Featured News Archives for 2015-06

Despite the dreary conditions the people turned out in droves for the first Columbus Food Truck Fest and Chairs of Hope Auction on Friday night in downtown Kenton.

Despite the dreary conditions the people turned out in droves for the first Columbus Food Truck Fest and Chairs of Hope Auction on Friday night in downtown Kenton. Dealing with a light drizzle most of the time – though forecasts called for worse – area residents came prepared with their umbrellas and appetites.

There were long lines of people for a good portion of the evening waiting to be served at The Paddy Wagon, Pitabilities, Schmidt’s Sausage Truck, Phillybuster, Sticky Fingers and Cold Stone Creamery which were parked along Columbus Street on the north side of the courthouse.

“It was unbelievable,” said Jacqualine Fitzgerald, director of Downtown Development with the Hardin County Chamber and Business Alliance. “The community really came out.”  “I’m pleased,” she added. Fitzgerald said the food truck operators were just as happy. “They want to came back,” she said. “But they all told us, ‘You’ve got to have more food trucks.

’”Classic cars lined both sides of a block of Main Street, while vintage motorcycles were on display as well. Fitzgerald noted plans for 3-D chalk artists were scrapped because of the weather, but they want another opportunity to draw their creations in Kenton. “Yes, we will try this again,” she said.

Equally as pleased was Marcia Retterer, founder of the cancer patient support group Not By Choice Outreach in Kenton. It used the event to conduct a fundraiser.Its Chairs of Hope auction – sales of 12 adult and 2 children’s Adirondack chairs – brought in $12,550, she said. Retterer said the people really came out to support the organization. “We can help a lot of people with that,” she added.


“Eats on the Street,” which will run from 5 to 10 p.m., will feature six food trucks from Columbus serving a variety of food available in the capital city.

Columbus food trucks featured at ‘Eats on the Street’

An auction to help a local organization raise funds has mushroomed into a big community event in downtown Kenton on Friday night.

“Eats on the Street,” which will run from 5 to 10 p.m., will feature six food trucks from Columbus serving a variety of food available in the capital city. At the same time there will be a vintage motorcycle and classic car show, along with performances by two music groups and other activities.

Jacqualine Fitzgerald, director of Downtown Development with the Hardin County Chamber and Business Alliance, said it was a meeting with Marcia Retterer, founder of the cancer support group Not By Choice Outreach in Kenton, that led to the food fest. Retterer wanted to have an auction of Adirondack chairs as a fundraiser for the organization.

Fitzgerald said she wondered, “How can we get her a bigger audience?” She decided they needed some sort of food to get people downtown.

The first person Fitzgerald thought of is former Kenton resident Taylor (Roof) Klinger, who lives in Columbus with her husband, Josh. They have a Cold Stone Creamery food truck and agreed to drive it to Kenton to be part of the event.

Fitzgerald, talking to others at the Alliance, said, “We haven’t had a community event in a long time. What if we make this really big and draw a big crowd downtown?” She said they decided they should invite more food trucks.

Their first call to a food truck operator happened to be the president of the Columbus Food Truck Association.

He said he could get more food trucks to drive to Kenton and “Eats on the Street” was born.

Fitzgerald called Retterer and told her, “Marsha, I think we can get you a bigger venue. It’s all falling into place.” Lined up to be in Kenton on Friday night, in addition to Cold Stone Creamery, are The Paddy Wagon, Pitabilities, Schmidt’s Sausage Truck, Phillybuster and Sticky Fingers. “It’s such a hot thing,” Fitzgerald said of the food trucks, “and no one in the surrounding counties is doing this. It’s nice to be on the cutting edge of things.”The trucks will be lined up on Columbus Street between Detroit and Main. In addition, there will be a beer tent with live music.

Although there will be some benches borrowed from the fair board, Fitzgerald encourages people to bring a lawn chair.

Groups performing on the north side of the courthouse are Whitaker Brothers from 5 to 6:45 p.m., followed by Zoo Trippin’ at 7:30 p.m.

