OSU-Rio Grande BlogTalk Radio/Video Collaboration Schedule

(Submitted by Patrick Dengel, Business Development Specialist, Small Business Development Center and Adjunct Instructor, University of Rio Grande MBA Program/OSU South Centers Collaboration, OSU South Centers)

Back in 2009, the Ohio State University (OSU) South Centers and the University of Rio Grande (URG) created the Experiential Learning Partnership to give students in the Rio Grande School of Business an opportunity to apply classroom lessons to real-life business situations by connecting students with local business owners.

A spinoff of that collaboration gave birth to a marketing campaign, where the OSU-Rio Grande develops and produces BlogTalk Radio/Video promoting local businesses and services as well as give some general instruction in numerous topical areas. Below is an upcoming guests schedule:

1:00 AGRI-TALK – Duane Rigsby and Mike Thompson featuring John Grimes
2:00 TECH-TALK – Duane Rigsby, Kingsley Meyer, and Mike Thompson on Technology
3:00 SOUTH CENTERS CHAT – Dr. Tom Worley featuring Don Branson

1:00 STRICTLY BUSINESS with Ryan Mapes, Brad Bapst, and Mike Thompson featuring Dominick McCallister Nourse Ford
2:00 BABYLON RADIO – Area Musical Artist with Luke Lawrence
3:00 VOICE of RIO GRANDE – Dr. Donna Mitchell and Dr. David Lawrence, URG Deans – Dominick McCallister – MBA STUDENT

1:00 BUSINESS TALK – Patrick Dengel featuring Dan Mooney – WESBANCO
2:00 PAWSITIVE LEARNING – Mike Thompson and Dr. Thomas Heiskell on Basic Dog Training Techniques
3:00 VOICE of RIO – Dr. Michelle Johnston featuring Lorraine Walker

1:00 CHAMBER EXCHANGE – Gallia County Chamber of Commerce with Michelle Miller and Jennifer Walker
2:00 EXPOSITION – Art and Culture with Valerie Thomas and Mike Thompson
3:00 VOICE of RIO GRANDE – Dr. Richard Sax, URG Provost

1:00 AGRI-TALK – Duane Rigsby and Mike Thompson featuring Rafiq Islam
2:00 TECH-TALK – Duane Rigsby, Kingsley Meyer, and Mike Thompson on Technology
3:00 SOUTH CENTERS CHAT – Dr. Tom Worley featuring Dr. Drake, The Ohio State University President

1:00 STRICTLY BUSINESS – Ryan Mapes, Brad Bapst and Mike Thompson
2:00 BABYLON RADIO – Area Musical Artist with Luke Lawrence
3:00 VOICE of RIO GRANDE – Dr. Donna Mitchell and Dr. David Lawrence, URG Deans

Strictly Business – Craig Lund of Value Added Business Services

(Submitted by Brad Bapst, Director, Small Business Development Center, OSU South Centers)

Published on March 25, 2015

Brad Bapst and Mike Thompson feature Craig Lund with Value Added Business from Jackson, Ohio. Craig talks about customers and customer service.

Mike Thompson, director of Instructional Design & Media Services at the University of Rio Grande, Brad Bapst, director of the Small Business Development Center at OSU South Centers, and Craig Lund of Value Added Business Services.

Celebrating Local Foods–Client Spotlight: Our Harvest Cooperative

(Submitted by Hannah Scott, Manager, Ohio Cooperative Development Center, OSU South Centers)

OSU Extension is celebrating local foods in Ohio through special events and programming this week! The Ohio Cooperative Development Center supports local foods through work with a number of local food cooperative businesses. Check out the story of one such business, Our Harvest Cooperative, below and learn more at the Ohio Local Foods Week on the OSU Extension Local Foods Week website.

