Candidate Views on Old Worthington

The Old Worthington Partnership is 501c3 non-profit organization led by a volunteer board of directors and a full-time, salaried executive director. The Partnership is dedicated to promoting a sense of community and shared culture, raising awareness of sustainability opportunities, promoting downtown Old Worthington, and supporting other initiatives impacting Old Worthington. The Partnership conducts many activities specifically in service to our mission “to enhance the Old Worthington experience.” Our activities unburden the City of Worthington by creating and sustaining the heart of our vibrant community. The Old Worthington Partnership fills a vital community need by being the one organization dedicated to enhancing the Old Worthington experience.

Because The Partnership works so closely with the City of Worthington to achieve our mission, as well as receive funding in support of our activities, we have a duty to get to know the candidates for City Council. As such, we have put 3 questions that we hope illuminate the 9 candidate's views on our mission and below we have shared their answers. They are listed in alphabetical order.

Sean Demaree
1. What do you believe is the most important aspect of the Old Worthington experience?

A: The feeling that guests and residents get when they shop small town America.  Only it’s Worthington, Ohio and it means a special feeling when they arrive and a special feeling when they leave.  It’s something you want to keep your little secret, but you can’t help telling all of your out-of-town friends.  It’s a shopping experience with a little bit of everything.  A destination location in the heart of America.  The most important aspect of which is…It’s Worthington.
2. What do you envision as a bold enhancement to the Old Worthington experience?
A: The addition of beacon technology so merchants can track where and how customers shop.
3. What is a short-term priority for you related to the Old Worthington experience?
A: Add more parking.  By having the city tear down 46 W. New England and pave it over to add more than 36 parking spots.

Rachel Dorothy
1. What do you believe is the most important aspect of the Old Worthington experience?

A: I believe the most important aspect of the Old Worthington experience is the opportunity to engage with others in our community at unique, locally owned businesses, markets, concerts and festivals, and at our library and community center.  All provide individualized experiences and services in the historic center of Worthington, in a pedestrian-friendly, community-focused environment.   The vibrancy of the downtown attracts us to take part in it.  Seeing people out engaging and dining with one another along High St., listening to music, being able to learn about history strolling along Village Green,  are all activities that draw many people into the area, and why we want to call Worthington home.
2. What do you envision as a bold enhancement to the Old Worthington experience?
Extending the pedestrian and bicycle friendly experience throughout the Historic District from South Street to North Street would be a bold enhancement to the Old Worthington experience. I would do this by adding public art, sculptures and murals, more pedestrian friendly signage about the history of Worthington and the architecturally significant homes and buildings within the Historic District along High St. and into the neighborhood, as appropriate, and include an interactive water feature or splash pad for more active engagement in the Village Green.  Additionally, more benches, gathering locations, and wider sidewalks up and down High St. along with previously mentioned added features would be appropriate to make the whole experience more inspirational and accessible to visitors and the local community for all ages and abilities. 
3. What is a short-term priority for you related to the Old Worthington experience?
A: In the short term, I would prioritize providing bicycle and pedestrian wayfinding signage throughout the City to attract people to downtown using active transportation. These signs would highlight low stress routes from the Olentangy Trail and the neighborhoods into Old Worthington.  This could alleviate some parking troubles, increase activity throughout the City and provide more opportunities for interaction between community members.  Additionally, studies have shown that people who walk or bike to a location tend to spend more time and money there and come back more often, a win, win, win for everyone!

Michael Farley
1. What do you believe is the most important aspect of the Old Worthington experience?
: The diversity of options in dining, activities, and merchants is a key aspect of the Old Worthington experience.  Whether one is looking for fine dining, a quick dessert, or a unique group outing—Old Worthington has something for you.  Worthington is fortunate to have so much variety in a compact area.
2. What do you envision as a bold enhancement to the Old Worthington experience?
A: A bold enhancement would be the incorporation of art—of various mediums—into Old Worthington.  These could be temporary installations that show off local talent or demonstrate Worthington values.
3. What is a short-term priority for you related to the Old Worthington experience?
A: I would like to convene a group focused on the future of Old Worthington.  Not just one year, but several years down the road.  The advent of technology, demographics, and surrounding growth, necessitate a coordinated vision of the future for Old Worthington.

Beth Kowalcyzk
1. What do you believe is the most important aspect of the Old Worthington experience?

