Wells County Chamber of Commerce Monthly Newsletter
Together We Are Stronger
June Member of the Month:
Forgotten Children Honored as Member of the Month

The mission of Forgotten Children Worldwide safeguards orphans and vulnerable children from poverty, abandonment, and the evils of human trafficking and introduces the fatherless to their Heavenly Father who is crazy about them. “Those core principles are how we got started,” explained Hartsell.

Forgotten Children has over 700 volunteers in northeast Indiana and over 15 staff members working in Uganda. “Our volunteers are the backbone of what we do, and we appreciate them all because everyone has a role they play,” said Hartsell. “When people walk through our doors, we hope they see Jesus in our staff, the building, our volunteers and the mission.”

A new Forgotten Children Flagship Ministry in Uganda has recently been implemented called Kipindi Mpito, translated in Swahili means, transition period. “Girls that are currently in our programs are taking the next step to transition out of orphan care. The girls at Kipindi Mpito learn key life skills, receive mental health and trauma counseling, agricultural training, daily discipleship in the ways of Jesus, job skills training, and internships and job opportunities to then launch these ladies into adulthood successfully,” explained Hartsell. “This will be our flagship for the next 20 years.”

COVID-19 Small Business Relief Grant Program for WELLS COUNTY
Wells County is pleased to announce the COVID-19 Small Business Relief Grant Program to support Wells County's small business community during the pandemic.

This program is designed to provide short-term gap funding for operating expenses our small businesses may be needing to remain open and maintain their staffing. Recipients are asked to help support our #ShopLocal #ShopWells initiatives after receiving funds as a way to give back.
Updated PPP Loan Forgiveness Applications Now Include EZ Form
Ready to start your PPP loan forgiveness application or want to know what’s needed for forgiveness? Revised and more borrower-friendly PPP loan forgiveness applications, including a new EZ version which requires fewer calculations and less documentation for eligible borrowers, are now available.
Both applications give you the option to use the original 8-week covered period (if your loan was made before June 5, 2020) or an extended 24-week covered period.
Click below to access the updated applications and instructions.
SBA Reopens EIDL Portal to All
SBA has reopened the Economic Injury Disaster Loan and EIDL Advance portal to all eligible applicants experiencing economic impacts due to COVID-19. Important points to consider are:
  • EIDL assistance can be used to cover payroll and inventory, pay debt or other expenses. The interest rate is 3.75% for small businesses, 2.75% for non-profits and the term is for up to 30 years.
  • The EIDL Advance can provide up to $10,000 ($1,000 per employee) in emergency funds to businesses that do not have to be repaid.
  • SBA’s EIDL and EIDL Advance are just one piece of the expanded focus of the federal government’s coordinated response.
  • Forgiveness is automatic on an EIDL Advance and if a borrower got both an EIDL Advance and PPP loan, the EIDL Advance is deducted from the forgivable amount of a PPP loan.
Thank You to Our Gold Member!
Buddy and Audra Funk
633 N Main St, Bluffton
Equipment Rental and Retail, Parts, Service

Bruce Imel
2117 W 200 N, Buffton
Academy for Golf Teaching, Coaching, Playing

Sturgeon Mechanical
Jim Sturgeon
Heating, Air Conditioning, Plumbing Service

Mitch Chavarria
633 N Main St, Bluffton
Generac Brand: Generators, Pressure Washers, Water Pumps

Missie Pagel
7145 N State Road 1, Ste 4
Dog Grooming, Pet Taxi, Doggy Daycare, Pet Sitting Services

Rhonda Beall
Generac Brand: Generators, Pressure Washers,

Thank You to Our Gold Member!
Thank You to Our Gold Member!
Dutch Mill Plaza and Harrison Plaza (Parking Lot South of Kroger)

Monday, July 20, 2020  Ÿ  Starting at 4:00 pm
Chicken Dinner Includes: Nelson’s Chicken, Pit-Potatoes, Roll, Applesauce, Cookie, and Beverage

Could you Volunteer for the Event?
We are in need of volunteers to help with the event on July 20th at the Harrison Plaza (Parking Lot South of Kroger).
1st Shift: 3:45pm to 5:30pm
2nd Shift: 5:30pm to 7:15pm
Please email Erin at eprible@wellscoc.com to volunteer!
33rd Annual Wells County Chamber of Commerce
Golf Outing

Thursday, August 6, 2020
Timber Ridge Golf Club

11:30am ~ Shot Gun START
Make your own foursome or contact the Chamber to be placed on a team.
Welcome to the Community
Bobcat of Fort Wayne comes to Bluffton
Buddy and Audra Funk have been at Bobcat of Fort Wayne for 21 years. The Funks decided to purchase the Fort Wayne location in 2013 and then opened Bobcat of Fort Wayne – East in Grabill in 2015. 2019 brought Bobcat of Fort Wayne – North in Angola, IN, and finally Bobcat of Fort Wayne – South is open in Bluffton, IN as of June 2020.

