Can you believe it’s September?  Think about a ‘normal’ September vs this ‘new normal’ one. Labor Day, Back to School, all kinds of in-person fall events like Octoberfest, all-inclusive county fairs, city-wide garage sales – all included in ‘normal’…but not so much in the ‘new normal.”

The same goes for running a business in the COVID-19 environment—It’s NOT normal.  There are re-opening requirements for in-store businesses – things you need to do to make your employees and your customers safe and it is important to tell people what you have done to make them safe. In the ‘new normal’ there is much more emphasis on virtual communication through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin, websites, etc. You can communicate efficiently and cost effectively through social media postings. So, if you are not using social media regularly, or you don’t know how to get started, give us a call and we will help you get started.

Below is some information about posting on social media that Christina R. Metcalf shared with NOACC – the Northeast Ohio Area Chamber of Commerce.

How to Update your Social Media Posts During COVID
People access social media to be entertained, inspired, and educated. And there certainly is a lot of “education” going around. People are growing fatigued by bombastic opinion posts. Instead, you might want to consider posting entertaining and inspiring content. This pandemic and time of protest have been stressful. People go online these days to escape more than ever. Take that into account when creating content for your audience right now. If you do, they're more likely to share your content and stick around to see what you have going on.
You may want to post content that:
  • Makes people laugh. Look for (or create) posts that nearly everyone can identify with.   The more people the post applies to, the more shares you'll receive.
  • Makes people nod their heads. Again, in this contentious time, you want to build consensus. Look for content that does that.
  • Helps people see who you are. For instance, if you are a dog lover share photos and stories of your dog. If you adore cooking, share recipes and cooking ideas occasionally. You are more than just y our business and that's what people will connect with.
  • Shows we're in it together. Show them that you understand. For instance, if you want people wearing masks in your business, share pictures of you and your staff wearing them. Host a creative mask contest. Post the prettiest mask you've seen all day. Look for ways to help people feel good about the bad things that are going on.
  • Causes people to smile. Post the types of things that make people smile. These could include a beautiful rainbow outside of your business, an embarrassing story that happened to you yesterday, or a nice thing a customer shared with you. Share things that make your audience want to get to know you better and/or come back to see the types of things you post in the future.
  • They should not be sales posts, but they should show how you changed your business model to make life easier for your customers. Focus on ease, safety, and what's in it for them. Sometimes people are just looking for the easiest way to spend money. If you provide it, you'll be the one they give the money to. 

New Businesses in Oberlin
Make sure you don a mask and visit three new Oberlin downtown businesses. We are offering grand opening  celebrations on Facebook Live this month. Evie Lou Oberlin (ELO) - located where Bead Paradise was on West College Street - is excited to be in Oberlin and provide some chic clothing, accessories, etc. for residents and visitors. The Arb, located where Cobbler Candle was on West College St., will feature a  juice bar, salads, sandwiches, desserts and a place to ‘hang out.’ The HOPE Collection located where Cowhaus Creamery was  on East College Street, features a selection of handmade clothing, accessories, jewelry, etc. from Ecuador and elsewhere. Francesca Barbee, an Oberlin College Alumna, is excited to welcome you to her store.
  • On the homepage are links to COVID-19 information and resources. 
  • Click on ‘Expect the Unexpected’ for info on shopping local – store hours, contact information, payment options, COVID-19 services, etc. 
  • Two calendars provide information on what is happening – the Community Calendar which represents many organizations in Oberlin and the OBP and CoWork Oberlin Calendar for business programs and events. 
  • Experience Oberlin features a flip-book of the Oberlin Community Magazine, videos of Oberlin, and highlights of the many diverse aspects of life in Oberlin.  
  • You can easily purchase Oberlin Gift Certificates online.
  • The ‘About Us’ section lists information about OBP– our vision, mission, values, governance. You can meet our Board of Trustees and staff here, too.
  • You can become a member, join a volunteer team, link to local and regional business resources.
  • STILL TO COME: A jobs board and a deals page are in development.

