Nominations open for Heritage Ohio’s Annual Awards

Earlier this week we opened our call for nominations for the Heritage Ohio 2014 Annual Awards. The annual awards recognize the best in the state for historic preservation and downtown revitalization in categories such as Best Public/Private Partnership, Spirit of Main Street, Best Commercial Rehabilitation, and (new this year) Historic Farmstead of the Year! You can learn more about the award categories here.

We will accept award submissions through Friday, May 23, with judging in June. We’ll honor the award winners at a special ceremony during our Annual Conference in Kent on September 23.

So, if you have a project or person that deserves special recognition in the world of historic preservation or downtown revitalization, we invite you to complete and submit a nomination form for judging. Good luck!

Young Ohio Preservationists

One of my absolute favorite blogs is Preservation in Pink, so I found her post a few weeks back about young preservationists especially interesting. As you may be aware, Heritage Ohio has been active in working to help build a Young Ohio Preservationist movement, from developing a survey to get feedback about how 20-40 year old self-identified preservationists view themselves shaping preservation in Ohio, to holding one-on-one stakeholder interviews, to holding introductory planning meetings in Columbus this past January.

As the PiP author expresses in her blog post, preservationists in leadership positions have done a better job in recent years of actively engaging people under 40 to help shape the preservation movement. Although some bristle at the notion that a “Young Preservationist” appellation is even needed, preferring instead to seamlessly mesh with the rest of the preservation world, the concept of giving young preservationists special status within the preservation world has taken hold. A lot of Old Preservationists (myself included) are excited by the prospect of fresh ideas, and new ways of looking at (and saving) old buildings that young preservationists can bring to the table.

What do you think? Is there a place in the preservation world for groups of a specific age range?


IRS rings in 2014 with more clarity on tax credit structure

A somewhat quiet, but nonetheless controversial, tax credit ruling erupted in August of 2012, when a court decision found that a development partner in a historic rehab was not, in fact, a bona fide development partner. What did this mean? Quite simply, this ruling had the potential to take redevelopment partners, often the development partners who put upfront construction money into a project, off rehab projects. And removing the funding source to make construction happen means stopping rehab projects in their tracks (this article from the Canton Repository shows how the Boardwalk decision hit home in Ohio.)

Without clear guidelines on how the IRS would treat development partners, active investment has lagged in the past 16 months. Fortunately, the IRS recently published guidelines to clarify development partners’ relationships, and how those partners can make use of tax credit allocations. The Preservation Exchange, a blog originating from Preservation Studios in Buffalo, NY, published a post providing analysis of what the IRS guidelines may mean for future developer partnership structures. You can read the PE post here.

You can read the IRS guidelines here. Heritage Ohio will continue to monitor the impact of the IRS guidelines and share updates as we learn of them.

Ohio DSA announces Round 11 tax credit recipients

Today the Ohio Development Services Agency announced that 31 buildings in 10 different communities received allocations of the Round 11 tax credits. As in past rounds, the credits were divided for projects throughout the state (although the northwest and southeast regions were absent from this round). While few dispute the power of the credits in making multi-million dollar rehabilitation projects possible (with three separate projects taking the maximum $5 million per project), the state continues to work to make sure smaller projects don’t fall through the cracks. This round of credits included a $65,000 rehab project in Wilmington. The Wilmington project is slated to receive $13,825. You can read the ODSA press release here.

A Small Business Saturday bribe, er, incentive, for American Express cardholders!

Small Business Saturday, the local business answer to Black Friday (and now Tryptophan Thursday) calls on shoppers to patronize their locally owned businesses, injecting some dollars into the local economy. Since 2010 us Main Street types have cheered a day sandwiched between Black Friday and Cyber Monday, giving local businesses some shopping publicity, and now American Express has sweetened the deal for cardholders who shop this Saturday. Here’s the deal: spend at least $10 at a qualifying local business (you can check the list here) and receive a $10 credit on your AMEX statement. However, it appears there are limited “slots” for cardholders to sign up to get this deal, so don’t delay. You can learn more here.

Thank you very much, American Express. I’ll take your $10 bribe and happily do some local shopping on Saturday in observance of Small Business Saturday. I hope you all will do the same. Happy Thanksgiving!

Update: Frank charged some delicious vanilla hazelnut bulk coffee from his favorite local coffee retailer, Cup o Joe, on Small Business Saturday!

