Sometimes the best course of action is tear down what isn’t working and start again. That’s exactly what BCDC did with the Shamrock Motel and Nightclub on Norton Road.
The last remaining structure, the Shamrock Nightclub, was demolished on May 27, clearing the lot for future economic development and removing what many had seen as a blight on the neighborhood.
The property had been badly damaged by the flooding that occurred in the summer of 2013.
BCDC purchased the property for $245,000 with funds from the Barberton Community Foundation with the idea of clearing the land for development.
The razing of the nightclub follows the demolition of the Shamrock Motel in December 2013. The cost of the demolition was paid by the city using Project Impact, Phase 2 funds.
BCDC will continue to seek a buyer for the property.
Scott Groves, founder of Area 51 Golf in Barberton, Ohio, credits much of his success to a loan program administered by the Barberton Community Development Corporation (BCDC).
Groves had a dream. It took the form of a training device (called a Swing Trainer) that would help golfers improve their swing – a new product that would be expensive to launch. Like most entrepreneurs, Groves was trying to launch his dream on a limited budget.
Groves was able to acquire a low interest loan from the Barberton Growth Fund to get his business off the ground. He used the money to buy components for the Swing Trainers and for store expenses. The low-interest loan was just the break he needed.
“I’ve got two kids getting ready for college and I’m hoping to save every dime,” he told the Beacon Journal. Groves doubts he would have been able to get a small-business loan from a traditional lender, since his business was still in its infancy.
Groves was beaming with pride at a BCDC event in April as he talked about his recent “wins.” A Texas company ordered 1,000 Swing Trainers, and Groves and his partner are in the process of fulfilling the order.
In a recent interview, Groves talked about his philosophy for growing the business. “We’ve organically built this business very slowly,” he said. “You have to make sure you have a solid foundation, and to do that you have to pay a lot of attention to the details.”
BCDC first launched the Barberton Growth Fund in 2011 with $500,000 from the Barberton Community Foundation. A new round of funding was announced in April for businesses seeking funding for specific projects. Scott Wagner, executive director of the BCDC, encouraged entrepreneurs to apply for loans up to $50,000.
“The application process is very straight-forward and simple,” he said at a recent event to kick off the new round of funding. Companies that are selected for the loans will likely be asked to make a brief presentation at a BCDC board meeting.
Area 51 Golf is located at 1434 Wooster Road W in Barberton. Groves business partner is Jeremy Doyle, a PGA pro, who gives lessons at the shop. Groves’ oldest son, Joshua, helps pack and fill orders at the store along with a store employee.
Groves is optimistic that the business will flourish and that he will be able to generate additional jobs for the Barberton economy. “It would help the economy in Barberton and it would help my bottom line,” he said. “Everything I’ve done so far has been a labor of love.”
Scott Wagner, left, JumpStart Principal Gloria Ware and Area 51 Golf President Scott Groves
The Barberton Community Development Corporation hosted an information session on Thursday, April 17, at the Barberton Brookside Country Club in Norton, for companies interested in learning more about the next round of funding from the Barberton Growth Fund. Nearly 50 people attended the event.
BCDC Executive Director Scott Wagner welcomed the attendees and served as emcee. Summit County Executive Russ Pry was on hand to talk about the importance of economic development and to encourage entrepreneurs to apply for the payment-deferred, low-interest loans. Barberton Mayor Bill Judge echoed the sentiments and spoke of the importance of job creation by small and medium size firms.
“The programs offered by the Barberton Community Development Corporation and Jumpstart help provide the necessary resources for entrepreneurs and new business development,” he said.
Scott Groves, president of Area 51 Golf, took the podium to describe how his business was affected by a loan secured with the BCDC. He has developed three new golf training products and recently closed a deal for 1,000 swing trainers. “I could not have done this without the help from BCDC,” he said.
JumpStart Principal Gloria Ware presented information about Jumpstart and its impact on the entrepreneurial ecosystem that exists in Northeast Ohio. “Entrepreneurs, we know, need resources to grow. Capital is the one most often cited, but space, mentoring, education and connections play key roles too,” she said.
She spoke at length about the Barberton Growth fund, loan parameters, eligibility requirements and the application process.
Scott Wagner closed the presentation by highlighting some of the important points about the loan program. Loans can be made up to $50,000 and payments are generally deferred for three years. Loan proceeds must be used for a specific project or initiative that will bring the company closer to achieving pre-seed funding, and the company must be located in the City of Barberton at the time the funds are disbursed.
“The application process itself is very straight-forward and simple,” Wagner said. The BCDC Project Review Committee will evaluate and select projects in collaboration with JumpStart, Inc. Companies selected for the loans may be invited to make a short presentation at a BCDC board meeting.
