Dayton bowling center operator Joe Poelking was named Ohio’s Small Business Champion

Poelking started bowling at the age of nine at Poelking on Wilmington, which his grandfather opened in 1951. Poelking’s father and three brothers took over the business in the early 1960s and Poelking, who started full-time in 1983, began running the business with a cousin before taking over sole management in the late 1990s.

Poelking, who only realized he was an award winner when he saw his face on a printed page at the NFIB Ohio Small Business Day at the Capitol, said winning the award was “a very surprising thing” to him.

“I’ve been very supportive of the NFIB,” he said. “I encourage it in my bowling branch. I tell my bowling owners what a benefit it is to be a member.”

NFIB, he said, offers business owners the opportunity to network collaboratively with other small businesses and with Ohio legislators and stay abreast of current developments.

“They’re going to sit there and give us that information so we can better understand what this is about,” he said, noting that it also helps lawmakers learn about small business owners and their challenges and concerns.

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Ferruso said Poelking was “a tireless advocate for small business.”

“His companies have sponsored the NFIB Small Business Day at the Capitol, the NFIB Legislative Reception and other events,” he said. “He is a generous donor to the NFIB Ohio PAC and he has encouraged others to support the candidates who will support Ohio’s small businesses.”

The NFIB presents the Small Business Champion award each year to one of its members in Ohio who has donated not only their time and resources to the organization, but also a spirit of service to the community and dedication to promoting the concept of free entrepreneurship.

“Joe is a strong supporter of small business and has developed strong relationships with his state legislatures and other officials,” Ferruso said. “When he asks them about sensible regulations, tax breaks and other important issues, they listen.”


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