Although the Chamber’s Annual Dinner was canceled this year, along with so many other community events, Executive Director Jessie Furner and the Chamber Board of Directors have had a busy year. As soon as the widespread effects of the COVID-19 pandemic – both on community health as well as local businesses – became evident, Jessie was hard at work trying to keep Bucyrus healthy AND successful.

Under Jessie’s direction, the Bucyrus Area Chamber partnered with neighboring Galion-Crestline Area Chamber on several projects this year, all aimed at promoting the growth of businesses for all of Crawford County. Crawford-Opoly celebrated shopping local and was greatly enjoyed by customers throughout the county. Many thanks to First Federal Community Bank for their sponsorship of the game and prizes.

Most recently, Jessie and Galion-Crestline Chamber’s executive director Miranda Jones undertook the daunting task of acting as fiscal administrator for CARES Act Small Business Relief Grants to local businesses across the county. With less than a month to accomplish the task, Jessie worked to establish an application process, advertise the available grants, form an allocations decision committee, and distributed $400,000 dollars in grant funds to local small businesses.

The Chamber has also greatly increased its visibility in the community, with Executive Director Jessie Furner giving it a presence on more than 11 boards and task forces, including the Crawford County Health Task Force, Marion & Crawford Suicide Prevention Foundation, and the Bucyrus Bicentennial Celebration board.

Despite the travails of 2020, the Bucyrus Area Chamber of Commerce has added 41 new members, and conducted 11 ribbon cuttings for new businesses. The Chamber continues to work to promote and support members, and advocate for the success of local small business.

We are looking forward to more growth in 2021.  Thank you for your membership and support!

Brian Gernert
Board President
Bucyrus Area Chamber of Commerce

Many thanks to Park National Bank for Sponsoring the 2020 Annual Chamber Awards.

2020 Annual Chamber Awards

Sponsored by Park National Bank

Executive Director Jessie Furner was determined to continue the Chamber’s annual tradition of recognizing local business and individuals for their community contributions, despite the cancellation of the Annual Dinner. Nominations for the awards, which this year included two new categories – Entrepreneur of the Year and Leadership in Crisis – opened in early November. The Chamber board made the final selections, and Jessie was able to surprise each of the award winners with plaques at the end of December. Many thanks to Park National Bank for sponsoring the 2020 Annual Chamber Awards.

Chamber Awards were made to:

Business of the Year | Lulu’s Kitchen
In less than 3 years, Lulu’s Kitchen has become a Bucyrus landmark, serving up quality food and a great hometown dining experience. Owner Kimberly Stamper and her staff work to create a welcoming meeting place for businesses as well as families. Lulu’s was quick to react to the constantly changing circumstances of the pandemic, shifting to carryout and drive-thru pickup only during shutdowns and then back to limited seating. This adaptability helped the restaurant to not just survive 2020, but to succeed.

Volunteer of the Year | Kevin Myers
Kevin is a fixture at Bucyrus community events, working year-round to bring the annual Bratwurst Festival to fruition and to ensure the sustainability of the Festival committee. He also works on many Bucyrus Rotary Club projects and events – including Pancake (and Sausage) Day – and serves on the board of the Bucyrus Elks and the Bucyrus Tourism and Visitors Bureau.

Organization of the Year | Bucyrus Backpack Program LLC
The Bucyrus Backpack Program works to reduce food insecurity for students in the community by providing nutritious, easy-to-prepare meals each weekend. The program has grown from serving only Bucyrus City School students to include hungry students at Wynford and Colonel Crawford, and Fairway Preschool. This year, the program has also worked with school districts to fill the hunger gap created by virtual school schedules.

Posthumous Citizen of the Year | Dr. Michael Johnson
Dr. Johnson was a much-beloved local family doctor who treated patients in Bucyrus for more than 42 years. In giving back to the community, he volunteered as a team doctor to the student athletes at Wynford High School and served as Health First Medical Director, Crawford County Coroner, Crawford County Health Commissioner, and Little League board member.

Citizen of the Year | Bill Fisher
Our Citizen of the Year is a lifelong county resident. Bill Fisher taught at Bucyrus High School for 35 years, before leading a significant transformation of the Crawford Park District as executive director. Under his guidance, educational programming and community outreach gained significance and brought accolades to the district. Now retired, Bill continues to volunteer in the community, working with historical societies and helping Crestline relocate and reopen their museum.

Young Professional of the Year | Mark Pfeifer, Mark’s Homemade Ice Cream
Mark Pfeifer’s ice cream business has continued to grow, with a production facility and retail sales now added to his signature bright red ice cream trucks. Mark and his commitment to the community helps Bucyrus shine, and is a great example for other young entrepreneurs.

Entrepreneur(s) of the Year | Shawn & Tascha Ridgeway
Since opening Dillinger’s on Washington Square eight years ago and bringing renowned live entertainment to Bucyrus, Shawn & Tascha have continued to expand their business vision for the community. Their restaurant, Breezzy’s Pizza, operates in the venue on Washington Square, and is well-known for its pizza, chicken chunks, and full menu of burgers, sandwiches, and salads. Most recently, the young couple purchased and took over management of local landmark Suburban Lanes & Entertainment, continuing their drive to provide great food and entertainment while adding to the quality of life of our community.

Leadership in Crisis | Central Monogramming
During a very uncertain year and when local business were struggling to understand what the pandemic and the resulting health guidelines meant for them, Central Monogramming stepped in the void. They provided, free of charge, printed material for businesses including storefront signage with closing or change-of-hours notices, health department requirement postings, social distancing floor decals, and more. The support this very small community business provided to their neighbors during a time of mutual crisis was invaluable, and amazing.