Visitor’s bureau launches factory tours itinerary

By Patricia Ann Speelman - [email protected]

SIDNEY — The Sidney Visitors Bureau and its travel partners in Darke, Miami, Auglaize, Mercer and Van Wert countries have collaborated to develop a factory tour itinerary in west central Ohio.

“The Sidney Visitors Bureau has collaborated with neighboring bureaus for many years,” said local bureau Director Jeff Raible. “Because of the popularity of factory tours, we thought this would go over well.”

The itinerary, called Made In West Central Ohio, represents a collection of guided tours through a variety of venues that include an RV manufacturer, a craft beer brewery, a chocolatier, a jewelry store, a winery, a distillery, a kitchen appliance manufacturer and more.

The tours are promoted on the websites of each of the participating bureaus. Individual travelers and bus tour operators can use the information to plan trips.

“We want people to be in this area for thre or four nights, which means more travel dollars being expended,” Raible said.

Among the stops are the tour is Airstream in Jackson Center. Previously recognized by as one of the top 10 greatest factory tours in America, the Airstream factory tour offers a front row seat to witness these iconic travel trailers coming to life.

Similarly at the KitchenAid Experience in Greenville, visitors are treated to a behind-the-scenes look at a manufacturing process sure to give them a new appreciation for the way KitchenAid products are made. In addition, the KitchenAid demonstration kitchen hosts free cooking sessions, offering visitors the chance to see their appliances in action while learning a few tips and tricks of the culinary arts.

Included in the tour itinerary are stops at the Moeller Brew Barn in Maria Stein, Winery at Versailles and Indian Creek Distillery in New Carlisle. Each stop will enlighten guests with a glimpse into the world of craft beer, wine and whiskey making. At the conclusion of each tour, guests have the opportunity to enjoy samples.

At Allison’s Custom Jewelry in Sidney, Jon and Libby Allison offer an insightful view into the jewelry business from the science of geology to the artistry of crafting stunning keepsakes. Stops at Winans Chocolates & Coffees in Piqua and Ghyslain Chocolatier in Union City, Indiana, go behind the product display cases to show visitors how delicious candies, coffees and other beautiful desserts are made and decorated.

Additional stops include Braun Industries and Cool Machines and Universal Lettering Co., all in Van Wert, and Celina Tent. Braun Industries builds custom, handcrafted ambulances. Cool Machines is a designer and manufacturer of insulation-blowing equipment and accessories. At Universal Lettering Co., guests visit with highly skilled sewing and embroidery experts who have for many years been providing personalized jackets for groups including the Future Farmers of America organization. Celina Tent supplies tents for both the party rental industry as well as those organizations involved with disaster relief operations.

Most of the stops are free. The visitor’s bureau doesn’t benefit finacially from any stop on the itinerary.

“Visitor’s burueaus don’t get money from tour operators. We only get the lodging tax. In Sidney, people pay 6 percent. Twenty-five percent of that comes to the visitor’s bureau,” Raible said.

He noted that, while the factory tour itinerary was just unveiled in January, promoting the region instead of just Sidney isn’t new.

“Tourism is an economic driver and a significant one in the state of Ohio,” he said. Leveraging the promotional efforts of bureaus in several counties helps all the counties involved.

To see the Made in West Central Ohio itinerary, visit and click on “Travel itineraries.”

By Patricia Ann Speelman

[email protected]

Reach the writer at 937-538-4824.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4824.