2 a.m. Sunday, at Howard’s Club H at 210 N. Main St., is about more than money. He’s looking forward to seeing his old customers. McDermott worked the third shift, so he cooked for folks who just got off late night shifts at bars and other restaurants and he cooked for folks just heading to their jobs. “I’d like to reconnect, hang out with them for the day.” Nikki Cordy, a long time employee at Howard’s, said the idea for the benefit got started while the interior of the diner was still smoldering. So she set out to book 12 hours of music. After five hours, the bill was filled. A few acts had to be turned away. Among those performing will be Circle the Sun, Harlow, The Casket Company, Birthquake, Fathom City, Scare Me Green, Adam Rice, Justin Payne, Ginger and the Snaps, Mike Dubose, Tom Vasey, and the Defenders. There will be a $5 cover charge. Cordy said she had “a soft spot in her heart” for the Grill. Sometimes Larry Cain, who owns the Corner Grill, would bring over food when he knew the Howards crew hadn’t had a chance to take a break. The Grill always was able to accommodate her gluten-free diet required by her celiac disease. “It’s about family,” she said. After closing time, the Howard’s staff and other night shift workers to unwind, have breakfast and a cup a tea, after a long night’s work. The workers included musicians. Singer-songwriter Justin Payne, who will play at the benefit, said he “haunted the place for so long.” That included working there. The benefit is “a special opportunity for many segments of the arts community in BG to rally around a local institution and its employees. “Many of us in town are on a first name basis with the cooks and servers at the Corner Grill. It has been a colorful local institution, since 1946, and its workers have been getting our community through their days in their own wonderful ways over those years.” Cain said he’s hoping to be back open in a couple months. McDermott said the impact has been hard on the 10 employees. Some have been picked up extra hours at…


Recycling efforts grow, but still short in some areas

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   More than 300 local businesses save on garbage pickup costs and conserve landfill space by separating their recyclables from their trash. Businesses from Northwood to North Baltimore use a program operated by Wood Lane’s Community Employment Service, called R&R, to pick up their recyclables. “This is truly intended to be a county-wide program,” said Vic Gable, head of CES. But while the program picks up recyclables for many private businesses, schools and government offices, it collects items from just two apartment complexes in Bowling Green. While the city picks up recyclables at residences, it does not collect them at apartment complexes. During a recent meeting of the Bowling Green City-University Relations Commission, members discussed the lack of recycling at apartment complexes and downtown businesses. Chris Ostrowski, a member of the commission, said he was the first to start apartment recycling in Bowling Green in the 1980s at Summit Terrace, which has 96 units. “We started because it made economic sense,” Ostrowski said. “It was cheaper than having someone pick it up as trash.” Most of the student renters want to recycle, he said. “For the most part, the students see it as a positive thing.” According to Ostrowski, many apartment complexes don’t offer recycling since the owners are responsible for the start-up costs. Unlike other residences, where curbside containers are provided by the city, the apartments would have to purchase the bins. The Wood Lane program partners with the Wood County Solid Waste District to provide recycling containers to school districts throughout the county. The R&R program does not charge for its services, but it does require private businesses to buy their own containers. “One of the challenges with the business community is they have to purchase the containers themselves,” Gable said. “We have to try to break even.” The three trucks used for pickups were purchased with grant funding. Some of the larger corporate customers are Calphalon and Johnson Controls. About 50 small businesses in Bowling Green are involved. But only a few downtown Bowling Green businesses, like Ben Franklin, Finders and Panera, are part of the recycling program, Gable said. “I know there are other entities interested,” he explained. “But there are a lot of challenges to make that happen. There’s really no place to put big recycling containers.” The R&R program collects aluminum and steel cans, plastic, cardboard, newspaper, magazines, office paper, books and shredded paper, which are then sold to the BG Recycling Center. Last year, the program saved several million tons of…


Siblings wear memorial for their father, Glenn Haught, on their skins

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News As a leathersmith, Glenn Haught knew something about needles. Haught, a longtime fixture in Bowling Green where he repaired shoes and leather items of all sorts, died Jan. 27. On Tuesday his daughter, Melissa Marshall and his son, Gerald Haught, got a taste of a different kind of needle when they visited Broad Wing Tattoo in downtown Bowling Green to get matching tattoos to honor their father’s legacy. Marshall credited her brother with the idea. He’s no stranger to the shop nor tattoo artist Jaime Mullholand. She’s worked her craft numerous times on Haught’s arms. The memorial tattoo is his seventh. He has an autobiography in ink on his arms. He already has a tattoo to honor his father, one depicting his signature hat and boots. There’s an image for each of his family members, including his mother, Linda, who assisted her husband with jobs requiring stitching on bags, purses and other items. Marshall does have one tattoo. It dates back before her marriage. Her husband, Jack, is not fond of tattoos. But, she said, he made an exception for the one that will adorn her right ankle. The image replicates the metal silhouette included on the community mural on the corner of East Poe Road and College Street. It shows Glenn Haught at work at his bench. When asked about their father, both Gerald Haught and his sister recall him as a man who worked hard at a job he loved. While known for shoe repair, his craft wasn’t limited to footwear. He repaired hockey gear, the bellows for an antique furnace in Pemberville and the top for the gear shift on a BMW. Though suffering from the leukemia and lymphoma that would claim his life, Glenn Haught still planned to go back to work after the Christmas holiday. Haught, who was born in West Virginia in 1941, never returned to his bench. The family will close the business and sell the equipment. Some pieces of gear, including a 100-year-old sanding and polishing machine that Marshall referred to as “the monstrosity,” are no longer made. Haught didn’t start his working life in the leather trade. Marshall said he was a repo man with Signal Finance. That’s how he came to Bowling Green. But “he wanted to be his own boss,” she said. First he owned a Western wear shop with boot repair as one of its services. Then the leather work became his focus. Gerald Haught said it’s strange to see old photos of his father – clean…


Corner Grill plans to reopen

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The owner of the Corner Grill hopes to be back serving burgers within three months. Larry Cain said Wednesday that because of water and smoke damage caused by a fire Monday morning the interior of the eatery will pretty much have to be gutted. He will try to save some signature elements such as the countertops. Still the nostalgic will be the same. Firefighters were called to the grill shortly before 8 a.m. Monday as the crew was preparing to open. Flames shot up from behind a grill as it was heating, and that fire extended into the hood, and from there into an abandoned stairwell next to the building through which the grills ventilated. That structure is owned by Jim Gavarone who operates Mr. Spots next door. The fire also temporarily closed Mr. Spots, but that restaurant is back operating. Cain said because of the damage from the fire that stairwell will now have to be removed. That’s one of the factors that will play into when the Corner Grill is back in operation. The grill itself will get a facelift, and all that work will have to be inspected and approved by the county. “That’s always the biggest thing, making sure things get codified,” Cain said. Much of the work, including getting new equipment, was already planned, but had been put off because of the vagaries of financing and operating a small business. Now that work will be done, and the new Corner Grill will be even better, he said. The owner said he was touched by the support he’s received. Howard Club H, just a couple doors down on North Main Street, will hold a benefit for the Corner Grill Saturday from 2 p.m. until Sunday at 2 a.m. But afterward the club’s patrons will not be able to make their usual stop at the Corner Grill for after-hours sustenance. And the Cookie Jar, around the corner on East Court Street, is also donating a portion of its receipts to help get the eatery back open. Cain appreciates the way “the community rallied around us … The customers are great. Suppliers have been positive.” “This is our home,” he said. “People are so wonderful.”