Morrow County Chamber of Commerce Director, Cathy Francis served up a helping of optimism with breakfast at the Chamber’s Business Forecast Feb. 2 meeting.
Francis directed the 80 members in attendance to the Ohio.gov website where statistics mention Morrow County as the fifth fastest growing county in the state.
Morrow County Auditor and former County Development Director, Pat Davies spoke of the value of the county’s connections to Columbus and the Jobs Ohio Central Region that includes 11 counties. Davies said that the Jobs Ohio connection brings almost daily leads for jobs.
“Growth is pushing north from Delaware County,” noted Davies. “We are in an ideal position with two I-71 Interchanges in our county. We can either work to control the growth and steer it, or we can let it overcome us.”
Davies introduced Lubrication Specialties Inc. (LSI) CEO, Chris Gabrelcik as Entrepreneur of the year for the Chamber. She told of his start in a pole barn in the county where he developed Hot Shot’s Secret. He’s taken the business from that humble beginning in 2005 to a $1.9 million dollar industry that employs 40 people. Hot Shot’s Secret along with several of their other lubrication products, is sold in companies around the nation such as Tractor Supply Company, Auto Zone and Rural King.
Gabrelcik spoke about his experience receiving the Ernst and Young (EY) Entrepreneur of the year for the Ohio Valley Region. He went to their national convention in Palm Springs, California this year and had the opportunity to rub shoulders with CEOs and owners of multi-million dollar industries. He especially appreciated the opportunity to speak with executives from Caterpillar.
Gabrelcik reported, “Caterpillar people said that they will be looking into ways they can do business with LSI, which will give us the opportunity to have a global reach.”
Davies highlighted several Morrow County “gems.” She began with Adalet that employs 20 in Cardington. It’s a Scott-Fetzer Company, which is owned by the Warren Buffett Company, Berkshire Hathaway. Next Davies listed Marengo Fabricated Steel owned and operated by the Morrow County Howell family. Other “gems” on Davies list included: Cardinal Center, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Sames & Cook, Expolinc, Owl Creek Produce Auction and Amish community businesses, Flying Horse Farms, and Cardington Yutaka that employs close to 1,000.
For What’s new, Davies included the new Micro Brewery on County Road 26 near Marengo, the Sippel Family Farm cheeses that are now sold around the nation and the new location for HPM in Iberia that employs 30 with plans to expand to 60.
The “Gazelle” award of the year went to 8 Sisters Bakery. This business leaped from a business out of Emma Lister’s car to the Main Street Mount Gilead store and their baked goods are now sold in all the neighboring counties.
County Infrastructure developments total $188.5 million with $7.2 million soon to be developed for Mount Gilead State Park improvements. Davies mentioned the completion of the Interstate 71 third lane and 123 miles of fiber optic cable laid as new strengths for the county in expanding business opportunities.
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