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NW Ohio village is home to a lot of businesses owned by women

More than half the businesses on Main Street in the Village of Swanton are owned by women.
Published: Dec. 17, 2021 at 6:28 PM EST
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - A lot of small towns are fueled by the locally-owned businesses that line the streets. And there’s a fun fact about the stores in one northwest Ohio village in particular.

Downtown Swanton is full of local stores, shops and salons. Julia Benfield is a nurse by trade, she also owns Benfield Wines.

“More than half the main street businesses are owned by women. We work together to promote and support each other.”

Julia loves being surrounded by other women who have their own businesses. “Most of us are moms. Just like our kids, we want to nurture our businesses. We want to also nurture the economic development of the Village of Swanton.”

And there’s a lot of variety when it comes to the stores owned by women in the village. “We have a bakery, a winery, gift and clothing shops, salons and home-based businesses like photography studios.”

Mary Frost runs one of the home-based photography studios. She says her business has grown in recent years thanks in part to the support of others. For example, local businesses have invited her to set up a table displaying her work.

“A lot of things take team work and it’s great to be able to show my daughter that I am growing and strengthening friendships and business relationships so I can grow my business myself.”

And it’s about more than the traditional storefronts in town. Tiffany Flathers owns C&F Hauling and Junk Removal.

“There’s a great connection. You can reach out and ask different questions if you’re not sure of things. It is empowering to have them all there.”

Julia says their differences have made all of them stronger, especially as they all worked to navigate the challenges of the pandemic. “We’ve survived because we work together, we market together, we do events to support each other. We have monthly meetings where we toss around ideas to help make sure we’re all successful and Swanton is successful.”

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