News


SunDown RunDown alum Gate Genie in the News

July 15, 2019
by Tracy Leturgey, Richland Source
Ontario mother Amy Hiner launched Gate Genie earlier this year, a business selling fashionable, but affordable fabric covers for child and pet safety gates. Hiner pitched the idea of Gate Genie last fall at the Richland Idea Audition and was named one of six finalists. From there she refined her idea and pitched again at another entrepreneur-friendly event, Sundown Rundown. These events and several entrepreneurs in Mansfield have been helpful to her. She highlighted Victoria Langer, Julie McCready, Victoria Norris-Diez and Bob Leach of Braintree, but still Hiner said, it's been challenging to get her business up and running.

Amy Hiner can thank her mischievous 2-year-old boy and an aging, but still rambunctious dog for the inspiration to start her first business.The Ontario mother launched Gate Genie earlier this year, a business selling fashionable, but affordable fabric covers for child and pet safety gates."Initially, I wasn't using safety gates. I refused to use them because they were too ugly," Hiner said, before glancing at 2-year-old Evan, who was determined to crawl up on her lap instead of playing with his 6-year-old sister Maeley."Then, he (Evan) kept going towards the stairs, and I had to constantly chase him. So I thought, all right, there's got to be something that's pretty." She searched both in stores and online, but found nothing fitting her needs. She temporarily rigged a patterned cloth with ribbons on both sides to either side of the banister, which deterred Evan from crawling up the stairs, but she wanted something more sturdy and reliable long-term. "That's what I used to do: I rigged things to work. And I thought, OK, I'll stop rigging, start inventing and do something that's way safer than what's already out there," Hiner said. "So what I did was I created a cover to go over a wooden safety gate ... The cover just goes over it, but doesn't mess with any of its safety features." She says the gate has transformed life in her family's house. She feels her children are safer and because the gate looks nice or blends in, she doesn't tear it down when having company. Hiner pitched the idea of Gate Genie last fall at the Richland Idea Audition and was named one of six finalists. From there she refined her idea and pitched again at another entrepreneur-friendly event, Sundown Rundown. These events and several entrepreneurs in Mansfield have been helpful to her. She highlighted Victoria Langer, Julie McCready, Victoria Norris-Diez and Bob Leach of Braintree, but still Hiner said, it's been challenging to get her business up and running. "There are tons of barriers for entrepreneurs, and my circumstances have allowed me to keep on working through those barriers, but I could see how most people may not be able to overcome those barriers," Hiner said. "Richland County is on the right track, but we're not there yet." She described challenges associated with getting a vendor's license and making a professional video of her product. At this time, Hiner is testing price points for her existing product and working a prototype for metal safety gates. She's also applying to get the Gate Genie listed on websites like Jane.com. The product is already available at Etsy, and Hiner frequently posts business updates on Facebook.

Read more: SunDown RunDown alum Gate Genie in the News URL: https://www.richlandsource.com/business/ontario-mother-s--year-old-boy-inspires-business-called/article_d7f71088-a3f9-11e9-b82e-fbc126a04aba.html#utm_source=richlandsource.com&utm_campaign=%2Fnewsletters%2Fheadlines%2F%3F-dc%3D1563267607&utm_medium=email&utm_content=headline


Share 'N Dippity Bakery brings fresh bread and other items to Mansfield area

June 12, 2019
by Lou Whitmire, Mansfield News Journal
Darlene Mast has traveled the world and especially loves going to European bakeries. Her Mansfield bakery focuses on European-inspired breads. She also bakes cookies and offers space for local vendors to sell their goods, including Twisted Fig Tea products, specialty pasta and flavored balsamic oils.

