It is already the last days of March and April is just around the corner. So hard to believe that the first quarter of 2021 is almost finished!  Where has the time gone???  

At our Good Morning Oberlin meeting on March 11, we presented OBP 2020 in Review and What’s Next.  What’s next is dependent on what happens with COVID-19 and our ability to be engaged in the “new normal” which will hopefully include more in-person opportunities and invitations for people to come to Oberlin to enjoy our city. A group of downtown stakeholders (businesses, employees, and customers) are considering some new ways for encouraging people to visit our downtown – to shop, dine, and enjoy the ‘one-of-a-kind’ ambiance particular to Oberlin -- The “Expect the Unexpected” OBIE experience! If you have ideas to share with the group, email me at – the more ideas we have, the greater the possibilities!
You can see the PowerPoint presentation from Good Morning Oberlin here
Just click to advance the slides.

Here are the OBP Board of Trustees & Staff leading OBP on our mission in 2021.
Feel free to reach out to any of our board members and staff with ideas, suggestions, or concerns. We are here to help – whatever that entails. The OBP office phone number is 440-774-6262 and you can email Janet at to get contact information for any board member.
Board of Directors
Rick Flood, President
Kathy Perales, Vice President
Dennis Mavrich, Treasurer
Larry Funk, Past President
Leo Braido
Tanya Rosen-Jones
Joseph Vitale
David Hill
Morgan Smith
Jonathan Rice
Janet Haar, Executive Director
Bethany Hobbs, Bookkeeper
Elizabeth Elrod,
Administrative Assistant
New and Renewing OBP Members
Thank you to these members who have invested in OBP and their organizations by joining OBP since our February 2021 newsletter. We hope you will join them in investing in our work, your business, and your community. Please note that if it is more convenient, businesses can choose to pay for their memberships monthly.
All Things Great                      
Bill Long Foundation               
Ben Franklin & MindFair Books
The Arb at Tappan Square      
Adeva Salon and Spa              
Mavrich & Mavrich Insurance
Slow Train Café                      
The Local Coffee & Tea
Bickel Creative Services
Credo Music
Mack and Sons Service & Supply
S n M Homecare
We will not be presenting the Summer Concerts Series nor the Family Fun Fair & Classic Car Show this summer because there are lots and lots of logistics that have to be planned months in advance and because the health guidance still limits large groups. In addition, there will be at least 1,000 Oberlin College students in residence this summer and the college is limiting Tappan Square activities to continue to keep them safe.

Easter Egg Hunt is replaced with an Easter Bunny Neighborhood Visit on an Oberlin Firetruck: OberlinKids and the City of Oberlin are partnering to bring an Easter Bunny Parade to the Oberlin Community! Click for the Easter Bunny Parade Route.

Chalk Walk: The Chalk Walk team is currently considering dates later in the summer or early in the fall for the event.

JuneteenthFor information Contact Ms. Adenike Sharpley 440-774-4327 or P.O. box 604 Oberlin, OH 44074

Comedy Night: This fun event that helps support some of the OBP programs and events is scheduled for Friday, September 10, at the New Russia Township Lodge.

Leadercast Women: In 2021 the Leadercast organization is presenting their non-gender specific program – Leadercast with the theme of SHIFT—The future will be created by fearless, innovative leaders who have the courage to shift. It couldn’t be more appropriate after the challenges of 2020!  We are hosting the Leadercast program on Thursday, October 21, at the New Russia Township Lodge. We are also announcing a Leadership Series of programs in 2022 to continue providing resources to local and reginal companies and Leadercast Women in the fall of 2022.

Downtown Trick or Treat: We hope to bring this lively event back on Saturday, October 30—maybe even with some expanded activities.

Downtown Events: A group of downtown stakeholders are meeting to consider and plan 2021 downtown events. You will soon be hearing more about events supporting our core commercial district – downtown.  Stay tuned!
OBP Board Member Profile:
David Hill, OBP Board of Trustees
Contact Information: 440-775-1711;
Tell me a little bit about your organization. First Church was Oberlin’s one and only church for the first twenty years of the colony’s existence. The congregation was formed by Oberlin’s founders as they sought to create a religious utopia. The Meeting House is the oldest building in Oberlin still used for its original purpose. Today, First Church is an open and affirming, just peace, global mission, green justice church. The congregation is an intentionally inclusive, multicultural, just and loving community, welcoming all regardless of faith understanding, ability, sexual or gender orientation or expression, age, race, ethnic identity, or social and economic standing.

