Mid-Ohio Valley 2021 Entrepreneur of the Year

Clutch MOV is proud to sponsor this year’s Mid-Ohio Valley Entrepreneur of the Year! Clutch MOV envisions a community where citizens can take risks on the promise that success would uplift the residents of our valley. Our artists, creators, innovators, and small business owners strive to build something new, better meet the needs of our community, and nurture the entrepreneurial spirit of our region. These entrepreneurs are on the edge, finding new ways to build, create, and serve.

The 2021 MOV Entrepreneur of the Year is Zak Huffman of The Cocktail Bar!

The winner of the award was publicly announced during a special program during the Mid-Ohio Valley Entrepreneurial Expo on September 23rd, 2021 hosted by Marietta College. Clutch MOV is dedicated to celebrating entrepreneurs because they push our community forward. Please join us in celebrating our top five finalists!

Sebastian Cruells | 740 Social

Sebastian Cruells is the proud owner of 740 Social in downtown Marietta. Originally from Argentina, Sebastian moved to the US in 2000 and began bussing tables in NYC’s Little Italy. He moved his way up the restaurant ladder, serving, bartending, and managing restaurants in NY, Los Angeles, and Hong Kong. He moved to Marietta in 2012 with his wife Whitney. He opened 740 Social with the hope of creating a warm and inviting atmosphere that provided excellent service, fresh cocktails, and fun food! He lives in Marietta with his wife and three children Sebi, Ollie, and Jojo.

Eric and Kayla Gibson | Sugar Butte Farms

Sugar Butte Farms is a little farm with the largest of dreams. After many years of inquisitive research, Eric and Kayla Gibson decided it was time to conquer their own personal pain points that exist in the current food system. Using their innate instincts, combined with knowledge from niche market farmers and ancestral food experts, they created a farm that would rise to meet their rigorous standards. Quickly, their pursuit for nutrient-dense meat and humane management of animals spread into the hearts and onto the plates of the Mid-Ohio Valley. What was once a personal dream has now become a mission to revive the food system, educate the community, and regenerate every piece of land where the SBF animals trot.

Zak Huffman | The Cocktail Bar

Zak Huffman began his entrepreneurial career immediately after high school. Since his start he has opened a wide array of businesses throughout the MOV. Huffman started by launching a photography studio in Belpre that was a continuation of his family business. His current businesses include White Oak Property Research (oil and gas industry), The Coffee Bar (that has since evolved into The Cocktail Bar), Warrior Fitness Facility, the Huffman Company (housing and rentals), a music studio and he is currently opening Nancy Huffman Stables in his hometown of Barlow. He is most passionate about The Cocktail Bar and what it brings to downtown Parkersburg, which celebrates community and all things local. 

Dean Ponchak | Old Bridge Brewing Co.

Dean is a lifelong resident of Morgan County, Ohio. After working at the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency for a little over 30 years, he retired and went to work for his wife Jennifer’s environmental construction company, Follow The River Environmental. Sometime in 2017, over a beer at their basement bar, Jennifer and Dean – along with two of their sons, Blake and Dirk, hatched a plan to open a brewery in McConnelsville. Three years later, after two years of renovation to a 100-year old building, they opened the doors of Old Bridge Brewing Company. In his spare time, Dean enjoys fine cigars, mountain bike riding, and traveling with Jennifer.

Madeson Witkosky-Barr | Scots Marketplace

Madeson Witkosky-Barr, a life-long resident of Vienna, WV, is the Retail Operations Manager/Co-Owner of Scots Marketplace. After receiving her bachelor’s degree from Marietta College 16’, Madeson started full-time at her family business. Her passion for her community has been the driving force for her success and continuous changes in their retail market. Madeson values lifting other business owners up while opening her doors to showcase and sell their products. As a young community leader, she believes that her journey is just getting started with the work that she aspires to accomplish for her community and for other local businesses and organizations.

Mid-Ohio Valley Entrepreneur of the Year Finalists will participate in an engaging panel discussion to share their experience and expertise as community business leaders, from 4:00 to 5:00 pm as part of the MOV Entrepreneurship Expo conference program. The winner will be announced afterwards, during the 5:00 – 7:00 pm joint business after hours hosted by the Belpre Area Chamber of Commerce, Chamber of Commerce of the Mid-Ohio Valley, and Marietta Area Chamber of Commerce. Learn more and register to attend the MOV Entrepreneurship Expo today!