Please join us on Friday May 28th as we celebrate the completion of a 9 month renovation and launch our new refreshed branding!
*Free Gift for the first 100 guests
*Door Prize Raffle
*Ribbon Cutting at Noon
What began as a part-time opportunity that grew into a full-time operation. Heidi started this business as a way to make money on the side. With continued growth, she was able to leave her job and operate her Facebook group and business full-time. This year, after 11 years at JWP, Justin was able to resign and run their business full-time. It was then that the two decided it was time to expand into a larger space. The two reached out to the Champaign Economic Partnership and were thrilled to quickly find a space they had previously considered 2 years prior. Heidi said, "This wouldn't be possible without the help and support from their families." They are currently operating their business with the help of their families but hope to hire employees as the business expands.
Currently Hometown Bargains will be open Saturday from 10 am - 5 pm, Sunday from 11 am - 5 pm, Monday 10 am - 5 pm and Tuesday 10 am - 5 pm or while supplies last. They plan to continue online sales through their Facebook page on Wednesdays. Pricing for items in bins makes it easy for shoppers to know what to expect, on Saturdays everything in bins are $7, Sundays are $5, Mondays are $3, and Tuesdays everything in bins are $1. Whole pallets are also available for purchase. Heidi advised that hours are subject to changed as the business continues to grow. Make sure to follow their Facebook page for updates and changes.
The new owner, Raj Vangaveti, said he plans to be opening “any day now” as St. Paris Shoppers and Grocery. The store will include fresh produce, meats and other traditional fresh grocery items, Vangaveti said.
In addition, a familiar favorite spot, the ice cream parlor, will be open seasonally.
“I came from a small town in India,” Vangaveti said. “Growing up we did not have a grocery store for miles. Many of us did not even have cars to commute and it was extremely difficult to get everyday supplies. Sometimes I had to bike for miles to get a gallon of milk or a packet of bread.
“I have decided and have been looking for the right opportunity to join a small community and help with everyday needs,” he said. “I am incredibly happy to find the right opportunity in St. Paris. I am very eager and excited to be part of this small friendly community.”
Initially the store will provide customers with a fully featured grocery store that will include fresh food like milk, eggs, bread, coffee, hot chocolate, fresh produce, fruits, frozen food, meat, beer and wine. It will also have candy, soda pop, paper towels, bathroom tissues, diapers, pet food, automotive products, tobacco, cigarettes, lottery and other items.
“A unique, upscale, and innovative environment will be provided to the customers with a friendly atmosphere,” Vangaveti said. “Our store will differ from the traditional grocery store because of our added personal touch.
We are planning to add a gas/fueling station in near future. There will be a common sitting area where the customers can get deli meat, pizza and fried food. We will be planning to reopen the ice cream parlor in the summer.”
Vangaveti said he believes that the responsibility for customer satisfaction is not focused solely on the sale of a product, but rather is the total relationship a customer experiences when interacting with the organization. “We believe in honesty and truth in all transactions and in providing products of the highest quality and at fair prices. We should do everything possible to provide outstanding service in marketing the products we sell.”
Vangaveti said concern for people gives the store the drive to be a good corporate citizen.
“We believe we have a responsibility to be a good neighbor in maintaining our property in first-class condition and by making the appearance of our store, facilities, equipment, and grounds as attractive as possible, making them an asset to the communities that support our store.”
The campaign includes an intense training session for all employees, and a firm understanding and commitment to deliver these pledge points, he said.
Hours of operation for the store will be 7 days a week from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Checks and all major credit cards will be accepted. “Food stamp policy along with other policies will be in place once we open the store,” Vangaveti said.
This Friday, February 26th at 1:30PM EST, join U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown and the Small Business Administration (SBA) for a live webinar on how federal COVID-19 relief programs can support your small business or venue.
You'll hear directly from Cleveland and Columbus SBA representatives on PPP, EIDL, Shuttered Venue Operators Grant Program, Enhanced SBA Guarantee, SBA Debt Relief, and more.
