Quick Tips to Make Your Spring Cleaning Last Longer

Enjoy this “Closing Thoughts” guest post from OSB’s Mortgage Lender, Kacie Eberenz (NMLS# 1458409). Looking for more mortgage loan advice to help you purchase real estate in Michigan’s Lenawee, Jackson and Washtenaw Counties? Visit our website then Contact Kacie today!

The arrival of the spring season and warmer weather often brings with it a renewed desire to spruce up your home and give it a thorough cleaning. While you getting your home spic and span is your goal, spending more time than necessary mopping, sweeping or doing other cleaning chores is likely not something you want to do. These tips can help you spring clean your home quickly, and make the results of your efforts last longer.

Recruit help. Just like other chores, your spring cleaning will get done faster if you have other people to share the workload. Make a list of tasks for your partner or kids to help you with, then delegate. If you live alone, then consider trading off spring cleaning assistance with friends or neighbors.

Set a schedule—and a timer. Cleaning, like many other household tasks is likely to be more efficient when you set a time limit for it. Consider giving yourself (or your cleaning helpers) a set schedule for each cleaning task and set a timer to help enforce it. For example, a regular size bathroom could be cleaned in 10 minutes. A garage might take an hour. Once the time is up, take note of anything that still needs to be done, then move on!

Clear clutter first. Nothing will slow you down (or distract you!) more than having to clear clutter while you are spring cleaning. Instead, put papers, extra items and other miscellaneous “stuff” to one side or in a large box to sort later. Focus on getting the major cleaning done first, then sort clutter room by room—on a rainy spring afternoon for example.

Start with time-intensive tasks. When you approach each room or area on your cleaning list, consider what tasks take more time and do them first. For example, spray down the shower with cleaner to allow it to soak, then tackle other bathroom surfaces and towel folding, etc. If you need to air out rugs, take them out side when you first enter a room, do your cleaning, then bring them back in when your timer goes off to make your cleaning session complete.

Make tidying tasks a habit. Spring cleaning is somewhat of a seasonal ritual, however, it can be time consuming and tiring, so once it is done, commit to tidying as you go on a daily basis. A few minutes spent putting clutter in its place, wiping out the shower, sweeping the floor and other general cleaning means that next spring, more of your time can be spent enjoying the outdoors!

If you’re ready to tackle your home, use these tips to help you spring clean quickly and efficiently—and to make that “just cleaned” feeling last longer. If you’re cleaning in preparation for a new home search contact OSB’s Mortgage Lender, Kacie Eberenz (NMLS# 1458409) at 517-592-1058 to make your mortgage pre-approval process quick and easy, too.

OSB Helps Local Entrepreneur Accomplish Big Goals for His Small Businesses

While Jackson, Michigan entrepreneurs, John and Denise Burtka’s business, Grand River Brewery, may be “small” by the Small Business Administration’s size standards, the impact they have on the local economy is anything but. OSB is proud to have partnered with the Burtka’s to help them grow their businesses, making National Small Business Week the perfect time to learn more about how they have cultivated success here in Southeast Michigan.

OSB: Tell us a little bit about your business and how you got started.

 John Burtka (JB): Grand River Brewery, located in downtown Jackson, Michigan, was opened seven years ago. It serves as a gathering spot and event venue for families, friends, lovers, politicians, and entertainers. Our goal was to be a focal point for urban rebirth in Jackson by creating a modern incarnation of an old Public House. We started with an 85-year-old building that was empty and in a state of disrepair, transforming it to make Grand River Brewery is a truly unique space.

OSB: How does being part of the local business community influence you and your team?

 JB: Our local roots are really the anchors of our businesses and we see our focus on the local community as one of our greatest strengths. For example, Grand River Brewery employs over 58 full-time equivalent employees and seven of them live downtown in Jackson. They really are neighbors serving neighbors.

Plus, we are committed to using Michigan grown ingredients such as the hops in our beers and the grapes for our wines. We use only Michigan grown apples and cherries in our hard ciders. In addition at Grand River Brewery, we recycle our spent grain for bread in our restaurant and also to feed cattle at a local farm; as well as growing our own organic vegetables for our restaurant.

