Lois Fisher is a picture of perseverance.
When a July 1987 flood swept through Marion, severely damaging the entire town, including the 164-room motel, banquet hall and restaurant Fisher had purchased just two years earlier, she couldve thrown in the towel on business ownership. Instead, she called in family members from across the state to help her and her employees clean and repair enough of the Harding Motor Lodge to keep it operating while she sought funds to restore the rest.
By September, shed secured a $452,600 disaster loan through the Small Business Administration. Good thing. Since the building had floated off its foundation during the flood, the entire structure needed to be replaced. In fact, roughly half of it was torn down during the restoration, leaving just 99 motel rooms. Suddenly, Fishers income potential had been significantly reduced.
Once again, Fisher showed her determination to succeed in business. She collectively acquired and built approximately 100,000 square feet of office space, which she could lease to supplement her motel business income. In addition, she added a 30,000-square-foot medical office which sits on what once was the parking lot of the Harding Restaurant to add to her growing real estate portfolio.
Although the flood in 1987 was destructive to the entire community, Lois was able to continue her operation through innovative rehabilitation of her property and new construction at the same location, wrote Marion County Commissioners Kirk Moreland, Kathy Lyons and John Watkins in a letter supporting Fishers SBA award nomination.
She has encouraged business growth, not only from her own contributions, but also by encouraging others to invest and promote the Marion County area.
Fisher is a founding member of at least four business groups in Marion County, including the Marion Womens Business Council, Entrepreneurial Alliance Inc. and South Marion Business Association and continues to serve on the boards of these three. She is also on the boards of Leadership Ohio, HealthFirst/HealthOhio Inc., Marion Bank and the Marion Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Mrs. Fisher is truly one of Marions outstanding entrepreneurs, says Pamela Hall, president of the Marion Area Chamber of Commerce, in her letter nominating Fisher for the SBA award. She is extremely active in the Marion business community and is highly respected for her business skills and investment success.
In recognition of her exceptional business success and community leadership, Fisher was awarded the first ever ATHENA Foundation Award by the Womens Business Council, an affiliate of the Marion chamber, in 1998.
She has a lets get the job done attitude and is well respected for her opinions and business savvy, Hall concludes.