MORGAN COUNTY, OHIO, Ohio — This content is part of our 88 Counties in 88 Days coverage, which focuses on the current issues Ohioans are facing in this election year.
Business owners and residents of McConnelsville say the best part about a small-town community is that they support and take care of each other -- even in the most trying times.
“We have a brewery we just opened and we have a new restaurant with a patio bar that just opened,” said Laura Davis, a writer for the Morgan County Herald. “We’re kind of getting people excited for new businesses, new ideas, kind of a more progressive movement for an older town.”
Kahlin Mayle, a business owner, decided to open up a health and wellness shop. He explained how the community has plenty of options for pizza and other foods, but there wasn’t an outlet for people to try and have balance in their life. That's why he opened up Hometown Nutrition, which sells everything from smoothies to healthy teas.
“The one thing that I wanted to do was I wanted to make a change for the better in the community,” Mayle said.
He isn’t the only business owner looking to make a difference in the community. Dean Ponchak, who is part-owner of Old Bridge Brewing Company, opened his business during the coronavirus pandemic. He said his business is following the guidelines set out by the state.
“It was normal for us, everything, all the additional steps we had to take was normal because we weren't open before all of that took place,” Ponchak said.
It hasn’t been difficult for the brewery to keep their customers under control. Ponchak said most of the customers see the rules and signs that are posted and comply with them.
“There’s been very few occasions where we've had to ask people to kind of change the way they're doing things."
He said he feels the brewery is a sense of pride in the community.
“I think people are happy to see it here, to see things happening in McConnelsville,” he said.
Pride is something people in McConnelsville have when it comes to their small town.
“With living in a community like this, people take care of you, you are all family,” Davis said. “Your neighbors are your cup-of-sugar neighbors, so everyone’s there to help everyone out.”