AND, don’t forget to visit and like the OBP Facebook page where we post lots of info about Oberlin and doing business in Oberlin.
Sid Comings
Our volunteer for the month is long-time community member Sid Comings. Sid has taken care of the tree bed near the Oberlin Bookstore for the last three seasons. The shutdown made it harder to plant this year, but he has continued to weed it and looks forward to continuing taking care of it in the spring of 2021. The area has special meaning for him since his family used to own and run the bookstore in that location before Bill Long opened it as the Co-op Bookstore in the 50s. Sid is also a big fan of the conservatory, also located near his flower bed, and last year planted black petunias and white ones to represent piano keys. 

When asked why he volunteers for OBP and specifically in our Keep Oberlin Beautiful program, Sid responded that he enjoys making people happy. One time when he was working on the bed, a student came out of the conservatory and just stared at the flowers in a meditative way. That’s what makes it meaningful to Sid. He did also make a point of saying that several friends have helped him too with donating the plants and assisting with the planting. 

Sid loves to talk about Oberlin and is a great resource for Oberlin history. He has given several talks as part of the Kendal at Oberlin Tuesday evening series. You can ask him anything about Oberlin baseball or jazz! He enjoys being involved in the community, so much that he has even been Santa Claus and rode into town on the cherry picker of the firetruck. Sid, who grew up in Oberlin and graduated from the college, is interested in ways the town and college can work together. 
Larry Funk, OBP Board of Directors President
I sat down with Larry to ask him a few questions that I hope will help readers know him a little better.

1)    Tell me a little bit about your business.
I have been self-employed since 1976 when I purchased an existing bicycle shop and turned it into the Bicycle Emporium. Later I started buying apartment buildings and finally storage facilities which is the core of my business today. Larry owns 58 Storage on S. Main Street in Oberlin in addition to several storage facilities in other cities.
2)    What are your interests, passions, things we should know about you.
I have always had an interest in automobile racing. That interest led me to race my own car as well as drive for others in a variety of cars and road racing series. Currently I compete in the Trans Am Road racing series driving a Ford Mustang FP3505.
3)    Why did you volunteer to be a board of trustees’ member?
I am a lifelong resident of Oberlin and believe it is important for residents to give back to the communities in which they reside. Over the years I have served on boards of various previous iterations of OBP in addition to other boards and commissions in the City.
4)    What have you learned through your board involvement?
Since I have been on the Board of OBP and its predecessors’ multiple times, it is clear I enjoy it. I appreciate the different styles and opinions around the board table. I now know how to better apply business knowledge to a nonprofit.
5)    Would you encourage others to become involved as a board member, committee member, program or event volunteer?  If so, why?
It’s great to meet and work with people who love Oberlin and want to try and make it even better.
6)    What is one piece of advice or input you would like to share with our readers?
Take the time to volunteer for an organization or a cause you feel strongly about. You will benefit and so will the organization.
Look here every month for OBP and CoWork Oberlin events and programs. Even though it might be too late to sign up this month, we will make sure you have time to sign up in the future.
September 10, 9–10 am
Register here to receive a ZOOM link
Join us on the 2nd Tuesday of every month
To receive monthly invitations, send your email to
We had fun last month hearing what everyone is up to and how people are managing to ‘keep on keeping on’ during our challenging times – how people have been pivoting to the ‘new normal.’

We will have a special presentation by the Oberlin Human Relations Commission for the 30th anniversary of the American’s with Disability Act. Katie Allen and Tony Wilgus will be the presenters.

We will challenge you with the riddle of the day and leave you with a couple of jokes you can share with your children and grandchildren.
Ready to fall in love with marketing your business? 
The Lorain County Small Business Development Center (SBDC) and OBP are partnering to present the next BOOK YOURSELF SOLID workshop beginning Wednesday, September 30, 2020 – 5:30-7:30 p.m. for six weeks. The workshop is presented at NO cost to you. Click here more information and to register.

