Tipp City non-profit works tirelessly to showcase the best that downtown Tipp City has to offer

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Though the historical charm of downtown Tipp City seems effortless, as it turns out, there is a bit of effort put into creating that ambiance.

These efforts, in large part, are carried out by the Downtown Tipp City Partnership, a group of talented individuals who are passionate about promoting and preserving the historical portion of downtown Tipp City.

Since 2007, the Downtown Tipp City Partnership has worked to promote the businesses and organizations that exist within the downtown Tipp City area — also known as the area between the railroad tracks and canal. The partnership has also been the creative genius behind most of the popular events that take place in downtown Tipp City, like the Yuletide Winter’s Gathering and Harvest Beer Crawl.

Just a month before the coronavirus pandemic shut down the country, Kim Bulgin was hired as the executive director of the Downtown Tipp City Partnership. Previously, Bulgin, an 11-year resident of Tipp City, served as an Executive Assistant to the director of the Tipp City Chamber of Commerce. Despite the fact that her new role was handed over at a decidedly inopportune time, Bulgin was determined to still do her very best to bring prosperity to downtown Tipp City. She works alongside board members Lisa Santucci, Corey Vaughn, Andi Trzeciak, Kristen Bayliff, Jessica Brown, Amanda Carl, Teanna Lambert, Katie Sonnanstine, Brandon Cox, Carla Ungerecht and Heather Wendel.

Credit: Kim Bulgin

Credit: Kim Bulgin

“I was not prepared for a global pandemic,” said Bulgin. After being hired, my mind just wouldn’t rest. I was like, ‘What can I do?,’ ‘How can I help these businesses?’ This is a new position for me and the pressure is on me. People are looking at me to take action. So, I kept trying to think outside of the box. What can I do that someone else isn’t doing? What can we do that we haven’t done before?"

After becoming the executive director of the partnership, Bulgin immediately sprang into action, setting out to reacquaint the community with the businesses, people and things that define the downtown Tipp City area. She did this by reinvigorating the partnership’s social media presence and working harder to engage with members of the community and outsiders who might have an interest in visiting the charming historical district.

The rebranding of the Downtown Tipp City Partnership also included the creation of a new logo (which Bulgin created) and sign that hung outside of the partnership’s office.

Bulgin also made it her mission to introduce herself to every business owner in the downtown historical district. To further highlight all of the businesses in the downtown area, Bulgin instituted a new series, called the Monday Membership Spotlight, in which Bulgin and her team post a video on the partnership’s Facebook page, highlighting a business in the downtown area.

“So, I created the Monday Membership Spotlight,” said Bulgin. “And so every Monday, I highlight and spotlight a business. I act as if nobody even knows about them, even if they’re one of our most popular businesses down the road. I tell that to act as if nobody knows who they are, because we’re going to share all these things and we’re we’re going to tell their story. If you don’t tell your story, then nobody will know. So far, the feedback has been great.”

Bulgin and her team have also been busy highlighting new businesses that have opened in the past few months, like Chaffee’s Brewhouse, Yoga Barre & Co., Sweet Adaline’s Bakery and Always Blooming. Especially amid the coronavirus pandemic, the work that Bulgin’s team does to bring awareness to these small businesses is especially crucial.

Credit: Downtown Tipp City Partnership

Credit: Downtown Tipp City Partnership

Immediately, after COVID-19 proved to be an economic burden to the small businesses in the downtown area, Bulgin and her team sprang into action, working with the Tipp City Foundation and Troy Foundation to create the COVID-19 Relief Fund. The foundations were able to raise over $30,000 to hand out to local businesses within the downtown area that applied to receive economic aid. The deadline for downtown businesses to apply for relief is Oct. 31 and each business that qualifies will receive an equal portion of the money raised.

“I just started reaching out to people I knew personally,” said Bulgin. “I actually scheduled a video and had a friend from a local station come out and do a drone video and an interview. He interviewed me and some of our downtown merchants, basically saying that this is what we need to survive. Please help if you can. So, we created the relief fund. In conjunction with the Tipp City Foundation, we raised well over $30,000. Though it doesn’t seem like a lot of money, during a shutdown and pandemic, it’s amazing that people would still be willing to give, not knowing what the future was holding."

The Downtown Tipp City Partnership was also behind the brand new DORA (Designated Outdoor Refreshment Area) program. Essentially, the DORA program allows designated businesses to sell their alcoholic beverages in to-go cups and customers would be permitted to walk around in the downtown area, within the limits of the accompanying signage posted, with their drinks in hand. According to Bulgin, the implementation of the DORA program was supported by the vast majority of the community and local businesses.

So far, the program has brought plenty of business to the downtown area. In fact, so much so that Bulgin and her team applied for and received a grant from United Way of Miami County for tables and chairs to be placed outside so that customers can have a place to sit while consuming drinks or food in the downtown area. Currently, the partnership is in the process of filing for another grant to purchase outdoor heaters for the space.

In the coming months, the Downtown Tipp City Partnership will also be hosting a number of events. This week, the partnership will be hosting a COVID-friendly version of the Yuletide Winter’s Gathering from Nov. 10-15.

For more information about all that the Downtown Tipp City Partnership does for the preservation and promotion of the downtown Tipp City area, pay a visit to their website or Facebook page.

About the Author