“Bluffton has been a high priority for us for many years,” explained Buddy. “We have over 400 customers between Wells and Adams Counties, as well as municipal entities. The nearest location for service, parts, and rental equipment was 45 minutes to our Fort Wayne location. The time was right for us to expand and to make this location happen.”

Buddy said that customers have been asking him to open a location in the area for many years. The main reason for expanding is to serve their existing customers and acquire new. “It’s already been very exciting being here in Wells County and people are excited to see us here. They can easily pick up parts and rent equipment for large projects.”

Waggin & Braggin Pet Services

Ten years ago, Missie Pagel started grooming dogs. Pagel worked for a grooming facility where she learned the basics; her dream was to open her own facility one day. “This is what I was meant to do,” explained Pagel. “I am just looking to make my way and I am as happy as I have ever been and excited to do what I love.”

Pagel said it was lightening speed to find a space and open. Pagel found the space between Bluffton and Ossian at Irish Acres Business Park, owned by Terry Donaghy. “The space was perfect for what we needed. All I had to do was paint, decorate, add plumbing, add my equipment and the reception desk.”

The waiting area is designed to be comfortable for both people and pets. “My goal was to make this area comfortable and stress-free as possible,” explained Pagel. “I have a white picket fence to enclose them in and they can sit on the furniture and look out the window, run around the area after a bath or lounge on a chair and relax.”

The Parlor City Brewing Company
Although Bryant was born in Rochester, Indiana he has lived in Michigan since 1996. Coming back to Indiana to start a brewery has been a goal for several years. “It’s really difficult to start a brewery in Michigan because breweries are very saturated in the resort areas,” explained Bryant. “We looked at different places in Indiana and wanted to find a historic building where we could live upstairs and run the brewery in the downstairs.”

Bryant found the Market Street building on MLS and continued to do more research on Bluffton. “The realtors got me in touch with Economic Development and Bluffton NOW! and they explained about the grant opportunities available and what was being done to rehab downtown. The location is close to Fort Wayne and we want to make it a destination place for the surrounding counties. It was a perfect fit.”

A lot of work needed to be done to the building such as a new roof, removal of layers upon layers of flooring to expose the beautiful wood floor underneath, clean up the living space upstairs, demo the downstairs to open up the space and get ready for construction, paint the walls upstairs and downstairs, and prepare a workable space for the brewery.

Stylus Technologies
Elwell and Caylor founded Stylus Technologies in 2006 and moved into their current location on Main Street. As the business expanded their products and services, Stylus Technologies started running out of space. “We need room for commercial projects and currently the building does not have an overhead door for large deliveries of equipment and the space we have is not utilized the best it can be,” explained Elwell.

The south end of the building is where Stylus Technologies have been operating their business. The north side of the building has been leased for retail space. “When the owner decided to sell the building, we thought this would be a good time to make it more logistically functional for our needs,” said Elwell.
Elwell stated that they will remodel the back end of the building, move offices around, add lighting upgrades, knock walls down to create additional space, and re-organize the retail and equipment. Installing an overhead door is essential for their operations.

Grooming by Breanna
Schlichter started grooming in 2007 and worked for Honegger Animal Clinic for the past five years as a groomer. Schlichter’s client base started to grow, and she stated that she grew out of her space at the clinic. “My goal was to someday open my own grooming business, but when this space became available, we moved quickly to open it up and within two weeks of leaving the clinic we opened on May 1.”

Schlichter and her family did a little remodeling in the space by moving a wall, fixing electrical and ceiling issues and adding a waiting area. Schlichter’s family has been a huge part of the business thus far with four children ages 11, 10, 9 and 4. “Everyone has a job whether they are cleaning kennels, helping to check the dogs in when they arrive, or give them water; many times they are sitting in the kennels with the dogs reading a book.”

Creating a safe, healthy and happy environment for pets to have a stress-free grooming experience is a goal of Schlichter at Grooming by Breanna. “This is more than a spa day. We want the dogs to love it here, but also want the owners to come in and have a comfortable place to wait or hang out,” explained Schlichter.