All small business owners, venue operators, and Ohioans are welcome to join and ask questions. Click here to RSVP (then click "Register") or type https://sen.gov/MYL4 into your browser.
Take advantage of the sweet deals and enter to win! Prize package includes an overnight stay at Scioto Inn, dinner at Cafe Paradiso, flowers from Ethel's, movie tickets from The Gloria Theater, cupcakes from Let's Eat Cake, and gift certificates for shopping at Kaleidescope, The Boston, Guild Galleries, The Vintage Traveler, Unique Boutiques, Oxners, Lily's Garden, Carmazzi's, Downtown Divas, and The Shop Around the Corner.
Every January 28th is National Data Privacy Day, a global effort that generates awareness about the importance of privacy, highlights easy ways to protect personal information and reminds organizations that privacy is good for business.
I know what you are thinking. How does this apply to me? Well, I am glad you asked.
From the National Security Alliance…
ADVICE FOR INDIVIDUALS: OWN YOUR PRIVACY
Individuals feel an increasing lack of control over their personal data. However, there are steps you can take to learn about the types of data you’re generating online, and how it’s collected, shared and used. Follow these basic privacy tips to help you better manage your personal information and make informed decisions about who receives your data.
Calls to Action:
· Personal info is like money: Value it. Protect it. Personal information, such as your purchase history, IP address, or location, has tremendous value to businesses – just like money. Make informed decisions about whether or not to share your data with certain businesses by considering the amount of personal information they are asking for and weighing it against the benefits you may receive in return.
· Keep tabs on your apps. Many apps ask for access to personal information, such as your geographic location, contacts list and photo album, before you can use their services. Be thoughtful about who gets that information, and wary of apps that require access to information that is not required or relevant for the services they are offering. Delete unused apps on your internet-connect devices and keep others secure by performing updates.
· Manage your privacy settings. Check the privacy and security settings on web services and apps and set them to your comfort level for information sharing. Each device, application, or browser you use will have different features to limit how and with whom you share information. Get started with NCSA’s Manage Your Privacy Settings page:https://staysafeonline.org/stay-safe-online/managing-your-privacy/manage-privacy-settings/
ADVICE FOR BUSINESSES: RESPECT PRIVACY
According to a Pew Research Center study, 79% of U.S. adults report being concerned about the way their data is being used by companies. Respecting consumers’ privacy is a smart strategy for inspiring trust and enhancing reputation and growth in your business.
Calls to Action:
· If you collect it, protect it. Data breaches can not only lead to great financial loss, but a loss in reputation and customer trust. Follow reasonable security measures to keep individuals’ personal information safe from inappropriate and unauthorized access. Make sure the personal data you collect is processed in a fair manner and only collected for relevant and legitimate purposes.
· Consider adopting a privacy framework. Build privacy into your business by researching and adopting a privacy framework to help you manage risk and create a culture of privacy in your organization. Get started by checking out the following frameworks:
o NIST Privacy Framework
o AICPA Privacy Management Framework
o ISO/IEC 27701 – International Standard for Privacy Information Management
· Conduct an assessment of your data collection practices. Understand which privacy laws and regulations apply to your business. Educate your employees of their and your organization’s obligations to protecting personal information.
· Transparency builds trust. Be open and honest about how you collect, use and share consumers’ personal information. Think about how the consumer may expect their data to be used and design settings to protect their information by default. Communicate clearly and concisely to the public what privacy means to your organization and the steps you take to achieve and maintain privacy.
· Maintain oversight of partners and vendors. If someone provides services on your behalf, you are also responsible for how they collect and use your consumers’ personal information.
If you’d like to hear more about the importance of protecting your data privacy, check out The We Spend Local Network Podcast interview with Local Expert, Shawn Sutter of Your Hometown Techs. You can find it on our Facebook, YouTube, or on your favorite podcast player.
If you need help with your business or personal data privacy reach out to Shawn for a free consultation.
