Downtown Bowling Green

Christmas boutique offers all the fixings for a hand made holiday

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Shopping small doesn’t get any more personal than buying gifts from local artisans who make them. That’s the experience that the Grounds For Thought Christmas Boutique  has been offering for 15 years. This year’s boutique will be presented Saturday, Dec. 8 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the coffeeshop at 174 S. Main St. in downtown Bowling Green. Customers will be able to buy knitted and felted clothing with jewelry for accents.  All-natural lotions, soap, cleansers, and balms to pamper the skin beneath the clothes. Photographs and paintings — watercolor, encaustic, and pastels — to please the eye. Bowls of wood and ceramic will be on sale as well as handmade books and cards.   Many of the vendors are regulars at the boutique — space is limited and the crowds are good, so there’s a limit to the number of new vendors. But every year, the boutique finds room to fit in a few newcomers. This year, for example, Ellen Fure Smith’s Little Bare Furniture will be on hand. Smith will be tucked back near the conference room. For the first time the conference room will be used for vendors. Sandy Wicks said the boutique started during her time with the Downtown Business Association. The event was a spinoff from the Black Swamp Arts Festival, which she had helped to found.  “We wanted something in the winter,” Wicks said.   “So many of my friends were crafters and artists, and we thought  this would be a great event.” The first boutique had 10 vendors, she said.  This year it’ll feature 26. “I’d say at least half have all been in the Black Swamp Arts Festival. It’s a really nice quality boutique and Christmas show.” All the work sold must be “completely handmade and  original,” she said. The customers who pack into Grounds for the boutique appreciate the quality. Wicks is joined by artisan Kathy Pereira de Almeida  in organizing the fair. She handles a lot of the logistics, Wicks said. Pereira de Almeida said she had hosted her own holiday crafts fair at her house for several years before joining forces with Wicks. The downtown location was more convenient for customers, and it meant less foot traffic through her home. It does mean more foot traffic through neighboring downtown shops, Wicks said. Pereira de Almeida has made silk scarves and hand-painted tote…

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Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Retro finds room to grow

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Kayla Minniear said she’s had her eye on the storefront at 127 S. Main in downtown Bowling Green for a while. The space wasn’t available when she and her husband, Jon, opened Rock ’Em Sock ’Em Retro two years ago. So they settled into the former Mills Jewelry store a half block south on the other side of the street.  Now the shop has moved into those more spacious quarters across the street. “We had just outgrown that space,” Jon Minniear said. “We didn’t have enough space to put stuff out. We loved the old space, but this is bigger.” Now, he said, he’s not tripping over everything. Opening the store was something the couple discussed before they were married.  Back when they were dating, Kayla Minniear said, they started collecting Nintendo games, and that expanded to other vintage items. Having a storefront to sell the surplus seemed a natural development. Rock ’Em Sock ’Em sells video games dating to the Atari era, pop culture themed  items, action figures, vintage toys,  and some manga merchandise. They not only sell, but they also buy these items. “We have a little something for everybody,” he said. The storefront has a large vestibule that now has arcade games. That large entryway was one of the storefront’s appeals, Kayla Minniear said. One of the shop’s back rooms will be equipped for arcade game competition. Another, Jon Minniear said, will be used to display art by the Black Sheep Shack. The company run by Caroline Lippert, Kayla Minniear’s mother, also did the signage for the shop. The shop is doing well, John Minniear said. Because of Bowling Green State University, every year brings a new group of customers. Some customers who’d just discovered the shop this fall, even helped the couple move. “We’ve made a lot of great friends, customers who come in regularly,” he said. A year after Rock ’Em Sock ’Em Retro opened, Cameron’s Comics also opened on Main Street. Then in spring, at the encouragement of the Minniears, Joe Busch opened The Stacked Deck gaming shop across the alley from their original storefront. Reflecting on these developments, Jon Minniear said: “We’re bringing nerd culture back.” 


