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Former small business person of the year to run for Hamilton City Council

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

How to vote on Butler County's new voting machines

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A second candidate for Hamilton City Council has been certified to be on this fall’s election ballot.

Eric Pohlman, who was named small business person of the year in 2016 by the Greater Hamilton Chamber of Commerce, has retired, and hopes to spend his new spare time serving as a member of City Council.

Pohlman, 56, founded Eric’s Auto & Tire Service 22 years ago, and after 40 years in the auto service industry with his family and own company, retired Jan. 1.

He is the second candidate the Butler County Board of Elections certified to run in November’s election for three seats, along with 2017 Hamilton High School graduate Danny Ivers, in the non-partisan race. The three seats up for election now are held by council members Carla Fiehrer, Kathleen Klink and Matt Von Stein. Klink has announced she will not seek re-election, while Von Stein has not responded to questions about whether he might run.

Eric Pohlman (right) recently sold Eric’s Auto & Tire Service in Hamilton to his nephew, Ryan Pohlman (left). The business got its start in 1996 on the city’s West Side, a little more than a mile from Main Street. ERIC SCHWARTZBERG/STAFF
Eric Pohlman (right) recently sold Eric’s Auto & Tire Service in Hamilton to his nephew, Ryan Pohlman (left). The business got its start in 1996 on the city’s West Side, a little more than a mile from Main Street. ERIC SCHWARTZBERG/STAFF

Pohlman is a 1981 graduate of Stephen T. Badin High School and attended D. Russel Lee, where he studied auto-body repair.

“I’m not a politician, I’m a business owner,” Pohlman said. “And I’m running as a business owner. I want to be an advocate for business owners.”

As a businessman, he faced headaches while trying to add onto his company’s building years ago, “back when it was a little harder,” Pohlman said. “I added on my business twice, in 2002 and 2007.”

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“I still hear a lot of businesses say that they got turned down for something,” he said. “And they’re not told what avenues to go to next. And I would love to be an advocate, working with (City Manager) Joshua Smith on working with a small business to basically find out the next process if they get turned down for something.”

“I think it’s one of the biggest complaints I hear,” Pohlman said. “It’s better, but still one of the complaints I hear.”

Pohlman’s father, James Pohlman, 93, started J&J Tire Co., where Eric Pohlman worked before starting Eric’s Auto & Tire Service. Eric, one of seven siblings, sold his business to his nephew, Ryan Pohlman.

“I wanted to get involved,” he said. “One of the things on my bucket list, I always said if I ever got to retire … was to either do something with the city — working on council — or something else.”

In February, he was appointed to Hamilton’s Board of Zoning Appeals.

“First of all, I think Joshua has the city on the right track. It’s nice to see the town that I grew up in finally get some recognition rather than always being made fun of,” he said.

“I’m enjoying our growth — I think it’s going to grow a lot bigger. So that’s definitely one reason” he’s running.

Pohlman has no other prior political experience: “I think the biggest experience I have is being in business, and dealing with the processes” of trying to get projects approved, he said. “I ran into obstacles, but I found out with hard work I could overcome them. And that’s what I don’t think businesses should have to do.”

Pohlman said he believes the Spooky Nook at Champion Mill sports complex and convention center will be good for Hamilton, and he is interested in the city’s neighborhoods. He recently attended a meeting of Lindenwald residents concerned about homeless issues near them.

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