Meet the three small business finalists and cast your vote!

–by Jennifer Ruple

The finalists are Charlie’s Homemade Pizza and Edibles, Head Over Heels and Element 112. Vote for one of these Sylvania-area small businesses and give them a chance to win an advertising package with the Sylvania AdVantage and Boomers & Beyond worth over $3,000 and a $250 Visa gift card from GenoaBank. Cast your vote at


Laurie, Steve and Steve Weaver Jr. are the owners of
Charlie’s Homemade Pizza and Edibles.

Charlie’s Homemade Pizza and Edibles
6600 W. Sylvania Ave.

Owners since 2010: Steve Weaver and Steve Weaver Jr.
Year established: 1996

For the father and son duo of Steve Weaver and Steve Weaver Jr., Charlie’s is all about giving their customers a great dining experience. The restaurant is a family affair with Weaver as front of house manager, Weaver Jr. as Chef, and mom Laurie as head server. “We are a true family run, locally owned business, and my job is to make sure the customer is happy and the food is right when it walks out the door,” said Weaver.

What makes your business unique?
Charlie’s Homemade Pizza, a multi-year trophy winner at the annual Pizza Palooza competition, took First Place in the People’s Choice category and Second Place in the Judge’s Choice category in 2016. “Our pizza is like no other. When you ask for a topping, you get a topping,” laughed Weaver. “We make everything from scratch. Our Alfredo sauce, pesto sauce, our lasagna – they’re all freshly made. Our veggies are very fresh and are from local suppliers. In the summer, we go to the farm and pick our own. It’s the little things we choose to do those other restaurants don’t,” he added.

Who or what inspired you to create your business?
“Ultimately my dad inspired me. Being involved in a family business was something I always wanted to experience myself. My goal is to see the business grow in an environment in which people enjoy coming to. We want folks to leave with a smile on their faces and full stomachs.”

Charlie’s is a popular go-to for donations and fundraisers. “We support our local schools by hosting fundraising events where we donate a portion of our sales. We also cater many events for community organizations and donate gift certificates for special events and golf outings. It’s imperative to us to be involved in the local community, and we look forward to serving it for years to come,” explained Weaver.

What is your definition of success?
“Of course, you always want your business to grow. As my former supervisor once said, ‘You either grow or you go,’” said Weaver. “But at the end of the night, when you see a bunch of people having fun, having a good meal and enjoying their evening, that is success.”



Sue Gehring established her salon, Head Over Heels, in 2008.

Head Over Heels
3723 King Rd., Suite 300

Owner: Sue Gehring
Year established: 2008

Head Over Heels owner Sue Gehring takes great pride in that her hair, nails and massage salon is a “green business.” “What our clients like about us is that we are totally green. The color line we use is hypoallergenic, dermatologist recommended, and yogurt based. Not only is it healthy for the client, but it’s also healthy for the technician applying it.”

What makes your business unique?
“We love being involved in the community, and we get out there as much as we can,” said Gehring. “Every year we adopt a family through Children’s Services. They provide a wish list of things that the family would like for the holidays, and we do everything we can to get it for them. “We were honored to be asked to be part of the survivor’s tent at the Race for the Cure. Our team did pink hair with chalk paint for thousands of people that day.” The team has also collected women’s products for The Family House, and hosted bake sales and pin sales to raise funds for the American Heart Association.

Gehring believes her business is unique because her team is unique. “We get along very well. We’re like family. Everyone helps each other.”

Who or what inspired you to create your business?
“I’ve worked at a couple of establishments that really didn’t put their clients first, and they didn’t have respect for their staff. It’s important to let the team know how much you value them. You get such a commitment from your staff when you do that. It was about finding a place and doing it my way,” explained Gehring.

What is your definition of success?
“It’s just about being happy with your life and enjoying every day. To me, it’s not about money. It’s about having a wonderful husband, three wonderful girls, two sons-in-law, seven grandkids, and a group of people I love to work with,” said Gehring. “I’ve hired a lot of girls right out of school. I almost feel like the proud mom when I see them grow and develop their skills. When I see that happen, I feel successful. We have many happy clients, and that alone makes me feel successful.”



Chris Nixon is owner and chef at Element 112.

Element 112
5735 N. Main St.

Owners: Chris and Madeline Nixon
Year established: 2012

Chef and owner of Element 112 Chris Nixon loves it when he sees one of his dishes featured in another restaurant. “I think it’s great!” he exclaimed. Since 2012, he and his team have worked to change the perception of food in the Toledo area, which was the original concept when opening the restaurant. “When you cook for an experience it’s way different than cooking to fill people up. We ask ourselves, ‘Are we cooking for an experience?’”

What makes your business unique?
“I would like to say it’s about our food, but it’s actually about our people. They were all hired because they are passionate about what they do. We have managers who work in all different areas. For example, we have someone testing recipes, someone who makes sure the food is correct, someone who makes sure the patio is ready to open, managers for the gardening and farm efforts, and one just for private events. All of these people are doing something that adds something to a plate. They are all elements on a plate. Even the person who makes the butter makes the extra effort. I love that, and the butter’s really good,” he laughed. “When you become a chef, you find out it’s not just about cooking. My job is to help these people do their jobs. In the end, I am just a support system for my staff.”

Who or what inspired you to start a business?
I had wanted to do a restaurant since I was 15,” he offered. Nixon said he received inspiration and support from John Meier and Greg Geswein, both retired Libbey Glass executives. “I was working in Coldwater, Mich. at the time, and John and Greg and Brian Chambers, my uncle, and my mom, Michele Nixon, was the group that came up with the concept for the restaurant and got me here. I was thrilled to have this group to back me up.”

What is your definition of success?
“We talk about trying to do just a little bit better every day. Show up every day and do one thing better, for instance, hone your knife skills, or take better care of your tools. After doing this for 365 days, you are going to be pretty good at a lot of things,” explained Nixon. “You add a little to yourself each time. That is all we are trying to do.”