Our Harvest grows success

Our Harvest Cooperative is a collaborative effort started by a small, dedicated group — namely Phil Amadon, Ellen Vera, and Kristen Barker. In the spring of 2012, they formed Our Harvest Cooperative, a worker-owned cooperative focusing on sustainable agriculture and local food distribution. All have strong backgrounds in the labor movement: Ellen has been working for the UFCW for years, and Phil was highly involved with unions throughout his career as a railroad mechanic. They wanted to find a way to help create family-sustaining jobs that could transform communities. When the United Steelworkers announced a historic partnership with Mondragon to launch union co-ops in the United States, the group felt it was just the ticket.

Mondragon is the world’s most successful network of worker-owned co-ops.IIn the last 60 years it has grown from 5 worker owners to over 80,000. It is a model of a great nexus not an isolated cooperative doing its own thing, but composed of many connected entities. The Our Harvest founders connected with Mondragon’s North American delegate and the United Steelworkers; they were impressed by Mondragon’s structure and wanted to bring that concept to life in Cincinnati.

Our Harvest 2Our Harvest contacted the Ohio Cooperative Development Center (OCDC) at the Ohio State University (OSU) South Centers to do a feasibility study. Tom Snyder, Partnership Program Manager, OCDC, and Brad Bergefurd, Horticulture Specialist, Horticulture Extension Program, conducted the study. Part of that study was a survey of growers from surrounding counties, a 150 mile radius around Cincinnati, to see if growers were interested in working with Our Harvest, if they wanted to expand their production, if they wanted to scale down, what their struggles were among other things. Tom and Brad surveyed growers by phone and in small focus groups. They gathered information that was used to develop Our Harvest’s initial business plan. The feasibility study was instrumental in pointing out the best opportunities for success. If Our Harvest would have started only on the food aggregation and the distribution side, it would have been a real challenge because they did not have enough mid-sized growers to work with at that time. Tom and Brad suggested that Our Harvest start their own farm. That is a big piece of what Our Harvest does that is different than a lot of traditional food hubs.

According to Kristin Gangwer, Food Hub Manager, Our Harvest Cooperative, “Early in development, Tom and Brad identified some gaps in the system and encouraged us to be the solution to those gaps. One gap involved the need for training the next generation of growers. In partnership with Tom and Brad from the OSU South Centers, who had done a lot of work with the Ohio Apprenticeship Council in developing the curriculum for that early program, Our Harvest started a pilot program. The Apprenticeship Pilot Program had two graduates from Our Harvest in 2012 that went through the program and worked on the farm full-time. After the pilot, we partnered with Cincinnati State University to be the practicum site for their Sustainable Agriculture Management Certificate Program – a connection that came as a result of our previous farmer training efforts, which were initiated by Tom and Brad. To help increase farmer training opportunities, Our Harvest has now created a nonprofit (the Our Harvest Research and Education Institute) to lead these efforts.”

Kristin continues, “The information gathered from the Feasibility Study was also used to develop the original business plan. We started trying to capitalize the business in 2012. We also began a small CSA from our leased property in College Hill, the Bar Farm, that year. I came on board with some other staff at the end of 2012. We worked with Christie Welch, OSU OCDC, to develop a plan for the aggregation, marketing, and distribution work for our produce and the produce from many of the other local growers as part of the food hub side of the initiative. In 2013, we grew our CSA to about 200 members throughout that season, growing on 8 acres and developing wholesale accounts. Last year in 2014, we grew our CSA program to approximately 350 members. We grew produce on 15 acres, increased our wholesale accounts, and developed a lot of great relationships. We even started selling to Whole Foods and worked with other local producers to distribute value added items like honey and salsa.”

Our Harvest 1Reflecting on growth, Kristin shares, “We started farming on a second farm property last year, and this year we’ll be growing on a total of about 20 acres. We are planning to increase our CSA, which we call Our Weekly Harvest Box, to about 500 members. Plans are to increase our wholesale sales five fold and we are starting to work with other farmers to incorporate their produce into all of our sales channels. We are also moving our packing and distribution work into a standalone, centrally-located warehouse in Cincinnati, which will be very helpful.”