The original reason for the event, auction of the Adirondack chairs to benefit NBC Outreach, will begin at 7 p.m. on the courthouse lawn. Fitzgerald said the minimum bid for a chair will be $125. There will be two children’s chairs and 12 adult models – including one each painted in the colors of the six schools in the county.

Another attraction is a vintage motorcycle and classic car show. For the car show, the vehicles will be parked along Main Street, with the entrance off Franklin Street. The motorcycles will be displayed on Columbus Street across from US Bank. There is no pre-registration. Owners can call the Alliance (419-673-4131) or just show up to get registered.

Trophies and cash prizes will be awarded at 8 p.m.

Two 3-D chalk artists will create their artwork on the sidewalk on the east side of the courthouse. There will be face painting and local resident Bob Halsey as Tater the Clown making balloon creations.

Specially created T-shirts featuring a picture of the 1911 Kenton Motorcycle Club will be available for $15.

They will be sold from a tent at Columbus and Main. Fitzgerald she encourages everyone to come to downtown Kenton for “great food, great music and to raise money for Not By Choice.”


The Hardin County Chamber and Business Alliance’s Development Team met with International Paper corporate executives and local management Wednesday to tour the new 250,000-square-foot expansion of the Kenton plant

International Paper is nearing completion on the 250,000 square foot expansion at its Kenton manufacturing facility. As final construction continues and new equipment installation begins, International Paper officials credit community organizations for being advocates behind growth for the company and 125 jobs that will be created in the Kenton community.

Representatives from the Hardin County Chamber and Business Alliance (HCCBA) and JobsOhio visited the facility Wednesday for an update and tour of the project progress. “This is an exciting time for our Foodservice business and for Kenton. We have reached a critical milestone in this process – the walls are up and we are gearing up for our full move-in,” said Tracy Pearson, vice president and general manager, Foodservice. “We know our strong history in Kenton would not be possible without the support of Hardin County, city of Kenton and state leadership along with organizations such as HCCBA, the Regional Growth Partnership and JobsOhio. We truly appreciate the contribution that each of these organizations have provided to making this vision a reality.”

In early 2014, International Paper announced the expansion of its Kenton facility, which manufactures fiber-based hot and cold cups, food buckets, containers, plates and lids for many popular quick-service restaurant brands. The expansion reflects industry trends showing solid growth fueled by consumer demand for convenient, on-the-go food and beverage containers as part of their daily routines, according to a release from the company.

Kenton was selected based on access to a skilled workforce, its multi-mode transportation capabilities and easy distribution access to the Midwest, East Coast and Southern markets.

“As we envision the future of Kenton and the surrounding areas, we know that business, education and workforce work hand in hand,” said Jon Cross, president and CEO, HCCBA. “Our partnership with International Paper is a prime example of the collaboration it takes to drive and sustain growth in our community.”

“International Paper is a premier supplier in its industry, and their focus on process efficiency and product innovation are key drivers of the company’s growth and expansion,” said Glenn Richardson, managing director, JobsOhio. “Along with the Regional Growth Partnership, we are excited this state-of-the-art expansion is in Kenton and will bring 125 more manufacturing jobs to the area.”

The company said the facility has passed initial inspections and has begun partial occupancy of the new building.

Completion of the expansion is anticipated in late summer. More information about starting operations and grand opening activities will be released in the coming months.


Forest Mayor Tom Seem is joined by Forest CIC member Karen Moore and Hardin County Director of Downtown Development Jacqualine Fitzgerald as they stand with one of the nine planters recently placed in the business district of the village.

Forest Mayor Tom Seem is joined by Forest CIC member Karen Moore and Hardin County Director of Downtown Development Jacqualine Fitzgerald as they stand with one of the nine planters recently placed in the business district of the village.

The flowers are part of the village’s Main Street Beautification Campaign. The purchases were made possible through donations from businesses and residents.