We love being part of our community! We contribute over $2.5 million per year in salaries, taxes, and purchases to the local economy.

OSB: What are you most proud of as a small business owner and what you have been able to accomplish?

JB: Our vision has been to grow our businesses and we have certainly been able to do that, thanks to our team and the support of our community. From a product perspective, our Monkey Mouth IPA also won the North American IPA at the New York International Beer Festival and our dancing Elephant Cider won silver at the world’s largest cider competition. Our wine has also been served at the White House.

OSB: Do you have any advice for other small business leaders?

JB: I don’t think that you can under estimate the value of having a good accountant and a financial lending partner. You also don’t want to skimp on bookkeeping. As your business develops you want to work with good financial information and facts to base your business decisions on.

OSB is here to help small businesses achieve big goals.

While many banks focus on solely the dollars and cents of a commercial loan transaction or a business checking account, OSB looks beyond the numbers to learn about the amazing people who have a real passion for building our community, like John and his team at Grand River Brewery and Cherry Creek Winery. OSB can help your business grow, too. Contact our commercial banking team today.

OSB Helps to Protect Your Holiday Purchases (including Cell Phones!)

Are you considering making a significant purchase such as a new cell phone this holiday season? If so, you’ll want to know more about how you can protect your investments with OSB’s buyer’s Debit Advantage Buyer’s Protection ProgramTM and Extended Warranty2 program.

Plus, if you are buying a the cell phone, check out the details below about our Cellular Telephone Protection Program2 included with OSB’s Advantage Checking and Advantage+ Checking accounts.

Protect Purchases with OSB’s Debit Advantage Buyer’s ProtectionTM and Extended Warranty2

OSB’s Debit Advantage Buyer’s Protection gives you peace of mind by providing 90 days of coverage for the accidental breakage, fire or theft of items that are purchased entirely with an eligible Advantage Checking or Advantage+ Checking.

OSB’s Extended Warranty benefit extends a U.S.  manufacturer’s original written warranty up to one full year on most new retail purchases if the warranty is less than five years. (Item(s) must be purchased entirely with eligible account.)

Learn How the OSB Cellular Telephone Protection2 Program Works

If you are an Advantage Checking account holder, you are eligible to receive up to $300 of replacement or repair costs if your cell phone is stolen or damaged, in the U.S. and abroad. The Cellular Telephone Protection program covers the first three phones on a cellular telephone bill paid through your checking account. Your cellular telephone bill must be paid through this account. There is a maximum of two claims per year.

Cellular Telephone Protection increases to $400 and covers up to 4 phones for Advantage+ Checking account holders.   
OSB Gives You Peace of Mind While You Shop this Holiday Season

More than just a checking account, Advantage Checking or Advantage+ Checking accounts can help you reduce the risks associated with the theft, loss or breakage of your purchases, including new cell phones, all year long. Both of these accounts come with many other benefits, which are summarized here.

Visit your local OSB branch today to open your account and get peace of mind while you do your holiday shopping.

Some benefits require registration and activation. For complete details of this checking account, speak with an OSB representative.”
 Special Program Notes: The descriptions herein are summaries only and do not include all terms, conditions, and exclusions of the Benefits described. Please refer to the actual Guide to Benefit and/or insurance documents for complete details of coverage and exclusions.  
 2IDProtect service is a personal identity theft protection service available to personal checking account owners and their joint account owners. For revocable grantor trusts, the service is available only when a grantor is serving as a trustee and covers the grantor trustee(s). For all other fiduciary accounts, the service covers the beneficiary, who must be the primary member (Fiduciary is not covered). 
IDProtect included with Advantage Plus Checking is also available to account owners’ eligible family members. Family includes: Spouse, person qualifying as domestic partner, and children under 25 years of age and parent(s) who are residents of the same household. 
Advantage / Advantage Plus Checking accounts are not available to businesses, clubs, organizations and/or churches and their members, schools and their employees/students.
3Credit file monitoring may take several days to begin following activation.
 Insurance Products are not insured by FDIC or any Federal Government Agency; Not a deposit of or guaranteed by the bank or any bank affiliate.

