Chamber awards: Emerging business

·4 min read

Jun. 4—The Lima/Allen County Chamber of Commerce is holding its 19th annual awards gala on Wednesday, June 9 at the UNOH Event Center.

Each year the chamber recognizes member businesses for the work they've done.

In the Emerging Business category, there are three finalists — Aero Printing, Total Revolution Training Facility and WOW Video Tours.

To be considered for the Emerging Business of the Year Award the nominated business must be independently owned and operated with an operational history between 18 months and five years; the business should exemplify a unique business idea, marketing approach, and/or management style that have contributed to its growth and success; the business must establish its transition from a start-up to an emerging business by documenting increased sales volume and/or operational profitability, introduction of unique or innovative products or services, job creation/retention and other indicators recognized within its industry and community and the business principal must demonstrate community involvement and/or civic contributions.

Aero Printing

Aero Printing, located at 710 Elida Avenue in Delphos is owned by Joshua Gillespie and Brian Altenburger and has been serving customers since 1957, offering digital and offset printing, promotional items, wedding invitations and accessories, graduation announcements, advertising specialties, photo restoration service, mailing services, faxing, laminating, office supplies and are a UPS shipper.

The current owners purchased the business in September of 2019.

In their nominating letter for the emerging business category, they point out the changes COVID-19 had on the business.

"We will never be the same after this pandemic, but we have embraced the transformation of the way that we do business right along with you," stated Laura Basinger, manager.

Allen County Republican Party Chair Keith Cheney wrote "As a customer, I can attest to their commitment to customer-first service as well as the fine products they produce. This past election cycle we were challenged with an extreme 'rush order' consisting of thousands of pieces of a very detailed layout with a two-day turn time. (They) accepted the job, completed it on time and even made an extra effort to personally deliver it."

Total Revolution Training Facility

Total Revolution Training Facility, a Martial Arts training facility at 2400 Elida Road, Lima, is owned by Jessy Austin and has been in business since August of 2017.

In their nominating letter for the emerging business category, they detail their humble start.

"The business began with only a handful of clients, only one employee and operated at a loss. Slowly clientele began to increase at a steady pace, however, the third and fourth quarters of 2020 we began to see a surge in our clientele. We have added additional classes. We now have two paid employees, along with several volunteers, some of which will convert to paid employees in the second and third quarters of 2021," the statement read.

The business continues to grow, showing a 50% growth in clientele over the past year. Their income is also up over 400% for the 3rd and 4th quarters of 2020.

In 2020 the business also partnered with Crossroads Crisis Center to use proceeds from the Women's Self Defense program to help support victims of domestic violence and hope to teach anti-bullying education and awareness in local schools this fall.

WOW Video Tours

WOW Video Tours is owned by Todd Kivimaki and is located at 2100 Diller Road, Elida. The business was established in 2004 and is located in seven major cities in Ohio, Indiana and North Carolina.

The business does real estate photography, videography, drone, 3D tours and social media marketing for realtors.

In their nominating letter for the emerging business category, they pointed out some of the novel approaches they took to get the job done.

"Innovation sets WOW apart from our competition. Previously, the walk-through video tour did not exist. Google or YouTube could not tell us how to shoot one, so we created the methods ourselves. This innovative product set us apart from other companies and as we gained momentum, we pioneered other products to keep growing," the letter stated.

WOWO Video Tours went from four employees and five subcontractors in 2016 to 20 employees and 23 subcontractors.

The company's revenue has grown 700% from 2017 to 2020.

In 2019 they moved the operation to the current location on Diller Road and added a marketing and social media team.

Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.

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