Foghorn finds a place to call home

Zoe Greszler • Updated Oct 10, 2017 at 12:14 AM

Foghorn Designs has moved again.

The business specializing in organizational and consumer brand awareness has opened its new location at 98 E. Main St., the former Handicraft Headquarters.

“We're moving yet again,” Foghorn owner Trevor Rood said on the business Facebook account. “We're hoping the new location will be a permanent one. We've finally found a location we believe we can call home for quite a while.”

Sept. 27 was Foghorn’s final day at the old location by the airport and officially opened on Main Street on Monday, a few blocks from where the business originally began at 19 E. Main.

“This location has always been the one we wanted, but the timing has never been right when we had to move (but) when we were moving this spot became available and I like this location so we jumped on it,” Rood said. “It’s a good spot at a busy intersection and I want to be back uptown in the business district.”

Rood said the former location was hard for customers to find.

“People would call asking about it and wouldn’t even know we had an airport,” Rood said with a laugh. “They really didn’t know where we were. So being back near the center of town ... is easier for our customers to access.”

It wasn’t quite move-in ready though. The owner said they had some renovating to do, including giving it the Foghorn Designs flare.

“We've been putting in a lot of work on the inside (of the new location), but still have some stuff to button up on the outside over the next few weeks,” according to the Facebook post. “We're really excited to be back uptown, right down the street from where it all began for us eight years ago.”

The business said they have been working hard to make the move a “smooth transition” that should better serve their customers.

“I'm sure, as with any move, there maybe a hiccup or two that could delay things,” the post said. “We've tried to prepare enough to make this a smooth transition with as little disruption to our production schedule as possible. So please bear with us while we settle in the new location and get back on track over the next week or so.”

Foghorn offers high value customizable and personalized products and services including signage, apparel, promotional items and wood based items tailored to help personal and business advertising and brand awareness.

Another business that had some recent changes was the former Pat O’Brien Chevrolet Buick.

If you’ve driven down Milan Avenue recently, you may have noticed the change to its name. The car dealership at 300 Milan Avenue is now called Firelands Chevrolet Buick after Pat O’Brien Jr. bought the dealership from his father.  

The younger O’Brien said he “anted to do my own thing for awhile” and his father finally agreed to sell the Norwalk location to him. O’Brien said he wants to be “very, very involved” in the community as the new owner and manager.

In other business news...


Walmart commits $5 million for hurricane relief

Walmart has committed $5 million in support of Hurricane Maria relief efforts. This builds on the commitments previously announced by Walmart and the Walmart Foundation totaling $35 million to support 2017 hurricane assistance in response to Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma.

“Our associates and friends in Puerto Rico are in significant need,” said Kathleen McLaughlin, president of the Walmart Foundation and chief sustainability officer for Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. “We want to do all we can to help, not only with immediate hurricane assistance, but in the long term, knowing that there are many challenging days of recovery and rebuilding ahead.”

Walmart operates 45 retail facilities in Puerto Rico, which includes two distribution centers and a satellite headquarters, supported by nearly 15,000 associates across the Island. The $5 million commitment will support organizations helping with local relief efforts supporting those in need. Additional efforts by Walmart in Puerto Rico include:

• Taking care of our associates and their families — the first priority — by providing our associates disaster assistance along with their regular paychecks.

• Continued relief efforts centralized through the Walmart Emergency Operations Center (EOC), which operates 24 hours a day tracking storm impacts and supporting the associates’ needs and well-being. The EOC also facilitates store recovery, and is supporting community relief efforts on the island.

• Have company leadership in Puerto Rico and continue to be in regular contact with FEMA, the American Red Cross, and other partners, while responding to various needs. Walmart also sent communications specialists, electricians and other skilled support teams to the island to help stores and club locations recover as quickly as possible.

• So far, the organization was able to re-open around 20 stores and five club locations along with nearly a dozen pharmacies on the island.

• Walmart recognized the need for access to food, water, fuel, medication and other critical items for its customers and associates and is planning to open facilities very thoughtfully, most likely under limited hours and with metered access, to control lines and enhance security for our customers. In addition it are utilizing corporate jets to get emergency insulin to the Island.

