Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce

BG Chamber offers scholarships

From BOWLING GREEN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE The Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce is accepting applications for the High School Scholarship and Collegiate Scholarship.  Both Scholarships will award the recipient $2,000. Application forms and all guidelines are available on the Bowling Green Chamber website at or at the Chamber Offices located at 130 S. Main St.  These scholarships are open to students with an affiliation to a BG Chamber Investor.  This includes attending a school that is an investor, if a parent/guardian or grandparent works for an investor, or applicant is an employee of and investor.  Refer to the application for further criteria requirements. Deadline for Scholarship Applications is March 29 at 5 p.m. (Must be postmarked no later than March 22, 2019 if mailed.)  No late or emailed applications will be considered.

Hospital, chamber team up for blood analysis program

From BOWLING GREEN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE The 15th Annual Blood Analysis Program co-sponsored by Wood County Hospital and the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce will take place on Saturday, April 27, from 7 to 11a.m. This comprehensive blood analysis screening is for multiple health risk indicators including, but not limited to kidney function, electrolytes, liver function and lipid profile and requires a 10-hour fast.  Cost of the testing is $50 for BG Chamber Investors and $60 for Non-Investors. The results of this fasting blood test should be used as a guide to determine your current health status and should not take the place of routine physicals.  Although normal ranges are listed, only you and your physician can establish what is normal for you.  A report providing all test results will be sent to either the participant or his/her physician. Proceeds from the event will go to support the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce and the Wood County Hospital Foundation Scholarship Funds.  The Wood County Hospital Foundation Scholarship is designated for full-time undergraduate students at BGSU.  The Scholarship is awarded annually to one student. The Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce Scholarship will award $2,000 to one Chamber-affiliated student for their study at BGSU. Appointments are required.  Call the Chamber office at 419-353-7945 to schedule an appointment.  Registration will be taken until April 12t, or until all spots are filled.  Prepayment is required at the time of registration by form of cash or check.

Chamber awards Cocoon with investor grant

From BOWLING GREEN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE The Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce offers their investors the opportunity to submit a request for a grant each quarter.  This grant is for $1000 and can be used for employee training programs such as human resources, technology and management; or towards the purchase of equipment; or to off-set the cost of a BGSU-Owens student internship. The recipients of our 2018 Fourth Quarter Investor Grant are The Cocoon.  Presentation of that check and congratulations to the investors was done at the Chamber of Commerce office by Mary Hinkelman, Executive Director.  On hand from the Cocoon to accept that check were Kathy Mull, Executive Director and Robin Guidera, Development Director.  The Cocoon is a Wood County agency that serves survivors of domestic and sexual violence and their families with everything from a 24 hour crisis hotline, to legal and medical advocacy and long-term safety planning, to emergency shelter for up to 90 days.   This grant will support The Cocoon’s staff development efforts.  All staff are provided with 50 hours of initial training upon hire.  Continuing education is strongly encouraged to ensure that staff stays relevant on all issues/trends/emerging and best practices in the field.  Funds received from the gran request will be used to support these continuing education efforts by covering the cost of training registration fees and travel costs.   This includes sending staff to training on topics such as trauma informed care, vicarious trauma, substance use and victimization, and group facilitation skills among others.  Investors are reminded that we are accepting applications for the 2019 First Quarter Grant now through March 31, 2019.  Application can be downloaded it from our website or a hardcopy picked up at our office at130 S. Main St., in the Four Corners Center.   The Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce strengthens its Investors by offering group discounts on health insurance, office supplies, Workers Comp.; and delivers educational seminars, networking opportunities, and legislative updates.  For more information contact the BG Chamber at   (419) 353-7945 or visit

Maurers, Scruci, Christoff awarded for making BG a better place

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Major Bowling Green landlords, Bob and Pat Maurer, were recognized Saturday evening for sharing their wealth with the community. The Maurers were named Male and Female Outstanding Citizens of the Year at the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce’s annual dinner. Also honored Saturday evening were two citizens for elevating women in their professions. Bowling Green Superintendent Francis Scruci was presented with the Zeus Award, and First Federal Bank Vice President Tari Christoff was given the Athena Award. The Maurers were described as “quiet and understated” – people who preferred to stay in the background as their donations made major differences to places like the Wood County District Public Library, the Wood County Hospital cancer treatment center, and BGSU’s School of Business. The couple was credited with saving historic structures like the Millikin Hotel, the old Wood County Health Department on West Wooster Street, the Carter Historic Home used now by the library. “They were brought back to life by this couple,” Tim Harris, last year’s Male Outstanding Citizen, said of the Maurers. Bob Maurer is also a supporter of the American Red Cross, sending letters out to persuade others to give to the organization following natural disasters. “He’s a true hometown hero,” said Dolores Black, last year’s Female Outstanding Citizen, who as a junior high teacher had caught Bob Maurer chewing gum in study hall decades before. The couple was thanked for their acts of kindness and generosity to the Bowling Green community. “Bob and Pat Maurer have left a legacy to the city,” Harris said. The couple was out of town and unable to attend the chamber event, but video of them accepting the award earlier was shown. “We’ve been in Bowling Green for a long, long time, and we love Bowling Green,” Pat Maurer said. And Bob Maurer said the award actually stunned him – an attorney. “My gracious,” he said, adding that he could name a dozen other people more deserving for the award. “People love Bowling Green and love our community, and so do we,” Bob Maurer said. “We’re glad to help in any little way we can.” Tari Christoff greets her mother Newelene Hoffman, of Tampa, Florida, after…

