Biz beat: Local business owners lobby on online sales tax fairness

April 13, 2013

LIMA — Local business owners Michael Frueh, with Longmeier Printing, and Nathan Gast, with Custom Audio Concepts, have been in Washington, D.C., to lobby for the Marketplace Fairness Act.

The Marketplace Fairness Act is an effort to close loopholes allowing online retailers to avoid collecting and paying sales tax. Frueh and Gast are sharing their stories about the effect of that loophole on their businesses’ ability to compete. Both have lost thousands of dollars in sales to competitors who start out with the ability to charge close to 7 percent less just because they do not have to pay sales tax.

The act recently received overwhelming bipartisan support in the Senate when voted on as an amendment to the Senate budget resolution. They are now asking members of the House, including Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Urbana, to do the same.

“The bipartisan support the Senate showed was very encouraging, so it feels like we have the wind at our back on this very important issue. However, we can’t let up our guard,” Frueh said during the trip. “It’s been a long road to this point, and there’s still a ways to go. That’s why we’ve come here today to ask our representatives in Congress for their leadership on e-fairness.”

MHCO launches $1 million renovation

BLUFFTON — Mennonite Home Communities of Ohio of Bluffton has launched a nine-month renovation project at the Mennonite Memorial Home campus main building.

“The $1 million project will create a state-of-the-art Rehabilitation and Wellness Center focusing on patients with short-term needs,” said Laura Voth, MHCO chief operating officer.

The renovation includes converting semi-private rooms to private rooms for short-term rehabilitation stays; adding private showers, a whirlpool spa tub, two new dining and lounge areas, a physical and occupational therapy room; updating aesthetics and lighting; and installing a new 350-kilowatt generator.

For project updates visit or follow the progress at

Linde Gas joins SESA

LIMA — Now in its 24th year, the Science Enhancement for Science Advancement program continues to bring the excitement of science to Allen County classrooms. Now, another industry partner, Linde Gas of North America, has joined the program.

SESA is a partnership between local industries and Allen County schools. Funded by Ashland, Husky Lima Refinery, INEOS, Ft. Amanda Specialties, PotashCorp and now Linde Gas, SESA hires a teacher-in-residence to coordinate the program. The teacher develops science lessons that align with the schools’ curriculum and then recruits engineers and employees from each business to present the lessons in the classrooms.

“This program is a win-win for everyone involved,” says Zach Streeter, Lima cluster manager for Linde Gas. “The students get a chance to experience some exciting hands-on science in the classroom, and the supporting businesses are encouraging a future workforce needed in our highly technical industries.”

Brian Rockhold, Allen County Educational Services Center superintendent, applauded SESA for its long-term commitment to students, saying the program is a perfect example of education and industry working to improve students’ lives.

The SESA program presents about 200 classroom sessions each school year throughout the county and has affected more than 274,000 students over its lifetime.

Beauty supply store to open

LIMA — Aniyas Beauty Supply LLC will hold a ribbon cutting and grand opening at 11:30 a.m. Thursday at its store, 225 S. Pine St.

The Lima/Allen County Chamber of Commerce will sponsor the event, which includes a ribbon cutting at 11:30 a.m. and grand opening from noon to 3 p.m.

Aniyas Beauty Supply LLC is locally owned and operated by Frederic Anton Nichols. Aniyas Beauty Supply LLC will offer top-of-the-line beauty products at a reasonable price. For information about the store, call 419-221-3664.

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