Downtown Farmers Market moving indoors

From DOWNTOWN BOWLING GREEN One of the many tell-tale signs of summer and favorite for all locals in Downtown Bowling Green is the Downtown Bowling Green Farmer’s Market. For years this annual event has brought hundreds to downtown to sample, purchase and enjoy local vendors and artisans from the area, and spend more time in our voted Best Small Town! Downtown BG is so thrilled to announce we are not done yet! On October 24th, with new winter hours of 3-6 p.m., Downtown BG will open their first Winter Market for the community! The cozy indoor space is directly attached to Calico, Sage, and Thyme & the new Tea Room along Clay and Main Street. While the weather is willing to cooperate, vendors will also be placed outside around the gorgeous iconic tree! What vendors are coming along you may ask? Can produce still be purchased this time of year? We’re happy to say YES! 10-15 market vendors will be present each week providing everything from fresh produce including; squash, pumpkins, mushrooms, microgreens, asparagus, and more! On top of that, there will be baked goods from both Bella Cuisine & Country Grains- and sweet treats and bars from 2 Sharp Cookies! River Valley Pasta will be back with a variety of difference flavors to try each week, and Viking Coffee will have fresh roasted options for all the caffeine enthusiasts! There will also be amazing artistic vendors like Bottles by Ada, providing soy candles and recycled wine bottles with succulents, stunning holiday wreaths from Clay Hill  and tie dye clothing from Magical Mystery Shop! Vendors will constantly be changing as each week goes by, so make sure to stop in an see who is new to the lineup! Riehm Produce Farm will have their CSA bags available for pick-up at our new location through the holiday as well! Great Lakes Custom Sharpening will not be sharpening tools on site, but our market location will be a drop off/pick-up for your sharpening needs each week! WIC and SNAP programs will also continue into our Winter Market season with vendors who are eligible for them. Downtown Dollars can still be purchased and used for market shopping from our market manager Sam. BGSU Dining & Training Kitchen will also play a fun role during our market. Each week a new chef will utilize local ingredients from our vendors and make a fun new…


Time to sign up to join BG Holiday Parade

From BOWLING GREEN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE The Annual Bowling Green Parade Project Team announces the 2018 Community Holiday Parade to take place Saturday, Nov. 17, starting at 10 a.m., in Downtown Bowling Green.  The theme this year is “Our Best Hometown Holiday” complementing the award given to Bowling Green by Ohio Magazine.  Come and join community groups, businesses, bands, and Santa for some fun this year. With many local participants, this can be your year to join in on all the excitement. Unit Registration & Sponsorship forms are now available in the Chamber office or at www.bgchamber.net.  The deadline to register units for the 2018 Annual Bowling Green Community Holiday Parade is 5 p.m. Monday, Nov. 5. Registration is $50 for Non-Investors, $25 for Investors and $15 for Non-Profits, with the fees supporting band stipends, parade publicity, general administrative costs, as well as the cost of WTOL broadcasting the Parade. Sponsorships and/or donations to help offset expenses of the parade are also appreciated.  Sponsorship and unit registration forms can be downloaded from www.bgchamber.net and mailed to the BG Chamber at 130 S. Main St., Bowling Green, Ohio 43402.  Sponsorship forms must be received by 5 p.m. Monday, November 5th to be recognized in the media outlets. The 2018 Annual Bowling Green Community Holiday Parade is brought to you by the Presenting Sponsors, Julie’s Dance Studio, Rosenboom Custom Crafted Cylinders, Regal Beloit and the City of Bowling Green.  And WTOL Channel 11 will be broadcasting the parade live this year! The Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce supports an environment for the development and success of business within the Bowling Green area.  The Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce Celebrates, Educates, and Strengthens its Investors through Business Improvement Events, Grants, Services, Leadership, Legislative Updates and Group Savings Programs.  We are your Community Connection via ‘The Morning Show’ radio program WBGU 88.1FM, Wood County Safety Council, Annual Awards, Holiday Parade and Fireworks.  The Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce is Celebrating 82 years; Established 1936.


Get Inspired Nutrition helps smooth out a healthy diet

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Get Inspired Nutrition, 157 N. Main St., Bowling Green, is about more than serving up tasty smoothies. The club, as it is called, is about promoting an approach to nutrition and healthy eating using Herbalife Nutrition products. Owner Bobbi Henry is a believer because the system worked for her. Five years ago after having four children she’d almost given up hope of losing weight. But she knew she needed to do something because of a family history of diabetes. Then a friend told her about the Herbalife approach. And when she started learning more about it she learned it was possible to lose 50 pounds in six months. Now Henry said, she had a goal. It took her five months — the Christmas holidays intervened — but she lost the weight, and she maintained it until a year ago when she decided she wanted to lose more, and dropped another 30 pounds. “It’s not typical, but it’s what’s possible,” Henry said. “This isn’t a diet, it’s a lifestyle change.” While some diets are so strict people can’t stick with them, with this approach “I didn’t feel so deprived.” She consumed the smoothies and planned out meals or snacks. “If people are interested in getting started on a meal plan we can help them with that.” Or someone can stop by at Get Inspired and enjoy the products. The smoothies are 200 to 350 calories and 24-30 grams protein “so it’s a meal replacement,” Henry said. The smoothies come in more than 100 varieties with fruity, coffee, cookie, and candy flavors. They start at $6. They contain a range of natural ingredients, including oatmeal, kale, and peanut butter powder. They can be combined with energy tea to boost metabolism and aloe shots for digestive health, Henry said, for a couple dollars extra. The combinations, she said, can help boost energy and improve focus. Get Inspired opened its doors early last week. It’ll have an official grand opening in early November. Already Henry is a seeing a steady stream of customers. Many were customers of the clubs from other locales in the state. Henry was affiliated with Get Healthy in Perrysburg. She realized Bowling Green would be a good market because of the number of customers, many students who would patronize that club. She was looking for a location near campus. The North Main storefront was…


