Ottawa County BR&E 2024 Survey Launch

Posted on: March 28, 2024

The Ottawa County Community Improvement Corporation (OCIC), in partnership with Ohio State University Extension, the Ohio Sea Grant College Program, Reveille Ltd. and the Ottawa County Chambers of Commerce met recently to review Ottawa County’s Business Retention & Expansion program. Recently, the OCIC and our local Chambers of Commerce Executive Directors met with Joe Lucente, OSU Extension, to review the 2022 BR&E questionnaire and prepare for a second BR&E Survey launch.

The first BR&E Survey resulted in 100 Ottawa County businesses responding. Since 2022, the OCIC conducted over 50 local business visits in partnership with the Ottawa County Chambers. The goal of the county-wide Business Retention and Expansion (BR&E) program is to gauge the perceptions and concerns of the local business community.

“The BRE Program has been extremely helpful for the Port Clinton Chamber and I am thankful for the work the OCIC has put in to implementing,” commented Nicole Kochensparger, President of the Port Clinton Area Chamber of Commerce. “It has allowed us to make connections with businesses owners who are facing real time challenges and meet their needs, but it has also allowed us to get our feet in the doors of new businesses as soon as they open. The open lines of communication between my office and the OCIC is something that I strive to keep going and this program has helped build.”

As a new business in Ottawa County, Jane Stott, owner of Fabric Fusions, wasn’t aware of all the business resources and tools available to her. Fabric Fusions offers a full line of upholstery, drapery, marine, outdoor and vinyl material, as well as foam in 1-inch to 6-inch thicknesses. The business opened in July 2023.

In February 2023, the OCIC met virtually with Kim Morrison, owner of Frosty’s Pizza & the Carriage House on Put-in-Bay, to discuss growth expectations for the year and recruitment challenges involving the housing barrier for employees.

Frosty’s Bar is located on Put-in-Bay and has been a family-owned business since 1949.

“The folks at OCIC have been super supportive of the business community on Put-in-Bay,” stated Morrison. “They have been great when it comes to looking into our unique needs, specifically with our geographical location and understanding the seasonality of our businesses. Put-in-Bay is different from other communities as we are cut off from the mainland and the OCIC does a great job of keeping us in the loop and staying connected.”

Ernest Scarano Distillery was established as one of the first A3A distilleries in Ohio. Founded by Ernest Scarano Junior, a catalyst for the inception and success of the A3A legislative approval, his interest quickly developed into an obsession with quality and distinctive character. 

Jessica Grzechowiak, OCIC, and Gail McWatters, Genoa Chamber, met with Mark Scarano to talk about their business, chamber benefits and funding opportunities.

“We are asking new and existing businesses to complete the BR&E survey before May 24,” stated Jessica Grzechowiak, OCIC Manager of Communications & Programs. “While attracting new businesses is important, retaining and expanding existing businesses is equally crucial for sustained economic growth. This survey will help us identify obstacles and address challenges businesses are facing.”

The survey to the BR&E survey can be found at the link or via the QR code here:

The Ottawa County BRE Program is an economic development program that serves existing businesses in a community and is part of an on-going economic development plan. If you’re an Ottawa County business and would like to request a business visit with us, please contact Jessica Grzechowiak: For more information about the BR&E Program, please visit