June 2017


The Chamber’s Annual Membership Meeting was held on Tuesday, May 9th at 7:30 am at the Polk Township Building on SR 309. 

Terry Gribble, Chamber Board Chair, welcomed those in attendance. 

Pastor Rick Maddox of Galion Alliance Church gave the invocation, and a breakfast catered by Avita's Nutritional Services was enjoyed. 

Following breakfast, Terry Gribble conducted the Annual Business Meeting and Chamber President Joe Kleinknecht presented his year-end report. 

Joe also presented Jennifer Kuns with a plaque, commemorating her 7 years of service to the chamber executive committee. 

Board of Directors Elected to Serve Terms for 2017-2020:

Sherri Clevenger, First Federal Bank of Ohio

Erik Flick, Flick Packaging

Debbi Gifford, Crossroads Candles & Coopers Mill

Chanel Hipp, Covert Mfg. 

Executive Committee Members Elected to Serve Terms for 2017-2019

Board Chair; Sherri Clevenger, First Federal Bank of Ohio

Vice Chair; Erik Flick, Flick Packaging

Secretary/Treasurer; Keith Hummell, Tramec Sloan

Past Board Chair; Terry Gribble, Galion Community Center YMCA            

Joe Kleinknecht gave closing comments and adjourned the meeting.


The Chamber and the Galion Area Betterment Commission held their annual awards presentations immediately following the “Chamber’s Annual Meeting” on Tuesday, May 9th.

Recipients of the 2016 Chamber Awards:

Industry of the Year, Brothers Body & Equipment

The 2016 Industry of the year recipient is known for building custom truck bodies. Last year’s projects included Field Service Trucks, Hearing Test Trailers, Mobile Poultry Processing Units, Portable Cement Mixers, Skid Mount Water Tanks and Front Loader Trash Trucks.

The highlight of the year was the delivery of twelve Presidential Motorcade Vehicles to the White House Military Office in Washington D.C.

They also continue to promote strong collaboration within the Galion community by working in conjunction with local businesses, which include Keller Auto Parts, Fox Plumbing & Heating, Poland True Value, Galion Canvas Products, Flick Packaging and Elliott Machine Works.

Business of the Year, H&K Watkins

Heath & Kelli Watkins officially opened H&K Watkins in Uptowne Galion in January of 2016. In 2016, they not only successfully ran their store front in Galion, but offered their products online, receiving orders from all over the United States.

They did fundraisers for BGSU, Kent State, local area schools and athletic teams, church youth groups and missionaries. In 2016, they did over 30 fundraisers, contributing over $25,000 to our local schools, athletic groups and churches.

Sales for 2016 far exceeded their expectations and they are moving ahead with their goal to develop and manufacture their products locally, bringing more jobs and revenue to the Galion community.

The Watkins not only support their own businesses, but other uptown businesses. Helping to bring visibility and awareness to new business and promoting Galion’s local shops.

Service Business of the Year, Avita Health System/Galion Community Hospital

Avita Health System strives to provide access to quality care in the community. Avita provides specialized services so that residents no longer need to travel to Cleveland or Columbus to receive specialty care that is not normally found in rural areas. The hospital has added diagnostic cardiac catheterizations and is in the process of expanding Galion's Cath Lab to provide interventional services. Avita has continued to grow and in 2016 purchased the old Geyer’s building in Crestline. This centralized location will house a distribution center for their entire system. Avita has grown to be the largest employers in the community and offers competitive benefits and wages.

Professional of the Year Award, James Grubbs

The future direction of the Galion City School District, along with the Galion community, changed drastically September 18, 2015. The district’s Board of Education unanimously approved the hiring of Mr. James Grubbs as the district’s new Superintendent. From the word “go”, Mr. Grubbs began making a positive impact on every facet of the district’s operations.

The climate and culture in the Galion City Schools has seen a marked improvement since Mr. Grubbs took the top leadership post. He was instrumental in the successful implementation of The Leader in Me program at the Galion Primary and Intermediate Schools. He challenged the district’s staff to find new ways to engage students, which led to the creation of a robotics-focused Gateway to Technology Program at the Galion Middle School, as well as a significant expansion of course offerings for High School students through the College Credit Plus program.

Teachers have taken his challenge a step farther and implemented Flexible Seating in several classrooms in all Galion City School District buildings. A mentoring program is currently being developed at the Middle School for the 2017-2018 school year, and the High School is working with students and staff to explore possible changes to building’s dress code and cell phone policies.

Mr. Grubbs has also been a catalyst for engaging Galion students in community service. He recommended that every Galion graduate be required to complete 15 hours of community service each year through 4 years of high school.

Finally, Mr. Grubbs has taken the lead in developing and executing plans to improve our facilities. He oversaw the successful completion of the new press box at Heise Park, and continues to work with the community and Board of Education for the future development of the 15 acres that was purchased adjacent to the district’s campus.