Kristin expresses appreciation for OSU input, “What we have gained by working with Tom Snyder, Brad Bergefurd, and Christie Welch has been invaluable — from the creation of the co-op, the feasibility studies, and the business planning, to the ongoing guidance and resources they have shared. Tom, Brad, and Christie provide support whenever we need them, and they continue to serve as great confidants and cheerleaders as we navigate this process.”

Client Spotlight: Jason Burns – Cowaburger (2014)

(Submitted by Kimberly Roush, Program Assistant, Ohio Cooperative Development Center and Business Development Network, OSU South Centers)

Jason Burns, co-owner of Cowaburger LLC, has a long history in the restaurant industry, “I started in the restaurant business when I went to school at Ohio State. I began working for a major restaurant in Columbus as a server. I went to Ohio State for a couple of years and couldn’t decide what I wanted to do so I moved back home.”

After moving home, Jason’s career path changed a bit to automobile sales, which he did for 5 years. When sales declined along with the economy, Jason was offered an opportunity to explore restaurant management with the restaurant he had worked for during college. Jason mentioned that it was a big lifestyle change, economically as well as time commitment to commute to the city from Hillsboro. He worked for 12 years in this industry working his way up the ladder as he learned how to manage restaurants.

Jason said, “I just got this crazy idea to start my own restaurant, and it seemed like a lot better idea than driving back and forth to the city every day after I’d done it for so long. My situation was a unique one because most people don’t just quit their jobs and have no idea how they are going to do it. It was a huge leap of faith for me.”

When Jason left his job, he had no clue what the first steps to business ownership was so he found out through a friend that Chris Smalley, a Business Development Specialist at Ohio State University South Centers Small Business Development Center, could help.

1229884_158541814343737_1480227410_nChris helped Jason develop a business plan, and he shared with Jason many programs that are available to help individuals that are qualified. Jason says, “Without Chris, I wouldn’t be standing here today because I had $21,000 to my name, and it was the money I had to live off of while I was trying to get all this stuff done at the same time. He helped me find financing to make this a reality. I’m still working with him on plans for the future. I’ve learned a lot, but don’t know everything so I call Chris when I need input and to find out about current programs available to businesses.”

Jason and his co-owner Tim Eaton opened their hotdog-burger restaurant in September of 2013. Cowaburger is a restaurant in Hillsboro serving one-of-a-kind “wood fired” burgers and hot dogs. They serve 100% all Angus beef patties. All items are made fresh and served on homemade toasted Kaiser buns or hoagie rolls. Customers can even BYOB, “Build Your Own Burger.” They also have several specialty sandwiches to satisfy any appetite. Cowaburger created special homemade chili sauce and creamy coleslaw recipes to enhance the “wood fire” flavor of the meat. They offer delicious fresh cut fair style fries too. Customers can dine-in, drive-through, or use their catering services.

Jason shared that business is going great, better than initial financial projections. They currently employ 9 staff, but will be hiring a few more soon, and typically have a staff of 10 to 12 people.

1506038_182810255250226_1194586550_nJason said, “We’ve grown in popularity. We’ve used Facebook as a big way to get the word out. Being a small business and just getting started, we had no budget for marketing so we used things like Facebook. We’ve gotten more “Likes” than any other restaurant in town, and it’s been a great medium to get the word out and share our message with the public about who we are, what we do, and the service we can provide for them.”

The restaurant is located at 1468 N. High Street, Hillsboro, OH 45133. Call the restaurant at 937-393-3833 or check them out on facebook at facebook.com/cowaburgerllc.

Jason, recently, opened a new location in Mt. Orab, Ohio. Take a look at their Facebook page to get the details.