Does this sound like you?  You know how important marketing is to your business. You probably even have a marketing “to do” list. However, you may be thinking that you don’t know how; can’t find the time; get a little (or a lot) nervous when you think about trying to “sell” your services; think your perfect clients or customers are MIA or hiding out; aren’t sure how you are going to make a great living doing what you love.

Wouldn’t it be great to know exactly how to attract all the business you want?  How would you feel if you had all the clients you needed  AND were making the money you deserve?  Our 6-week BOOK YOURSELF SOLID® program will help you identify your target market; create a sizzling brand; provide your services profitably; and develop a SYSTEM for marketing your business!
Here are some recent comments from attendees:

Megan Apple’s Book Yourself Solid Workshop has helped me clarify the goals for my business, helped me chart a clear path towards reaching those goals, and helped me think creatively about how to thrive in these unpredictable times. Her generosity and creativity are just outstanding. The best business workshop series I’ve gone too. I can’t recommend her enough. Nancy Darling

The BYS (Book Yourself Solid) workshop hosted by Megan Apple was a great additional tool to help me think through the steps I needed to take to advance my business. Megan kept me on my toes, helping me with my thought processes and defining actual steps to work on every week. She and the program continue to help me with my long-term goals!
2020/2021 Presenters include:
Stephanie Mehta, Editor-in-Chief of Fast Company
Abby Wambach, Women’s Soccer Legend, Founder, Wolfpack Endeavor
Radha Agrawal, Author, Entrepreneur, and Co-Founder/CEO of Daybreaker
Bonnie St. John, Paralympian, Best-Selling Author and Business Consultant
Tiffany Dufu, Former Chief Leadership Officer-Levo, Founder/CEO of The Cru
Randi Zuckerberg, CEO of Zuckerberg Media, Former Director Facebook Market Development
If you are interested in learning more, email and 
by Megan Apple
At CoWork Oberlin powered by obp | PositivelyOberlin! we provide you the tools you need to thrive and succeed, even in this economically challenging time. Visit our Facebook page and our website to stay up-to-date on programs and activities.

CoWork Oberlin (CWO) is a growing community of independent professionals and freelancers. Contact Megan Apple for information  
Learn more about CoWork Oberlin at  
Kathy Perales, Attorney and CoWork Member
Each month we will be highlighting a member of CoWork Oberlin. Here’s my interview with Kathy Perales, a solo attorney working with intellectual property.

My new favorite mask has periodic table elements on it. I love all cool new discoveries, improvements and figuring out how and why things work. Math and chemistry are definitely two of my favorite subjects. Though I haven’t invented anything myself, I like to brainstorm, document and meticulously describe how to make and do things. I think my practice is “where artistic creativity meets scientific innovation.”

I help people avoid conflict by knowing their rights and value, and not letting others take advantage of them. We’re always talking about cost/benefit and risk/reward analysis. It’s fun to pick apart and refute opposing arguments on behalf of my clients. I can help people avoid getting into trouble from copying things (on purpose or inadvertently). I also help form businesses, both for profit and nonprofit, and I have experience in helping nonprofits attain tax-exempt status with the IRS (510c3).

CoWork Oberlin is the perfect place for my office. Confidentiality is sometimes very important in my line of work. I have a private office where I can work quietly, talk on the phone without bothering others, print documents, and use the high-speed internet for research, court filings and videoconferences. There are multiple options for me to meet with clients – small conference room, large conference room with a large smart screen, coffee/tea/water readily available; or we can just sit in the comfy chairs and couch in the sitting area. It’s easy to give directions and has plenty of parking. I can bike to work on a nice day. The other office holders and CoWork members are friendly and helpful and keep appropriate boundaries. The gladiolus I planted in the fall outside the big windows are finally blooming! It’s nice to be able to go to meetings like Good Morning Oberlin and Lunch and Learns and Industrial Park Roundtable right at my office.

