#HomeGrownStories – May

I can’t believe July is almost over! It still feels like summer just started and we’re already heading into August. The past several months have kept me pretty busy so I’m behind on sharing my monthly HGS recaps. Our May #HomeGrownStories are on The Miami County Visitors and Convention Bureau’s blog. I want to highlight why our May interviewees love Miami County. ❤️
 
Continue to follow our series for more stories and share them with your friends, family, and neighbors using #HomeGrownStories!

#HomeGrownStories – Lisa Bauer

Lisa Bauer, a Clark County native, has given new life to a piece of downtown Troy history. In 2012 she bought the building which was the Mayflower Theatre. The building is now home to the Mayflower Arts Center, where Lisa is the director. Today the Mayflower offers painting parties, art classes and art exhibitions in downtown Troy.

What she loves about Miami County:
The people. Hands down, the people. Other than the fact that Troy has such a unique downtown and has so many nice things to offer. The people are amazing. No matter where you go in Miami County people are friendly and welcoming to everyone. I love the people — not only when I venture out, but when they come into the Mayflower Arts Center.

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#HomeGrownStories – Brittney Denning 

Brittney Denning is my younger sister. Growing up, I planned to travel the world and Brittney set her sights closer to home: Piqua. As we grew up, our perspectives changed. Brittney became the traveler. She has lived in big cities on the east and west coasts since graduating from Piqua High School. Brittney works as a designer at an architecture firm in Seattle, Washington. I’ve has stayed close to our childhood home. I’ve lived in Ohio my entire life and recently moved back to Miami County. I interviewed my sister to get a big city viewpoint on what it means to be Home Grown Great.

What she loves most about Miami County:
My family! My teachers, classmates, friends, and family. These people connect me to Miami County even though I don’t live there. I miss the things that are no longer in Miami County. The events that aren’t held anymore and some of the schools I went to are no longer standing.

I love seeing that a lot of the towns in Miami County are reinvesting in themselves. I realized that Piqua was working hard to revitalize the downtown area when they renovated Fort Piqua Plaza. That was awesome and it’s wonderful that they put in the effort. The Mainstreet organizations in the towns are doing a lot and there are a lot of new businesses opening up. I’m amazed that all these stores are opening in these small towns. They seem like big city stores to me and they’re thriving. Antique stores, Can’t Stop Running, Pachamama Market — I’m glad to see that they’re doing so well.

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#HomeGrownStories – Amy & Brent Welborn 

Wright On High is a new shop in downtown Covington which focuses on local and handmade products. The shop has been a long-time dream for owners, Amy and Brent Welborn. For years they have wanted to create space for their creative Miami County neighbors to shine. Amy, a native of Covington, Ohio, met her husband, Brent, when they were in college near Chicago. Brent grew up in Milwaukee, but the couple has called Covington home since 2000.

What do you love most about Miami County?

Amy – Since I grew up here there’s that feeling of home. I also love the community and that small-town feel. My great-grandfather owned a tree business here. He planted a lot of the evergreen trees in the cemetery. I’ve always loved walking in the cemetery and seeing the evergreen trees planted by my great-grandpa. Whenever we travel coming back home — it’s so nice to be home and come back to a small town.

Brent – Growing up in a big city, I could go to the store and not know anybody. You can’t do that here. Every time you go to the store there is somebody you know that you end up talking to or say hi to. Throughout all Miami County there is that sense of community. The friendliness of the people in the community is nice too.

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#HomeGrownStories – Scott Myers 

Scott Myers has served as the Director of the Miami County Parks District for the past five years. Growing up in rural Hancock County, Scott never aspired to work in agriculture or on a farm. Today he goes to work every day at the Historic Knoop Homestead. His office sits in the Knoop’s Victorian Era farmhouse. While he never expected to work on a farm, he enjoys every minute of it. Scott has called Troy home for half of his life and loves the sense of community in Miami County.

What he loves most about Miami County:
What I like the most about Miami County is the sense of community. It’s hard to describe, but people love to get together in Miami County. Folks love to go to festivals and events with other members of the community. We have concerts in downtown Troy or at Lock 9 Park in Piqua. There are festivals like the Troy Strawberry Festival and the Tipp City Mum Festival. My daughter is in the band at Troy High School. I can’t think of anywhere else you could have a local band fundraiser and sell 15,000 dozen strawberry donuts. We also have events like 5K runs and the Tour de Donut.

People love to spend time together and help each other out. That sense of community support and volunteerism is a tradition in Miami County. Our city and county parks are named after families that started this tradition. These families are the Hobarts, the Meekers, the Garbrys, the Knoops and the French family. That sense of volunteerism and community is why I love living in Miami County.

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#HomeGrownStories – Kazy Hinds

Piqua Mayor, Kazy Hinds, originally from West Palm Beach, Florida, is in her second year as mayor. During her time as Mayor, Kazy has promoted a positive image of Piqua while encouraging the community to be more active. Serving her community comes naturally to Kazy, an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church. She has lived in many different places over the years but is happy to call Piqua home since 2008.

What she loves most about Miami County:
I love the beautiful area that we live in. I love that I can get out and hike the Buckeye Trail. I can walk, run or ride my bike on the bike path. I can get in the river and kayak. I’ve lived in places where I have to drive thirty to forty-five minutes to be able to do some of those things.

