Downtown Bowling Green

Downtown BG needs help decorating for holidays

The holidays are right around the corner and Downtown Bowling Green is gathering volunteers to help decorate thedowntown planters. These downtown decorations help bring holiday spirit and cheer to both our community and visitors. Downtown Decoration Crew When: 11/10/2018 Where: The Four Corners (130 S. Main Street) at 9 a.m. Volunteers are reminded to dress for the weather and keep in mind that they will be walking throughout the downtown area Volunteers can sign up through this link: https://www.signupgenius.com/go/508044cada628a0f49-holiday


BG to view more ‘user-friendly’ parking kiosks for downtown

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   As part of the continuing debate over how to pay for downtown parking, a more “user-friendly” kiosk will be demonstrated for downtown and city officials next week. Mayor Dick Edwards expressed some reservations about the new kiosk at Monday’s City Council meeting, but said he is looking forward to seeing a model that is easier for motorists to use. A committee of downtown property owners and business owners has been meeting to study the options of how to pay for parking. The committee is charged with looking at whether the city should continue to charge for parking, or if the property and business owners want to work on a shared cost approach. The cost of parking meters will double in the downtown area if a solution isn’t found. The problem is that the city isn’t making enough from its downtown parking meters to pay for repaving the lots and enforcing parking rules. But the fear is that doubling parking costs will discourage customers from patronizing downtown businesses. The city’s downtown lots – with their 600-plus parking spaces – are struggling due to flat revenue, increasing costs and aging infrastructure. Under a shared cost program, the downtown property owners would be assessed based on their front footage and the benefits to their parcels. The average property owner would pay $220 a year for 20 years. The lowest amount charged would be $30 a year. The highest – to the owner of multiple properties – would be $2,000 a year. Those assessments would generate about $20,000 a year. The concept of the downtown property owners picking up the tab for parking expenses was not supported by the landowners during a meeting earlier this year. However, the business owners have stated they would be willing to share in the expenses if it meant customers wouldn’t have to pay for parking. The benefits of getting rid of parking meters would be multi-faceted. It would be a marketing opportunity for downtown businesses, it would eliminate the need for meter or kiosk replacements, and it would mean the…


Tony Vetter jumps right into leading Downtown BG

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Tony Vetter hit the ground running as executive director of Downtown Bowling Green. He had no choice. This, he said, is the busiest time of the year. He has to find volunteers to help spruce up the downtown for the holidays. Then there’s the holiday tree lighting, collaboration with the Chamber of Commerce on the holiday parade, and after that the kickoff to Small Business Saturday on Nov. 24. Vetter started in his new position, taking over from Mary Hinkelman, on Oct. 29. Hinkelman switched offices in the Four Corners Center to become director of the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce. “I’m just getting up to speed.” Though Vetter has recently started, he’s familiar with the various entities that call the Four Corners Center home. As director of Destination Toledo he worked closely with Wendy Chambers who heads up the Bowling Green Convention and Visitors Bureau. Though Vetter has been working in Toledo,  he’s lived in Bowling Green for the past 24 years with his wife, Cheryl, co-owner of Hagemeyer Fine Photography. Vetter said he’s always done his shopping in Bowling Green and has taken part in the various events, including the Black Swamp Arts Festival, that fill up the city’s calendar. The 26-year-old festival like the newly hatched Firefly Nights are staged by independent groups. They add to the luster of downtown, along with the lineup of events that Downtown Bowling Green presents, including Art Walk and Winterfest Chillabration.  “It’s a collaborative effort,” Vetter said. “It’s a very vibrant community. Some other cities that would give their eye teeth for what Bowling Green has.” A healthy downtown isn’t just important for the merchants and downtown businesses, but for the health of the community as a whole. A company trying to recruit new employees does not want have them see a downtown full of empty or boarded up store fronts. Downtown Bowling Green works to keep that from happening. The Special Improvement District is funded by a tax imposed on property owners. Vetter was attracted to the job in part because of the passion…


