This News and Notes section of our OBP newsletter will ordinarily contain a short update on what has been going on and what is planned. However, this month I’m going to take a little longer to talk about things that are on my mind.

It’s been almost 8 months since the Coronavirus invaded our lives. I don’t know about you, but sometimes it is difficult to remember what day or month it is. But I have to say that I am encouraged and uplifted often by the way most people are surviving and even thriving. Yes, business has not been ‘usual’ and home life has not been ‘usual.’ Some say we are experiencing a new normal and that we will never go back to the old normal. I think they are right, and I don’t think that is entirely a bad thing because we have, despite the inconvenience and myriad challenges, learned things. I learned that I could work with experts and design a new website for OBP – check it out at I learned that I could host virtual programs and workshops. I am learning how to do Facebook Live and how to configure and schedule social media. I’ve met many new people from networking programs on Zoom and REMO. I’ve seen how a six-week workshop can offer excellent learning and bring together a diverse group of people who stay in touch with each other. I’ve learned that most people are willing to help – I just have to ask. I’ve learned so much!

We have learned that we don’t have to ‘go to the office’ to do business and we can hold meetings without travel; we learned that we can have a telephone conversation and make decisions and get things done that way! I’m not discounting the effect social distancing and stay at home orders have had especially on our local free lancers, contract workers, retail and food businesses – it has been hard—very hard, and we have lost some of them which is sad and unfortunate. We have, however, had businesses that have been able to survive through determination, community support, financial support, a positive outlook, and openness to changing the way they do business.

In Oberlin we are fortunate to have a very supportive community. 
  • Concerned citizens made and gave away masks. 
  • The Oberlin Rotary Club donated $2,500 to OCS, promoted 13 days of getting take-out food from our local restaurants and contributed a check for $250 to each restaurant. Several of the restaurants paid it forward by giving away $500 of free meals to health-care workers and first responders.
  • OBP shared information about COVID-19 and the resources available to businesses – the PPP loan the EIDL loan and all the subsequent iterations of those programs. 
  • OBP put together and updated lists of business and restaurants – whether they were open, their hours, contact information, etc. 
  • Frieda Fuchs created the What do you have? What do you need? Facebook page where people could ask for help and offer help. 
  • Our City offered to delay utilities payments for those affected by the coronavirus; they offered 0% interest loans up to $10,000 to small businesses with payments deferred for 180 days or 360 days and 5 years to repay the loan. 
  • OBP and the City repurposed tables from city parks to several downtown locations to provide outside seating options for restaurants. 
  • OBP, in collaboration with other Lorain County Main Street organizations, put together Come Back Kits to help our small businesses defray the cost of following reopening guidelines. The kits included hand sanitizers, gloves, disinfectant, paper towels, dispensers, etc. 
  • Oberlin Schools gave free meals away. 
  • OCS continues to offer food distributions. 
  • I’m sure there are many more instances of how people came together with support for those in need. 

So, in short, I hope everyone who reads this realizes how fortunate you are to live in this caring and giving community. And, I know we all realize that our responsibility to our community is more important now than ever before. There are empty storefronts that are just waiting for businesses that can thrive in our community. What are those businesses? If you have ideas, please get in touch with me by phone 440-503-5031 or email

Here’s some good news. 
  • Henry Smith is opening The Arb where the Cobbler Candle Store was on West College Street. They will have a juice bar, smoothies, sandwiches, salads and desserts. He will also have a space for people to enjoy his food and hang out. They will be opening this month and OBP will have a grand opening for them.
  • EVIE LOU is opening this month where Bead Paradise was. Evie Lou is a contemporary women's boutique that features clothing, shoes, and accessories “you'll want to wear all day.” I have heard that they will be carrying jewelry – some fabricated by Silvija Koschnick from Bead Paradise. Stay tuned to our Facebook page for information about what’s happening in Oberlin.
  • Francesca Barbee, an Oberlin College alumna, is opening The Hope Collection by INTO in August where Cowhaus Creamery was on East College Street. They offer fair trade products from artisans they work with in Ecuador and projects of colleagues in ten other countries.Their collection includes textiles, jewelry, baskets, ceramics, home decor and much more.
I promise that future News & Notes will be shorter. Please feel free to contact me with anything you believe is news and notes worthy. 

Let’s keep the positive alive in Oberlin! 
AJ! Clonts
Oberlin Business Partnership depends on dedicated volunteers. We have many who donate their time for every event we host and AJ! Clonts is one of them. When he’s not volunteering for OBP he’s arranging vacations through his business, As You Wish Luxury Travel, a company that designs custom vacations and takes customers around the world.

