In this June 2013 file photo, Van Wert County residents enjoy the Market on Main in downtown Van Wert. The success of the Market on Main outdoor market dates was one of the highlights of the year discussed in Main Street Van Wert’s annual report. (TB File Photo)
VAN WERT —Downtown Van Wert is continuing to improve with more businesses and successful events. That is the word from the organization which oversees downtown development in Van Wert.
Main Street Van Wert has released its annual report for 2013 showing nine businesses opening or moving to the downtown district last year. Program Manager Adam Ries highlighted the report on Monday at a meeting of Van Wert City Council. Copies of the full are available at the Main Street office, 136 E. Main St. or online at www.mainstreetvanwert.org.
Chief among the accomplishments are the addition of the nine businesses which resulted in 21 new jobs created along with the growth of business in the downtown area. The variety of businesses expands the selection available to local customers.
The new businesses locating downtown last year are The Embroidery Coop, Smith & Sons Firearms, Once I Was, RedNeck Pickers Variety Store, Cakecrazy, MOD Boutique, R&R Employment, 540 Martial Arts, and Wassenberg Art Center.
In a release promoting the availability of the annual report, the board wrote, “Main Street Van Wert, Inc. is committed to serving the community by stimulating economic growth while preserving the historic buildings and promoting Downtown Van Wert as a great place to shop, visit, work, and live.”
Another aspect of downtown improvement in the past year is the renovation and restoration of many downtown buildings. It is obvious that the move of the Wassenberg Art Center into the former Armory building saved that historic structure, but several other addresses were made usable again with the opening of new businesses. In all, the renovations and improvements represent more than $1.3 million that was reinvested into downtown Van Wert.
“This reinvestment is the result of property owners tackling the improvements and continued maintenance to make sure their buildings are serving today’s business needs. At the same time, they are preserving the buildings that are essential to the unique character and charm of downtown Van Wert,” the board stated in the release.
The annual report also mentions several other high points for Main Street Van Wert in 2013. One of those was the elevation of Program Manager Adam Ries to a full-time position. The board attributes that to many new financial supporters last year. When he took the position originally, Ries was part-time only, due to financial considerations. As one of only 22 Ohio Main Street designated communities, this move was important to fulfill state requirements for the designation as well as to more fully serve downtown businesses.
Other highlights mentioned in the report were the success of ArtRageous in June and the Market on Main dates which were expanded to a weekly happening during the summer months.