Marketing Your Main Street

Join us in beautiful downtown Millersburg, Ohio on November 6th as we hear from speakers around the state regarding the importance of marketing your Main Streets. The life and longevity of communities depend on effective marketing strategies. Learn from experts in the field on how cities can implement marketing to enhance public spaces. We are pleased to welcome Pat Williamsen, Katherine Buluva, and Jesse Mireles as our speakers for today’s workshop.


To register, please click here

Pat Williamsen

Pat Williamsen, Executive Director for the Ohio Humanities Council, has been a member of the OHC staff off and on since 1985.  From 1993 through 2001, she provided leadership to several cultural agencies, including a community symphony and a public access television station.  She holds an MA in film history from the Ohio State University.  An accomplished documentary photographer, Pat is working on several projects that involve family photographs made while traveling the United States and Europe.


Katherine Bulava

Katherine Bulava specializes in communications-related strategic planning, media relations, public relations, digital media and public affairs. In January 2010, Bulava started HATHA COMMUNICATIONS, which specializes in working with organizations that focus on community development, economic development, foreclosure prevention, and neighborhood revitalization. Bulava has a wide range and extensive amount of experience including consultant work for political campaigns, major fundraising success as co-chair of SPACES, and has been a freelance journalist for Kaleidoscope Magazine. Bulava received a Certificate of Recognition from the Ohio Community Service Council from Make A Difference Day 2006, and was awarded the Best News Story from the Neighborhood & Community News Association in 2005.

Jesse Mireles

Jesse Mireles, principal of Mireles Design, specializes in branding and logo development. His rich portfolio drawn from more than thirty years of work for businesses features work done for various fortune 500 companies, as well as for institutional and nonprofit organizations. As an Hispanic, born in Mexico, Jesse Mireles offers a bi-cultural background which has helped him approach his work with a global perspective that transcends borders and boundaries of culture and ethnicity. His company however is a full service design firm and continues to offer clients simple, direct, powerful visual design and marketing strategy for print, TV and electronic media. Among the many honors, Jesse Mireles’ work has been published in prestigious Logo Lounge International Identity Books; Volumes 2, 3, 4 and 7. His logos have also been included in the Logo Lounge Masters Library Series; Volume 2, Volume 3 and the latest published, Volume 4.



Grant Opportunity

The Laura Jane Musser Fund

The Laura Jane Musser Fund was set up to continue Laura Jane Musser’s great work in personal philanthropy. The fund is divided into four categories: Arts Programs, Environmental, Intercultural Harmony, and Rural Initiative. The Rural Initiative program appears to be the most applicable to Main Street programs, focusing on encouraging participation and collaboration among citizens in rural communities. The fund focuses on projects related to education, arts and humanities, business preservation, economic developments, and public space improvements.


What You Need to Know

Since the Rural Initiative Program focuses on rural communities, the applicant community must have a population of 10,000 or less and “be able to demonstrate characteristics of a rural community. Projects must be able to demonstrate plans to complete the project within 18 months, support from a variety of community members and institutions, significant volunteer participation, and matching financial support from the community. Communities in Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota, Wyoming, Hawaii, and Ohio may apply.


What Projects Can Be Funded?

Funds are available for either planning of or implementation of programs, but not both. Up to $5,000 would be awarded to planning projects which could include hiring a consultant or staff, mailings, local travel, refreshments, and meeting costs. Up to $25,000 are available for implementation of projects which “originate in, have been planned by, and involve diverse people of the community.” The program will also cover new projects or programs within their first three years.


How Do I Apply?

Local units of Government, 501(c)(3) organizations, and organizations forming under the support of a 501(c)(3) are able to apply. Proposals will be accepted online through November 6, 2013, with announcements made February 2014.

You will need to include the following:

1. Short Overview

2. Proposal Narrative

3. Budgets

4. Letters of Support/Fiscal Sponsor

5. IRS Status or Local Unit of Government


For a detailed description of each section, please click here:


To apply click here


*Priority will be given to projects that: actively include community members throughout the process, have measurable short term outcomes within the first 12-18 months, collaborate with a wide variety of community members and institutions, and work towards a positive outcome in the community.

What a difference the right windows make!

