Beacon Marshall receives Heritage Ohio Award for Farmers Exchange Project

Heritage Ohio, the state’s official preservation and Main Street organization, awarded Beacon Marshall Cos. the Best Commercial Building Rehabilitation Award for 2020. Beacon Marshall renovated the Farmers Exchange building in Medina, which had long been abandoned and ultimately condemned in 2016.

Joyce Barrett, executive director of Heritage Ohio, told, “Each year, Heritage Ohio calls for nominations for awards from throughout the state. I will say the Best Commercial Building Rehabilitation award is probably the most competitive category because Ohio has really fabulous historic preservation work going on throughout the state.”

Heritage Ohio picked Beacon Marshall’s Farmers Exchange project because agricultural buildings are “challenging and difficult to rehabilitate,” Barrett said. Receiving the prestigious award validates all the hard work that went into the project.

Charles Marshall, CEO of Beacon Marshall, said he remembered the first time he viewed the building. “[It was] a condemned building, dark, dank, stanky – I guess that is the only word I can say, using a Grinch term. But, I was able to look at it and see a finished product the first day in my mind, in 3D, in color.” (Check out these videos of the progress made on the project.)

With help from the historic preservation consulting firm, Naylor Wellman LLC, Marshall was able to bring his imagination to life. He credits the hard work and dedication of principals Diana Wellman and Wendy Hoge Naylor for keeping the renovations on track and moving forward.

It was fun spending every day for more than a year at the site during the renovation, Marshall said. He enjoyed every surprise and mistake (now that it’s over) he experienced through the process.

Marshall also credits the support of the tenants/partners of the Farmers Exchange and Main Street Medina for the continuing success of the historic renovation project. They had dreams for their companies, and those dreams are coming true, Marshall said. 

Realizing the impact that the renovated commercial site would have on the city, Main Street Medina renamed the neighborhood to South Town, because it is just two blocks from the main square in Medina. 

The Farmers Exchange serves as an anchor for the development of South Town for walking, displays and artwork. Marshall said he is “excited to watch the development this year, even though the pandemic has hit. It will work its way out, along with all of us throughout the United States, to grow into the South Town neighborhood.”

The Medina Farmers Exchange was built in its current location in 1904, but because of fires in 1915 and another in 1935, they rebuilt it twice, making the Beacon Marshall renovation its third major reconstruction.

For more information about Beacon Marshall Cos., an Akron-based commercial construction company, visit

Wendi Warren is a blogger, freelance writer, virtual assistant, and podcaster.