Client Spotlight: Jessamy Bright – Patronus Training

(Submitted by Kimberly Roush, Program Assistant, Ohio Cooperative Development Center and Business Development Network, OSU South Centers)

View More: http://arielviewsphoto.pass.us/houchens-2014Jessamy Bright is an Instructor for Patronus Training, as well as the owner of a concealed carry and self-defense products company called Scorpion Concealment. Jessamy grew up around firearms. Her dad was an avid hunter, and she and her sibling were introduced to firearms early, but oddly not to handguns.

When Jessamy and her husband Rob decided to purchase a handgun for home protection, Jessamy asked her brother-in-law, Tyson Houchens, owner of Patronus Training, to give them some basic handgun training. Tyson is a military veteran of the U.S. Army 82nd Airborne Division with multiple combat deployments. Since his military service, Tyson has worked in various high threat places around the globe. He has experience teaching military and law enforcement teams from around the world.

In that very first class of the fundamentals of marksmanship, safety and handgun operation, Jessamy found her passion for firearms. She added teaching firearms, specifically teaching firearms to women, and competition shooting to her bucket list.

Jessamy said, “I started practicing at the range and learning more about firearms. I took the NRA basic pistol course with my sister and got my concealed carry permit for Ohio. From there, I continued to increase in knowledge and love for firearms in general. After some time, Tyson asked me to come to Patronus Training as an instructor. He wanted to bring a female instructor on to assist in teaching women that were requesting classes.”

“I decided to transfer our monthly women’s shooting league gatherings at the outdoor range in Pomeroy, Ohio into a nationally recognized women’s shooting chapter.” Jessamy continues, “In August of 2014, I started The Well-Armed Woman Southeast Ohio Chapter.”

Currently, Jessamy is a National Rifle Association (NRA) Certified Pistol Instructor, NRA Certified Range Safety Officer, The Well-Armed Women Certified Instructor, and the Chapter Leader/Lead Instructor for The Well-Armed Woman Southeast Ohio Chapter. She is also a competitive shooter in the International Defensive Pistol Association (IDPA), and is classified at Marksman.

View More: http://arielviewsphoto.pass.us/houchens-2014

To expand the training she offers, Jessamy, plans to take an NRA Personal Protection in the Home Instructor course in September and offer the course to clients in 2016. She also plans to become an NRA Refuse to Be a Victim Instructor offering a four-hour class on personal safety and protection, which can be offered on a larger scale since no live fire is required.

Jessamy wanted to reach potential clients to let them know about the firearms training she could provide. She met with Patrick Dengel, Business Development Specialist for Small Business Development Center at Ohio State University South Centers/ and Adjunct Instructor at the University of Rio Grande for a marketing spot on Business Talk. Business Talk is a BlogTalk/Video Spotlight, where Patrick Dengel and Mike Thompson, University of Rio Grande interview many topics relating to business.

Jessamy said, “What I love about teaching is that I can take women who may be concerned about or have had a bad experience with firearms, or have had bad experiences with abuse or violence. I can make it comfortable for them to learn how a firearm works by making them welcome and comfortable in an easy learning environment.”

Take a look at http://www.patronustraining.com to find out more about firearms training opportunities in Southeast Ohio.

Client Spotlight: Ben, Todd, and Jason Nathan-Oak Chips Inc.

(Submitted by Kimberly Roush, Program Assistant, Ohio Cooperative Development Center and Business Development Network, OSU South Centers)

Generations of visionaries at Oak Chips Inc.

Oak Chips Inc. (OCI) originated in 1975 as Clarksville Stave & Veneer Co., Inc. Ben Nathan, Owner of OCI, developed a “slow-roasting” process of high quality toasted oak chips for the wine industry, which has continuously improved upon through the years.

The Nathan’s come from a long line of successful entrepreneurs, many were blacksmiths. Ben’s father invented a plow for John Deere. Ben and his sons, Todd and Jason, designed and hand built the machinery for the oak chips process. Today, OCI is a three-generation, family-owned business.

“My father is the man behind all of what you see today. He is the one who had the vision and we have capitalized on his energy and success. My father is 74 years old and is still in here every day,” states Todd Nathan.