• Working to ship critical supplies and product to the Island. Hundreds of loads of water, emergency supplies and other needed resources, like generators, have been delivered over the last several days.


Firelands Electric hoosts co-op month contest

Since 1964, October has been recognized as National Cooperative Month. Every year, Firelands Electric Cooperative, along with more than 47,000 other cooperative businesses across the U.S., celebrate the benefits and values that cooperatives bring to their members and communities.

As part of this month-long observance, Firelands Electric is holding a special contest for its members. The goal of the first ever “Co-op Selfie Contest” is to celebrate how Firelands members interact with their cooperative. Members are encouraged to take a photo of themselves with a co-op employee, using or saving electricity, making energy efficiency upgrades or visiting the Firelands website and post it on the co-op’s Facebook page. The contest is open to Firelands Electric Co-op members only, and runs Oct. 1 through Nov. 10. At the end of the contest period, one lucky member will receive a $50 bill credit.

Visit www.firelandsec.com/content/2017-co-op-selfie-challenge for other photo ideas, submission information and complete contest rules.


Norwalk woman earns work comp award

Norwalk native Kendra DePaul was named one of 11 rising leaders in the workers’ compensation industry during a recent international conference in Portland, Oregon.

DePaul, a program manager for the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC), was named a NexGen winner by the International Association of Industrial Accident Boards and Commissions (IAIABC). Short for Next Generation, the award recognizes talented new leaders in workers' compensation who are making their mark.

“This award is really a tribute to the leadership at BWC and the coworkers who have guided me along the way,” said DePaul, who graduated from St. Paul High School in 2005 and Ashland University in 2009.

DePaul won for her work in building and managing BWC’s Other States Coverage program, which insures Ohio employers for workplace injuries when they’re working outside the state. As a winner, DePaul attended the four-day conference and participated in a panel discussion about the future of the work comp industry. In addition, she and BWC will be featured in the October issue of IAIABC’s Perspectives magazine.


$10 million in rebate checks remain uncashed

Somewhere in Ohio nearly $10 million in rebate checks from the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation (BWC) sit ready for cashing by more than 5,500 employers who might not even know it. The uncashed checks are among the more than 160,000 BWC issued in July as part of the agency’s Third Billion Back rebate initiative. Uncashed checks will expire, or stale date, 95 days after the check’s issuance date. That’s today for some employers and as late as Oct. 18 for others.

As of Friday, 5,534 checks totaling $9.8 million had not cleared BWC’s system, including one check for nearly $203,000. In all, 152 checks are for amounts of $10,000 or more. BWC emailed notices alerting employers who had not cashed their checks. The agency will reissue checks after the stale date following a brief lag time for processing, an unnecessary delay for employers who could use the cash infusion.


Bettcher Industries forms new partnership

Bettcher Industries, Inc., a leading worldwide manufacturer of food processing, foodservice equipment and medical devices, announced today that it has received a significant equity investment from Morgenthaler Private Equity (MPE) as part of a recapitalization transaction. MPE Partners will be investing alongside Bettcher’s employees as the Company’s existing ESOP will retain a significant minority ownership stake. The investment provides Bettcher with access to additional capital and resources as it continues to execute its growth plans, including actively seeking strategic add-on acquisitions.

The entire management team and structure of Bettcher Industries remains unchanged, with the business continuing to be led by Don Esch, president and CEO.

MPE Partners, based in Cleveland, Ohio and Boston, Mass., is a private equity firm that partners with industry-leading management teams, providing them with enhanced financial resources and support as they build their companies and create long-term shareholder value. The firm has a long history of partnering with high-value manufacturing companies, making it and Bettcher Industries a natural business fit.

According to Esch, the day-to-day operations of Bettcher Industries and its subsidiary companies, including Gainco, Inc. and Exsurco Medical, Inc. are unaffected by the ownership change. “Our customers will see no changes in how we serve them, although we anticipate being able to offer new products and services in the coming months and years,” Esch notes.


If you have an item for the business roundup column, send the information to the Norwalk Reflector in care of Zoe Greszler, 61 E. Monroe St., Norwalk, Ohio 44857, or email it to zoegreszler@norwalkreflector.com.

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