Chamber Award: Small Business – The Lima News
The Lima / Allen County Chamber of Commerce is hosting its 19th Annual Awards Gala on Wednesday, June 9 at the UNOH Event Center.
Each year, the chamber recognizes member companies for the work they have done.
In the Small Business category there are three finalists, Alter Ego Comics, Hoffman Analytic and The Meeting Place on Market.
To be considered for the Small Business of the Year award, the nominated businesses must be independently owned and operated with a substantial history as an established business; the company must be financially sound and profitable and be able to display a history of growth in dollars and / or in sales volume; the business leader or organization must have demonstrated community involvement and / or made a civic contribution; the business must not employ more than 150 employees and the business must have been in business for at least five years.
Alter Ego Comics, 230 N. Main St., Lima, was founded in 2003 by Marc and Angie Bowker. It started small at home specializing in comics and collectibles.
According to their letter of appointment, in 2015 they opened a retail store at 115 N. Elizabeth Street in Lima.
In 2019, they formed Alter Ego Enterprises, LLC and purchased the building located at 226-230 N. Main St.
In 2019, they co-founded Legacy Arts with The Meeting Place on Market, Legacy Sounds / Rustgaze Records and Shop for Good to “encourage local artists and entrepreneurs”.
In 2021, they renovated the first floor of the building and added The Purple Feet Wine Boutique and NOW Marketing Group as tenants and partners of Legacy Arts.
They have also built a recording studio for Legacy Sounds and a live event space called The Lab that will spotlight local musicians and other artists.
The company has been active in the community to promote Free Comic Book Day, Heroes for Home and has donated comics to several organizations as well as presentations to local schools and libraries. They have also raised thousands of dollars for the Michael J. Fox Parkinson’s Foundation, West Ohio Food Bank, Children’s Development Center, Toys for Tots, and St. Jude Children’s Hospital.
They say sales and profits increased in 2020, despite the pandemic and foot traffic falling 26%.
Hoffman Analytic is owned by John Hoffman and Marcy Bolek and is located at 1101 N. Cole St. in Lima.
According to their letter of appointment, “Hoffman Analytic Services Inc., doing business as Alloway, is a full-service environmental laboratory specializing in the analysis of drinking water, wastewater and solid and hazardous waste. Alloway is certified as a small, veteran-owned company, headquartered in Lima, Ohio with additional labs in Marion and Mansfield, Ohio, ”the letter reads.
The company began in 1982 when John Hoffman began his career at Alloway in 1979 as a sole laboratory analyst for the company. Two years later, John bought the business and expanded the operation to include a total of three employees. In 1986, Alloway purchased Lexington Scientific Lab in Mansfield, Ohio. A year later, Alloway began offering biological testing. In 1991 the Alloway laboratory in Lima was moved to its current location on North Cole Street and with the move analytical capabilities continued to grow to include gas chromatography-mass spectroscopy, high-level liquid chromatography. pressure and ion chromatography.
The meeting place
The Meeting Place on Market, 220 W. Market St., Lima, is owned by Jennifer Brogee, Ruth Ann Stover and Greg Stover.
The popular cafe was established in 2003 and now has nine employees plus owners.
In their letter of appointment, the owners found a niche for their business.
“At the time, we were the only café in town. We started with a small coffee-focused menu, but quickly expanded our offering, adding packed lunches and building a bakery on site, ”the letter says.
But things weren’t always rosy.
“In 2008, we faced the Great Recession and saw our sales drop by 30%. We have struggled to recover and over time have changed our business model due to increased competition and changing market needs. Today we have gift basket customers from across the country offering gift baskets for corporate events and family celebrations. We have also invested more in the development of our in-house bakery and our range of gluten-free bakery products, ”the letter said.
Sales have been relatively stable over the past few years, with the exception of “the drop due to COVID and our 2020 remodel, our real growth has come from our gift basket sales and online sales…% from 2019 to 2020. Today our e-commerce business is more important than our coffee business.
So far in 2021, they report that e-commerce sales have grown by over 400% compared to 2020.
Contact Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.