Ellie Grace & Co.

Diane Carroll is an entrepreneur at heart, running a business out of her home prior to acquiring Ellie Grace. Carroll does custom work on T-Shirts, tumblers, pillows, and creates signs with vinyl, decals, and screen printing; bringing that piece of her business to the store as well. “I have been customizing items for about seven years now and excited to bring this aspect to the store,” said Carroll.

Carroll has added inventory to the store, built dressing rooms and built a beautiful custom counter. “We also have a girls and boys kids clothing line and have added a men’s line as well,” explained Carroll. “I have two local vendors that make headbands and burp clothes. In addition, there are earrings and home décor for customers to purchase as well.”

24/7 Cars
Rob Boley has been in the car business since he was 19 years old starting his career in sales and grew into the financial side of the business. “I have learned all aspects of running and operating the business and decided to open our own 24/7 Cars dealership in 2017 in Larwill.” Rob grew up in a small town and his goal is to open dealerships in small towns.

“We started in Larwill with 5 cars,” explained Rob. “We decided to add another location in 2018 and it took us 8 months looking high and low for that perfect place. Bluffton was suggested to us by a friend and we fell in love with the community.”

24/7 Cars officially opened their doors on May 1, 2020 and in the first month sold 18 vehicles. “We have already sold 27 this month alone,” said Rob. “Overall, our goal is to help as many people as we can and get them the car that fits their needs and budget. I know car people can have a bad stigma; however, we are not the bad guys and we are here to help.”

Bluffton Board Games
Welcome Cory Mann to
OneIndiana Financial Group

Throughout Cory’s career in the financial service industry he has developed a philosophy of taking a holistic approach to financial planning. He believes that the primary ingredients to success are trust, open communication, and understanding his client’s financial present and their goals for the future. To achieve this, Cory spends time getting to know each of his clients and listens closely to their experiences, for potential barriers, and their financial aspirations. He then uses academic research and economic-based strategies, versus using traditional hypotheticals, to develop individualized plans. In turn, assisting his clients in protecting their family and optimizing their desired retirement lifestyle. 
What makes us different:
  • The use of academia and macroeconomics instead of hypotheticals
  • We start with the end in mind. We find out what the client wants to happen, and work our way back from there
  • Protecting the plan is just as importing as setting up the plan
  • Having qualified members on the staff allows us to better align our clients with their goals, and also gives the client access to these partners.
  • With a partnership with OneAmerica, we are always playing a home game here in Indiana.
  • A promised commitment letter is signed for every client. This shows we are committed to everyone equally and should be held to a higher standard than other advisors.
  • We live where our clients do. We strive to be leaders in our community, and always want to give back.
Welcome Chelsea Moen
New Pet Grooming Assistant at Grooming by Breanna

Iowa native, Chesea began her career as a elementary school teacher. Six years into her career, her husbands job required them to relocate to Indiana. Shortly after the move, Chelsea felt this was a great opportunity to embark on her dream of working with animals. Soon she became a animal care specialist and dog sitter, offering in home pet care and walking services.
Welcome to Grooming by Breanna!
First Bank of Berne’s Jenilee Bransteter Receives ICBA Independent Banker’s 40 Under 40 Award

First Bank of Berne is proud to announce that Jenilee Bransteter, Business Banker at First Bank of Berne, is the 2020 recipient of the ICBA 40 under 40 award. Bransteter is a passionate and inspiring leader who strongly believes that a robust community banking system is essential for the support of the consumer and small business client base who are the bedrock of Main Street.

Bransteter has a passion for leading others and is currently overseeing a diverse group of employees who possess a wide variety of experience levels and personality styles. Employees throughout the organization recognize her commitment for doing things right and developing effective collaboration among First Bank of Berne’s wide array of departments and branches.
Outdoor Concepts had a Father's Day Give-Away through WBCL 90.3 and gave away a mower. Congratulations to Elaine and Darrin Abrahm!
Be a part of a first-ever excursion through the Chamber, partnering with member Rochester Travel, as we travel to Alaska in 2021. Many are signing up and excited to travel to this awesome destination.

Bookings can be made until December 2020.
Thank You to Our Gold Member!
Community Events
Click on any event for more information
Member businesses provide a discount to other Chamber Members when they show their membership card.

The Member2Member provides value to all participating Chamber Members by offering them a discount on goods and services, while also driving new customers to YOUR business.

Thank You to Our Gold Member!
Westland LLC
Thank You to Our Gold Member!