Chamber Presidents Award, Mayor Tom O’Leary

The Chamber Presidents Award is given to a person who believes in the mission of and works closely with the chamber to promote the success and growth on the Galion business community.

Mayor, Tom O’Leary recipient is someone who not only does this, but also has a desire to see our community grow and prosper and works very diligently to make this happen, which is evidenced by the number of projects that have recently been completed and are currently taking place in our community. 

(Pictured Below: Matt Horn, Brothers Body and Equipment; Heath and Kelli Watkins, H&K Watkins; James Grubbs, Galion City Schools; Jennifer Kuns, United Bank; Doug Schilling, accepting the award for Avita Health System; Tim & Mike O'Leary, accepting the award for their father, Thomas O'Leary)

Recipients of 2016 Galion Area Betterment Commission Awards:

Organization of the Year, Galion Kiwanis Club

The Kiwanis Club of Galion works to build a brighter and stronger community throughout various efforts of membership.  These efforts include both community service projects and fund raising projects. 

In 2016, the Galion Kiwanis Club continued one of their long standing service projects. Highway cleanup has been a mainstay in the group’s projects as they are considered a gold star group by Kiwanis International. The club also holds the annual Kiwanis Kids Toy Drive every year around the holidays to help needy families provide toys to their children.  The club also assists with the Annual Kiwanis Track Meet and helps out with ringing the bell for the Salvation Army during the holidays. 

Fundraisers are also a big part of the group’s activities. The club holds three major fundraisers a year.  They include a pancake breakfast, chili supper, and mother’s day rose sales.  Proceeds from these fundraisers go towards various community causes and donations to various nonprofit groups and organizations.  A portion of the proceeds also go toward two thousand dollar scholarships to Galion High School Seniors. 

Citizen of the Year, Danita Holbrook

Danita works tirelessly to make the Galion Golden Age Center a better place for our Senior Citizens, which is comprised of about 40% of the population in Galion.

She has served as Director for nearly 6 years and continues to be an advocate for the seniors of Galion. She coordinates the activities for the center and is their biggest cheerleader.

She puts the annual car show together and this is the center’s biggest fundraiser of the year.

She is not only a volunteer, she is a wife, mother and daughter that puts others first.  

Humanitarian of the Year, Gina Powell

Gina is a business woman, an entrepreneur and a tireless supporter of the community.

She is always helping people, if someone needs a helping hand, she is there, if someone is having difficulty paying a bill or feeding their family, she is there, if someone is ill and needs support, she is there.

She is always helping someone in need in a quiet and unassuming way. She is a good Samaritan with a huge heart.

Lifetime Achievement Award, Sara Beegle Daycare Center

This business has been in operation since 1934 and is the only business of this type in continuous operation in the State of Ohio.

They have provided a great and much needed service to the families of Galion for over 93 years.

Founder, Sarah Beegle was a selfless and devoted person who often did not pay herself when the money wasn’t there, so she could provide for her employees.

(Pictured Below: Pam Olt, accepting the award for Sara Beegle Daycare Center; Gina Powell; Danita Holbrook; Nathan Crock, accepting the award for Galion Kiwanis Club)


Call the Chamber Today to Register Your Team! 419-468-7737

Third Friday in Galion

The June 16th TFIG is only a couple weeks away and we are excited to bring another event to the Uptowne Galion Business Community. Even with the rainy weather in May, the response that we received from the first TFIG event was amazing.

The Galion Safety Council is our June Co-sponsor and they will be holding their June Safety Council Meeting that evening at 5pm at the Park Square Gazebo.  The Galion Fire Department will be doing Fire Extinguisher Training. In the event of inclement weather, the meeting and training will be moved to the Fire Department.

Once again, Uptowne merchants have agreed to stay open late that evening and offer specials and TFIG sales. We will have a complete list of participation Uptowne stores on the  TFIG Facebook page. Like it for updated information on TFIG events.

Upcoming TFIG Event Dates:
Friday, June 16th – Safety Services Appreciate Night - Galion Safety Counil
Friday, July 21st – Summer Baseball Celebration - Galion Graders
Friday, August 18th – Back to School Bash – Stuff the Bus

Contact Miranda Jones via email,  or call the Chamber office, 419-468-7737 for more information about the TFIG events or if you are interested in becoming an event sponsor or vendor.

Pictured Below: Galion City School's Primary and Intermediate Students (top left), St. Joseph's K-8 Students singing in rain (top right), Galion Area Band (bottom left), Galion Community Theater performed songs from upcoming Beauty & the Beast (bottom right)

The Chamber Held Four Ribbon Cuttings in May 

Copper Horse Antiques celebrated their new location at 106 Harding Way East on Friday, May 12th.

