Celebrating Our Spirit: Media landscape continues to grow

LIMA — Outsiders may not know it, but the Lima region is flush with media and marketing professionals.

From recording studios to communications experts to the city’s own comic book store, these businesses show that there is a dedicated industry behind media professionals.

“Everybody here wants to be creative and make cool stuff, but then also have an impact,” said Cory Ridenour, founder and owner of Modo Media, 121 W. High St., Suite 1004, Lima. “People might see something we made, and they might get the help that they need from the mental health board, or they might walk into the library for the first time, and it opens up a whole world to them that they didn’t know existed. They might see a show at the Civic Center. “

Jessika Phillips, founder of NOW Marketing Group, 226 N. Main St., Lima, added, “By helping others grow their business and by helping people find their purpose and what their call is and giving them an environment to drive is impacting the world on a bigger scale and showing that business can be done the right way. Creating a good environment is important. It may take a little bit longer to get there, but it’s more sustainable and profitable at the end of the day.”

The pandemic may have been an unforeseen occurrence for NOW and Modo when they set up shop in Lima in 2010 and 2011, respectively. But with businesses suddenly needing help with advertising their value when the shutdowns were threatening the economy, the past few years turned out to be some of the marketing groups’ strongest.

Both companies have plenty of recognition from before that to their credit, including Modo’s Emerging Business of the Year from the Lima/Allen County Chamber of Commerce in 2015 and NOW’s selection as the Chamber’s 2018 Woman-Owned Business of the Year.

It takes more than just marketing experts to create a media industry in Lima.

Alter Ego Comics, 230 N. Main St., Lima, has been around since 2003, and founder Marc Bowker said that it was important to him, as a consumer of comics, to start the shop, first as an online enterprise and eventually as a physical storefront.

“If you want to get really technical about it, you could say that the first cave paintings were comics in a way,” he said. “It’s a form of storytelling that has been around for a long time, and people say it’s a uniquely American form of storytelling. So to be able to have a pop culture headquarters where people who are enjoying these characters on the big screen can come in and have a local resource that isn’t just a big-box store and has a staff that is passionate about the stories and the characters is awesome.”

Jason Henderson, who owns S.U.N.E. Records, 1174 W. North St., Lima, said that although he is not a creator who is just interested in the music, he takes his work as a producer and studio manager, which he has been doing since the 1990s, seriously and passionately.

“I’m glad to see both sides of the generations,” he said about the diversity of artists who book his space. “It interests me, and I love being around younger people that are doing it because I learn stuff to this day. I’m not stuck on one side of real instruments vs. computers. I’m not a teacher per se, but I’m a learner and an explorer of music, and I love it.”

Bowker added that it gives him pride to see a range of customers taking an interest in the books he sells and that he would have never gotten that out of remaining an online-only venture.

“I feel kind of a responsibility to our customers and to the community,” he said. “But also it comes very naturally. I could have stayed a home-based business and never opened a brick-and-mortar location. But I needed that personal interaction and to be able to introduce people to these characters, it made it really clear to me that there was this huge untapped market of people who know them from everything except comic books. And that’s why we’re here.”

Henderson had similar thoughts on the impact that his studio brings to the world.

“Music, in general, is a basis to touch the world,” he said. “It gives a place for people to open up and to explore their spiritual side without knowing how to say it. I love being involved in the creative process of that.”

If energy comes from our music, our writing and our relationships with people, then Lima’s media industry has it set up well for the future.


Plenty of foods, items and ideas are created right here in the Lima region. Celebrating Our Spirit looks at those organizations that make the area such a vibrant place to live, work and play.

Read more stories at LimaOhio.com/tag/spirit.

Reach Jacob Espinosa at 567-242-0399.