The Van Wert County Courthouse

Monday, Feb. 26, 2024

VW independent staff/submitted information

First Federal of Van Wert has announced the launch of a second location in Van Wert. The branch will be located at 820 N. Washington St. and will provide customers and community with increased convenience and accessibility.

“The Board of Directors are excited to bring an additional location to better serve the community,” Chairperson Pat Jackson said. “It reinforces the commitment to our current customers and the desire to earn new customers.”

First Federal of Van Wert President and CEO Brian Renner said this significant investment, coupled with an evolving marketplace, has positioned First Federal to be the premier community bank in Van Wert County.

First Federal of Van Wert is building a new branch on N. Washington St. Photo submitted

“It’s an exciting opportunity for First Federal and the Van Wert community,” Renner stated. “We dedicated many hours of research, and we listened to our customers. There’s a demand for a locally owned and operated bank to help Van Wert continue to prosper.”

“First Federal is dedicated to our core belief to help the community thrive,” he added. “We’re demonstrating our commitment to Van Wert by building this second location.”

The branch, which will be located on 1.5 acres of land at the site of the former Van Wert Inn, will be a fully functioning banking facility with state-of-the-art equipment.

“As we’ve done with our Fox Road location, the new branch will be designed towards helping our customers with all of their banking needs,” Renner said. “We’ll have modern banking conveniences in addition to the standard banking products and outstanding customer service.”

“We like to think that our actions confirm our commitment to the Van Wert community,” said Thad Eikenbary, Commercial Loan Officer. “To First Federal, commitment means engagement, promise and pledge. Those are exactly the actions we are taking by adding this branch location.”


POSTED: 02/16/24 at 4:55 am. FILED UNDER: Business, News

VW independent staff/submitted information

The much-anticipated Van Wert Area Economic Development’s Business Boot Camp 2024 has started. This immersive journey for aspiring and established entrepreneurs focuses on igniting business growth, knowledge sharing, and fostering community development.

The first of the three-part series – Entrepreneur Workshop was held this past Saturday. The workshop gave attendees insights, resources, and best practices crucial for business success. It featured a diverse panel of local business professionals and community development organizations. Sponsoring community partners are Van Wert Area Economic Development Corporation, Main Street Van Wert, Van Wert Area Chamber of Commerce, and Van Wert Forward.

Panelists address those in attendance at last Saturday’s Business Boot Camp. Photo submitted

Panelists were:

Cooper Clouse, Speed Pro Machine
Thad Eikenbary, 1st Federal of Van Wert
Stacey Baer, Shultz Huber & Associates
Keri McClure, Keister & Baker
Marie Miller, The Marketing Junkie
Michelle Gunter, Bee Gee Realty
Adam Anspach, Advanced Insurance Group

The panel covered legal considerations, financial strategies, marketing insights, and community resources.

The next series is Business Planning and Coaching Sessions.

Continuing the momentum, the Business Boot Camp will feature free business planning and coaching sessions throughout March and April. Partnering with Northwest State Community College, the sessions will cover essential aspects of business planning, including state and federal requirements, crafting effective business plans, marketing strategies, and financial planning.


POSTED: 02/15/24 at 4:42 am. FILED UNDER: Business, News

Van Wert’s newest coffee place, Bigby Coffee, opened on Friday and treated customers to free coffee from 8-10 a.m. and 4-6 p.m. The new Bigby is at 10280 Ohio 118. This week is Grand Opening Week at Bigby’s, with buy one get one free on Wednesday, a free swag cup with purchase while supplies last on Thursday, and 50 percent off “Bragels” on Friday. Photos submitted

POSTED: 01/08/24 at 4:33 am. FILED UNDER: Business

Submitted information

KALIDA – Unverferth Manufacturing Co., Inc. is proud to be recently selected as an AE50 award recipient for the innovative design of its new Equalizer SP grain cart tracked undercarriage.

The Equalizer SP track features a 50-inch wide x 128-inch long footprint for over 88 square feet of ground contact for maximum flotation. For maintaining maximum ground contact while travelling, this extra-long long track design features patent-pending cambering of the end wheels with 20 degrees of front-to-rear movement along with 9 degrees of side-to-side movement in addition to the cambering action of the central mounting pivot. The mid wheels can pivot up to 16 degrees from front-to-rear for further maximizing ground contact over rough fields and roads. With the addition of horizontally mounted urethane springs for added suspension, vibration is minimized for reducing machine fatigue and enhancing operator comfort.

Unverferth Manufacturing was selected as an AE50 award recipient for the design of its new Equalizer SP grain cart tracked undercarriage. Photo submitted

The award-winning track is available as an undercarriage option on the largest Brent double-auger grain cart models 2598, 2098 with 2,500 and 2,000 bushel capacities respectively, and the 2,000 bushel Unverferth dual-auger model 2020. It is also standard with an auto-greaser for lubrication of pivot points, minimizing daily maintenance. The original Equalizer tracked undercarriage design earned a spot on the 2015 AE50 awards for its patented central pivot that features side-to side and front-to-rear cambering for maximizing the footprint.

