Barbara Hendel: Celebrating business benchmarks and community contributions

·3 min read

May 28—Central Travel, a full-service retail travel agency serving northwest Ohio with five locations including Defiance, Holland, Sylvania, and Toledo, is celebrating the 50th anniversary of its May 26 opening all month long.

Charles B. Miller opened the original office of Central Travel & Ticket, Inc. in 1971 at the corner of Talmadge Road and Monroe Street. It expanded in the early '70s with a LaSalle's Travel office in the downtown Toledo LaSalle's Department Store building, followed by stores in Westgate shopping center and Northtowne Mall.

When Macy's purchased LaSalle's Department stores, all locations were rebranded as Central Travel. In 1985, House of Cruises was opened on Talmadge Road adjacent to the Central Travel office. In 1983 Central Travel opened the first travel school in the region, Toledo Travel School, on Byrne Road.

Water Safety Tips

—Being at the helm of a boat is like driving a car — alcohol and driving don't mix.

—Wear life jackets — it's just like wearing a seat belt, which can save a life.

—Just like a car, follow the rules of the road or water, including speed limits.

—Don't swim alone, whether in a lake or pool.

—Never leave youngsters unattended by the water.

Jani and John Miller purchased the agency in 2013, and remain the owners.

"When I joined the organization we had just two locations and a handful of employees," said Jani Miller, president and CEO. The offices were open seven days a week and back then, nothing was automated — every reservation required calling the vendor and writing tickets by hand, after checking in huge monthly printed books of schedules and tariffs. "We were one of the first agencies in North America to be automated in the late '70s," said Jani.

Today, Central Travel — whose employees collectively have more than 640 years of industry experience — is one of the top independent agencies in the nation and is affiliated with Signature Travel Group of member-owned travel agencies and suppliers, collectively generating $8 billion in annual sales.

For information call (419) 214-3595 or visit centraltravel.com.

THE Home Builders Blitz Build 2021 blessing ceremony was in Wayne, Ohio, hosted by Habitat for Humanity of Wood County. It celebrated Habitat volunteers' work alongside homeowners to help build homes with an affordable mortgage. Since its inception, Habitat for Humanity of Wood County has built 45 homes.

A groundbreaking was in April for two Wood County families' new homes, anticipated to be completed by the end of July. Wayne Mayor Craig Everett welcomed everyone.

The builders shared their excitement for working with Habitat and wished the families well. "We have the skilled labor, we have the heart and we are proud to be a part of the mission," Matt Homier of Lakeside Interior Contractors said. Brian Gruber of Ridge Stone Builders spoke directly to the homeowners, saying, "As we build this, hopefully it can change your life and there can be great things ahead."

Both families thanked sponsors, volunteers, and staff. "I just wanted to say thank you for making this dream of ours come true, you made an impossible dream possible," David Pearce stated.

The celebration ended with a blessing by Jay Meents of Oak Bend Church.

The families and supporters raised an exterior wall on the 223 Railroad St. home, signifying the hand off of this home from Habitat to the builders. Habitat volunteers will continue to work on the 215 Railroad St. home. To volunteer or donate call 419-481-8100 or go online at wchabitat.org.

AS MEMORIAL DAY weekend starts, let's remember to honor those who fought for our freedoms. Once such an individual is Ben Long, who was recognized as Veteran of the Month at Genesis Village where he resides. He joined the service when he was 18 and served in the U.S. Marine Corps.

LET'S also appreciate our freedoms to enjoy times with our families and friends, but please practice safety around the water and campfires.

First Published May 27, 2021, 8:30am

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