The Ottawa County Improvement Corporation held their annual Business and Industry Awards at the Liberty Aviation Museum on March 9, 2022.
“We look forward every year to gather and celebrate the diverse industries that make up the Ottawa County business communities,” commented Ken Williams, OCIC Board President.
Dan Halley, founder of Catawba Island’s Coastal Swing Golf & Bar, was named Entrepreneur of the Year. Dan’s passion for the golf inspired him to find a way to make it his livelihood, and today, his business Coastal Swing Golf & Bar, gives players near and far the opportunity to play the game year-round. Coastal Swing includes GOLFZON simulators which offer more than 200 courses from around the world, an indoor lounge area, a fireplace, practice putting green, multiple televisions and an outdoor patio with a firepit. In November 2021, a second location opened in Sandusky. Craig Trick, OCIC Board Past-President, presented the award to Dan Halley.
Lake Erie Shores & Islands was awarded the Economic Development Partner Award. Last year brought major organizational accomplishments through Lake Erie Shores & Islands including a new strategic plan and destination branding approach. Both initiatives involved input from a wide spectrum of stakeholders along with several months of work from their board and staff teams. Lake Erie Shores & Islands has remained a strong, vibrant partner of our tourism industry partners, powerful advocate of our Great Lake, and supporter of the Ottawa County business community. They also play an integral role in our regional partnerships, particularly with our neighbors to the East in Erie County. Rebekah Zimmerman, OCIC Board Member, presented the award to Larry Fletcher, President of Lake Erie Shores & Islands.
The Bill Mack Business Leader Award was presented to Gail McWatters, owner of Makers on Main in Genoa. When the storefront boutique opened in 2019, it was filled with her own handmade products. The shop now features an eclectic mix of handmade work from a variety of local artists, which she calls “makers.” The store brought new connections with community members. Gail has welcomed area food trucks and others to operate outside her business to encourage residents and visitors to shop downtown. Gail has given over 40 “makers” the opportunity to sell their handmade products. Justin Moore, OCIC Board Treasurer, presented the award to Gail McWatters.
“I am so honored to be recognized for this award,” stated Gail McWatters, owner of Makers On Main. “Makers on Main isn’t a job to me, it’s my little place of peace. The makers, the customers, the Genoa and surrounding communities make this dream so much fun, even on the hard days I’m reminded.”
Spa Catawba was named Business of the Year. Originally located in Port Clinton’s Knoll Crest Shopping Center, Spa Catawba’s new building opened in May 2021. Since opening in May, Spa Catawba has created 16 new jobs and invested $1.5 Million into the existing property and $175,000 in equipment. Spa Catawba has plans for more wellness expansions in 2023 and 2024. The new location allowed Spa Catawba to expand current offerings and be more accessible to the local communities. Spa Catawba is an all-encompassing wellness center, complete with a classroom, wellness therapy rooms, a relaxation lounge and a cafe. Spa Catawba offers a full schedule of yoga classes, wellness workshops, and they have also expanded their Café offerings. Nick Marsico, OCIC Board Member, presented the award to owner Stephanie Sprenger.
“We are so grateful and honored to receive the 2022 Business of the Year award,” commented Stephanie Sprenger, owner of Spa Catawba. “The dream of Spa Catawba was born from a personal health issue in our family that changed our daily behaviors. We sought alternative treatments and changed our eating habits. In 2018, I decided to leave my corporate career to pursue my passion of wellness and skincare. We are so excited to see the impact our dream is having on the community.”
The OCIC Volunteer of the Award was presented to Jim and Heather Stouffer of the Catawba Island Club. Between the two of them, Jim and Heather serve on a number of boards in our area that work together to help improve Ottawa County and the region. Their passion and dedication for our community and county is not only evident, but also infectious. Jim and Heather devote much of their time to serving our community while also running their business and spending time with family. Chris Singerling, OCIC Executive Director, presented the award to both Jim and Heather. During the awards event, they joined event attendees via Zoom on the big screen in the museum hangar. Jim and Heather will be celebrating 25 years of marriage later this year.
Prior to the awards ceremony, OCIC Executive Director Chris Singerling introduced the completed OCIC Strategic Plan.
“This OCIC leadership is pleased with the holistic approach taken to create this plan and the direction in which we are headed,” stated Singerling. “However, efforts like this are only successful when entire communities are involved in their implementation. We are fortunate to have committed community leaders across Ottawa County who have embraced this approach and the plan.”
The Strategic Plan is a living, breathing document with measurables that will be reviewed and updated annually. A fifth Pillar was added to the Strategic Plan: Comprehensive Community Development.