Strategies to Make Your Home Key to Your Success in 2018

Enjoy this “Closing Thoughts” guest post from OSB’s Mortgage Lender, Kacie Eberenz (NMLS# 1458409). Looking for mortgage loan advice to help you purchase real estate in Michigan’s  Lenawee, Jackson and Washtenaw Counties? Contact Kacie today!

The old saying, “Home is where the heart is,” still holds true for many of us; but did you know that with the following organizational strategies, your home can also be key to your success? Whether you are looking to buy a new home, or maybe refinance or spruce up an existing one, these tips from Marie Kondo’s best-selling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing can help you create an environment to support greater success in the year ahead:

Tackle categories instead of rooms in your home. One of Kondo’s key strategies is to tidy things up by category instead of room by room. For example, start with your clothes, then move on to books, then photographs, etc. Doing so will allow you to have a feeling of accomplishment by getting one area done at a time—a strategy that you can use to tackle work projects and the items on your resolution or goal lists, too.

Respect your possessions. While it may seem a little odd at first, Kondo encourages people to consider how their physical items feel about how they are stored in their homes. For example, do clothes crammed into a messy closet look happy? Likely not—so use this “personalization” of your clothes and any other items to set things right, to weed out what you don’t need and to bring harmony to your environment.

Let go of the past. Just like hesitating to leave an old home for a new one, hesitating to part with sentimental “stuff” will only hold you back from the future.  As Kondo says in her book, nostalgia is not your friend when it comes to creating an environment that supports your success. Be selective in what physical memories you keep and get rid of those that don’t truly stir positive emotions.

Seek joy from your surroundings. According to Kondo, you should focus on keeping only the things that give you joy or are truly necessary. In short, when you organize your possessions you should discard anything that you don’t absolutely need or love. The same theory can be applied to the people, places and work that you do when you focus on creating more success in your life and career.

Applying Kondo’s strategies for organizing your home can help to make it key to your success. It will also help to create mental clarity about what you need to do to achieve your objectives. If buying a new home is one of your goals in 2018, an OSB mortgage can help clear the way to make it a reality. Contact Kacie Eberenz, Mortgage Lender/Lead Personal Banker (#1458409) at 517-592-3205. today to get your mortgage approval process started.

Use OSB’s $hopping Rewards Benefits to Make the Most of 2017 Black Friday and Cyber Monday Savings

Black Friday and Cyber Monday are just around the corner and if you’re an OSB Advantage Checking or Advantage+ Checking account holder, this year you may be able to stack your savings even higher to score lower prices using your $hopping RewardsTM benefits.

As a member of OSB’s $hopping Rewards program, you have access to exclusive offers and discounts at thousands of leading online retailers including these and many more:

  • Home Depot
  • Target
  • Macy’s
  • Best Buy
  • Banana Republic
  • Rockport
  • Nine West

Use OSB $hopping rewards for more 2017 Black Friday and Cyber Monday savings.

Once you complete the online registration for the $hopping Rewards program, all you need to do is shop your favorite retailers online using the customized shopping portal and you will receive cash back. Your cash back rewards will be held in your $hopping Rewards account to use toward future purchases or they can be conveniently sent to you as a check.

While you are making your 2017 Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping plans, be sure to add registering online for $hopping Rewards to your list of must-dos. If you are not already an OSB Advantage Checking or Advantage+ Checking account holder, don’t delay opening your account! Visit your local OSB branch today to get your account in time to use the $hopping Rewards for Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping.

Additional tips for shopping 2017 Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.

In addition to using your $hopping Rewards to get the best deals, use these tips to make sure that your Black Friday and Cyber Monday bargain hunting is successful:

  • Create a holiday shopping plan prior to making purchases by researching deals in advance.
  • Screen all direct mail and email offers against your shopping list, so you buy only things you really need.
  • Be sure to check social media for exclusive deals, too.
  • Enlist a buddy if you need moral support to avoid unnecessary purchases.

If you are like many southeastern Michigan shoppers, you are planning to kick-off your holiday gift buying this Thanksgiving. Be sure to use your OSB $hopping Rewards to maximize your savings. If you have questions about OSB Advantage Checking or Advantage+ Checking accounts and the $hopping Rewards program please contact your local OSB branch.

