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Economic Development is . . . (increasing the flow) of capital through the community and reducing its leakage.

2011 EDIES Story 10 of 24: H&R Block breathes life into white elephant building in Toledo

The old Pizza Hut building in Toledo was a white elephant. It stood empty for six years before Elaine and Mark Linser recognized a new vision for it. In 2010 H&R Block experienced a 42.8% increase in new clients so they bought the building for a fraction of its listed price and transformed the building into a series of modern offices, a comfortable reception area, a training space and lots of parking. In 2012 they plan on employing 12 tax professionals as well as a receptionist.  Remind me – what are the EDIES.  

HOW WE DID IT:
Due to the loyalty of our clients, H&R Block in Tama had outgrown its current office.  We realized that the physical office & technology needed to be brought up to date so that we could offer our clients the most up to date tax experience in the industry.  With a dream and lots of sweat equity, good friends, and awesome local vendors, we were able to transform a building that had been vacant for a very long time into a facility that holds 7 offices, a training room, large restroom, large waiting area, and my favorite . . . our large parking lot!

HOW WE GOT THE IDEA:
When reviewing the purchase of the H&R block business in 2010 (business statistics and growth) there was no doubt the business had outgrown its current office and for us to reach out to the community and fulfill local business needs with payroll, bookkeeping and tax services, we needed a Business Services Department and a professional office in which to serve our clients.  The decision to find an empty building and design/build out to suit the H&R Block business needs was made prior to the purchase of the business in November 2010.

OUR GREATEST CHALLENGE:
Time – Budget – Design were our greatest challenges.  Taking this empty sad building and transforming it into a facility that would customize itself to our industry and clients. Time is something Mark and I worked on together, not an easy task keeping contractors and ourselves on the same project in order to be productive and in a timely fashion.  Budget – what is that?  Design – Mark is an awesome designer and was able to incorporate everything on my wish list, make it happen, and affordable.

HOW WE OVERCAME IT:
Faith and Determination.  More sweat equity than we thought we were capable of.  Most of all we were blessed to have friends, acquaintances, and local vendors that did not hesitate to just get in and get the job done.  We owe many thanks to Thomas & Company, Tama Spahn & Rose, Araiza Dry Walling, Tama Handyman, B&H Supply and our awesome staff.

ADVICE TO OTHERS:
Dream, plan, execute.  Don’t forget to listen to those who have gone before you.

WHAT IS NEXT:
Plans for the future – YES!  We would like to partner with local agencies and offer Small Business Seminars for business owners and/or new start ups, all business owners need to know what their legal responsibilities are in recordkeeping for their books, taxes and payroll.  We want to make this informative and simple for local businesses.  We also have a dream to reach out in the community and start with Junior High students, teaching them the basic fundamentals of saving money, investing money, and teaching them what personal income taxes are.

For more information on H & R Block, go to their website at www.hrblock.com and listen to their interview on Radio Z95.5 FM on Monday, January 23, 2012, at 8:45 a.m.

Pictured left to right: Elaine Linser, Wendell Graham Sr, Vicky Podhajsky

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