Each year, the Summerfest Committee looks for a community member who serves tirelessly in the community, who has sacrificed time, energy and yes, even money to see Garrettsville grow and attract visitors. This year, the Garrettsville Summerfest Committee has chosen Barb Bejger to be Summerfest’s 2013 Grand Marshal, honoring her for all she has done for the village.
Beijer said, she began a “love affair” with the village in 1974, after she had visited Irwin Hardware. She said she fell in love with the old floors of the buildings and the character of the town. She never dreamed, they would one day, call this place home. It was just two years after her first visit to the village, Bejger, her husband Jim and two children moved to Garrettsville to escape the urban sprawl of Twinsburg, thus making the little historic town her home
When she first moved here, she was a stay-at-home mom and her whole life was wrapped-up in her family and the kid’s school activities. After both of her children graduated from high school, Barb received her real estate license and worked at this for a few years, finally realizing it just wasn’t her thing.
She and her husband, Jim bought the Cornerstone in 1988 and started a shop which had yarn, fabrics, needles etc. She became a chamber of commerce member and was one of the driving forces behind many of the improvements one sees in town. She was one of the folks, who worked tirelessly to see the Boardwalk come to fruition.
Bejger said before the Boardwalk was built, business owners couldn’t do any maintenance on the back side of the buildings along the creek and the view was an eyesore that did nothing to enhance the village. She said it was a time when all 14 business owners on the south side of Main Street were of one accord, could envision the asset the boardwalk would become to the village and agreed to contribute to having the boardwalk constructed to enhance the south side of town. Each business owner agreed to donate toward the funding of a boardwalk, with the cost to the business owners being determined by the frontage of the business.
Barb saw many changes over the years on Main Street, including her own business, the Cornerstone. Her store saw many changes through the years as the trends changed; at one point, she had rented the store out to a local businessman who opened a card shop. She eventually bought the card shop, only to find that the industry was changing as folks began making their own cards. So she had to re-invent herself so to speak. While she owned the store, it had been home to a variety of specialty shops, before she turned it into an antiques, collectibles and gifts store, which it remained until she closed the store and retired in 2011.
The entire time Bejger owned the store, she was heavily involved with Garrettsville Chamber of Commerce. She worked tirelessly with the chamber to improve Main Street and to promote the assets of the historical village. Barb just wants to see the town flourish, and attract visitors from all over so they could bask in the same charm that drew her to the village.
Besides being involved with the chamber, she is member of the garden club and made sure that the town was adorned with hanging baskets in the summer time. As a member of the garden club, she helped maintain the flower beds at the library and in her spare time she can be found quilting with the quilt club, playing cards with her friends and of course attending many of the Chamber’s events.
Now that she has retired, she finds herself very busy with her friends and clubs. Although, we might not see her face daily on Main Street she is still an active member of the Garrettsville Area Chamber of Commerce and continues to strive to make Garrettsville better place to live and visit.
This year’s Summerfest will be held on June 28th-30th. The primary sponsors are Garrettsville Area Chamber of Commerce, Kepich Ford/ Main Street Grille and Brewing Company, University Hospital Geauga Medical Center, Charles Auto Family and the Weekly Villager. Summerfest is traditionally held the fourth full weekend in June at the intersections of State Route 82 and State Route 88 in downtown Garrettsville www.garrettsvilleSummerfest.com