Tony Vetter named new director of Downtown Bowling Green

From DOWNTOWN BOWLING GREEN Tony Vetter has been selected as the new Director of Downtown Bowling Green and The Downtown Foundation. He started on October 29, 2018. Downtown Bowling Green is a Special Improvement District within the downtown area. It serves the downtown as a liaison with government offices, other merchants and the media. Downtown BG strives to enhance and stabilize the economic vitality of the Central Business District through long-term improvement projects and ongoing promotional activities that benefit the community and surrounding area. Downtown Bowling Green hosts the Art Walk, Classics on Main Car Show, Farmers Market, the new Winter Market, Community Tree Lightning, Downtown Beautification, Holiday Decorations, and Holly Days along with sponsoring Firefly Nights, Fall Festival and Shop Small Business Saturday. It also supports other events promoted by the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce, BG Convention & Visitors Bureau, Bowling Green Economic Development (all located in the Four Corners Building) and the city of Bowling Green.  Volunteers for these events shows the strong support the community provides to Downtown Bowling Green. Working with Bowling Green State University and providing internship opportunities has benefited both organizations. Downtown Bowling Green promotes Downtown Dollars which are gift certificates that can be used just like cash in downtown businesses. It also furnishes enhanced maintenance for the downtown business district.   “Mary Hinkelman, new Executive Director of the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce, has done an excellent job as Director of Downtown Bowling Green and I wish to continue that same level of service along with implementing new ways to serve downtown and the community”, said Tony Vetter. Tony has over 27 years in leadership, sales and marketing experience. Recently he was Director of Sales and Interim President for the Toledo Convention and Visitors Bureau promoting our region to state, regional, national and international groups. Tony earned the Certified Destination Management Executive (CDME) designation in 2016, the only integrated executive program specifically designed for the destination marketing industry. The focus of the program is on vision, leadership, productivity and the implementation of business strategies. “Tony Vetter, as CDME graduate, has been awarded…


Panera planning move from downtown to Big Boy site

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Big Boy is moving over for bread, bagels, salads and soups. Panera Bread is planning to move from downtown Bowling Green onto the former site of Big Boy on East Wooster Street. Applications have been filed with the city engineer’s office for demolition of the Big Boy restaurant, and with the city planning office for a drive-thru at the new site. A building permit request for a new Panera restaurant was approved earlier this month by the Wood County Building Inspection Office. The new building will have 4,413 square feet of space. For 17 years, Panera has been serving downtown diners in Bowling Green. The move to East Wooster Street will give the restaurant better access to I-75 travelers, students on the BGSU campus, and ample parking. The move will leave a big hole in the downtown, but Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Mary Hinkelman was looking at the bright side. “I don’t think it will stay empty long,” she said of the possibilities to fill the South Main storefront. Floyd Craft, owner of the building housing Panera, said he had heard some rumblings about the restaurant moving. Over the years, the business has expressed its desire to have a drive-thru for customers. “I haven’t heard anything official from them,” he said. And he suspects that the move won’t be very soon since a new restaurant will have to be constructed, and Panera renewed its lease two and a half years ago for the current site until 2021. Craft agreed that filling the spot shouldn’t be difficult. “Sooner or later, we’ll find someone,” he said. “I would like to get another good restaurant here.” Craft said he isn’t as worried about the impact of the move on himself – but more so on the overall health of the downtown. “I’m more concerned about them leaving for the traffic they pull downtown,” he said, noting the number of customers who eat at Panera then do some shopping at other downtown stores. “That’s my biggest concern.” The current Panera site at 139 S. Main…


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…


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…


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…


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…


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…


Kiddie tractor pull set for fall Firefly Nights

From DOWNTOWN BOWLING GREEN The Kiddie Pedal Tractor Pull will take place on South Main St. in front of the H20 Church Friday, Oct. 19,. Registration for the pulls is from 6-7 p.m. and is free for ages 4-11 in conjunction with Firefly Nights- all Festival on Main Street. The Kiddie Pedal Pulls will take place from 7-8:30 p.m. Each child will receive a ribbon and frisbee for participation. The top three children will earn trophies as well as qualify and move on to the state pulls with Gary Daiber(Owner of Buckeye Pedal Pullers). Following the Kiddie Pedal Pulls there will be an Adult Pedal Pull. The Adult Pedal Pull is a $5 per person donation. Proceeds will go to benefit Downtown Bowling Green, as well as helping Firefly nights expand for the future. Adult participants may choose to compete against a friend or enemy or we will be happy to choose a competitor. Downtown Bowling Green thanks The National Tractor Pulling Championship Organization for sponsoring the Kiddie Pedal Tractor Pull. We are very excited to kick off the Pedal Pulls event and hope to continue to make this event a tradition. Contact our office with any questions about the event. Please,  email us at Marketing_Intern@Downtownbgohio.org or call 419-354-4332.  