I love cooking and reading both fiction and nonfiction – recent books I enjoyed and recommend are Highfire by Eoin Colfer; Ballots and Bullets: Black Power Politics and Urban Guerrilla Warfare in 1968 Cleveland by James Robenalt; The Awesome Adventures of Amina and Amir; COVID-19 and the 5 Healthy Habits by Professor STEM (Jason Williams.) I support OBP, Oberlin College operas, the LaunchU pitch competition and the Oberlin Heritage Center.
CWO Book Corner:
If you aren’t learning, chances are you aren’t earning either. Part of being a small business owner, independent professional or freelancer is to continue to grow and develop. Books are a great way to do that.

Love is a Killer App by Tim Sanders
Are you wondering what the next killer app will be? Do you want to know how you can maintain and add to your value during these rapidly changing times?  Instead of wondering, read this book and find out how to become a lovecat—a nice, smart person who succeeds in business and in life.

How do you become a lovecat? By sharing your intangibles. In short, you become one of those amazing, outstanding people to whom everyone turns, who leads rather than follows, who never runs out of ideas, contacts, or friendship

About CoWork Oberlin
Many of us have been working from home for what seems like forever. If Zoom fatigue has taken over, our event space has been reconfigured for socially distanced in-person meetings. Let us know you are interested:

Did you know for a mere $7 you can try the CoWork experience for 7 days? We are making the health and safety of our members top priority with a regular cleaning and sanitation. And the coffee, high speed internet, and copying is on us.

As an added service, our resident Business Advisory, Megan Apple, is available to provide focused coaching to help you make things happen and get the results you need. She can be reached at or via phone 216-704-6568 to schedule your free one-hour consultation.

The health, safety and well-being of Oberlin employees, residents and businesses is our highest priority.  Although City buildings are still closed to the public, Oberlin services are still operational.  Please visit for information how to contact City offices, information on services, state of Ohio orders/advisories, assistance options, etc. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter for up to date information!

Oberlin Leaders Address COVID-19 Prevention Strategies: Recently, Oberlin City Manager Rob Hillard, Oberlin College President Carmen Twillie Ambar, Lorain County Public Health Commissioner David Covell and Oberlin College Vice President for Communications Ben Jones recorded a discussion on COVID-19 prevention strategies within the Oberlin community. Questions were submitted from the community. View the video HERE.

Emergency Notification System: Members of the local workforce are encouraged to register for the Wireless Emergency Notification System (WENS).This system is used by the City of Oberlin and Lorain County to alert the community about emergency situations, such as boil alerts, power outages, street closures, weather alerts, etc. Alerts can be received via email, text message and/or voicemail. Register HERE. For more information, contact the Oberlin Fire Department at 440-774-3211 or

Police Department Business Services: Police Department staff offer security inspections at your business upon request to offer advice on ways to make your business more secure.  Patrol Officers also do periodic checks of businesses to ensure security of the property.  Contact the Police Department at 440-774-1061 or to request a security inspection and/or to update your business information, including after-hours contact information, security alarm status, etc.
 Sustainable Transportation Survey: The City of Oberlin is considering a variety of options to provide more sustainable transportation options within the community, including a possible car share program. We want to HEAR YOUR VOICE about creating new modes of transportation!

2020 US Census: There’s still time to complete the 2020 US Census!  For more information, visit:
City of Oberlin COVID-19 Emergency Working Capital Loan Program for Businesses: Loans up to $10,000 at 0% interest for rent/mortgage payments, employee payroll, utility payments, inventory or essential supplies. Must retain one employee, which could be the sole proprietor. See the Program Guidelines or Contact Planning Director Carrie Handy for more information (440-775-7250 or

City of Oberlin Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) COVID-19 Emergency Working Capital Loan Program for Businesses: Loans up to $10,000 at 0% interest for rent/mortgage payments, employee payroll, utility payments, inventory or essential supplies.  Must retain at least 1 low to moderate income job and at least 51% of all employees retained must be low to moderate income. See the Program Guidelines or contact Planning Director Carrie Handy for more information (440-775-7250 or