Our Daytonian of the Week promotes and preserves charming, historical downtown

Kim Bulgin with the Downtown Tipp City Partnership pictured during The Downtown Tipp City Harvest Beer Crawl on Friday, October 2, 2020. TOM GILLIAM/CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER
Kim Bulgin with the Downtown Tipp City Partnership pictured during The Downtown Tipp City Harvest Beer Crawl on Friday, October 2, 2020. TOM GILLIAM/CONTRIBUTING PHOTOGRAPHER

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Just a month before the coronavirus shutdown, the Downtown Tipp City Partnership, a non-profit organization that works to promote and preserve the city’s downtown area, gained a new leader. This new leader — unaware of all the challenges that she would face in just a month’s time — was excited to work with the businesses and people that make her town one of the most charming destinations in the area.

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Kim Bulgin, the executive director of the Downtown Tipp City Partnership, has worked tirelessly in the past few months to ensure that every business in downtown Tipp City has the right tools to succeed and prosper. Along with her dedicated team, Bulgin has worked to reinvigorate the downtown area — even in the middle of a global pandemic.

In her own words, our Daytonian of the Week describes her love story with Tipp City, and how that love has pushed her to preserve the charm instilled in every inch of the historical downtown.

Kim Bulgin, the executive director of the Downtown Tipp City Partnership.
Kim Bulgin, the executive director of the Downtown Tipp City Partnership.

Credit: Kim Bulgin

Credit: Kim Bulgin

Tell us about your background. What has led you to this point in your career?

I went to school to become an Early Childhood Educator. My dream was to have as many children as possible, so what better way to achieve that than become a teacher where you are surrounded by nothing but children? Once I started a family of my own, those dreams changed and I wanted to stay home and raise my own children. After staying home for several years, I entered back into the workforce. I started part-time at the Tipp City Chamber of Commerce, which really helped to set me up for my current position. I was able to network with the same people who are a part of the Downtown Tipp City Partnership and our community.

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How long have you been involved with the Downtown Tipp City Partnership? What do you love about your job?

I have been a part of the DTCP since February of this year. What I love most is building relationships. I am a people-person for sure. I also love serving others and making a difference.

Kim Bulgin of the Downtown Tipp City Partnership posing with a check that is helping to preserve an historical area home.
Kim Bulgin (left) of the Downtown Tipp City Partnership posing with a check that is helping to preserve a historical area home.

Credit: Downtown Tipp City Partnership

Credit: Downtown Tipp City Partnership

How are you helping the Tipp community through your position at the Downtown Tipp City Partnership? In what ways is this work fulfilling for you?

I hope I am helping the community by bringing people together. I want to create an experience for folks when they visit Tipp City. I want to help enhance, promote and preserve our historical downtown. History is important, and I wish I would have realized that in school...but that’s for another day. Working for a non-profit organization is so fulfilling. The days are long, but when you know you did your best in trying to help as many people as possible, it’s worth it.

What projects/accomplishments (whether personal or professional) are you especially proud that you’ve accomplished?

I am especially proud of the fact that I even took the leap of faith to apply for this position. After being a stay-at-home mom for several years and only being back in the workforce for a year and a half, I did not feel qualified. I only applied so my husband would stop asking me if I had applied yet! I’m glad I was wrong. I’m so thankful he saw the potential in me that I didn’t see in myself. He is my biggest supporter.

Are you involved in the Tipp community in any other way, aside from your work at the DTCP?

Yes, we live in Tipp. We attend Victory Church in Tipp (who has an amazing community outreach), and they do a lot for Tipp City and we are a part of that. I shop and eat in Tipp. I volunteer in the schools and as a coach for my kids' sports teams in Tipp. Everything we do is basically in Tipp.

Members of the Downtown Tipp City Mum Hop volunteer at the Downtown Tipp Mum Hop event.
Members of the Downtown Tipp City Mum Hop volunteer at the Downtown Tipp Mum Hop event.

Credit: Tom Gilliam

Credit: Tom Gilliam

What’s been your most recent professional challenge, and how did you push through the challenge?

My most recent challenge has obviously been learning a new job during a global pandemic. I sought out advice from my fellow Main Street directors, board members, friends and family. I do not have all the answers and I hope I never do. I enjoy learning new things, and so I soak up the knowledge and wisdom of those who are where I want to be.

How have you had to pivot professionally to cope with challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic?

I have had to pivot and then pivot again. Sometimes I feel like I’m spinning in circles. This pandemic is shaking everyone to their core. Just when you think you are on to something, it’s time to pivot again. It’s a good thing I played sports growing up. I learned to pivot early on. I once heard someone say, “Thou shall be flexible?” and that hit me hard. That is what it is all about. You just have to be flexible and think outside the box. I try to think about things that no one else has thought about yet. I don’t panic until I have to.

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What are your favorite places to grab a bite to eat in Tipp City?

Oh, there are so many good places to choose from in Tipp. Honestly, it depends on what I am in the mood for that day. When I’m craving barbecue, Hickory River hits the spot! You can find me at Dos Lunas on Taco Tuesday, because who doesn’t love Mexican food? My date night choice would be Greenfire Fresh or Coldwater Cafe (that was where I went on my first date with my husband). I love grabbing the brown bag lunches from Bodega during my busy work week, breakfast from Sam & Ethels with my family on the weekends and I often crave the ranch dressing (seriously, what do they put in that stuff? It’s to die for!) and cornbread muffins from Harrison’s Restaurant.

What is the perfect afternoon itinerary for a trip through downtown Tipp City?

The perfect itinerary for a trip to Tipp would be having lunch or dinner at one of our fabulous dining facilities, then strolling up and down Main Street exploring all that our wonderful shops have to offer.

What inspires you about Tipp City?

I have a confession to make. I moved to Tipp City over 11 years ago because it reminded me of a town in a Hallmark movie. I am Christmas-crazy and this charming town gives me all the feels. Seriously, what is there not to love about Tipp City? What inspires me most is the city’s history and people.

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