A: The most important aspect of the Old Worthington experience is something it shares with the rest of the city - a sense of community.  Old Worthington is where our community can actually come together and share experiences.  There are so many ways the community comes together in downtown Worthington: shopping and dining in downtown Worthington, attending the Farmers Market and other events; perusing the Old Worthington Library, enjoying entertainment and participating on the events on the Green, and many others.  Old Worthington, in the center of town, is walkable, easy to get to and is a natural gathering place. It is a part of the Worthington identity and is one of the things that makes Worthington unique.
2. What do you envision as a bold enhancement to the Old Worthington experience?  
A: A bold enhancement could be to assess the livability of the neighborhood for all ages (e.g. sidewalks, safe streets, accessible buildings, transportation options) and identify ways that we can make improvements so that everyone can take advantage of the Old Worthington experience. Livability is a high-level performance measure of neighborhood design factors that are critical to high quality of life for people of all ages. The two largest generations in our nation’s history are millennials and baby boomers.  Both groups have the same interests in terms of a livable community. As reported by the AARP Livable Communities Initiative: “Livable Communities are good for people and good for business. They are places where Americans increasingly want to live, work and play. Whether a person is young or old, starting a family or a business, Livable Communities provide a host of appealing advantages that enhance the quality of life of residents, the economic prospects of businesses and the bottom lines of local governments.”  Exploring how to enhance Worthington’s livability would be an innovative approach to looking holistically at the well-being of our community now and into the future.
3. What is a short-term priority for you related to the Old Worthington experience?  
A: My short-term priority would be to initiate a process that would enable the city to assess the livability of Old Worthington so that its experiences are able to be shared by all ages.  Ideally, this process could be replicated throughout the city.  See answer to question #2.

Scott Myers
1. What do you believe is the most important aspect of the Old Worthington Experience?
The Human Scale.  Graeter’s isn’t just ice cream, its hearing little leaguers laugh.  The Wine House doesn’t just sell wine it invites you to linger and relax.  The Candle Lab has used 21st Century technology to create a very interpersonal experience.  Peace, Love and Little Donuts proves you don’t have to be big to be good.  I have always described Worthington as a front porch not a back yard community.  It’s a place where you know and care for your neighbors and take pride in your block.  I think that kind of attitude is very apparent when new people visit.  That’s why they wished they lived here. 
2. What do you envision as a bold enhancement to the Old Worthington Experience?
Old Worthington has grown organically.  South of New England residential development has become the norm.  North of the Village Green we are seeing new businesses.  Sew-To-Speak, Co Hatch and Pet People are creating new momentum to the north.  My vision is to expand Old Worthington.  I would like to see an environment where someone living in the Masonic Lodge wants to walk to Fresh Thyme because there is so much to do along the way.  
3. What is a short-term priority for you related to the Old Worthington Experience?
The continued funding of the Old Worthington Partnership.  My goal is to foster the growth and development of the Partnership so that it becomes the driver of new innovation in Old Worthington.  Government is very good at plowing snow, building sewers, and keeping our neighborhood safe, and Worthington has a long history of providing exceptional services.  But government is not always the best incubator for new and exciting ideas.  Government, by its very nature, is risk averse.  The private sector, as exemplified by Old Worthington’s entrepreneurs, provides our best chance to see bottom-up leadership create new opportunities.                   

Ian Mykel
1. What do you believe is the most important aspect of the Old Worthington experience? 

A: The shops of Old Worthington offer an immediate sense of destination when people think about visiting Worthington. The storefronts themselves represent the history and culture of Worthington, and making that history more evident can further the sense of connectedness between the city, the shop owners, and the visitors. The history of Worthington is deep and varied, and offers a resource largely untapped for generating interest in the shops and neighborhoods. The look and feel of the store fronts and homes adds an authentic sense of being part of something that has existed for hundreds of years. This feeling of history can be built upon by providing details, stories and interesting facts through digital signatures that can be used to pull people into town to learn about the history, and enhance their own experiences while shopping at and visiting Old Worthington.
2. What do you envision as a bold enhancement to the Old Worthington experience? 
A: I would love to see a stronger digital infrastructure in Worthington that includes city-wide wifi available to stimulate business opportunities, and to create ways to connect people with everything Worthington has to offer. A wi-fi portal can offer information about events and special opportunities, and provide detailed digital information about the history of Worthington, its shops and restaurants, as a unique kind of draw and advertisement. Also, I believe the city should offer internet server space and support to specifically identified local non-profits seeking to increase the visibility and well being of Worthington and its residents, allowing the non-profits to focus on what they do best. This could generate new ways to stimulate interest and traffic from people wanting to be part of the Worthington community which I find to be open and generous. This could further enhance the lives of the residents of Worthington, creating a stronger sense of ownership and responsibility that can further increase property values, draw new businesses, and stimulate creative ways of thinking with a direct promotion of the volunteerism that is already strong in Worthington. 
3. What is a short-term priority for you related to the Old Worthington experience? 
A: I would like to explore all available options to ensure consistent occupation of all the shops in Old Worthington by quality tenants. I would like to look at traffic and parking studies and identify problems that might be addressed in cost-effective ways. I want to be sure the citizens and business owners have positive communication opportunities. And I would like Worthington and the surrounding communities to have the ability to easily access alternative transportation methods to experience everything that Worthington has to offer.

