STEUBENVILLE - Beth Rupert-Warren smiled like a new parent as she gave visitors a tour of the new home of the United Way of Jefferson County Tuesday afternoon.
"Make sure you check out our conference room. And, please stay for a piece of cake," Rupert-Warren, United Way executive director, told the approximately 30 people who strolled through the historic brick building at 511 N. Fourth St.
"I am so happy we now have our home here. This all started late last year when I found out Ken Perkins was looking to sell or lease this building. I approached him with a lease-to-own proposal and he agreed. We will lease the building for 10 years and will then purchase it for $1," explained Rupert-Warren.
GRAND OPENING — Friends, supporters and officials of the United Way of Jefferson County gathered Tuesday afternoon for the grand opening of the new United Way offices. The United Way moved into the building at 511 N. Fourth St. in Steubenville in March and held a ribbon-cutting ceremony Tuesday. - Dave Gossett
"What makes this even more financially attractive is we have already rented out one office space to Amy Dorsey of Allways Insurance Solutions. We hope to have a second office rented by September. Those two rentals will pay for our monthly lease," continued Rupert-Warren.
"We now also have room for Jefferson Behavioral Health and Goodwill Industries to conduct job assessments. They interview and work with clients doing maintenance or yard work as well as clerical work. So they can offer their clients to the insurance office to do filing, stuffing envelopes and mailing work. It is an ideal arrangement for everyone," she noted.
"We want to use this building for the community and the cooperation with Goodwill Industries and Jefferson Behavioral Health allows us to do exactly that. And, we have a great conference room that we can let our member agencies use for meetings," added Rupert-Warren.
"This is also a way for us to help small businesses grow and survive in our community by offering office space at a reasonable price. And, we have more of a presence in the community with our offices here on North Fourth Street. We are also more accessible to people who want to come to our office," Rupert-Warren said.
Dorsey said she decided to rent office space in the building, "because the price was right and I am a regular United Way volunteer.
"Goodwill Industries has helped me with my mailings, and their clients get some valuable experience. This is a good fit for me and I am very pleased to be their first tenant," said Dorsey.
That's when building owner Ken Perkins stopped in to admire the bookshelves in the insurance office and her desk.
"This desk was set for the trash, but my contractor repaired a drawer and she now has a very old and beautiful desk that fits her office," cited Perkins.
"We purchased this building six years ago when the A.L.I.V.E. shelter wanted to put its visitation offices here. But, they lost some of their funding and I was faced with selling or renting the building. That's when Beth approached me with her idea. So we came in here to clean it up and make some changes to the rooms. I am very pleased because the United Way has made a big difference here and will make wonderful use of the space," Perkins stated.
"What a tremendous upgrade for us. We now have a beautiful facility with more room that will allow us to do so much more. We can actually hold our board meetings here in our own offices which we couldn't do before," said Anthony Mougianis, board vice president and campaign chair.
"We owe a huge thanks to Ken Perkins and Suzanne Kresser for making this happen. They have been a big blessing for us and the United Way of Jefferson County," Mougianis said.