Thanks for the Memories, Wabash

“I want to go back.”

Those words have echoed in my mind since I traveled to Wabash in early 2008 for a BizVoice® magazine story about business leader (and local legend) Richard Ford. Ford took me on a heartfelt tour of the city and the endeavors (many revolving around downtown revitalization and the arts) he passionately was steering.

Entrepreneurism is “in Ford’s blood.” His grandfather founded the Ford Meter Box Company – a manufacturer of water meter equipment located in Wabash with clients across the globe – and his great-grandfather was a Civil War surgeon who started a home-based physician’s practice in the area. Pretty cool.

“They want to go back.”

An accompanying BizVoice® story about downtown revitalization efforts featured restoration of the former Red Apple Inn, reborn on March 17, 2010 as Charley Creek Inn (Richard Ford founded the  Charley Creek Foundation, which led the project). The historic building – which features elegant guest rooms, event planning accommodations and retail shops – has become a popular destination.

Satisfied customers earned the hotel a 2012 TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence award. Here’s an excerpt from the announcement:

Charley Creek Inn, a renovated boutique hotel, recently announced that it has received a TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence award. The award, which honors hospitality excellence, is given only to establishments that consistently achieve outstanding traveler reviews on TripAdvisor, and is extended to qualifying businesses worldwide. Approximately 10% of accommodations listed on TripAdvisor receive this prestigious award.

To qualify for the Certificate of Excellence, businesses must maintain an overall rating of four or higher, out of a possible five, as reviewed by travelers on TripAdvisor. Additional criteria include the volume of reviews received within the last 12 months.

Congratulations Charley Creek Inn! Something tells me I’ll be seeing you soon.

A Day in the Life of Mr. Wabash

I don’t know about you, but starting the workday at 5:30 a.m. isn’t typical for me. I know it’s shameful, but that snooze button on the alarm is both friend and foe in the wee morning hours. Awaking earlier than usual for a drive to Wabash (for an early morning appointment and subsequent engagements), however, was more than worth it.

What brought me there were interviews for the community focus package of BizVoice®. One of the people I met was Richard Ford, a Wabash-born philanthropist whose contributions to the arts and historic preservation have made an impact locally, nationally and beyond. He treated me to a downtown tour of Wabash to see various revitalization projects, many of which he is leading.

Highlights included the Dr. James Ford Historic Home (think Civil War and a physician’s practice), the Wabash County Historical Museum and the Honeywell Center (you would be hard-pressed to find facilities the quality of these two in similar-sized communities around the country).

Read the article about Richard Ford to see how he is helping shape Wabash’s future.