First Lunch & Learn seminar covers employee handbooks

From BOWLING GREEN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE The Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a Lunch and Learn business seminar Tuesday, Jan. 29, 11:30 a.m. at 1 p.m. at The Four Corners Center, 130 S. Main St., Bowling Green.  This seminar titled Review Your Employee Handbook is being presented in partnership with The Employers Association and will be facilitated by Colleen House. The workshop cover; the basics of a solid handbook, highlight new requirements, determining how to prepare an employee handbook or review your current handbook for needed updates,  and a general overview of the different sections and policies contained within a comprehensive handbook. A well planned employee handbook will minimize your potential liability with clearly defined structure. The seminar is free for Chamber Investors and $10 for Non-Investors.  Lunch can also be provided for those who attend for an additional $10. Reservations are required by Jan. 25. RSVP by calling 419-353-7945 or emailing Space is limited. Watch for additional information from the Chamber on their 2019 WORK OUT!  Each quarter will focus on specific topics for business: Q1—Resources and Training; Q2 — Workforce Development; Q3 — Marketing; and Q4 —Celebrating Business.

BG Holiday Parade to step off early

From BOWLING GREEN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE The start of the holiday season in Bowling Green is official when the Community Holiday Parade makes its way down Main Street through the historic Downtown on Saturday, Nov. 17.  The tradition continues and is especially exciting with WTOL broadcasting live through the support of our Presenting Sponsors; Julie’s Dance Studio, Rosenboom Custom Crafted Cylinders, Regel Beloit and the City of Bowling Green. This parade is billed as the largest holiday parade in Northwest Ohio and those that attend can look forward to seeing floats, marching bands, baton twirlers, antique tractors, dancers and so much more.  The parade will be emceed by Jerry Anderson and Jordan Strack and the WTOL Defender vehicle will be a part of the parade.  We have worked really closely with WTOL members to make sure we bring excellent broadcast of this parade to those that can’t be here.  This will be a three hour broadcast starting at 9 am with a listing of all the area holiday activities.  At 10 am the commercial free coverage of the entire parade will start and will conclude at noon. Because of this live broadcast we would like everyone to be aware that the parade will step off at 9:50 am to provide time for the first units to make their way to the four corners close to the start of the 10 am broadcast. This year the parade is chaired by Greg Esposito, InTech IT Solutions.  Greg is the At-Large representative of the Chamber of Commerce Executive Board.  Project Team members for the parade help in many capacities and the chamber can’t thank them enough for the roughly seven months they have been working on the parade.  These team members include:  Jerid Friar, Melinda Kale, Julie Setzer, Brian Paskvan, Wendy Headley, Marissa Muniz, Wendy Chambers, Pam Fahle, Jacquelyn Gaines, Greg Kegler, Atonn Smeltzer and Mary Hinkelman. Judges for this year’s parade are Earlene Kilpatrick, Francis Scruci and Abby Paskvan.  They will be looking for units that have adhered to the theme of the parade, creativity, performance and other features that make their appearance in the parade exceptional.

Being your own first responder key to surviving active shooter attack

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News There’s no place to hide it seems from mass shootings. Bowling Green Sgt. Mike Bengela, a 28-year veteran, gave a presentation on how to survive an active shooter just days after a gunman killed 11 in the Tree of Life congregation in Pittsburgh and another gunman killed two people in a Kroger store in Jeffersontown, Kentucky. And earlier in the year, 17 died at Stoneman High School in Parkland Florida. Since his talk, the nation was sent reeling again when a gunman killed 12 at a country-western bar in Thousand Oaks, California. Praying, shopping, studying, line dancing — that’s what people were doing when they became targets of armed assailants. Since Columbine in 1999, more that 350 people have died in such incidents. Law Enforcement and safety official have not been standing still. The advice for both people under attack and for law enforcement has changed. Bengela’s talk, sponsored by the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce and UBS Financial Services, was based on the ALICE protocol — alert, lockdown, inform, counter and evacuate, or a simpler variation — run, hide and fight. Bengela said at Columbine victims took shelter within the library, even though there was a door through which they could have exited. They hid under desks as they had been taught. That made them easy targets. The “kill rate” for “static targets” is “astronomical.” If they had exited, he said they would have headed to a rallying spot. That location was known to the shooters — who he refused to name rather than to give them more notoriety.  They had rigged propane bombs in the trunks of their cars and parked them where they knew people fleeing the building would assemble. But because the watches they used had plastic parts, not metal, the bombs failed to detonate. Otherwise hundreds more would have died. What these killers want, he said, was a high body count. But, as a retired teacher attending noted, police tactics have also changed. At Columbine they waited outside until the SWAT team arrive.  In such attacks, someone dies every 16 seconds. So now officers go in solo to try to stop the vicim. At the Thousand Oaks club shooting,…