Work continues on the Adler Building at Front Street and Main Street in downtown Columbus. In fact, for a building far from being completed, I’d say we’ve already seen an amazing transformation. Here’s how the building appeared earlier this summer. And the images below show the building on October 1.

They say that preservationists have the power to see the finished vision of a decrepit, dilapidated building, while everyone else can only see the building in its current state as an eyesore. I hope we’re all in the midst of witnessing this preservation truism at its best.

Adler Building

Showing off repaired concrete spandrels, masonry, and replica windows, the Adler Building looks the best its looked in years

New windows

Key to a successful rehabilitation, these replica windows complement the building’s exterior

Hello Ohio!

Hello, my name is Lindsay Marshall and I am an AmeriCorps member with Serve Ohio, serving at Heritage Ohio. I just moved here from Minneapolis, MN and am very excited to spend the year in Columbus and with Heritage Ohio. I graduated from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse with a B.A. in archaeological studies and a minor in public history. I then journeyed to University of Vermont for a semester to study historic preservation and returned to St. Cloud State University in St. Cloud, MN to finish my M.S. in cultural resources management. During grad school, I discovered my love for historic archaeology, vernacular architecture, and log building construction. My thesis focused on identifying settlement patterns of immigrants in Carver County, MN, and identifying how far into the Americanization process these settlers were, as seen through log building construction.

Besides historic preservation and historic architecture, I also love watching roller derby, finding amazing deals at thrift stores, checking out restaurants and festivals, and testing new recipes. I’m looking forward to exploring Ohio and gaining a ton of experience this year!

Customer loyalty: what have you done for your best customers lately?

One important piece of any retailer’s strategy is how best to hold onto, and grow the relationship with, your repeat customers. Repeat customers can be the lifeblood of a successful business because: 1) your best customers tend to outspend a regular customer by a $16:1 ratio, and 2) 67% of customers stop shopping at a location because of perceived indifference.

A good loyalty program can encourage your customers to buy more, shop more often, and build their loyalty to the store (creating “sticky” customers), all while you as the retailer continue to build your customer database. Plus, the loyalty program doesn’t have to be overly complicated.

Here’s one example of how a loyalty program could work: after six sales, 10% of the total sales goes back to the customer as a store credit. So if a customer spends $165.27 over the course of six sales then after the sixth sale the customer has a store credit to spend of $16.53. Easy, no?

The loyalty “card” itself doesn’t have to be especially elaborate: an index card marked with six boxes to record sales is all you need. The cards are kept at the front counter and the sales are recorded at checkout. Google “customer loyalty card” for examples to get the creative juices flowing.

If you’re considering adding this program, or tweaking an existing program, there are some things to keep in mind:

Redemption is addictive Anyone who has and keeps the “buy 10 get one free” coffee sleeve can attest to the feeling of accomplishment after that tenth punch, and the desire to start a new card. Redemption through this loyalty program is the same way.

If launching the program, do so with a bang Consider adding a $100 purchase box after the first purchase so customers can get to redemption quicker. If $100 is a bit steep considering average sales or pricing on your merchandise then make it $50. Either way, your either investing $5 or $10 into strengthening the relationship with your best (or soon to be best) customers. It’s money well-spent.

Incentivizing the program is only limited by your creativity (or ability to rip off and duplicate) One store with a customer loyalty program offers a special deal for its frequent shoppers. Customers that fill out and redeem three cards receive a shopping bag. Customers can then use that bag on special days for 20% off everything that fits in the bag. The bag is branded to the store, it’s sharp, and the only way to get a bag is to complete three loyalty cards. While the customer feels like they’re getting a great shopping incentive (and they are) the store owner has 18 sales and a customer invested heavily into maintaining and strengthening the retailer-customer relationship (ie, continuing to spend, and spend more).

Use the program to promote your store and get customers through the door Offering incentives such double dollar days, double box days, referrals, and out of town guests, markets your store, building your customer base while strengthening the relationship with your best customers.

Depending on your customer cycle, tweak your box count A coffee shop with repeat customers on a daily basis may have a ten-box card before redemption, while a furniture store may have a card with only three boxes before redemption. The key is to make redemption attainable. A loyalty program few can take advantage of because redemption is nearly unattainable is a waste of your time and your customers’ time.

Do you have, or participate in a customer loyalty program that works especially well for your store? Tell us about it in the comments below.

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