Dave Norstrom
1. What do you believe is the most important aspect of the Old Worthington experience?

A: The most important aspect is ephemeral, the feeling of being in a village where you see friends on a regular basis. And friends can be defined not only in terms of people but can include a bar, a restaurant or a Graeter’s ice cream cone.  Experiential retailing is another factor that is important to the experience.   The new AR Workshop and the Candle Lab are examples.  Other events like a wine tasting dinner, a beer crawl, a Halloween walk with the Historical Society all ad to the experience of Old Worthington.  Outdoor dining as a result of the DORA has also added to the Old Worthington experience.
2. What do you envision as a bold enhancement to the Old Worthington experience?
A: A bold enhancement would be linking activities north of the Green to those south of the Green.  We need to do two things.  First, work to develop more retail north of the green and make sure that retail includes more experiential retailing.  As for the Green itself, we need to be innovative.  What could we do with augmented reality to make that two block walk exciting.  I don’t have the complete answer, but I believe the technology will allow a bold enhancement to Old Worthington.
3. What is a short-term priority for you related to the Old Worthington experience?
A: Work with local businesses to have all employees use the public parking behind the Methodist Church, opening more parking in the downtown for visitors. 

David Robinson
1. What do you believe is the most important aspect of the Old Worthington experience?
For residents, Old Worthington provides a central gathering place, a sense of real community, and the tangible core of our identity. For visitors, Old Worthington provides charm and a welcome alternative to chain restaurants and the mind-numbing repetition of strip-malls. The physical infrastructure—the Village Green, the historic buildings, the tree canopy—provides the distinctive backdrop and sense of depth, while the shops, restaurants, markets, and special events provide the dynamic, living experience today. Without the Historic District, Worthington would lose its core asset: its authentic distinctiveness. So while change is inevitable and desirable, we need to be mindful that the nature of that change strengthens, and does not degrade, the distinctive character of our Historic District. We can, and should, both prosper and preserve what we love about our historic community.
2. What do you envision as a bold enhancement to the Old Worthington experience?
 A: Additional special events could be held—with the holiday tree lighting as model—centered around other holidays or notable local anniversaries, and should receive sufficient support from the city and interested parties to make for a high quality event. Special events offer a significant opportunity to bring the community together and to showcase for visitors the nature of our historic town. 2) The city ought to actively and more effectively assist entrepreneurial, professional businesses to locate their offices in Old Worthington, bringing in both tax dollars and customers for existing service-oriented businesses. This would make our tax base broader and more secure through diversification, and would bring the added bonus of attracting strong intellectual capital to our community. 3) More broadly, the goal of safe and convenient access to the Historic District, for pedestrians and bicycles, from all streets and neighborhoods ought to be a guiding city goal. 4) Finally, let’s figure out how DORA can be amended so that restaurants, when serving diners at sidewalk tables during normal business operations, don’t have to use plastic cups (as is currently the case) to serve beer, wine, and other adult beverages. If we’re going to do something, let’s do it right and not get tripped up in the execution stage through confused and needless impediments.
3. What is a short-term priority for you related to the Old Worthington experience?
A: The city ought to encourage and prioritize improved communications between residents, local businesses, and community groups (OWP, OWA, WHS, CVB, Chamber). It is in everyone’s interest that the residents, especially those in areas in and immediately surrounding the Historic District, and our local businesses are on the most favorable of terms with one another. After all, the residents of Worthington are our businesses’ best customers, and the local businesses keep alive the Historic District for the enjoyment and benefit of the residents. We rely upon each other in fundamental ways. I’m a firm believer that a healthy community rests on mutual respect and a corresponding transparency of relevant information and process. Council members could facilitate this.