Darlene Mast's favorite item to bake is bread."I love the process of breadmaking," said Mast, who's new business, Share 'N Dipity at 287 Taylor Road off Arlington Avenue, features sourdough, cranberry-walnut and olive breads, cookies, pastries, croissants, Danish, biscotti and cheesecakes — all made from scratch."I grew up baking," said Mast, whose parents and whose husband's parents were Amish. She bakes every day that the business is open — every day but Mondays.
The shop, which opened Feb. 27, is celebrating a grand opening on Thursday with the Richland Area Chamber and Economic Development. The white-framed building is the only commercial business in the quiet neighborhood. The site was once home to a well-known toy store and soda shop in the 1950s called Crall's Toy and Gift Shop.Mast has traveled the world and especially loves going to European bakeries. Her Mansfield business focuses on European-inspired breads. She also bakes cookies, including four popular staples — chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, peanut butter and chocolate indulgence. The shop offers space for local vendors to sell their goods, including Twisted Fig Tea products, specialty pasta and flavored balsamic oils.
Mast and her husband Todd both served in the military — she in the U.S. Air Force, and he in the U.S. Marines Corps. They met at work in Mt. Eaton, Ohio, where she was a waitress and he a part-time cook. The couple have four children.

Read more: Share 'N Dippity Bakery brings fresh bread and other items to Mansfield area URL: https://www.mansfieldnewsjournal.com/story/news/2019/06/12/aroma-of-fresh-bread-fills-air-at-share-n-dipity/1385378001/


Barrett Thomas, the director of economic development at the Richland Area Chamber & Economic Development has been selected one of North America’s Top 50 Economic Developers of 2019.

Barrett Thomas will receive his award at Consultant Connect’s ECONOMIX event in Charleston, S.C.Consultant Connect is a consulting agency designed to bridge the gap between economic developers and site consultants.“We’re thrilled to have Barrett Thomas included on this list. Since joining the Chamber/RCDG, he has worked hard to lead economic development efforts to better our community," said Jodie A. Perry, President/CEO of the Richland Area Chamber & Economic Development.The economic development professionals selected were nominated by their colleagues in both the economic development industry and the site consultant community for excellent practices, innovation and success in building the communities they serve.Each top 50 economic developer will be featured individually, starting May 20, through the selected social media channels of LinkedIn and Twitter. Each award winner will share leadership insights and wisdom for other practitioners in the profession.“This annual list recognizing North America’s Top 50 Economic Developers is designed to acknowledge the hard work of the top leaders in this field and elevate the conversation around economic development and job creation,” said Ron Kitchens, managing partner of Consultant Connect.“Each of the leaders represented on this year’s list are beyond deserving of this recognition for their efforts in building our communities," Kitchens said.

Read more: Former Braintree business advisor Barrett Thomas earns national honor URL: https://www.richlandsource.com/business/richland-area-chamber-economic-development-official-earns-national-honor/article_b0e36dd4-77f3-11e9-b6d9-2beea8ee54f8.html#utm_source=richlandsource.com&utm_campaign=%2Fnewsletters%2Fheadlines%2F%3F-dc%3D1558083613&utm_medium=email&utm_content=headline


Three startups featured at SunDown RunDown in Mansfield

May 10, 2019
by Tracy Geibel, Richland source
The Old Bag of Nails Pub was buzzing with activity Thursday evening for Sundown Rundown, where three area entrepreneurs pitched their business ideas to a mix of investors, business owners and other community leaders. Among the group was Mansfield resident, Trent Balduff, who one day hopes to make a living doing what he loves -- beekeeping.

