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Published: Sunday, 7/3/2005

Nothing average about a day in Toledo

BY HOMER BRICKEY
BLADE SENIOR BUSINESS WRITER
Gumbo's Bayou Grille server Shadiyah Shaheen adds to the 37,000 gallons of beer sold in the area each day. Gumbo's Bayou Grille server Shadiyah Shaheen adds to the 37,000 gallons of beer sold in the area each day.
WADSWORTH / BLADE Enlarge

On an average day in Toledo and its suburbs, residents and visitors will eat 86,000 hot dogs, including about 3,000 of the famed Tony Packo's variety. They'll drink 37,000 gallons of beer and 64,000 gallons of soda pop.

Before the day's over, they'll buy nearly 100 new cars. They'll spend nearly $18 million on taxable goods and services like restaurant food, clothing, entertainment, and hotel rooms.

And they'll dabble a bit in legal gambling, spending $384,000 for lottery tickets and horse-racing wagers.

But also during a typical day, residents of Lucas County will make $35 million.

Many work at factories like Toledo Jeep, where 3,000 tons of steel, glass, rubber, and plastic will become 360 Wranglers and 800 Liberty models that would stretch three miles bumper-to-bumper and will carry price tags totaling $25 million.

"When you look at our economy, one of the things you will find is it's diverse," said Ed Schulte, vice president of Toledo's Regional Growth Partnership. "We're fairly varied, and the economy is not dominated by one or two companies like, say, Seattle, where Boeing and Microsoft predominate."

Toledo is often viewed by marketers as a very average city, and it is a frequent test market for new food and beverage products. There's a good reason for that, Mr. Schulte explained.

"Historically we have a fairly good income industrial base and a steady economy. We're able to adjust. We don't live off some new technology that a couple of years later dies."

Marketers would expect residents of Lucas County to eat about 55,000 hamburgers and 57,000 pizza slices in an average day, washed down with 88,000 gallons of soft drinks.

And, of course, beer. "This is a 6-million-case market," said Gregg Hipp, general manager of Treu House of Munch in Northwood, distributor of Anheuser-Busch products in Toledo and suburbs.

The area consumes 37,000 gallons or 16,500 cases on a given day.

Some consumption figures are more precise.

For example, the Ohio Lottery Commission reports that $102.6 million worth of lottery tickets were sold in Lucas County last year, or $282,000 a day.

That sounds like a lot of money, but it's really only 62 cents per person. For the four-county metro area, $364,000 worth of lottery tickets were sold on average each day, or 61 cents a person, above the statewide average of 52 cents.

Raceway Park handles wagers averaging $102,000 a day, and winners take home about $80,000, according to the Ohio State Racing Commission.

The Sunoco Toledo Refinery produces some of the 8 million gallons of gas sold here each day. The Sunoco Toledo Refinery produces some of the 8 million gallons of gas sold here each day.
FRASER / BLADE Enlarge

Need gas? We make it.

The Sunoco or BP refineries in Toledo and Oregon produce 8 million gallons of gasoline a day, or enough to fuel 95,000 midsize family cars from New York to Los Angeles, and worth $17 million at the pump.

The General Motors Corp. plant on Alexis Road turns out 7,000 transmissions daily. Libbey Inc. makes 600,000 to 800,000 tumblers and goblets. The Blade runs enough newsprint through its presses to span 460 miles, or the distance to Knoxville, Tenn.

Seven big companies headquartered in Lucas County with publicly traded stock, such as Dana Corp., Owens-Illinois Inc., and Owens Corning, not only provide local jobs but contribute to the global economy by taking in an average of $74 million in revenue a day.

Much of the income of area residents goes for cars and houses. In the first five months of this year, area dealers sold 11,552 new cars and pickups at prices averaging about $28,000, according to the Toledo Area Auto Dealers Association. That's 99 new cars a day. They sold 274 used cars daily as well.

On a typical day, 22 homes are sold in the area, at an average of $130,000, according to the Toledo Board of Realtors. Ten of those are in Toledo, selling for an average of $96,000. At the same time, construction begins on six homes in Lucas and Wood counties, but eight homeowners get notified of a possible foreclosure.

Toledo's economy wouldn't be complete without visitors.

They spend more than $1.2 billion a year in Lucas County, or $3.3 million a day for meals, entertainment, shopping, and lodging, according to the Toledo Convention & Visitors Bureau. About half of the 7,140 hotel and motel rooms in the county are occupied on a typical day.

Many Toledoans see freighters and ocean-going ships on the Maumee River and Maumee Bay without realizing 30,000 tons of cargo - including iron ore, grain, and such commodities as salt - move through the seaport on an average day.

Also, Park Smart plasters about 150 parking tickets on windshields downtown on average each day, at $10 each, plus penalties for late payment.

On the downside to the economy, bankruptcies have been setting records for years, and on an average business day, 50 are filed in Toledo for a 21-county northwest Ohio region. Most filings reveal heavy credit-card debt, large medical bills, or job losses. And if trends continue, Lucas County will lose an average of one resident a day while five Toledoans will move out, generally for the suburbs, despite the fact there are 18 births compared to 12 deaths daily.

Contact Homer Brickey at: homerbrickey@theblade.com or 419-724-6129.



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