Black Swamp Players get investor grant from Chamber

From BOWLING GREEN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE The Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce has selected the Black Swamp Players, Inc.  as the recipient of its Third Quarter Investor Grant of $1000.   The application for the grant was submitted by Deb Shaffer, Vice President.  The funds they receive will be used to purchase equipment to help them continue to present excellent productions.  The organization was in need of new wireless microphones, which are used in the musicals so the singers can be heard over the band.  Some of their current equipment is 15-20 years old.  The need is immediate for them for their very next production. The Black Swamp Players are starting their 51st season this fall with “Clue: The Musical.” They look forward to being able to use the new equipment for many years to come. The Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce offers this $1000 Investor Grant every quarter and the application process is very simple.  Investors can download an application from our website at   For additional information about the grant or membership, you can contact us at 419-353-7945. The mission of the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce shall be to support an environment for the development and success of business within the Bowling Green area.

BG Chamber supports ADAMHS levy

It is the decision of the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors to support The Wood County Alcohol, Drug Addiction and Mental Health Services Replacement Levy in the upcoming November election. We considered the services offered by ADAMHS and how vital they are to our business community.  We also gave consideration to your use of public funds and conceded that use is reliable and respectable. It is our belief that this replacement  levy will allow ADAMHS to continue to help fight real-life problems faced by our entire community and the affects drug addiction and mental health issues have on the employment pool of our business affiliates.   Mary F. Hinkelman, Executive Director Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce  

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  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 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.

Mary Hinkelman named new director of BG Chamber

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Mary Hinkelman – who has made Bowling Green her business – will soon take on a broader workload. She is going from being a cheerleader and advocate for downtown businesses to meeting the needs of 450 businesses in the entire Bowling Green community. Hinkelman has been named the new executive director of the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce, a position held by Earlene Kilpatrick for the last decade. She relishes the challenge. “You never tell me that I can’t do something,” Hinkelman said with a smile. The common denominator with her old job and new position is the focus on local businesses. “Doing things with the businesses is the favorite part of my job,” she said. Hinkelman admits she won’t miss the 6 a.m. phone calls from the downtown groundskeepers, or cleaning the streets on some Saturday mornings. But she is looking forward to continuing working side-by-side with businesses. As Downtown BG director, she represented about 175 businesses in the downtown area – everything from retail and restaurants, to law offices, medical services, and non-profits. As chamber director, Hinkelman will be spreading her skills to the entire business community. She knows the job will be a challenge. “I know that the way people do business is very different than 10 or 15 years ago,” she said. “Are we still meeting the needs of the chamber?” Hinkelman would like to focus on the creation of a business incubator space in the city to help entrepreneurs get started. “This is still in its infancy,” she said. “It would be a place for someone to launch a product and see what the interest would be.” The chamber of commerce announced Hinkelman’s hiring Friday morning. She was one of 65 applicants for the position. “It was very humbling,” she said. Hinkelman is proud of her two-plus years as downtown director. “I saw there was a difference being made,” she said. During her tenure, the downtown initiated a Chocolate Crawl. “That was wonderful,” she said. The Downtown Farmers Market has expanded and is expected to have more than 100 vendors next year. A winter market is being started, which is “super exciting.” The Art Walk was revived…

