BLUFFTON — The owners of Greenhorn Restaurant in Bluffton were awarded $3,000 in business plan reimbursement funds Wednesday evening after being named the first-place finisher in the Bluffton Center for Entrepreneurs’ 2020 Ropp Triplett Business Plan competition.
Rob Bell and Jonah Agner are the co-owners of the Bluffton business that opened its doors briefly before the COVID-19 pandemic forced it and other restaurants to shutter in keeping with stay-at-home orders by Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine.
The business plan authored by Bell and Agner was recognized at the annual BCE awards ceremony — held this year by video conferencing — as the best of nine contestants in this year’s program. Bell said writing the business plan “was a challenge, but it was a great experience.”
“We are really honored to be a part of this process,” Agner added. “I’m so glad Bob and I had this discussion. This was a great class and a wonderful process. I knew it would be advantageous for our business.”
Agner said the Bluffton community embraced the new business before the COVID-19 hit “and we’re really excited to blow the doors off once we all get through this together.”
A second-place cash award of $2,000 was presented by the BCE to Courtney Mumaugh for her business plan for the Little Monkey Kitchen, an allergy-friendly home bakery in Fort Jennings.
Taking home the third-place $1,000 stipend was Neli Metgzer, owner of Touch of Europe bakery in Lima.
Other finalists in the business plan competition were Amanda Wischmeyer of The Blue Heron at Little Riley Creek Farm; Jerry Tripp and Brad Fruchey of Bluffton Riley Creek Farm; digital marketer Wesley Lear, Liz Gordon-Hancock of FGHG LLC commercial & residential rentals, Pete Macke of Ottawa Odd Jobs and Amber Moore of Party with a Princess.
Dave Stratton of Allen Economic Development Group congratulated the winners. He said 99% of the 28.7 million firms in the United States meet the definition of small businesses. He said 88% of those companies have fewer than 20 employees and 40% have annual incomes of under $100,000.
“Small businesses are the heartbeat of what’s taking place in Allen County. We’re proud to be associated with small businesses,” Stratton said. “To the winners, it is our hope that you take this to another level with your business.”
Paula Scott, executive director of the Bluffton Center for Entrepreneurs, said delays associated with the COVID-19 virus were met and overcome by participants and program leaders alike.
“I’d like to thank all the contestants for being so flexible, patient and innovative,” Scott said.