September 10, 10am–11amWhere
Blackfork Commons 12 W. Main St., Shelby, Ohio 44875
Ben is a Shelby resident. His interest in cooking, restaurant and food services started to build when he was in high school. Ben started at age 16 at Cornell’s grocery store and then worked for his uncle in Florida in his restaurant, but decided that the Shelby area was his home and returned. He has gained experience by working at Western Sizzlin’ Steakhouse and Wendy’s where worked his way up to being a district manager with five restaurants under his supervision.
Ben reports that a great opportunity came to him when Paul Schrock sold him Paul’s Drive In. Ben owned the restaurant for 14 years. During this time, he also started catering.
Ben’s next challenge started when he and his wife Cindy went to Michigan to visit Ben’s daughter. She took them to several wine bars. Both Ben and Cindy saw an interesting possibility for them. When they came home they started to visit other wine bars, and research everything including wines, beers, and what it would take to open a wine bar. Ben gives a lot of credit to his wife Cindy for her encouragement to just put it all in and pushing the project forward. He also reports that she is very creative.
One of the first problems was finding a site in Shelby. They found the old Citizens Bank building. The style and integrity of the bank have been maintained from the marble floors to the Vault with the lock boxes still in it. The bank had been empty since 2002 so conversion to a wine bar/restaurant had its challenges. The Vault opened on May 9, 2014. Ben has been very grateful for everyone who has helped in this process especially his staff.
The Vault is a unique experience food-wise. You might have a cheese plate with crackers or another type of appetizer to go with your wine. Or you might try one of the great pizzas with a craft brewed beer such as the ones from the Phoenix Brewery in Mansfield or one in Millersburg. Some of the wines come from Firelands Winery, Cyprus Cellars, or other wines from Ohio and around the world. Paul tries to stay unique from other businesses and to stay fresh.
The Vault hosts many special events: wine glass painting, wine and beer pairing with foods, wine and beer tastings, a comedy evening, live music, a Pirate Party, BBQ and brew. Also, since the Vault is closed to the public on Sunday and Monday, they have 2 days where you can rent the building for special events like a bridal shower or party. Ben also is continuing to cater events.
When asked about Farm to Plate, Ben said that he thinks of the roadside markets. His version of Farm to Plate comes more in his fresh meats and fish. He goes to a place called the Homestead Springs Farm which is South of Ashland. They have fresh pork and beef as well as salmon and trout which are farm-raised.
Ben says that “to have a successfully continuing business; you need great food, excellent service, and to continue to change and be different.” He feels that brings the best advertisement for the Vault- word of mouth from satisfied customers to friends. Ben also is proud that he by refurbishing a historical site, can be a part of Shelby’s downtown restoration.
For a relaxing evening on their patio, a special event, a group get together, or catering, come to The Vault.