Cake & Icing opened a new bakery located at 114 Harding Way West, Galion. A Ribbon Cutting was held Friday, May 12th.

The Friends of the Big Four Depot celebrated the opening of the new Depot Pavilion on Saturday, May 20th with an Open House and Ribbon Cutting.

The Galion Goodwill recently expanded and renovated their store. A Ribbon Cutting was held on Tuesday, May 23rd to celebrate their Grand Re-Opening.


Successful HR, LLC, Deb Schroeder, 7042 Crestline Rd., Crestline, Ohio 44827, 419-512-3718 

DK’s Drive In, Pam Louden, 1201 Harding Way E., Galion, Ohio 44833, 419-468-5354 

PF Sanitation LLC, Brian Paisley, 126 Harding Way E., Galion, Ohio 44833, 419-617-2221 

Cake & Icing, Laura Johnson, 114 Harding Way W., Galion, Ohio 44833, 440-865-1562  

Portland Way North to Undergo Road Construction

From Heise Park Lane to Carter Drive, the road will be reduced to one lane and NORTHBOUND traffic only will be maintained. 600 feet of sewer line will be replaced and new concrete roadway will be installed. The Heise Park Lane and Carter Drive intersections will be open during the project.

Timeline: Begins the week of June 19 and finish by August 18.
Other considerations:
  • The main drive to the Galion City Schools campus will be shut down during the project. Drivers will need to use the Hesby Drive entrance.
  • In order to better accommodate residents in the Timberlane subdivision, the City is working with the Galion City Schools administration to connect one of the dead-end streets to the school campus.

  • Both access points for Ralphie’s and the Alger Arms Apartments will be closed for part of the project. A temporary drive will be installed to connect to Heise Park Lane.

  • The Cedargate Apartments will be accessible via the north drive only.

  • The State Farm Insurance office will be accessible via a temporary drive connected to Gentle Foot Care.

Crestline Farmers Market

The Crestline Farmer’s Market, started May 5th and will continue every Tuesday from 3 to 6 p.m., rain or shine, until Oct. 27. The market is located at 202 N. Thoman St. and is hosted by the First United Methodist Church.

If you would like to participate in the market, call Becky Witter at 419-569-4171 or email her at

Galion Fire Department Upgraded to ISO Class 3 Rating

Will have positive impact on insurance rates

Occasionally the City of Galion hears questions about the value of large equipment purchases. In the case of the Fire Department’s new aerial truck, however, the purchase helped the department improve its ISO rating from a Class 5 to a Class 3.

Out of 48,642 fire departments in the U.S., 10 percent have a Class 3 rating or better.

“It’s about looking at the overall operations. A three rating is equivalent to getting a one to me because of the size of our department,” Fire Chief Phil Jackson said.

This is the best rating the Galion Fire and EMS Department has received since Jackson became chief in 2011. At that time, the department was downgraded to a Class 6. The staff worked to improve operations and requested a new certification review. The department was then reclassified as a Class 5, where it has remained ever since.

The Insurance Services Office was formed in 1971 as an advisory and rating organization for the property and casualty insurance industry. The organization collects statistical data and promulgates rating information on behalf of insurance companies.

In the most recent ISO review, Galion received full credit for pump capacity, which determines if a department has sufficient equipment to handle the largest facilities within its jurisdiction. This was in large part due to replacing the aerial truck that was sold in 2009.

Other factors that helped improve the rating included:
  • Testing and maintenance of equipment
  • Annual fire safety inspections
  • Dispatch efficiency
  • Increased record keeping
  • More documentation of staff training
  • Amount of available water
  • Community fire safety programs
An improved ISO rating can result in lowered premiums for home, property, and commercial building insurance. Reductions will be dependent on several other variables and will vary by insurance company. The majority of insurance carriers give their best rate when the ISO rating is a Class 4 or better.

“You have to creatively use your staff. I’m happy with their hard work – it reflects the efficiency of our department,” Jackson said. “Hopefully the improved rating helps our citizens save money.”

The Galion Fire and EMS Department was established in 1842. It employs 17 people serving both Galion and Polk Township. In 2016, the department responded to 526 fires and 1,658 EMS calls.

Schneider-Gompf Funeral Home; recently put up a new sign at their Galion location at 303 Portland Way N.  (pictured top left)

Galion Public Library; recently completed their construction of their new 1,200 sq. ft. storage building. (pictured top right)

Longstreth Memorials; moved to their new location at 1263 SR 598 in Galion. (pictured bottom left, bottom right) 

Do you have an anniversary, new associate or employee, sign, or business update? Contact Joe or Miranda at the Chamber Office, 419-468-7737 or email so we can add your business to the Member Spotlight in our next Newsletter.