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In January, Dennis Plamondon, former director of cultivation at Cresco Labs in Yellow Springs, stood before some of the first crop of cannabis harvested a few days before Christmas 2018. (Photo by Gary McBride)

2019 Year in Review: Business

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On Jan. 5, Indian food truck Aahar India, located next to the Corner Cone at 101 S. Walnut St., burned in a grease fire. No one was injured, but the food trailer was destroyed. Owner Akhilesh Nigam resolved to rebuild; thanks in part to donations from area residents, he reopened the take-out business in a newly purchased trailer in April.

After its inaugural harvest in December 2018, Cresco Labs began selling its first medical marijuana product — known as “flower” and designed for use with a vaporization device — in Ohio dispensaries early this year. But in February, the company learned that it had not been awarded an Ohio processing license, needed for the manufacture of pills, oils, infused products and edibles. The Yellow Springs facility, located at 1130 Springs Way on the former Center for Business and Eductaion, or CBE, property, has been planned as a cultivation and processing facility, with an envisioned 50,000 square feet and up to 125 employees. Cresco appealed the state decision in the spring; as of this writing, the Ohio Department of Commerce had not returned a decision on the appeal.

Young’s Dairy, located on Route 68 just north of Yellow Springs, celebrated 150 years of its farm operation and 60 years of its retail operation in January.

Also in January, Town Drug was purchased by Benzer Pharmacy network, a pharmacy chain headquartered in Florida. Concerns over the pharmacy’s ability to fulfill prescriptions came to light this fall, with the company citing wholesaler issues. At year’s end, the store’s regional manager said the problems were being addressed and a new wholesaler had been contracted. The News will have an update in the new year.

In February, Millworks’ new owners, Jessica Yamamoto and Antonio Molina, publicly presented their conceptual plans to reinvent the local business park at 305 N. Walnut St. “Maker spaces,” a community kitchen, a hostel, a children’s museum and more, as well as an expansion of anchor tenant Yellow Springs Brewery, are envisioned for the longtime industrial space. As part of the plan, Millworks sought and received rezoning on the property, from industrial to planned unit development, or PUD, which allows for a greater variety of uses. Council passed the rezoning April 1. Some local residents expressed concern about aspects of the new plan, including the fact that the leases of two existing tenants, S&G Distillery and EnviroFlight, were not renewed. S&G Distillery closed at the end of this year, while EnviroFlight is weighing its options for relocating its “insect farming” research and development facility to the former CBE site or sites outside of Yellow Springs.

The News reported in March on the launch of The Can Hand, a hands-free beverage coozie, by local entrepreneur Jon Horvath.

Ertel Publishing left Yellow Springs in March. Founder Patrick Ertel sold the 30-year-old custom publisher to employees in 2017, and the new owners relocated the business to Xenia. Ertel’s longtime headquarters at 506 S. High St. was bought by local resident Mark Obstalecki in April, with a plan to lease office space.

New eatery Greene Canteen officially opened April 20 at 134 Dayton St. Owned by villagers Brittany and Tim Baum, the brightly decorated spot offers smoothies, juices and light fare, made fresh on site. At opening, the business employed 10 people, most of whom live in Yellow Springs.

In May, Suzanne Szempruch became advertising manager and the newest co-owner of the Yellow Springs News, following the departure of Robert Hasek. Szempruch has worked at the News for eight years.

Awaken Essential Oils, owned by licensed aromatherapist Stefanie Palmer, opened in June at 213 Xenia Ave., Suite 3. The business sells a wide array of essential oils and aromatherapy products.

Yellow Springer Tees & Promotions at 255 Xenia Ave. opened in June. Owned by father-daughter team Mark and Morgan Heise, the business offers custom T-shirts, hats, mugs and other promotional items.

In September, Ha Ha Pizza owner B.J. Walters announced that he was looking for a local buyer for the 44-year-old pizzeria, started by three Antioch College students in 1975. Walters has owned the iconic spot since 2005, and said he was ready to pass it on.

The News reported in November that Yellow Springs native Ben Miller had launched a new lawn care business, Yellow Springs Lawn Care.

On Nov. 26, Cresco Labs announced it was selling its Yellow Springs property in a sale-and-leaseback deal that would realize cash for the Chicago-based cannabis company, which is expanding into new medical and recreational marijuana markets. Company officials said the sale would not affect the company’s Yellow Springs operations. Cresco will continue as the local business owner, and lease its facility back from the new property owner, Innovative Industrial Properties of San Diego. Cresco employs about 50 people in the area, with another dozen jobs being advertised.

Yellow Springs food trucks were subject to local enforcement of new Ohio fire code rules this fall. The village’s two stationary food trucks, Aahar India and Miguel’s Tacos, were inspected under the new rules in November.

Also in November, Yellow Springs Brewery, owned by Nate Cornett and Lisa Wolters, solidified plans for a new space for private beer tastings, brewing and storage at 1475 Xenia Ave.

And in December, Trail Town Brewing at 101 Corry St. moved closer to launch. Owner Jake Brummett said he hoped to open the brew pub in March 2020, following delays due to extensive interior remodeling. Meanwhile, Brian Rainey’s Caribbean eatery Calypso Grill at 1535 Xenia Ave. made plans to open a new outdoor patio this spring.

—Audrey Hackett


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