The information event was sponsored by PNC Bank, Roetzel & Andress, Bober Markey Fedorovich, Cardinal, FirstEnergy Foundation, Summit County, the Greater Akron Chamber and PPG Industries. The Barberton Growth Fund is provided by the Barberton Community Foundation, Barberton Community Development Corporation, the City of Barberton and JumpStart.
The Barberton Community Development Corporation (BCDC), in collaboration with JumpStart Inc. and with significant support from the Barberton Community Foundation, is encouraging entrepreneurs to apply by Friday, May 2, for the next round of the Barberton Growth Fund, an attractive source of local capital for young companies. The Barberton Growth Fund offers low-interest loans of up to $50,000 to entrepreneurial firms with significant growth potential. At a free and open-to-the-public information session on Thursday, April 17, Fund officials will detail the loan’s parameters, eligibility, application deadlines and review process. Representatives will also outline the profile of a successful loan recipient and provide information on additional support available to awardees through the JumpStart Entrepreneurial Network. The presentation is followed by a brief question and answer session.
“Barberton has always been interested in attracting and retaining businesses,” explains Barberton Community Development Corporation Executive Director Scott Wagner. “Now we’re adding tools to encourage the launch and growth of new companies. We want to create new opportunities for our community and support our next generation of civic leaders.”
The Barberton Growth Fund is part of the JumpStart Entrepreneurial Network, a connected group of Northeast Ohio advisors, incubators, accelerators and seed funds.
Information Session: Thursday, April 17, 2014, from 5 to 6:30 p.m.
(Deadline to apply for the Fund: Friday, May 2, 2014
Barberton Brookside Country Club
3727 Golf Course Drive, Norton, OH 44203
Entrepreneurs with an idea who are considering applying, members of the media and interested members of the public are encouraged to attend.
The event is FREE, but attendees do need to register. To RSVP, please call 330-745-3070 or e-mail Kathleen Sawyer.
Entrepreneurs located in or willing to grow their early stage, tech-based company in Barberton should apply at www.jumpstartnetwork.org.
The transformation of the Seiberling Tire & Rubber Co. complex on 15th Street Northwest is an economic development success story any city would be proud of.
Over the years the Seiberling Tire & Rubber Co. complex fell into complete disrepair, the object of vandals, thieves and the passage of time. The transformation of the Seiberling Tire & Rubber Co. complex on 15th Street NW is an economic development work in progress. Utilizing vision, determination and community collaboration, the plant that had been empty since its closing in 1980, is now home to several companies with the ability to accomodate more.
The founder of the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., F.A. Seiberling, began operations on the site in 1921. Seiberling Tire became a major tire manufacturer and one of Barberton’s largest employers. The company was acquired by Firestone in 1965. The plant was an anchor in the Barberton economy for decades before it closed during the recession of 1980.
The sprawling complex has 335,000 square feet of warehouse and distribution space and another 51,300 square feet of office space. The facility occupies 20 acres of land.
Scott Wagner, executive director of BCDC, had the vision to see the site’s potential. BCDC obtained a $700,000 grant from the Barberton Community Foundation to pay for the purchase of the plant from B&C Industries, Inc., a privately owned Barberton machine shop.
The State of Ohio made a Clean Ohio Assistance Fund grant(COAF) of $289,310 to pay for an environmental assessment on the property.
The key to redevelopment came when Wagner signed a long-term lease with Continental Carbon of Houston, Texas. Continental warehouses and distributes carbon black, a prime ingredient in tires.
With Continental, lease in hand, Wagner approached the Barberton Community Foundation for a $1 million Program Related Investment (PRI) loan. The loan was made to the Barberton Land Improvement Company (BLIC), a wholly owned subsidiary of BCDC to perform the necessary improvements.
In addition, two other companies, Buckeye Polymers, Inc. and K&K Services, Inc., both of Medina County, have signed leases with BLIC. 130,000 square feet are now being utilized and 12 new jobs have been created.
BCDC is working hard to find additional tenants for the complex. Wagner hopes to have the facility fully occupied within the next five years. “There could easily be 250 jobs in three to five years,” Wagner said in a recent Akron Beacon Journal interview.
With continued success of the redevelopment, BLIC hopes to repay the PRI loan back to the Barberton Community Foundation earlier than expected.
The Barberton Community Development Corporation (BCDC) has been awarded a $1 million grant from the Small Business Administration to lend at low interest rates to businesses in Barberton, Norton and New Franklin.
It is the first time the BCDC will make loans available outside the city of Barberton. Most companies have had difficulty getting loans at affordable interest rates.
BCDC was one of just two nonprofit organizations in Ohio and 20 nationwide to get the funding.
BCDC expects the funds, which are part of a 2-year-old pilot SBA program, to be available by late September.
The funds will be dispersed through the Intermediary Lending Program of the BCDC.