Stein Honey going to DC

Zoe Greszler • Jul 5, 2019 at 9:34 AM

A Norwalk agricultural business is taking its products to federal leaders in D.C.

Stein Honey sent 250 of its 12-ounce bear-shaped jars of honey to a special event held at U.S. Library of Congress, where U.S. senators and representatives will sample and report on how well they liked the product. Since each of the 50 states is represented by a booth of products at the Department of Agriculture open house, this allows the nation’s leaders to get a taste and understanding of what each state has to offer. The open house will take place the second week in July.

Stein Honey is one of three Ohio agricultural companies to be selected for the honor. Also chosen to represent Ohio were Snavely's Sugar Shack, in Republic and Hirzel's Canning Co. in Northwood, which respectively will send maple syrup and tomato products.

Bonnie Stein co-owns the business with her husband Bill, with the help of their son, Wes. She said they were chocked by the honor. In addition to the honey bears, Stein said they sent information on who they were, what the honey was and how Stein Honey harvests their product.

“They kind of pick and choose something that's a little different for each state,” Stein said. “It’s kind of cool. We were pretty excited to be one of the three chosen to represent Ohio.”

Stein said while her family weren’t able to attend the open house, they are looking forward to receiving the feedback from it.

“Unfortunately, summer is busy time for us, but especially this summer has been crazy,” Stein said. “We just shipped it all there with the information about our business and what they are. We did a little interview and then we’ll let people sample them. ... The Ag Credit Department comes out and does like a little YouTube video and then they show it in the booth.

“They’re going to send us the photos and feedback of what people thought of (the honey). It's just sampling and showing off to the senators and representatives what Ohio has to offer. It’s pretty neat.”

Stein described it as an “honor” to be asked, considering the business’ humble background and start — a family hobby. 

“We’ve been doing this just over 20 years,” she said. “It started as a hobby in backyard. It was just a family hobby we started out of two hives. Now we have over 900 hives. It just kind of did well. It’s always nice to hear people like your products and to get to represent your area.”


Kidd Tire and Auto building

NEW LONDON — The former Kidd Tire and Auto building on Railroad Avenue in New London has been torn down after being destroyed by fire last year.

Owner Scott Kidd said he thinks the original building had been there since 1914 and has always been a garage. No plans for the site were announced.


Worker's Comp giving $1.5 billion

COLUMBUS — The board of directors for the Ohio Bureau of Workers' Compensation (BWC) has approved a proposal from Gov. Mike DeWine to send $1.5 billion of the agency’s revenues to Ohio employers covered by the BWC system.

BWC, the state’s insurance fund for injured workers, will begin sending checks to about 180,000 private and public employers in late September. It marks the fifth time since 2013 the agency has returned at least $1 billion to employers following strong investment returns, falling injury claims and other operational efficiencies.

“I am pleased that BWC’s board of directors agreed with our proposal to give this money to qualifying businesses, local governments and school districts,” DeWine said. “Employers will be able to reinvest these funds in their operations and their employees, which will further strengthen Ohio’s economy.”

The $1.5 billion equals 88 percent of the premiums employers paid for the policy year that ended June 30, 2018 (calendar year 2017 for public employers). While the bulk would go to private companies, an estimated $114 million would go to counties, cities, townships and other local government entities. Nearly $50 million would go to public school districts.

Employers are free to spend the funds as they wish, but BWC administrator/CEO Stephanie McCloud urges businesses to invest in workplace safety.

“Investing in safety reduces the risks for costly workplace injuries,” she said. “It’s good for the health and safety of employees, it’s good for the company’s bottom line and it’s good for our economy.”

A breakdown of the dividend’s distribution to public employers by county, estimated to the nearest thousand dollars, is available here. A similar breakdown for private employers will be available in late September.

The board’s vote continues a trend of lowering workers’ comp costs for Ohio employers. BWC has repeatedly lowered premium rates in recent years, including a 12-percent cut for public employers that took effect in January and a 20-percent cut for private employers that begins Monday. The agency returned $1 billion or more to employers in 2013, 2014, 2017 and 2018. It also returned $15 million in 2016 to counties participating in the Public Work Relief Employees’ Fund.

In total, BWC has saved employers nearly $10 billion in workers’ comp costs through dividends, credits, rate reductions and greater efficiencies since 2011.


Borden Dairy returns to Ohio

Borden Dairy Co., an iconic dairy brand since 1857, has announced its triumphant return to Ohio after a 24-year absence in the market.

All of Borden’s classic white milks and flavored drinks are now available at retailers across the state. Other Borden products will be available later this year.

