Monthly Archives: March 2013

CULTIVATING YOUR GREEN THUMB…

Jacki Chamberlain, Marketing Specialist
Wayne County Convention & Visitors Bureau

Spring is in the air and many of us have been thumbing through seed catalogs and watching home and garden improvement shows on TV in anticipation of warmer weather. For some reason, we look forward to outdoor jobs to be done in the spring that later in the season become simply dreaded outdoor chores.

To set you on the right path of colorful fragrant blooms and healthy delicious homegrown produce, Wayne County offers many gardening seminars, shows, and sales, all with the spring garden enthusiast in mind.

Here are just a few events scheduled for spring and early summer:

April 20: Earth Day Celebration, The Wilderness Center, Wilmot
April 27-28: Wayne County Home & Garden Show, Wayne County Fairgrounds, Wooster
April 27-28: Native Plant Sale & Gardening Seminar, The Wilderness Center, Wilmot
May 4: Wooster Noon Lions Flea Market, Wayne County Fairgrounds, Wooster
May 11: Plant Discovery Day, OARDC, Wooster
May 11: Heirloom Plant Sale & Open House, IXL Pioneer Farm, Kidron
June 8: Annual Rose Garden Open House, OARDC, Wooster
June 8-9: Spring Garden Fair, Quailcrest Farm, Wooster
June 8-9: Hydrangea Mania Days, Deborah’s Garden Market, Wooster
June 15-23: Warehouse Sale, Pine Tree Barn, Wooster

So after a winter of being stuck inside, get out and enjoy the warm spring weather and the sunshine on your face. Visit the Wayne County Convention & Visitors Bureau website at www.wccvb.com for details on the above events or for more wonderful springtime events in our area.

How One Member of the “Encore Generation” Helped Give Wayne County a Facelift

By Neil Cotiaux, Guest Writer

Sociologists describe America’s Silent Generation – those raised during the Great Depression or World War II – as cautious and conformist. By contrast, the so-called Baby Boomers – those born between 1946 and 1964 – are considered to be individualistic and cause-driven. Such labels fail to account for seniors like Wayne County’s Bill Erdos, whose approach to life and work has borrowed traits from each demographic group as part of the Encore Generation.

Erdos, raised just outside Wooster, graduated from Kent State University with a bachelor’s degree in biology, married early, started a family and then slid into a comfortable career in advertising and marketing – a purely “income-driven” move, he recalled this year.

But Erdos felt something was missing from his day jobs, so he built a couple of houses on the side to give vent to his talent for construction.

Then, 10 years ago at the age of 63, Erdos decided it was time for his second act.

Building Wooster’s brand

While Erdos plied his trade in advertising, Wooster was slowly remaking itself into a more chic and trendy destination for out-of-towners.

Twenty-five years ago, the city’s central business district suffered a 42 percent vacancy rate, largely as a result of outward expansion. Downtown Wooster had taken on a shopworn feel and lacked excitement. As executive director of the nonprofit community group, Main Street Wooster, Sandra Hull began enlisting the support of a network of civic leaders committed to change, including Wooster native and retired Goodyear CEO Stanley Gault. Wooster was on the road to renewal.

Energized by this accelerating revitalization, Erdos decided to take the plunge as a commercial developer and fully embrace his passion.

Purchasing a vacant pharmacy that he would convert into a pastry shop, he faced the immediate task of ensuring that his work would fit Wooster’s blueprint for change. The requirement was for diverse, independently owned businesses housed in renovated buildings that mix historical charm with modern verve.

According to Main Street’s Hull, Erdos quickly exhibited the traits of a successful developer: the ability to put a dream to paper, respect for a community’s historic character, a willingness to collaborate, care in selecting the right team of craftspeople and a commitment to local labor. In Erdos’ case, that included recruiting local Amish craftsmen.

Passion on fire

Once Tulipan Hungarian Pastry and Coffee opened and Erdos’ passion had been fully lit, he turned to other projects in rapid succession – 23 residential lofts, an upscale steakhouse, a wine cellar and other tasteful establishments, some done solo, others done with partners. These and other projects are keeping downtown Wooster’s commercial vacancy rate around five percent or slightly higher.

Consistent with the emerging look and feel of downtown, this grandfather of six believes that when melding past and present, less is more. This concept appeals to tourists, generates return business, and ultimately contributes to a developer’s profits as an investor in his own creations.

Peeling back plaster and drywall to expose century-old brick clearly excites Erdos, as does salvaging tin ceilings. His look is historical yet hip, and he does not favor adding “a lot of fluff.” In his lofts, he tries to “give a feel, a flavor of what people might experience in Chicago, let’s say, or New York.” Offering something a bit different may be one reason why his residential units have remained almost fully occupied and why the steakhouse in which he holds a financial stake is bustling.

The missing link

Successful city planning involves knowing what pieces of the property puzzle are lacking, and for Erdos and other community leaders, that missing link was a boutique hotel to cater to the class of outsiders that Wooster is seeking to attract.

Erdos poured both passion and personal muscle into the St. Paul Hotel, which opened in 2012. Twelve rooms and suites incorporate 50-inch flat screen televisions, heated floors and classic mid-century furnishings, all part of an “eclectic elegance” that’s receiving a warm response from business people and couples.

“There’s nothing that I’ve done previously that’s been as satisfying,” Erdos said as he sat in a leather chair in the hotel’s lobby. “Every once in a while I wonder why I wasn’t doing this a long time ago.”

So, what’s next at 72? Erdos laughed, mentioned retirement, but confided that he’s been approached to work on projects in other communities. However those may turn out, he added, “I’m pretty happy with what I’ve done.”

And so, might he add, are visitors to chic, vibrant downtown Wooster, all of whom benefit from his decision to become part of the Encore Generation.

BECOME A WAYNE COUNTY PICKER!

Jacki Chamberlain, Marketing Specialist
Wayne County Convention & Visitors Bureau

Here it is folks, the hottest list in town, the 2013 calendar of area city and village wide garage sale dates.
The concept of the garage sale is nothing new, but making them more popular than ever are the “trash to treasure” shows on the Home and Garden and DIY Networks.
Smithville April 27
Shreve June 1
Creston June 6-8
Mt. Eaton June 7-8
Dalton Aug 8-11
Doylestown Sept 21
Shreve & Orrville Oct 5

Be sure to save the dates of August 8th through the 10th for the granddaddy sale of them all, the Lincoln Highway “Buyway Sale” including the village of Dalton. This sale runs along the route of the Lincoln Highway across the state and right through Wayne County! If you would like information on the Lincoln Highway Sale, visit their website at www.historicbyway.com. Don’t forget the Annual Wooster Noon Lions Flea Market at the Wayne County Fairgrounds June 1st or the NEW Wayne County Flea Market, opening May through October 8th. The flea market, located at 4767 Fulton Road, Smithville, will be open the first and third Saturdays and Sundays of the month from 8am until 4pm. Visit them on line at waynecountyfleamarket.com. For more information on area events and attractions visit the Wayne County Convention and Visitors Bureau website at www.wccvb.com.