Michael Troper

1. What do you believe is the most important aspect of the Old Worthington experience?
A: The most important aspect of the Old Worthington experience is the character and charm of Old Worthington. Whether you are coming to experience the multitude of vendors at the Farmer’s Market, the breadth of attractions at Market Day, eating at many of the amazing restaurants, boutique shopping, getting a haircut or having a drink at House Wine, The Worthington Inn or the Pub Out Back, the quaintness and people make the Old Worthington experience warm and inviting.
2. What do you envision as a bold enhancement to the Old Worthington experience?
A: I think that a progressive dinner with the restaurants of Old Worthington would be a wonderful experience. With the collaboration of the Partnership, the restaurants would determine who would serve appetizers, salads, main course and dessert. The end of the event would culminate with music, coffee and drinks in the parking lot by House Wine. There also could be a silent auction with items donated by the businesses of Old Worthington to benefit the Old Worthington Partnership.
3. What is a short-term-priority for you related to the Old Worthington experience?
A: The Picnic with the Partnership is a tremendous event. I would like to see one or two more similar events each summer because it is such an impactful way to bring the entire community together to experience the downtown core of Worthington.


Annina Parini
Shop Local This Saturday at Market Day

On Saturday, September 23 from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. The Worthington Area Chamber of Commerce will host its annual Market Day festival. On Market Day, Worthington's largest one-day festival,  artisans will gather to sell hand-crafted goods. Community and local charitable groups also have fundraising and informational booths on display, and a host of food vendors provide meals, snacks, and concessions ranging from signature local restaurant dishes to carnival-atmosphere snacks. High Street between 161 and South Street will be closed for the event.

This long-standing event will be made fresh this year by many of Old Worthington's merchants will be having specials and activities to interest visitors. Here is a list of all the things our merchants have happening that visitors and locals have to check out on Saturday:

DORA: This event is a DORA-designated event, which means any of the establishments can serve an alcoholic beverage in a to-go cup, so patrons can enjoy the festivities within the district boundaries. For more information, please visit

Worthington Inn: Bloody Mary's on the patio

AR Workshop: We will be officially opening on Sept 28th, but come get a sneak peek of our space and see us in action...Enjoy acoustic guitar music and don't miss out on your chance to be entered into a raffle to WIN a FREE class on us!

Balance Beauty Spa (In the Snow House): Stop by for samples & one-day-only sales on natural & organic beauty.

Igloo Letterpress: Market Day While-You-Wait Make-and-Take Poster
Choose from several backgrounds and personalize your very own 8x10 letterpress poster. You can choose from our antique wood and metal type to display the last name, monogram, date, child's name, address, or inspirational word. $25

Swoonful Gifts at Igloo Letterpress: Branchline Leather Company Trunk Show
You're invited to come meet the Elaine from Branchline Leather Company during our Market day trunk show. Their quality leather tote bags are just one of our unique, locally sourced goods offered in our handmade shop.

House Wine: We'll have a tailgate party in House Wine's parking lot with Land-Grant Brewing, Junior's Tacos, and a big screen so you can watch the OSU/UNLV with your family and friends. Festivities will kick off at 11 am.

For more information on Market Day, and street closures and parking restrictions, visit

Annina Parini
Merchant Profile: Balance Beauty Spa
Screenshot_20170729-212120 - Kelly Walton.jpg

Old Worthington has nearly any type of service you could want or need, including an elegant spa. Balance Beauty Spa is run by Kelly Walton, and has recently moved into the historic Snow House at 41 W. New England Avenue. Balance Beauty Spa is a relaxing loft-styled spa where licensed esthetician & manicurist, Kelly, is dedicated to bringing you the healthiest choices when it comes to your beauty.
Kelly believes that when women feel good about themselves they are more likely to go out in the world and do good things. Get to know Kelly and Balance Beauty Spa by reading on!

Why did you choose to open a business in Old Worthington? 
I chose to open Balance Beauty Spa in Old Worthington because of the historic charm and the amazing, supportive people in the community.

What do you love most about having a business in Old Worthington?
Old Worthington has become home to me. The community is so supportive and kind.

Describe what is special about your business.
Ther is a lot of "scare" in the beauty business. I have been dedicated to offering healthy choices when it comes to beauty by using natural & organic products--without compromising professional results. I also believe in boosting a woman's confidence so they can go out in the world and do great things.

What is the biggest challenge facing your business right now?
Sifting through deceiving beauty brands to find the ones that are not just safe and natural, but offer great results as well.

Tell us a funny story about a customer experience? 
One of my guests went into labor within an hour of leaving the spa...I suppose she was just that relaxed! (don't worry, she was full-term!)

What did you do before you had a business in Old Worthington?
I worked at another spa.

What do you do with your time when you're not at work? 
Spending time with my family is my favorite thing to do. I enjoy reading, gardening and sewing.

What is your dream for your business success? 
For my guests to have a blissful spa experience every single visit and to be an asset to the community that has been so supportive over the years.