Borden has a rich history in Ohio and was once headquartered in Columbus. Borden left the state after a change of ownership in 1995 and reappeared in Ohio schools this past year, nourishing students with more than 44 million servings of Borden milk. Although Borden products haven’t been sold in the area for more than two decades, results from a Cooper Roberts Research survey indicate that more than 80 percent of consumers are still aware of the Borden brand.

As Borden reemerges with new leadership and an optimistic vision to bring its nutritious and delicious dairy products to more families, Ohio became an important part of the company’s expansion strategy.

“Ohio played a significant role in Borden’s history, so we are overjoyed to return and receive such incredible support from the community,” chief executive officer Tony Sarsam said. “We look forward to winning Ohioans back with our tasty and wholesome products.”

Ohio residents are likely to recognize Borden’s beloved Elsie the Cow, one of America’s best-known brand mascots. First introduced by Borden in 1936, Elsie was named one of the top 10 advertising icons of the 20th century by AdAge.

Elsie, which also happens to have an updated look, can be seen across the company’s marketing channels and is now featured on product packaging in dairy aisles throughout Ohio and the southeastern U.S. Additionally, Ohioans will soon be able to spot the mascot on local television ads, truck wraps, in-store displays, mailed coupons and at events including the Ohio State Fair and Rite Aid Cleveland Marathon.

Borden will operate out of two plants, located in Cleveland and Cincinnati, with about 350 Ohio-based employees. Borden products are being sold at Marc’s, Dave’s Markets, Hometown Markets, Simon’s Grocery, Apples, Circle K, Walgreens, CVS, Big Lots, Menards, CFM, Seven Eleven, True North, Pilot and hundreds of independent stores and gas stations.


Wellington wins national Main Street title

WELLINGTON — Independent We Stand recently recognized Main Street Wellington as the $25,000 winner of the 2019 “America’s Main Streets” contest.

The village of Wellington — population 4,895 — is the second Ohio community to claim the title in recent years. Nearby Bridge Street in Ashtabula was the 2018 winner. Now, Herrick Avenue in historic downtown Wellington will benefit from America’s vote, topping the 232 entrants to take the grand prize.

Formerly known as the “Cheese Capital of the World,” Wellington has a proud history in the cheese trade dating back to the 1800s when the village was home to more than 40 cheesemaking or storing facilities and shipped cheese all over the world. There are still recognizable signs of Wellington’s cheesemaking heyday at the west end of Herrick Avenue on the Horr-Warner Cheese Co. building. The “cheese” sign on the building will be restored with the “America’s Main Streets” cash prize.

“We know the Herrick Avenues of America help build a sense of place in their communities and are home to countless small, locally owned businesses,” said Independent We Stand co-founder Bill Brunelle. “They are also, often times, rich in history. Independent We Stand wants to help draw attention to these special places and recognize their economic impact. This contest is a chance to share those stories.”

Formed in 1998, Main Street Wellington is a non-profit business owners, property owners, professionals and community members committed to revitalizing the Wellington historic district while preserving its unique character. From inspiring the iconic painting “The Spirit of ‘76” by Archibald Willard to bearing witness to the Oberlin-Wellington Slave Rescue, which many believe fueled the beginning of the Civil War, Herrick Avenue and the village of Wellington are rich with American history.

“We are proud of our heritage and of our recent business growth and embrace the opportunity for additional growth and improvement,” said Jenny Arntz, director of Main Street Wellington. “We believe so much in the Wellington community and are touched by its support in the ‘America’s Main Streets’ contest. The impact of this honor and prize will be visible and greatly appreciated by many.”

Main Street Wellington will use the “America’s Main Streets” cash prize to continue its existing “Paint the Town Proud” program, created in 2018 to spruce up downtown. The program offers paint and supply grants to businesses to refresh their facades. There are also plans to safely paint and repair the “cheese” signs and add more signage downtown to help celebrate the history of Herrick Avenue while also directing visitors to free public parking so they can enjoy local shops, restaurants and events.

As part of its ongoing mission to promote small businesses, Independent We Stand created the “America’s Main Streets” contest to promote the important role main streets play in building economic success for their communities.


Update your license this year

NEW LONDON — Huron County Auditor Roland Tkach, who also serves as the DMV deputy registrar, and deputy auditor Jessica Romick recently gave Rotarians information about the new enhanced driver’s license. Anyone planning to fly or enter any type of military installation after Oct. 1, 2020 must have this license.


EDITOR’S NOTE: Reflector Correspondent Ellen Simmons contributed to this story. 

EDITOR’S NOTE: 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 [email protected]

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