T's Bees-----Among the group of three pitches at SunDown RunDown Thursday night was Mansfield resident, Trent Balduff, who one day hopes to make a living doing what he loves -- beekeeping. The 23-year-old has already launched one business, called T's Bees and plans to start up a nonprofit, called Have A Hive, which could fund his and other hives. "I'm a hippie. I've always been an environmentalist. If you someone picking up trash on the side of the road, it's probably me. If you see someone recycling, it's probably me," Balduff said. "And so after seeing that bees are dying out, I've been keeping bees for a few years." Through individual or group sponsorship, he explained, his and other beehives could be fully funded. And those who support the beekeepers could receive items like honey, soap and candles in return for their support. Some groups, Balduff said, could even receive all the honey made from their sponsored hives. Balduff was also recently appointed to be Richland County's apiarist. Grub2You---------- Mansfielder and owner of Grub2You, Kyle Miller also pitched Thursday evening. His business delivers from places like Buck's Bar and Grill and The Local at 97 in Lexington, Chipotle and TGI Fridays in Ontario, Bistro 217 and Granny's Kitchen in Galion and a few spots in Crestline and Bucyrus for delivery costs starting at $4.99.A serial entrepreneur, Kyle Miller explained to the crowd how he built Grub2You into a profitable business, but is now looking to sell and move onto other ventures. He believes Grub2You is the ideal model for food service delivery in small cities and towns and hopes someone will consider taking it further. FarmFare--------After pitching at Sundown Rundown, the final people to speak Thursday evening will go on to present their idea to a panel at Google later this year. Co-founders of FarmFare, Cullen Naumoff of New York City and Laura Adiletta of Cleveland Heights, believe their idea will become a major platform for the growing number of food hubs in the U.S. to connect with small-scale growers."We've been taking every opportunity we have to pitch in front of a captive audience. It's really great because it's good practice and a chance to make connections," said Adiletta.Naumoff agreed, noting that the duo has been taking advantage of any pitch event they can find."I think every time you pitch, you hone your message and hone in how you talk about it," she said.

Read more: Three startups featured at SunDown RunDown in Mansfield URL: https://www.richlandsource.com/business/a-beekeeper-and-two-other-entrepreneurs-pitch-business-ideas-at/article_55b98bd8-7270-11e9-abae-7762aa68e5db.html


A "micro-farm" in Mansfield is helping to bridge the gap for families living in food deserts. Soon, these micro-farms will be sprouting up across neighborhoods in Richland County, bringing fresh food to tables, and in time, jobs.

Soon, micro-farms will be sprouting up across neighborhoods in Richland County, bringing fresh food to tables, and in time, jobs.Amanda Stanfield is a proud mother of seven, doing what any mom would: trying to give her kids the best life, filled with quality food. “Our kids — we want them to have that fresh food, but we feel like the access is definitely not there,” Stanfield said. “This is a food desert.”The nearest grocery store is several miles away, making a trip anything but convenient.“We still try to have a healthy options for them, like an apple with peanut butter, or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich,” Stanfield said. “Not just chips. We don’t want them to have empty calories.”The fresh fruit in her cupboard and on her cutting board isn’t abundant.“My husband and I tease each other all the time because he will say, ‘You didn’t tell me I wasn’t allowed to eat that,’” Stanfield said. “I know that it’s in the refrigerator because it’s not easy to get to the grocery store.”Now, blackberries, fresh greens, and more will all be in her backyard. This produce is being delivered to homes across the country. Stanfield’s micro-fram is part of a bigger project that sprung up out of a parking lot at Ohio State University in Mansfield.Associate Professor Kip Curtis said the wheels started turning, and the idea sprouted years ago when describing the Mansfield area as abundant with food deserts.Curtis said the “lack of access to fresh foods, the challenges that were presented to families are so insurmountable.” That lack of food, in turn, causes a huge hit to the overall health of an area.“Because they are eating more processed, salty, sugary food, we see higher levels of diabetes,” Curtis said. “We see higher levels of childhood obesity.”A one-third acre of land is where the micro-farm project started, turning bland canned foods into meals vibrant with color, and helping families swap fast food for fresh food.Curtis received a $2 million grant from the Foundation for Food and Agricultural Research. Ten micro-farms are expected to spring up in the next three years during the pilot project, all operated by trained volunteers.At the end of the pilot program, those could become paying jobs.The pilot system represents a scalable fresh produce marketing core for local veggie producers, serving as an example for other cities to follow suit.Stanfield’s micro-farm will be thriving and producing next month.

Read more: News5 featured Mansfield microfarm project that Braintree is a collaborator in URL: https://www.news5cleveland.com/a-better-land/micro-farm-to-bring-fresh-produce-to-food-deserts-in-mansfield-area