OCI owners

In 2006, Jason Nathan took the initiative of finding a new place to expand OCI. He discovered a 65,000 square foot building on 45 acres in Waverly, Ohio. After two years of tedious dedication, Jason was able to relocate the old saw mill equipment to the new location. During this time, he obtained permits for setup and finished remodeling the building in 2008.

With a new vision in mind for expanding the family business at Oak Chips, Inc. and for the hometown community, Todd Nathan returned to Ohio from Tennessee. Initially, the infrastructure for the business needed some improvement. According to Todd, “It took about a year and a half to get settled. We had the facility, knew what to do, and, most importantly, had the right people here to do it. Two and a half years ago when I returned from Tennessee to help lead the restructure of OCI with my brother, we started out with 12 people, now we have over 50 people and are continuing to expand.”

Todd continues, “Today’s whisky business is increasing world-wide. With the Chinese market expanding, it opened up a new opportunity for our business to grow. OCI is exporting nearly half of their material overseas. The future holds a lot of opportunity for us to grow. We are currently in the process of adding another warehouse facility and considering two more mills.”

“Kelly O’Bryant and another industry partner, Chris Ervin, assisted in the funding process that helped to provide a $25,000 grant for a dust collection system. It was an expensive project and the money was helpful. Kelly and Chris got the grant application going and put the paperwork together. They knew exactly what I needed. I’ve done this a few times myself, and these guys are pros,” states Todd.

For more information about Oak Chips Inc., go to Oak Chips Inc.

Client Spotlight: Katherine Fisher and Julie Knerr-Piano Safari

(Submitted by Kimberly Roush, Program Assistant, Ohio Cooperative Development Center and Business Development Network, OSU South Centers)

2015 4-16 Spotlight -Katherine Fisher-Piano Safari Katie pic -K Roush

Piano Safari – A Method for Beginning Pianists

Katherine Fisher is on the faculty of the Athens Community Music School at Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. Her responsibilities include teaching private piano lessons as well as coordinating group lessons for beginners.

When Katherine was in graduate school, just over 10 years ago, she met another student, Dr. Julie Knerr, with the same interest of creating a piano method. Julie is on the piano faculty of the Hartt School of Music Community Division in West Hartford, Connecticut, where she teaches private and group piano to students of all ages.

The two worked on their first book for many years before they actually started their business. In 2012, they formed as an LLC and began selling the Piano Safari® Method.

Katherine said, “Piano Safari creates instructional material for beginning pianists. We currently sell two levels and are working on our third. We print, distribute, and ship all of our materials. The majority of sales are generated online via our website.”

2015 4-16 Spotlight -Katherine Fisher-Piano Safari Lesson 1 pic -K RoushThe Piano Safari® Method components work together to provide students with a solid foundation in musical literacy through:
• Learning by eye. Reading Pieces and Sight Reading & Rhythm Cards using a systematic intervallic system
• Learning by ear. Rote Pieces that are very patterned

Piano Safari’s target market is piano teachers and parents. They have served approximately 1,000 customers over the last two years in the U.S., Canada, Australia, the United Kingdom, and other countries throughout the world.” Piano Safari markets on social networks, and they get great reviews from piano teachers who write articles for blogs.

Katherine continues, “We have been selling in the U.S. and became interested in expanding our international market. That is one of the reasons I contacted Melissa Carter at the International Trade Assistance Center for help. It is difficult to ship our material internationally because it is expensive. As a result, I have been looking for ways to make it more cost effective. Melissa is helping us connect with an international distributor to get more input. Melissa also helped me find grants. The grant provides assistance with expenses for attending international conferences and trade shows.”

Describing the benefit of working with Melissa, Katherine states, “Melissa has a wonderful response time and she answers question quickly. If she doesn’t know the answer to a question, she will put me in contact with the person or information that I need. I just feel thankful that I have someone I can ask questions about international business.”

Take a look at what is offered by Piano Safari® Method on their website or email Piano Safari®.