Coach Robyn Fralick brings her winning ways to BGSU women’s basketball

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News With the losses piling up over the last few seasons for the women’s basketball team, Bowling Green State University has turned to someone who knows about winning. Robyn Fralick comes from Division II Ashland University where her teams racked up 104 wins in her three seasons as head coach, including a Division II record of 73 wins in a row. In her time there – seven as an assistant coach and three as a head coach – the team won two national championships and was runner-up twice. She wants to bring those winning ways to Bowling Green. Fralick talked about her aspirations for her team Thursday as the speaker at the Chamber of Commerce’s Mid-Year Awards Program. Making the move to Bowling Green was not easy. The Michigan native enjoyed her decade at Ashland. “I feel I grew up there.” Fralick met and married her husband in Ashland, and that’s where their two children were born. But they found in Bowling Green “a community we not only could, but wanted to raise our family.” “We’re very, very excited to be part of the community. We love a place where kids can ride on their bikes and feel safe and comfortable.” At Ashland, she had a mentor in Sue Ramsey, the head coach who hired her. Two of Ramsey’s core beliefs, Fralick said, were: “Take care of people and take care of details. … She lived it out every day. You cannot steal her joy.” Fralick said she also learned from Ramsey to never let how people treat you dictate how you treat them. She carried those lessons with her as she took over as head coach. The 73-win streak was “cool,” she said. “It was less about the number. It was everything about the how and why.” It showed what could be accomplished “when a group of people decide that working hard matters, when a group of people commit every day.” “It’s not about who you’re playing, it’s about playing the game in the right way for 40 minutes.  … When those things are in place good things happen.” She’s hoping to impart those lessons at Bowling Green. One of her core values is…

Hundreds of volunteers share in Black Swamp Arts Festival’s I Love BG Award

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News A volunteer enterprise that knows how to show the community a good time won the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce’s I Love BG Award. The Black Swamp Arts Festival received the award at the Chamber’s Mid-Year Meeting and Awards Program. Given the number of volunteers, as many as 1,000, with some seated in the luncheon audience, festival vice chair Jamie Sands dubbed the honor the “We Love BG Award.” The Black Swamp Arts Festival will be staged Sept. 7-9 in downtown Bowling Green and feature visual arts, music, and more than a dozen youth art activities. In his introduction, Clint Corpe, of the Morning Show on WBGU-FM, recalled talking to Floyd Craft, one of the festival’s founders, about the event’s soggy start. Craft recalled that first year organizers pulling down tents with rain coming at them from all directions and knowing they had lost thousands of dollars that they’d put into the festival. They asked: What next? The answer was: “Let’s do it again.” And they did. Again and again and again. Last year’s the festival marked its 25th year. In the spirit of the founders, the festival committee wondered after 25 years what was next, said Bill Donnelly, who chairs the festival committee. “What’s our vision for the next 25 years?” The festival’s mission is to foster a relationship between members of the community and the arts, he said. Donnelly said he’s researched other events and he could not find another festival of this magnitude that is totally staged and funded by community volunteers. Among those volunteers is Earlene Kilpatrick, the executive director of the chamber. She’s served on the festival’s artist hospitality committee. Donnelly said if he asked her to show up at 4:30 a.m. on the Saturday morning of the festival, she was there. This was the last major chamber event Kilpatrick will preside over. She is retiring on Oct. 1 after 10 years in the job. “The chamber has grown,” she said, “and I’ve grown as part of the chamber.” Heritage Corners, which won the Customer Service Award in 2017, was honored with the Small Business of the Year Award. Monica Manley, daughter of founders Mark and Debra Manley, said she…

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…

BG Chamber seeks nominations for mid-year awards

From BOWLING GREEN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE Nominations are currently being sought for the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce’s Mid-Year Awards. The public is invited to submit nominations for these awards. Nomination forms, including criteria and submission information, are available from the Chamber of Commerce, Four Corners Center at 130 S. Main St., and can also be obtained from the Chamber’s website at Completed nomination forms should be returned to the Chamber of Commerce office by June 18th, 2018; no late submissions will be accepted. For questions contact the Chamber of Commerce office at 419-353-7945 or These awards will be presented at the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce Mid-Year Meeting to be held on Friday, July 20th, 2018 at Olscamp Ballroom 101, at Bowling Green State University. I LOVE BG AWARD – The I Love BG Award was established in 1988 to recognize an individual or organization for their efforts in increasing the visibility and promotion of the City, and improving the quality of life for Bowling Green residents. OUTSTANDING CUSTOMER SERVICE AWARD – The Outstanding Customer Service Award is to honor businesses that demonstrate exceptional customer service. To publicly promote, showcase and congratulate those businesses who are excelling in customer service. To maintain and strengthen Bowling Green businesses including for-profits and non-profits as outstanding providers of exceptional and quality customer service. The Business must be an Investor of the Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce at the time the award is presented. The Business must be in operation at least one year. Nominations are encouraged from satisfied customers who feel they have received exceptional service from a Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce Investor. Businesses can self-nominate. SMALL BUSINESS OF THE YEAR AWARD – The Small Business of the Year Award is to honor businesses located within the Bowling Green city limits that demonstrate achievement in management and workplace excellence, product innovation, and community and social responsibility. To acknowledge publicly the vital contributions made by area companies to business growth in Bowling Green. To illustrate the depth of talent that exists in the Bowling Green business Community by highlighting nominees’ success stories. The nominated business may be any for-profit business headquartered in the city limits of Bowling Green. Businesses must…