This annual award is sponsored by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) for celebrating 50 product innovations in the areas of agricultural, food, and biological systems. AE50 competition entries are submitted each fall by companies around the world with up to 50 of the best products chosen by a panel of international engineering experts. The judges select products that will best advance engineering for these industries.

Unverferth Mfg. Co., Inc. is a world-class, family-owned manufacturer and marketer of tillage, seed, hay- and grain-handling equipment along with pull-type sprayers, fertilizer applicators and agricultural dual, triple and specialty wheel products. Unverferth Manufacturing has four manufacturing locations; Shell Rock, Iowa, Kalida and Delphos, Ohio and Lexington, Nebraska.

POSTED: 01/08/24 at 4:33 am. FILED UNDER: Business

Submitted information

The much-anticipated Business Boot Camp 2024, previously known as LAUNCH!, promises an immersive journey for aspiring and established entrepreneurs, offering a three-part series focused on igniting business growth, knowledge sharing, and fostering community development.

Entrepreneur Workshop (February 2024)

Kicking off the series on February 10, the Entrepreneur Workshop will take place from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Truland Equipment, 10305 Liberty-Union Rd, Van Wert. This workshop will empower attendees with insights, resources and best practices crucial for business success.

Featuring a diverse panel of local business professionals and community development organizations, attendees will gain invaluable knowledge spanning various business facets. The panel will cover legal considerations, financial strategies, marketing insights, and community resources. Community development resources are from Van Wert Area Economic Development, Van Wert Area Chamber of Commerce, Main Street Van Wert, and Van Wert Forward. Attendees can anticipate a detailed agenda closer to the event, promising an engaging and enlightening session.

Business Planning + Coaching Sessions (March and April 2024)

Continuing the momentum, the Business Boot Camp will feature business planning and coaching sessions throughout March and April 2024. Partnering with Northwest State Community College, the sessions will cover essential aspects of business planning, including state and federal requirements, crafting effective business plans, marketing strategies, and financial planning. Registration for these sessions will be available at the Entrepreneur Workshop or by contacting VWAEDC at 419.238.2999.

Pitch Your Plan to Win (May 2024)

Concluding the series in May 2024, the ‘Pitch Your Plan to Win’ segment will allow entrepreneurs to present their innovative ideas to a panel of local judges and potential investors. Winners across industry categories – Retail/Food & Beverage, Other Services, and Skilled Trades—will receive cash prizes and other incentives to support the launch or expansion of their businesses. Collaborating with Van Wert Forward, an exclusive downtown space at a discounted rate will be offered for the Retail / Food & Beverage category.

For more information and updates on Business Boot Camp 2024, contact Van Wert Area Economic Development at 419.238.2999.

POSTED: 12/22/23 at 11:41 pm. FILED UNDER: Business, News

Winans Coffee & Chocolate has announced its new Van Wert location is now open. The hometown chocolate shop is located at 107 E. Main St. “We are thrilled to bring Winans to Van Wert,” said Wilson Reiser, CEO and fifth generation Winans family-owner. “Winans is a company deeply rooted in small-town values that we hold dear. Having been early participants in the revitalization of various downtown areas, including Piqua, Troy, Springfield, Dayton, Lima, and Wapakoneta, we understand the power of coffee and bustling downtowns in fostering connections.” Winans Van Wert will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday- Friday, 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturdays and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays. VW independent photo

POSTED: 12/11/23 at 12:09 pm. FILED UNDER: Business

Submitted information

First Financial Bank (Nasdaq: FFBC) and the First Financial Foundation have provided $20,000 in grants to organizations in northwest Ohio, teaming up with community groups to create positive change in the areas of workforce development and education, and neighborhood development, with a particular emphasis on low-income communities. Throughout Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky and Illinois, First Financial’s 2023 Annual Grant Campaign is providing funding to 66 organizations.

“Our work to help communities thrive and grow often takes the form of collaboration with strong local organizations and projects such as these, and I’m confident that our work together will deliver a powerful lift to the neighborhoods, towns and cities we serve,” said Roddell McCullough, chief corporate responsibility officer for First Financial Bank.

In northwest Ohio, First Financial provided grants to Downtown Lima, Inc., Northwestern Ohio Community Action Commission in Defiance and Young Womens Christian Association (YWCA) of Van Wert County.

“Northwestern Ohio Community Action Commission is delighted and honored to have First Financial’s support in providing important financial literacy resources to low-income individuals and families in rural Northwest Ohio,” said Angie Franklin, executive director, NOCAC. “We look forward to supporting stability and success through access, education and encouragement.”