Tell me a little bit about you – what are your interests, passions. I’ve served First Church since November of 2003. Prior to coming to Oberlin, I served ten years as Pastor of The First Congregational United Church of Christ in Jefferson, Ohio in the heart of the Snow Belt. Although my parents and their families were originally from Ohio, I was born and raised in the San Francisco Bay Area. Following graduation from Colgate University I worked for The Prudential with a focus on the sales and service of employee benefit programs to companies with 50 or more employees. Answering the call to ordained ministry took me to Yale Divinity School and then to Jefferson. Arriving in Oberlin, I found myself in the city where both my grandparents and great-grandparents are buried. My wife Vicki and I will celebrate 30 years of marriage this summer. I am stepfather to two wonderful adults and a proud grandparent of two granddaughters. I enjoy swimming regularly at the Splash Zone, as well as playing the banjo – particularly at my weekly lesson with Kevin Jones at The Woodshed Lesson Studio. I still own my first car, a 1929 Model A Ford Tudor Sedan, which I am looking to sell or trade for a 1965-67 MGB roadster as a healthy response to entering the later stages of midlife.

Why did/do you volunteer to be a board of trustees’ member? Years ago I was introduced the Oberlin business community by way of serving on the Oberlin Chamber of Commerce. Shortly after becoming a part of the Chamber it merged with Main Street Oberlin and I was part of the transition team. I have a deep appreciation for our local business and all that they contribute to making Oberlin such a unique and wonderful community in which to live and work. As an OBP Board member I look to support OBP’s ongoing commitment to resourcing and supporting local businesses and industry as well as creating opportunities for community engagement and networking.

What have you learned through your board membership involvement? Our local businesses need our support. If we wish to maintain a vibrant downtown community we need to make a conscious effort to invest in it. “Shop Local” is more than a catch phrase; it is a commitment to exploring what is available within Oberlin before looking elsewhere. I think some folks would be surprised at the time, energy, and financial investment our area businesses and institutions generously return to our community. The healthy interdependence of multiple sub communities within Oberlin (business, educational, faith, health, recreational, social, etc…) contributes to our overall resilience and ability to thrive as one community.

Would you encourage others to become involved as a board member, committee member, or program or event volunteer? If so, why? Absolutely! Oberlin Business Partnership is a great way to become more involved in the local community, to gain a deeper understanding of the gifts and struggles of area businesses, and to strengthen the overall fabric of Oberlin. It is a joy to work with Janet and my fellow board members in finding creative ways to increase the health and vibrancy of our beloved community.

What is one piece of advice or input you would like to share with our readers? I think the restrictions that COVID-19 have forced upon us have taught us that there is more to life than frenetic activity. Sometimes less can be more. The next time you are facing a significant challenge resist the urge to immediately react and just “sit” with the issue for a bit. You may find a clearer sense of how best to respond as well as greater personal peace simply by granting yourself and others some space.
OBP Member Profile:
Mark Fahringer, Salvation Army
Contact Information: 440-935-0067 and
Tell me a little bit about your organization. The Salvation Army is made up of Corps Community Centers such as Elyria and Lorain as well as Service Units in smaller communities such as Oberlin. The Corps feature a worship component and are run by Officers who also serve as pastors. The Service Units are strictly social service and operated mostly by Volunteers. Oberlin is an exception as it has an employee running the office. Oberlin also operates the 49-9 Project, a Prison and Re-entry program and serves as my home office (I travel to units in seven counties as a Regional Field Representative).

Tell me a little bit about you – what are your interests, passions, things we should know about you. I’ve been an Oberlin resident since 2007 moving from Wooster after I met my wife. I’ve worked for The Salvation Army since 2005, and I was actually a client before that. I started 49-9 Project as a response to my ex-wife being held hostage by a person who had basically given up after getting no help or support upon his release from prison. I received the Lorain County Catholic Commission Bishop Quinn Award in 2009 for work on immigration reform and the 2016 National Salvation Army Excellence in Corrections Award for the 49-9 Project. In my free time I love working on our house. I just recently renovated space into a breakfast nook and am currently working on remodeling our kitchen. I also love fishing and canoeing in and around Lake Erie and its tributaries. 

Why did you decide to move your office to CoWork Oberlin? There were several reasons for the move to CoWork. First and foremost was the cost savings of a low monthly fee and no utilities including phone and internet. We also loved the security of the building as opposed to a standalone walk-in office. The meeting and activity spaces were also a big attraction and something we have utilized numerous times. The amount of off-street parking was another big draw because that is not an easy find in Oberlin. Lastly the opportunity to network with other groups and businesses helped us make the decision to move.