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#HomeGrownStories – Missy & Joe Duer

Missy and Joe Duer, both natives of Miami County, have deep roots that go back many generations. Today, the couple is bringing family and local history out of the past and into your liquor cabinet. Missy and Joe have reopened Missy’s family distillery in New Carlisle. Staley Mill Farm and Indian Creek Distillery use a family recipe for whiskey from 1820. They also reuse whiskey barrels to age locally harvested maple syrup. The couple offers tours of their distillery where guests learn about local history and the distilling process. The tour ends with an opportunity to sample their whiskey with their mixologist.

What they love most about Miami County:

Missy – Miami County is my home and it’s been my family’s home for over a hundred years. It has a wonderful past and holds so much for the future. There are lots of little, hidden gems. I love Tipp City. I have friends there and I used to have a business in Tipp City. It’s great for shopping and dining. Troy is ramping up and revitalizing its downtown. A hidden gem in West Milton is the Wertz’s Variety Store. We love it! It’s a fun, old-fashioned 5¢ and 10¢ store. There’s also the Pearson House Restaurant — we ate there today! We love Ludlow Falls and Charleston Falls. We have a precious little county here in Ohio with so many hidden gems. Some people have said that we’re a hidden gem too – we’re out here in the little “Appalachian hills” of Miami County. [laughs]

Joe – This is our home and has been our family’s home for many years. It will continue to be our home. Our children and grandchildren live in Miami County. We’re not city people! We were born and raised on the farm and we live on the farm now. I enjoy the wide-open spaces here. We are still within minutes of cities and villages, which makes it handy. We’re also not that far from the big city — Dayton. This is a great location – we love living here.

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#HomeGrownStories – Amber Sowers

Amber Sowers, a native of Troy, started ReU Juicery & Organic Kitchen in 2013 as a mobile business. In December 2016, ReU opened a brick and mortar store on the square in downtown Troy. The juicery specializes in cold-pressed juices but also sells smoothies, salads, wraps and smoothie bowls.

What she loves most about Miami County:
With the Strawberry Festival coming up, it reminds me of how awesome our community is. Troy is such a service driven community. The Strawberry Festival supports all our non-profit organizations in Miami County. It’s phenomenal — I love that!

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#HomeGrownStories – Chris Jackson 

Chris Jackson shares his love of our local rivers through Adventures on the Great Miami. He started his business in 2007 as a canoe and kayak livery. Along with canoeing and kayaking, Chris now offers river activities like river rafting and stand up paddle boarding. He also hosts outdoor events like primitive camping, concerts and food truck festivals. Adventures on the Great Miami plans to hold more community outdoor events and activities in the coming years.

What he loves most about Miami County:
I love the people of Miami County. The folks in Tipp City, Troy, Piqua and the surrounding areas are all very friendly and outgoing. They seem interested in getting involved in outdoor recreational activities as well. Miami County is a very warm, friendly community. I spend quite a bit of time in Tipp City. I know several local business owners there and I’m getting to know more in Troy.

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#HomeGrownStories – Corie Schweser  

Corie Schweser has made Troy her home for the past thirty years with her husband and sons. For the past three years, she has worked as the business manager of the Troy Strawberry Festival. This year the Strawberry Festival celebrates its 41st year in Miami County. The festival celebrates strawberries, community and supports local nonprofit organizations.

What she loves most about Miami County:
I love that Miami County has so many opportunities for outdoor activities. Piqua and Troy have great outdoor concert series. There’s the Miami County Riverway — you can go to Treasure Island and rent a kayak for a river adventure. We’re very blessed to have a strong parks system — in the county and cities. I like to take my grandson bike riding, we usually stop and get ice cream and then get back on the bike path. There are so many interesting things within this county. It’s beautiful! I love Fulton Farms and the farmer’s markets. I embrace every bit of it! Once the festival is over, I’ll have time to get out there and enjoy it. That’s another great thing about the festival being in June, I have the rest of the summer to enjoy the county! I love it!

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#HomeGrownStories – Jess Ervin  

Bushel & a Peck, a home decor business owned by Jess Ervin, started in an unconventional way. Jess struggled with postpartum depression and anxiety after her second daughter was born. As a way to cope, she started writing positive affirmations and making signs for herself. These signs told her that she was awesome and that she was enough. Seeing the affirmations every day made her believe in them. To share those positive vibes and lift others up, she started Bushel & a Peck. Jess is from Piqua and sells her signs in many different Miami County shops and on her website.

What she loves most about Miami County:
I love our parks and bike trails. The bike path in Piqua is my favorite because I’m a runner. I’ll do the whole loop — it’s a pleasant path. It’s a fun loop to do. If you want to walk it, it’s a great walking path too. It’s amazing. There are so many options and ways you can be active in Miami County. We have two great YMCAs in Miami County and programs through the Miami County Park District. It’s great when you can combine the outdoors and be active!

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I am continuing to enjoy interviewing and photographing my neighbors and members of our community. I can’t wait to share more stories you with about why we love Miami County. Look for the hashtag #HomeGrownStories and follow The Miami County Visitors and Convention Bureau’s blog!

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