I <3 Toledo: "You will do better in Toledo"

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“I ❤ Toledo” posts are the first in a series aimed to give credit where credit is due – to highlight cities and areas in Ohio that don’t get the praise they deserve. In this series, you’ll learn what makes Toledo so great, and why its residents love the growing city so much.

Our first interviewee is Renee Granados, who grew up in Toledo, went to Ohio University to study graphic design, and now runs, along with two other young women, SWAP*TOLEDO – a clothing exchange event (take a look at their blog, or find them on Facebook).

The Business of Ohio: Tell us about yourself – where did you grow up? When did you move to Toledo? What did you study? What do you do now?
Renee Granados: I was born and raised in Toledo. I grew up in South Toledo, where I went to Beverly Elementary and Byrnedale Junior High, followed by Notre Dame Academy for high school. For a brief stint, I left Toledo for Athens to study graphic design at Ohio University, returning four years later to try and break into the field…which brings me to today.

TBOO: How did you come to live in Toledo?
RG: It’s home! BUT….

TBOO: If you initially did not want to move to Toledo, what made you stay?
RG: My initial reaction was to move far away from here after college. Big city dreams, etc. I spent the summer going to art walks put on by The Arts Commission and other community events and reconnecting with friends who’d been away at college. Things were going so well I decided to stay here. Turns out Toledo isn’t as lame as we all thought it was.

What I like most about Toledo is that it’s just small enough for almost anyone to start something on his or her own. Things aren’t big-city expensive and connections can be easily made.

TBOO: How long have you lived in Toledo? How has it changed?
RG: I used to tell people that Toledo is a great place to grow up and as you get older, you can just hope to find some good friends and a basement or living room to hang out in. While all that remains true, it seems like the people of Toledo are really working to make exciting things happen here. Maybe it’s because I’m older now, and have more access to certain networks and people, but I like to think that things in Toledo are on the up.

TBOO: Is it a good environment for the field you work in? If not, do you see that changing?
RG: Yes and no. As far as graphic design goes, I’ve been having a tough time breaking into the field, but that’s because Toledo only has a few really great design firms, in my opinion. There are plenty of careers working in-house for companies, but those seem harder to find. However, as someone who is also very interested in art in general, I love that the arts scene in Toledo is really growing. The Arts Commission gives artists many opportunities to put art in the community (for example, a project that puts local artists’ work on digital billboards around the city, or one that allows artists to design unique bike racks for the downtown area). Events like Maker’s Mart give local artisans and crafters an opportunity to sell their goods. Maker’s Mart was especially exciting for me because I didn’t even realize people were making such amazing crafts locally.  I’m so excited for the next one, happening at Artomatic 419!, which is the largest non-juried art show in Northwest Ohio. From what I’ve heard they’re expecting to have over 300 artists exhibiting over the event’s three weekends. So exciting!

TBOO: What do you want people to know about the different opportunities Toledo has to offer (especially people who are thinking of moving to Toledo)?
RG: I want to say again that Toledo is a place where anyone can make a splash. As a shameless plug for my own organization, I’ll use it as an example. Two other Toledo women and I started a group called SWAP*TOLEDO as a way to plan large-scale clothing swaps for the people of Toledo and donate clothing or money to local charities. It started in a living room and grew to an event attended by about 100 people. I’m not really what you’d call a “go-getter” (well, my colleagues are), but it gave me faith that it’s possible to get things moving in Toledo. It is possible to make a difference and change things up. There’s a sign in a bar downtown with the locally popular slogan “YOU WILL DO BETTER IN TOLEDO” and it’s true, but you have to want it.

“Living Your Small Farm Dream”

Small Farm

In Ohio, we know what we’re doing when it comes to agriculture – it’s our number one industry, contributing billions to the economy annually. When people hear “Ohio” and “agriculture” in the same sentence, the word “innovation” comes to mind. It’s no surprise then, that our resources – schools, conferences, lectures, etc. – are rich with useful, creative, and valuable information. Which is why you should take advantage of knowledge we provide, such as the “Living Your Small Farm Dream” conference, March 23 in Zanesville, Ohio.

The conference, hosted by OSU Extension at the Muskingum Convention and Welcome Center (205 North Fifth Street), will cover topics such as soil basics, beekeeping, livestock nutrition, legal issues, financing/loans, and more. Anyone from a new farmer, just starting out, to the knowledgeable, more experienced farmer is welcome to attend. The deadline to register is March 18th.&

For more information, contact:

Mark Mechling
740.454.0144
mechling.1@osu.edu

Or go to:
http://muskingum.osu.edu

The Ultimate Craft Beer Extravaganza

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The Ultimate Craft Beer Extravaganza will take place March 8-9th at the Dayton Convention Center in downtown Dayton, Ohio. Attendees will receive unlimited, 1 oz samples of numerous craft beers as well as a meal voucher. Each session lasts roughly 2.5 hours and tickets are expected to sell out quickly. Two other Ultimate Craft Beer Extravaganzas will take place in Ohio – May 24-25 at the Great Wolf Lodge in Mason and September 20-22 in Cincinnati (venue TBD).

 

The buzz surrounding craft beer in Ohio will only increase over time – since the state passed a law in 2011 that allows breweries to open a tasting room without a second, costly license, breweries have popped up throughout the region. The growth of the craft beer industry in Ohio is evident in events such as the Ultimate Craft Beer Extravaganza. Look for more information about the beer industry, breweries, and distilleries in our July 2013 issue of The Business of Ohio: Agriculture

Northeast Ohio: first freshwater wind energy producer?

With renewable energy on the rise, it comes as no surprise that more and more companies and universities are seeing wind energy as a viable option. Just recently, a Honda plant in Russells Point, as well as The Ohio State University, have contracted to receive 10% and 25% of their energy from wind turbines, respectively. Renewable energy offers many benefits – not just environmental ones. According to the World Resources Institute’s publication Harnessing Nature’s Power: Deploying and Financing On-Site Renewable Energy, benefits from renewable energy include, but are not limited to: reducing energy costs, improving energy reliability, and brand enhancement. Out of all renewables, wind energy is by far the fastest growing industry.

According to the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA), over the past five years, “The U.S. wind industry has added over 35% of all new generating capacity […] second only to natural gas, and more than nuclear and coal combined. ” Renewables, especially the wind industry, create not only a new market for energy, but also a new market for manufacturing, as the demand for wind energy, which means the demand for manufacturing wind turbines, is on the rise. Atlantic offshore wind development could generate up to three times as many jobs as offshore oil and natural gas drilling. Which means it is no small event for Lake Eerie Energy Develop Corp. (LEEDCo) to receive its first installment of funds to begin building wind turbines in Lake Eerie– about 7 miles from Cleveland.

The team working on this project has a number of factors to consider in their plan – the biggest one being how to deal with ice. The current plan would build 9 wind turbines, though LEEDCo hopes to build hundreds offshore turbines, where the best wind exists. Clearly, the Northeast Ohio region is destined to become the first freshwater wind energy producer.