Downtown parking committee needs more time

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The committee examining downtown parking needs more time on the meter. Bowling Green Municipal Administrator Lori Tretter told City Council Monday evening that the parking committee would like more time to study the issue of how parking gets paid for downtown. The committee originally had till the end of October, but asked for an extension till the Nov. 5 council meeting. The request was granted. “We’re very thankful of the participation of business owners and property owners,” Council President Mike Aspacher said. The parking committee includes the following downtown property and business owners: Dick Newlove; Greg Halamay, owner of Finders Records; Kim Thomas, owner of the H&R Block Building; Kati Thompson, owner of Eden Fashion Boutique; Ben Waddington, owner of Waddington Jewelers; Floyd Craft, owner of Ben’s and Ace Hardware; and Garrett Jones, owner of Reverend’s. Also attending the parking meetings, representing the city, are Municipal Administrator Lori Tretter, Assistant Municipal Administrator Joe Fawcett, Director of Finance Brian Bushong, Police Chief Tony Hetrick and City Councilman Bruce Jeffers. The committee is charged with looking at whether the city should continue to charge for parking, or if the property and business owners want to work on a shared cost approach, Fawcett said. “They are examining all options,” Fawcett said. The committee was initially given two months to come up with a solution for maintaining downtown parking. The cost of parking meters will double in the downtown area if a solution isn’t found. Two proposals being considered are: Doubling meter costs to 50 cents an hour to pay for parking lot maintenance. Pulling out all parking meters and kiosks, and assessing downtown property and business owners for parking costs. The problem is that the city isn’t making enough from its downtown parking meters to pay for repaving the lots and enforcing parking rules. But the fear is that doubling parking costs will discourage customers from patronizing downtown businesses. The city’s downtown lots – with their 600-plus parking spaces – are struggling due to flat revenue, increasing costs and aging infrastructure. So the options suggested…


Columbia Gas agrees to alert fire division immediately about dangerous leaks

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Columbia Gas officials have agreed to immediately notify Bowling Green Fire Division if gas leaks in the downtown construction area get close to dangerous levels again. “We’ve come to an understanding that they will call us immediately if there is a leak of significant levels,” Bowling Green Fire Chief Bill Moorman said Monday morning. Eleven days ago, a leak occurred in the downtown area of South Main Street, where Columbia Gas is replacing old natural gas lines. By the time the fire division was notified, the leaking gas had reached explosive levels, Moorman said. Last Friday, Columbia Gas officials agreed to meet with Moorman and Bowling Green Public Works Director Brian Craft. City officials wanted to make sure if a similar incident occurred in the future that it would be handled differently by the gas company. “We wanted to make sure we are called immediately,” Moorman said. “If we’re not needed, we can just go home” back to the fire station. When the leak occurred on the evening of Sept. 13, Bowling Green Fire Division was not notified about the gas leak until at least two hours after gas odors were strong enough that some businesses shut down on the west side of the 100 block of South Main Street. Those businesses included Grounds for Thought, Lahey Appliance and Coyote Beads. When the fire division arrived downtown, the smell of natural gas was obvious. Atmospheric tests done by firefighters showed explosive levels of gas. “The gas levels were at a dangerous level,” Fire Chief Bill Moorman said. “It was getting to the point that a spark, anything can really set it off. Pretty much anything ignites natural gas.” The Bowling Green Police Division joined the fire division in evacuating the businesses and residents in the general area of the leak in the 100 block of South Main Street. The street was also closed to traffic to reduce the risks. After the leak, Columbia Gas defended its response. “They followed all their protocols,” Moorman agreed. But city officials are not satisfied with those…


BG still waiting to meet with Columbia Gas about leak

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Bowling Green city leaders are still waiting for a meeting with Columbia Gas officials about explosive levels of gas leaked into the downtown Thursday evening leading to the evacuation of several businesses and apartments. City officials have concerns since the fire division was not notified until hours after the leak was noticed. By time firefighters arrived on the scene, the gas levels were at “lower explosive limits.” Gas employees working in downtown Bowling Green held a “safety shutdown” meeting today for the crews working in the downtown to discuss Thursday’s leak. Cheri Pastula, communications and community relations manager for Columbia Gas, said the gas crews followed proper procedures. The fire division was notified when the gas company knew the electricity needed to be shut off, she said. The fire division removed the electric meter from the buildings involved. “We have gas professionals that are experienced in emergency response and will notify first responders when necessary,” Pastula said. “All of our policies and procedures were followed appropriately and most importantly, safely.” However, city officials have not yet had a chance to express their concerns. Bowling Green Fire Division was not notified about the gas leak until at least two hours after gas odors were strong enough that some businesses shut down on the west side of the 100 block of South Main Street. Those businesses included Grounds for Thought, Lahey Appliance and Coyote Beads. When the fire division arrived downtown, the smell of natural gas was obvious. Atmospheric tests done by firefighters showed explosive levels of gas. “The gas levels were at a dangerous level,” Fire Chief Bill Moorman said. “It was getting to the point that a spark, anything can really set it off. Pretty much anything ignites natural gas.” The Bowling Green Police Division joined the fire division in evacuating the businesses and residents in the general area of the leak in the 100 block of South Main Street. The street was also closed to traffic to limit the risks. The fire division ventilated the affected buildings and stayed on the scene…