By Chelsea Bray- Elle A. Design
This year has been a challenge and this holiday season proves to be as well. We know things aren’t the same as they usually are but that doesn’t mean you have to miss out on what makes this season so special. We came up with a list of things to do this year to help keep the holiday spirit alive and to help you spread some cheer.
1.Send Christmas cards to family you can’t visit this year
We may not get to see everyone this year for the holidays, but you can still send some holiday cheer by sending custom cards to them in the mail. Include updates about the year and get the whole family to sign them for an extra personal touch.
2.Decorate cookies with candy from Carmazzi’s Candy and General Store
Making cookies is a great activity for all ages! You could make sugar cookies, gingerbread cookies, or even a gingerbread house. All the candy you could need for decorating can be found right in Urbana at Carmazzi’s Candy and General Store.
3.Volunteer at Caring Kitchen
Volunteering during the holidays is a great way to spread cheer and to help others have a great holiday too. You can volunteer with the Caring Kitchen in Urbana with meal preparation, serving, and clean up. They also take donations all year long!
4.Donate toys for dogs and cats to Barely Used Pets Rescue
Don’t forget about our furry friends this time of year. While they are waiting to find their forever homes the amazing people at Barely Used Pets in Urbana are keeping them warm and happy this time of year. You can donate food or toys to the shelter to give the animals an extra special holiday.
5.Drive around a see the lights caravan style
A fun way to get together with family while staying safe this holiday is to see lights around town caravan style. Everyone stays in their own car, but you can all experience the joy and magic of twinkling lights. Be sure to stop by Hemisphere in Mechanicsburg first for a cup of coffee or hot chocolate!
6.Make a homemade gift
Making the holiday season extra personal this year will make it feel like you are closer than ever, even if you aren’t together. Try your hand at making a homemade holiday ornament to send to a loved one to let them know how much they mean to you.
7.Leave out treats for the delivery drivers (and Santa)
We all know that Santa loves cookies and milk but don’t forget about all the amazing delivery drivers that come to your house almost every day! Prepackaged treats and bottles of water will give them that extra boost and let them know you appreciate all their hard work of delivery all your gifts in time for the holidays.
8.Have an ugly sweater themed dinner night at home
You don’t have to have a party to don that ugly sweater hanging in your closet. Select a night of the week to get dressed up with your family, in your most festive gear, and enjoy a family favorite meal together.
9.Put together a holiday jigsaw puzzle
The holidays are all about enjoying time together. Find a winter themed puzzle that you like and spend time together completing the puzzle. This is a great way to relax, work together, and make memories that will last a lifetime.
10.Choose old toys to donate a local thrift store
This is the time of year for giving. If you have any gently used toys that are still in good condition, there are plenty of places you can donate them where another kid can treasure them for years to come.
Funds aimed to help small business hit by pandemic
“Our local economy has been negatively impacted with the Coronavirus and our small businesses are some of the hardest hit,” said Marcia Bailey CEP Economic Development Director. “These funds are an expense reimbursement grant and will help get the businesses through this difficult time”.
To qualify for the grant program, businesses must:
Some examples of eligible reimbursable expenses include:
Businesses that have received funding for expenses arising from the pandemic cannot submit the same expenses for reimbursement under the CARES Grant for Champaign County Small Businesses.
“We are so appreciative of our small businesses and although there is great uncertainty, Champaign County is hopeful that businesses receiving these grant funds will successfully persevere through the COVID-19 pandemic.” Bailey said.
Applications and grant guidelines are available on the CEP website www.cepohio.com or www.champaignworks.com/CARESGrantChampaignCounty beginning November 24, 2020. Application deadline is December 1, 2020 at 5:00 pm. Due to the short application period, we recommend you apply as soon as possible. In order to assist you, please send your questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Businesses are also encouraged to visit https://businesshelp.ohio.gov for additional assistance. Governor DeWine announced CARES Act funding through the State of Ohio for small business and others that have been impacted financially by the pandemic