With a total of $510,000 being awarded, this is the First Financial Foundation’s largest grant campaign to date. First Financial is achieving even greater impact by including external funding from CREA, a low-income housing tax credit organization, in addition to funding from the bank’s Foundation.

First Financial recently completed its Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) for the period 2018-2023, achieving 192 percent of its goals in multiple categories, with almost $3.3 billion in mortgage lending, small business lending, community development lending and investments, philanthropy and marketing. In 2022 alone, First Financial Bank and the First Financial Foundation provided over $4 million in community donations.

POSTED: 12/07/23 at 2:53 pm. FILED UNDER: Business

Carolyn Kesler was the winner of the WKSD/WERT/VW independent Shop Local & Spend Local contest, which was in conjunction with the Van Wert Chamber of Commerce. Kesler won an assortment of gifts and prizes from local businesses. She’s pictured with Van Wert Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Mark Verville and WKSD/WERT General Manager Dave Roach. Photo submitted

POSTED: 12/02/23 at 12:03 am. FILED UNDER: Business, News

Submitted information

COLUMBUS — DASCO Home Medical Equipment, a family-owned provider renowned for its comprehensive selection of medical equipment and specialized respiratory services, has announced the acquisition of P&R Medical Connection, a trusted home infusion pharmacy and medical equipment provider located in Van Wert and Defiance.

Since its inception in 1987, DASCO has been committed to improving patient outcomes and reducing healthcare costs through innovative partnerships with hospitals and healthcare facilities. With over 25 locations throughout Ohio, West Virginia, Kentucky, Indiana, Michigan, and Texas, DASCO has consistently provided patients and referral sources with the best service, quality care, and equipment possible.

P&R Medical Connection has been acquired by DASCO Home Medical Equipment. P&R photo

The acquisition of P&R Medical Connection, which has been serving Northwest Ohio and Northeast Indiana since 1985, is aligned with DASCO’s vision of being a place where human beings thrive. This expansion is set to enhance the company’s reach and capabilities in providing essential medical equipment and services directly to patients’ homes, further establishing DASCO as a leader in the home medical equipment industry.

“P&R Medical Connection shares our dedication to delivering exceptional patient care and a complementary product line that will be an excellent addition to DASCO’s robust service offerings,” said Ann Cornelius, VP of Strategic Partnerships and Operations at DASCO. “We are excited to welcome their skilled team to our family and look forward to integrating their expertise to better serve our communities.”

This strategic move marks a continuation of DASCO’s growth and its commitment to excellence in home healthcare provision. The enhanced operational strength and expanded geographical footprint reinforce the company’s dedication to its mission and its patients.

DASCO offers a comprehensive list of services including respiratory services/oxygen equipment, hospital beds, wheelchairs, sleep therapy equipment, orthopedic braces and splints, diabetes supplies, and other basic DME equipment including walkers, patient lifts, bedside commodes, rollators, and urologicals. DASCO will continue to have an onsite hospital liaison for patient discharge support and vast insurance network covering Northwest Ohio and Indiana. They have same day home delivery of oxygen, non-invasive ventilation/other discharge equipment, and 24-7 on call service.

DASCO Home Medical Equipment is enthusiastic about this new chapter and the opportunities for growth and improved patient care it represents. The integration of P&R Medical Connection into DASCO’s operations is expected to proceed smoothly, with a shared goal of ensuring continuity of care and service excellence. DASCO is located in the same space as P&R Medical at Adams Memorial Hospital on the first floor beside the gift shop.

POSTED: 11/20/23 at 3:53 pm. FILED UNDER: Business

Submitted information

OAKWOOD — This year, Cooper Farms celebrates its 85th Thanksgiving since the company’s inception in 1938. Now in its fourth generation of family ownership, Cooper Farms is the seventh largest turkey producer in the United States and plays a vital role in responsibly producing turkey products for consumers across North America.

A full grown Tom Turkey at Cooper Farms. Photo submitted

“Each Thanksgiving, our Cooper Family takes time to reflect and be thankful for all we have,” said Gary Cooper, Chief Operating Officer of Cooper Farms. “Our 2,400 team members, our customers, and the family farmers who raise our animals are the pillars of our continued growth and success. We’re thankful for them every day – but especially on Thanksgiving.”

Annually, Cooper Farms:

  • Hatches 16 million turkey poults
  • Raises 200,000 breeder hens
  • Raises 1 million No Antibiotic Ever (NAE) tom turkeys
  • Harvests 7 million tom turkeys (~335 million live pounds)
  • Cooks 100 million pounds of turkeySlices 15 million cooked pounds of turkey.

“We produce our healthy, high-quality turkey products using modern farming methods that reduce waste, limit energy and water consumption, and support a more sustainable future,” added Cooper. “We hope every American will enjoy healthy, delicious turkey this Thanksgiving and throughout the coming year.”

POSTED: 11/20/23 at 3:52 pm. FILED UNDER: Business