Make Time to Enjoy These Local Autumn Activities

As your local mortgage lender, OSB can help you secure the southeastern Michigan mortgage loans in Lenawee,  Jackson and Washtenaw counties. To help you make optimal decisions about your mortgage options, we’re featuring  this “Closing Thoughts” guest post from OSB’s Mortgage Lender, Kacie Eberenz (NMLS# 1458409).

Fall is one of the best times to get outdoors for some quality time with family and friends and there’s an abundance of fun fall activities in our local area to enjoy. From walking through rustling leaves on a nature trail, to finding treasures at craft shows and downtown shops, to cheering on young athletes at school sporting events, the fall season in southeastern Michigan has something for everyone.

Although the weather has been warm recently, the sure signs of fall are appearing! The leaves are changing color—and a new crop of delicious apples is coming into season, which means that apple picking, another favorite fall family activity is ready to enjoy at local orchards in Jackson County, Lenawee County and  Washtenaw County. If you’re ready to celebrate this year’s harvest season, here are a few of the area’s local farms and orchards you may want to visit:

In Jackson County—Meckley’s Flavor Fruit Farm was established more than 60 years ago. It is located at 11025 S. Jackson Road in Cement City, Michigan. This full “farm experience” truly has something for everyone, including an orchard, cider mill, farm tours, a bakery, plus a cidery and wine cellar. There’s even special live music events throughout the season.

In Lenawee County—Carpenter Farms in Adrian, Michigan is a place that’s perfect for making family memories. The working farm offers lots of fun activities during the fall season including a corn maze, hayrides and pumpkins, a petting farm and more. Plus, you can take a great family snapshot in their beautiful fall photo-staging display.

In Washtenaw County—Part farm, part orchard, part county fair—a trip to Wiard’s Orchard in Ypsilanti, Michigan adds up to a ton of family fun! Located at 5565 Merritt Road, you can plan to spend a full afternoon at Wiard’s to enjoy lunch and take in all of the amusements such as games, slides, the corn maize, tractor rides, pony rides, paintball and a trip through the haunted woods. Not to mention, you’ll want to spend time picking apples and pumpkins in the u-pick area and paying a trip to the country store featuring baked goods and more.

These favorite fall destinations are just a sampling of the outings that you and your family can enjoy in our local community. By exploring all of the fall activities and events in Jackson County, Lenawee County and  Washtenaw County you’ll make the most of one of the most beautiful times of year in southeast Michigan.

Reinvesting in Our Community, One Organization at a Time

OSB’s President & CEO, Rick Northrup shares what’s at the heart of OSB’s passion for helping small businesses grow.

As a community bank, OSB understands what makes our neighborhoods, villages, and towns unique. We focus on lending to the small businesses and organizations that make us who we are.

A recent example illustrates this:

A charter school in our community was looking to grow and move into a new facility.  The school had been operating in a rental building and the administration wanted to own a building in order to control the school’s future and growth. Although the school and staff had been in operation locally for many years, the only financing available to them was from large, out-of-town financial institutions, which was expensive with very disadvantageous terms. The school could not afford this type of financing without inhibiting its growth. In fact, the school would have had serious financial struggles under the terms, placing its long-term success in jeopardy.

At OSB, we looked at the situation and found that the school’s students had very high academic results; the school’s staffing was strong and experienced; and the school also had committed parents. The building that the charter school wanted to purchase was an old elementary school, which would allow the school to double in size. At the time, the school was serving over 140 students, representing over 100 local families. The school and its plans made sense to us.

The team at OSB got to work, examining the school’s track record, business plan, staff, and education philosophy.  We also investigated the school’s collateral, learning about the potential for reestablishing a school there for the long-term, and understanding its value. When all was said and done, OSB offered a package of term loans and line of credit financing that allowed the school to meet its goals, without placing its financial future in jeopardy.

Since purchasing the building, the charter school has grown and is on track to double its size, as planned.  For the current academic year the school is serving over 200 students and 150 families. Soon the school expects to serve 300 students.

This is how OSB Community Bank reinvests in our community, making things better for all of us who share this little corner of the world—one organization at a time.