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5 small businesses making big moves in 2017


Small businesses made big moves in the Miami Valley this year.

Small businesses are important drivers of our economy, making up roughly 98 percent of all Ohio businesses and employing half of Ohio’s private-sector workforce, according to the Ohio Development Services Agency. Small businesses also accounted for 40 percent of “new” jobs created over the past two decades,according to the U.S. Small Business Administration.

Here’s some of the businesses that added employees, celebrated anniversaries and added new services in the Miami Valley:

1. Rieck Services turned 125 years old

When Harold Rieck took over as president and owner of Dayton-based Rieck Services in 1967, he had a simple motto that he passed down to every employee: Treat your customers well. Rieck Services has grown from its humble beginnings into one of the largest mechanical contracting services company in the region. The company provides commercial and industrial heating, ventilating and air-conditioning services.

The company celebrated its 125th anniversary at a community gathering, where business and community leaders came to celebrate Harold Rieck’s contributions to Dayton and his company’s continuing impact on the region. For Harold Rieck, 91, the momentous milestone is cause for celebration — and a moment of gratitude for the employees and city who loved him fiercely.

“It’s unbelievable,” he said. “I love Dayton, and Dayton loves me back.”

2. Meet the 98-year-old Centerville man starting his own business

After a lifetime of entrepreneurial and artistic pursuits, Centerville resident Nick Sabatino is taking on a new challenge — starting a business at 98 years old.

Sabatino, the former owner of an advertising agency in downtown Dayton, is now working to create a consulting firm for budding business owners and inventors. The business, Say It With An Idea, will be comprised of retired architects, salesmen, artists, business owners and politicians who all have the goal of using their expertise to guide the next generation of innovators.

3. Oakwood holds onto iconic toy store poised to close

Oakwood’s iconic Blue Turtle Toy Store celebrated its grand reopening under new ownership in the Shops of Oakwood.

Original owner Carolyn Meyer, who opened the store in 1999, announced months ago that she planned to close the store in May and retire. She sold the store to local resident Cathy Tapogna, who will continue selling toys, games, books and puzzles. Blue Turtle is located at 2314 Far Hills Ave. between Triangle and Peach Orchard Avenues in Oakwood.

Blue Turtle exclusively sells products catered to young children, and customers won’t find any electronics. Its shelves are filled with classic toys like Corolle dolls, the premium doll brand designed in France. There’s games that stimulate the minds of children, and classic Madame Alexandar dolls.

4. Local grad opening boutique in former Weber Jewelers space

Entrepreneur and local resident Lauren Murphy-Zahora opened a new boutique in Kettering — and she wants to use it as an opportunity to show young girls that they’re capable of anything.

Murphy-Zahora, 23, expanded her online retail business by opening her first brick-and-mortar location in the former Weber Jewelers location at 3109 Far Hills Ave. in Kettering. Murphy-Zahora said her store will open toward the end of August. She’s been operating her website since 2012, and it’s caught the attention of national media and celebrities like Tori Spelling. The website sells clothing, shoes, home decor, beauty items and other products.

5. Candy store selling pickle juice soda opens in Miamisburg

Grandpa Joe’s Candy Shop opened earlier this year in Miamsiburg, and is also adding an additional store location in Middletown. The vintage-style store at 42 South Main St. in downtown Miamisburg has more than 200 bottles of specialty sodas.

The store also offers bulk candy orders and gourmet chocolate candies. Customers can fill a box of goodies from their candy buffet for just $5. The store also has other odd flavors of soda including everything from Coca-Cola to Flying Cauldron Butter Scotch Beer and specialty sodas that taste like ranch dressing and buffalo sauce.

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