Tricked-out Firefly Nights will offer plenty of treats for kids & grownups

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Firefly Nights is adding some new tricks to the downtown festival to provide more treats for kids and adults alike.  The Firefly Nights Fall Festival will be held Friday, Oct. 19 from 6 to 10 p.m. in downtown Bowling Green. The festival continues the series of events offered throughout the summer. Now it’ll change colors just a bit to fit the season. For kids that means a costume contest, trunk and treat, pumpkin decorating, and a kiddie tractor pull. For adults that means a farmers market, more music, free yoga classes, and beer gardens on both ends of Main Street. Adults are invited to come in costume as well. The fall festival took shape through parallel discussions by the Firefly organizers and the downtown merchants. Mary Hinkelman, former Downtown Bowling Green director and now Chamber of Commerce executive director, said the concerns about downtown trick or treat were raised by merchants. Downtown trick or treating had outgrown the streets. She estimated about 2,000 children trick-or-treated downtown last year. That many youngsters accompanied by adults jammed the sidewalks, causing safety concerns. The merchants wondered: What if they could block off the street as they do for Firefly Nights? Hinkelman took the idea to the board of directors and they approved. So did the Firefly Nights organizers who were already considering doing one more festival in fall. “I think it was the zeitgeist of the time,” said Laura Wicks of Grounds for Thought. “You know how small towns work — good ideas just grow.” A new partnership was born. Laura Wicks said the idea was: “Why not make it more of a family friendly activity instead of just filling up a bag of candy?” So the Fall Firefly Nights will be held instead of downtown trick or treat, which had typically been on the Thursday before Halloween. In place of children going to door to door to businesses, Thayer Family dealerships is bringing cars downtown, and treats will be doled out from the trunks. Trinity United Methodist, a couple blocks off Main Street, will also hold its trunk or treat event that night from 6 to 8 p.m. In the Firefly costume contest, judges roaming the crowd will select 40 kids — 20 from earlier in the night, 20 from later — based on the creativity and effort put into their outfi. Firefly Nights will also…


Connection Center offers hope to those facing mental illness

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   For almost two decades, the Connection Center in Bowling Green had provided a safe and welcoming place for people struggling with mental health issues. The only problem was that the space at 194 S. Main St. did not keep up with the growing needs. “We’ve needed this space for a long time,” said Tom Clemons, executive director of the Wood County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Board, which is the primary source of funding for the center. “I know the Connection Center has been very important in helping people recover,” Clemons said. “This is phenomenal.” Verna Mullins, the Connection Center manager, said the new expanded location promises many possibilities. “Our new facilities will give us a chance to grow” not only in the number of people served, but also in the programming offered, Mullins said. The primary goal of the center is to help people on their paths to recovery from mental health problems. “We will continue to do what we do best – provide hope,” Mullins said. On Thursday, the official ribbon cutting was held at the new Connection Center location at 309 S. Main St. The new location has almost double the space for adults receiving mental health services in Wood County. There’s room for more educational programs, like those on nutrition, exercise, and tips on how to beat the holiday blues. And there’s room for fun – as evidenced by the center’s schedule posted on a big calendar on the wall. There are plans for musical entertainment and a Halloween party. The center has a craft area, big TV, and plenty of comfortable seating. There are field trips planned to a pumpkin patch, alpaca farm, bowling, a cookout, the movie theater, a corn maze, apple orchard, and neighborhood strolls. “Whenever there was a holiday party, you couldn’t move,” John Fortner, director of Harbor mental health services in Wood County, said of the old space. The doubled space is expected to make a big difference for a lot of people. “It was really, really cramped in the other building,” said Julie Kershaw, psychosocial rehabilitation specialist at the center. “I think a lot more people will start coming.” Mary Hinkelman, new executive director of the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce, said she was pleased to see the expansion – still in the downtown area. “This was a really big…