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Four area businesses recognized Ashland Area Economic Development press conference

Honored by Ashland Area Chamber of Commerce

By KRISTI SCHWEITZER T-G Staff Writer Published: August 8, 2017 4:00 AM
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From security systems to grocery stores and clothing boutiques, there have been a lot of changes going on in Ashland-area businesses.

Gathered in Mitchell's Orchard & Farm Market, four new and growing area businesses were recognized during Ashland Area Economic Development's press conference.

The first business to be honored was The Gilded Arrow, a new boutique shop in downtown Loudonville.

Opening inside Maria Zickefoose's Z Shoppe at 141 West Main Street, co-owners Shayla Landoll, Buffie Briscoe and Zickefoose shared the story of how the three met a few months ago at a Loudonville Chamber of Commerce event and decided to combine their fashion ideas into a boutique shop. The store officially opened during the town's annual Ladies Night Out April 21, and it has had success so far, they said.

"It's been really wonderful," Zickefoose said. "I think it's been a big asset to Loudonville."

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The clothing line carries fun, Southern and Boho styles for women with "a little bit of everything," Landoll said.

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Ohio operations manager Mikel Burlew followed with his presentation of changes to Miller's Hawkins Market after buying the business from Geyer's in May.

A third-generation, family-run supermarket company, Miller's was excited to invest in Hawkins because of its small town location and presence in the community, Burlew said. After learning the importance of the Hawkins name, Miller's approached the family to gain permission to continue the tradition.

"So, it's called Miller's Hawkins or Hawkins Miller's," Burlew said. "We have it both ways. We don't really care as long as people associate us with the Hawkins name."

Burlew assured the audience staples like the bakery were going to stay the same.

"We probably had -- and I'm not exaggerating -- over a hundred emails saying, 'Don't change the bakery. Don't do anything to the bakery.' So, we didn't change anything to the bakery," Burlew said.

The company is investing in new equipment to enhance the deli, and it has added specialty items like sushi, premium meats and signature salads. To meet modern grocery-store demands, Hawkins will have more ready-to-go items like salads and sandwiches.

With it's grand opening and ribbon cutting Monday, Burlew invited all to check out the weeklong specials at the store.

Miller's has stores in Norwalk, Clyde, New London, Genoa, Lodi and Montpelier in Ohio and Garrett, Rome City and LaGrange in Indiana. The corporate office is in LaGrange.

Next, Olivesburg General Store's new owner Tia Sponsler and manager Matti Krispinsky shared plans to continue beloved traditions of the 177-year-old business, as well as enhancements of their own.

After "prayerfully discerning," Sponsler said she felt led to open a business and was drawn to Olivesburg months before the store was listed for sale. Her husband made an inquiry and found the owner was already considering a sale. A few months later, Sponsler became the owner, opening May 15.

"We're really excited," she said. "We've got major plans in store."

In addition to staples like the store's ice cream and deli sandwiches, the two plan on opening a candy and grocery store inside.

Sponsler and Krispinsky love the historical ties Olivesburg offers and enjoy interacting with longtime customers or those visiting after stopping by years ago.

"People have the most amazing memories," Sponsler said. "People come back here like every year specifically for like reasons, like, 'Oh, we have come here for this,' or, 'Oh, my grandma used to bring me here and it makes my heart smile.' To just be a part of something like that is just -- I just can't even (say) my heart rejoices."

Store hours are Monday through Friday 7 a.m.-9 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m.-9 p.m. and Sunday 9 a.m.-8 p.m.

Brent Canfield, chief executive officer of Smart Digital, shared progress from his new company along with his associate, John McClain, business development manager.

Founded in 2013, the company offers security, surveillance, access control and fire protection services using innovative technology.

After 12 years in the Marine Corps, Canfield decided to combine his desire to protect with his businesses ideas from high school. After several years of pursuing technology when working at a law firm in Cleveland, he formed Smart Digital.

"I've always had a passion for protecting people," Canfield said.

The company is best known for its Sentry Pods that use smart technology and an Internet connection to provide accurate surveillance and are made easily accessible to anyone from the average homeowner to protecting dignitaries and government officials.

Canfield had the opportunity to assist Dr. Ben Carson's presidential campaign using his Sentry Pods in Boise, Idaho, and in Cleveland during the Republican National Convention.

As the company continue to grow and improve its product, it is starting to expand services to South America and Canada. It has been recognized by Verizon Wireless for have an innovative project and is showcased in two of Verizon's innovation labs.

Kristi Schweitzer can be reached at 419-281-0581, ext. 237, or at kschweitzer@times-gazette.com. Follow her on Twitter @krschweitzer.


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