By PRISCILLA KADOLPH

Staff writer

Rural Route and PC Workshop have partnered together to create a website that sells clothing and other items designed and inspired by PC Workshop employees.

Presently, Rural Route is an online business, but owner Erika Willitzer, has big plans for the future and is confident that they can be achieved.

Willitzer is a board member of Community Development of Paulding County and recognized the necessity of new businesses in Paulding County. She is also keenly aware of a workforce that could be utilized if there was a business model to accommodate a non-traditional schedule.

PC Workshop was drastically affected by COVID-19 and the executive director, Megan Sierra, knew that the business model needed restructured immediately.

After a year in the works, Rural Route and PC Workshop launched their website last week. This website sells the Limitless Designs line that is designed and inspired by the PC Workshop employees.

Willitzer and Sierra are excited about this launch, not only because it will be beneficial to Paulding county and the employees of PC Workshop, but also because this launch is the first step to opening significant opportunities to transform lives in Paulding county.

Willitzer and Sierra are more than enthusiastic to share their brilliant vision. Presently, Rural Route is exclusively online. As soon as enough capital is earned, there are plans to open the first brick and mortar store. The store will be located in Paulding County. The store will not only sell Limitless Designs line items, but also items that are exclusive to our county and produced by local residents.

Willitzer explains that this business venture is perfect for our county. It is perfect because the premise of the business is to not only sell items locally made, but items inspired from our area. This attracts local buyers and also allows for the business to find its niche.

A business must find its niche in order to be successful and create a future. Willitzer understood this from the beginning and utilized it to create the business plan for Rural Route.

As it continues to grow, more brick and mortar shops will be opened. These “ready made businesses” will give the opportunity for a workforce that is unable to coordinate a traditional work schedule to create their business or maintain employment.

This workforce includes the stay-at-home mom, veterans, under privileged persons, those with disabilities and others that have a vision of owning their own business but haven’t a clue where to begin.

Unfortunately, due to COVID-19 restrictions the employees are unable to produce their own products. So, they create designs via video chat/class and the design is sent to a third party vendor to be produced. The mastermind behind the design is paid for their creation.

Once COVID-19 restrictions are reduced or lifted, all production of products for Rural Route will be done locally. These strict rules have been implemented by Governor DeWine and the Department of Disabilities to protect all members and employees.

For the remainder of May and all of June, 50% of all proceeds will be donated to the Paulding County Crisis Fund managed by Paulding County Area Foundation.

Please visit the website, ruralrouteonline.com check out the creative work of local people and consider purchasing for a good cause.