Annina Parini
Come Celebrate 30 Years of Fresh Food and Community
Something for everyone at the market!

Something for everyone at the market!

1987. 30 years. Three decades. That’s a significant time period.

There aren’t many folks who remember a time before The Worthington Farmers Market graced the sidewalks of Old Worthington. The Worthington Farmers Market has become a local institution. If you ask, most residents will likely note the market as their favorite Worthington activity. It’s the event you take out-of-town visitors to, and a major reason many of us moved here to begin with. Did you know that the market started out as a project from some students at OSU, doing a graduate program in sustainable agriculture? It became established, then nurtured and managed by the local businesses, and from there, a business association, The Old Worthington Business Association (OWBA) was born and has produced the market ever since. Those are the roots from which our current organization, The Old Worthington Partnership have grown. Because the market continues to be a major economic driver for the local businesses and the community, the reasons for the market's continued existence and vitality remain even more important.

Most people don’t know that The Partnership is the parent organization of the Farmers Market. We often say The Partnership “runs” the market. But the heart and soul of the market is the dedicated volunteers who show up in the early Saturday morning hours to make the market come to life--they are the ones who run it. Our indomitable market manager, Jaime Moore, has taken the market to new heights in recent years. The changes she has instituted, both large and small, often go unnoticed by the average market shopper. However, it is worth noting, that the pride we feel in our market is due to the many hours and hard work Jaime and her volunteers put into the market each week.

The brains behind the operations.

The brains behind the operations.

Not only do we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the Worthington Farmers Market and all the good it does for our community, but we do so during the annual National Farmers Market Week. It’s a great time to share your your gratitude for the work the farmers do to produce our food. We are lucky to have such talented farmers bring their goods to Old Worthington week after week, year after year.

So, join us as we celebrate all farmers, and the 30th Anniversary of the Worthington Farmers Market this Saturday, August 12 from 8am-12pm. There will lots of fun activities, including a Farm-to-You petting zoo, zucchini car time trials and guacamole demonstrations by Chipotle Mexican Grill. Check out the schedule of activities on the Worthington Farmers Market website. Cheers to 30 more years!

Come shop with us!

Come shop with us!

Annina Parini
Merchant Profile: Swoonful Gifts at Igloo Letterpress

Business Name: Swoonful Gifts at Igloo Letterpress

Business Owner(s) Names: Miriam Chon + Allison Chapman

Contact information: /, /

What is the history behind why and how you started your business? I owned a similar gift shop in Uptown Westerville in 2015. I worked in design for many years and wanted a space to share both mine and other local artist works. When Igloo Letterpress started a move to our current location, Allison proposed a partnership in their retail division. The creative collaborative environment of Igoo was a huge draw for me as a designer and a perfect opportunity for me to return home. So we merged our retail shops and opened together in November of 2015 in the old Worthington Hardware space.

Why did you select downtown Worthington for your business location? We’re both long-time residents of Worthington, both have had businesses here and our kids attend elementary, middle and high school in Worthington. Everything we love is here! It’s home and we wanted to be a part of building and contributing to our community.

What makes your products/service unique? Although gift shops and print shops are ubiquitous, we differentiate our business by focusing on handmade, craftsmanship of the products in our shop. Our staff is made up of working designers and artists so we bring a level of artistry to everything we offer. I try to focus on the quality of makers and promote makers from Ohio in the shop, many artisans are from right here in Worthington. I’ve been told I have a crusty sense of humor and I try to add a line of quirky products to the mix. Igloo Letterpress designs and prints the cards and art right here on site too. 

Clientele you cater to? We really have a multi-generational clientele from our community. I’ve seen young families, young professionals, grandparents with grandchildren and our own children’s friends come in to visit. We’ve been very pleased to connect with such varied clientele, it tells me our products resonate with our customers. When is the store open? Current hours are Tuesdays-Fridays 10-6, Saturdays 9-4 and Sunday 12-4. Any special events or “must do” things people should know about? We often have guest makers on Saturdays for special shopping opportunities and Igloo Letterpress has fantastic letterpress classes for novices and designers alike. 

Any funny stories or original experiences as a business owner? We often have customers trying to purchase items not for sales such as window display pieces or decor we’ve made for the shop.

What do you enjoy in your personal time? I enjoy designing and making my own crusty products and sometimes they end up in the shop! I also fully enjoy harassing my kids.

Anything else you want to share with the old Worthington supporters? Although I’m a long time resident of Worthington, I don’t think I realized just how committed Worthington is of their own community. The welcome to our new location has been amazing and we truly appreciate our customers for their business and kind words! It’s been very encouraging in our death defying adventure.