AJ!, who tries to be at all of our events, especially enjoys badgering the brave dunkees as the emcee of the dunk tank during Oberlin’s Family Fun Fair and Classic Car Show. He has always seen the family-oriented event as the highlight for the end of the summer. Area residents can also find AJ! with a mic at many of our other events, often encouraging attendees to buy raffle tickets and generally adding to the fun atmosphere.

Hailing from North Carolina, AJ! moved to the Cleveland area when his business there closed. He later met his wife, Sharon Pearson, and moved to Oberlin.

When asked why he volunteers AJ! responded that he wants to support local nonprofits and community service organizations. He appreciates getting to know interesting people and he understands he’s helping community members even when he doesn’t meet the recipient of his good works directly. He absolutely would encourage other community members to volunteer as well.

When asked what he’d like people to know about him AJ! had only this to say, “Just don’t forget the exclamation point!”
Look here every month for OBP and CoWork Oberlin events and programs. Even though it might be too late to sign up this month, we will make sure you have time to sign up in the future.

Book Yourself Solid Workshop Series* - ZOOM
Starts August 12 and runs for six weeks 
5:30–7:30pm on Wednesdays (*you can register after the start)
Contact Megan Apple – 216-704-6568,
Register here
August 13, 9 to 10 a.m. ZOOM
Register here to receive a ZOOM link:
Join us on the 2nd Tuesday of every month
To receive monthly invitations, send your email to
Lunch & Learn – Planning for the New Normal - ZOOM
Tuesday, August 18, ZOOM, 12–1pm
See for  more information
Register here to receive the ZOOM link
Presenter:  Cathie Leimbach, Agon Leadership
At CoWork Oberlin powered by obp | PositivelyOberlin! we provide you the tools you need to thrive and succeed, even in this economically challenging time. Visit our Facebook page and our website to stay up-to-date on programs and activities.

This Month’s Highlighted Program:
Beginning August 12, 2020, we are presenting our six-week Book Yourself Solid Workshop via Zoom. You will learn: 
  • to identify your target market – the one you will do your best work with.
  • how to show up in the world in a way that is not boring or bland. 
  • to create a sizzling brand that acts as your client attraction magnet. 
  • how to provide your services profitably and efficiently and turn your clients into raving fans .
  • Six Core self-promotional strategies - a complete SYSTEM for marketing your business in less than 60 minutes a day. 
We hope that you can join us and actually fall in love with marketing and sales. And maybe best of all, the program is being offered at no cost as our gift to you.

Here is what one of our recent attendees shared about the experience:
Megan Apple’s Book Yourself Solid Workshop has helped me clarify the goals for my business, helped me chart a clear path towards reaching those goals, and helped me think creatively about how to thrive in these unpredictable times. Her generosity and creativity are just outstanding. The best business workshop series I’ve gone too. I can’t recommend her enough. -Nancy Darling

About CoWork Oberlin
Many of us have been working from home for what seems like forever. If you can’t stand your kitchen table anymore, CoWork is the perfect place to come and work.

Did you know for a mere $7 you can try the CoWork experience for 7 days? We are making the health and safety of our members top priority with a regular cleaning and sanitation. And the coffee, high speed internet, and copying is on us.

If Zoom fatigue has taken over, our event space has been reconfigured for socially distanced in-person meetings. Let us know you are interested:

As an added service, our resident Business Advisory, Megan Apple, is available to provide focused coaching to help you make things happen and get the results you need. She can be reached at or via phone 216-704-6568 to schedule your free one hour consultation.

Tips for Working Remotely and staying sane.

We can all benefit from a few tips and strategies for being more efficient in this new remote working environment. We know that you are having to create an entirely new routine. Check out the blogs on the CoWork website for up-to-date ideas.

The health, safety and well-being of Oberlin employees, residents and businesses is our highest priority. Although City buildings are still closed to the public, Oberlin services are still operational. Please visit for information how to contact City offices, information on services, state of Ohio orders/advisories, assistance options, etc. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter for up to date information!

  • Utility Bill Assistance: Commercial non-profit or other non-residential utility customer and need to make alternative payment arrangements for your City of Oberlin utility bill, please contact the Finance Director at or 440-775-7210
  • City of Oberlin COVID-19 Emergency Working Capital Loan Program for Businesses: Loans up to $10,000 at 0% interest for rent/mortgage payments, employee payroll, utility payments, inventory or essential supplies. Must retain 1 employee, which could be the sole proprietor. See the Program Guidelines or Contact Planning Director Carrie Handy for more information (440-775-7250 or
  • City of Oberlin Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) COVID-19 Emergency Working Capital Loan Program for Businesses: Loans up to $10,000 at 0% interest for rent/mortgage payments, employee payroll, utility payments, inventory or essential supplies.  Must retain at least 1 low to moderate income job and at least 51% of all employees retained must be low to moderate income. See the Program Guidelines or Contact Planning Director Carrie Handy for more information (440-775-7250 or