Who else works in your office at CWO? Along with me, our Human Services Worker, Martin Leibas, is in the office Tuesday through Friday from 9am to 4pm to meet community members seeking assistance. Martin has an excellent background in social service and is also experienced with prison and reentry programs. He can be reached at 440-774-3434 or by email at

Why did you join the Oberlin Business Partnership? As The Salvation Army, we encourage our local units to become members of community groups such as Chambers of Commerce or in this case OBP. Its very important to have a presence at events and in directories etc. to network within the business community as well as the larger community as a whole.
Would you encourage others to join OBP? If so, why? I would definitely recommend others join both OBP and CWO. It is a very cost-effective way to get involved with others in Oberlin, network and share ideas. Besides, Martin and I would love to meet as many people as possible to see what we can do together.

What is one piece of advice or input you would like to share with our readers – especially during the COVID-19 challenges? Be Kind. Be Considerate. We may all have different ideas, but we are stronger together. It seems easier lately to focus on differences but let’s take the time to find common ground. And as we move through the Covid-19 pandemic, follow safety protocols. We want to see everyone stronger and healthier when we get through this difficult time.
Thursday, April 8, 2021
via Zoom

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We invite you to settle in with your morning beverage and share your stories with us and learn what other people are doing and how you can engage in new opportunities.

We hope you will join us for this opportunity to learn, grow and share!
by Megan Apple
Opportunity to Share and Receive!
CoWork Oberlin’s Resident Business Advisor, Megan Apple, is available to offer support and advice. She can be reached at

The Profit Joyfully Network for Women sessionis highly recommended for any woman who wants to learn what other women are doing – how they are coping – what they need help and encouragement with – and perhaps share some successes and some areas where you would appreciate help. The sessions leave participants energized and with some excellent advice for problems presented. You can register here
Profit Joyfully Business Network for Women
A twice monthly coach-facilitated group for female entrepreneurs to provide support, networking opportunities, business coaching and advising. You can join at any time.
Register here.

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 how to contact City offices, and 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!

Workplace Safety Training: The Oberlin Police Department offers a range of educational presentations to local workplaces, with such topics as crime prevention, active threat training, K-9 presentations, security assessments, etc. If you are interested in bringing any of these presentations to your workplace or would like to discuss the development of an individualized presentation for your workplace, please contact Lieutenant Mike McCloskey at 440-774-1061 or
National Drug Take-Back Day: The Oberlin Police Department will host Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on Saturday, April 24th from 10AM-2PM in the Police Department lobby (85 S. Main St.). This event provides the community with a means to safely and responsibly dispose of unused/unwanted/expired prescription medications. If you miss the event, prescription medications can also be disposed of through the self-serve drop-box available 24/7 in the Police Dept. lobby. For more information, contact the Oberlin Police Department at 440-774-1061 or

COVID-19 Vaccination Program:  The COVID-19 Vaccination Program is underway in Lorain County, with vaccines now available for everyone age 16 and older. Lorain County Public Health has online appointment registration for local vaccine clinics. For more information and to schedule an appointment, visit: For those who prefer to make an appointment over the phone, Dial 211 and ask for an appointment.

 PPE Masks Available: The Oberlin Fire Department still has masks available for distribution to Oberlin businesses and non-profit organizations. Please contact the Oberlin Fire Department at 440-774-3211 to request masks for your organization.
Efficiency Smart Incentives: The City of Oberlin partners with Efficiency Smart to help its residents and businesses reduce their energy use and save money. Efficiency Smart offers small businesses incentives for replacing outdated or failing lights with LED bulbs or fixtures.  Pre-approval is required to receive the incentives, so please contact your local account manager, Bob Golden, at or 614-468-4904 for more information. Information about other services available for Oberlin Municipal Light and Power customers, is available at
Snow/Ice Removal: Please remember that it is the responsibility of the property owner to remove snow/ice from the sidewalks abutting the property. Also, please remove snow from around any fire hydrants near your property to ensure access during an emergency.  Snow and ice shall be removed from the sidewalks in a timely manner, typically within 12 hours of accumulation. If there are any issues related to snow/ice removal, please contact Oberlin Code Administrator Chris Yates at 440-775-7251 or
City Email Updates: Keep up to date on important City announcements, including City programming and service updates, job openings, event announcements and more! Sign up today:

Emergency Notification System: It’s more important than ever to stay informed.  Members of the local workforce are encouraged to register for the Wireless Emergency Notification System (WENS). This system is used by the City of Oberlin and Lorain County to alert the community about emergency situations, such as boil alerts, power outages, street closures, weather alerts, etc. Alerts can be received via email, text message and/or voicemail.  Register HERE. For more information, contact the Oberlin Fire Department at 440-774-3211 or