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Retiring Skyward president:

‘Anyone can make a difference’ Bill Scheyer discovered early to develop vision Melissa Reinert


Highland Ventures district manager Matt Hill looks at a new release selection at Family Video in Elsmere.

Family Video keeps old concept fresh Melissa Reinert

ELSMERE – On Friday and Saturday nights in the year 2017, Family Video is still hopping. “We’re packed,” said district manager Matt Hill. But they’re fully stocked with the latest movies and video games. “That’s one of the things that sets us apart from Redbox, there you’ll find about 800 discs, we have 800 discs in just one section here,” Hill said. “We have 10,000 new releases which is what really drives our business.” The business is Family Video, one of several companies operated by Highland Ventures. Family Video is the largest game rental chain in the U.S. They operate more than 750 Family Video stores in 19 states and Canada. Other ventures include Marco’s Pizza stores, Digital Doc, a digital device repair and sales store, and StayFit-24, state-of-theart fitness centers that offer workouts in a clean and safe environment. In 1978, Family Video was founded. Family Video has three stores located in Southwest Ohio and one in Northern Kentucky. Long-time patron Rob Jones frequents the Northern Kentucky location in Elsmere at least three times a week. “It’s the people, really,”

Jones said. “They’re why I keep coming. They’re friendly, very friendly. Coming here is a great way to meet people and they have a great selection of movies.” Hill agrees. In a world of online streaming, that human connection is often lost, he said. That’s not the case at Family Video.

“The entire family can come here and there’s something for everybody. It’s fun to see the kids and adults get excited ...” MATT HILL Family Video district manager

“We talk to our customers and build a relationship with them,” he said. “It’s a really fun job. You get to talk movies, you learn their favorites and you make suggestions to each other. People come back for that.” Family Video, according to Hill, is also offers a “family experience.” “The entire family can come here and there’s something for everybody. It’s fun to see the kids and adults get excited about what they’re going to bring home and share together.”

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Location is also key. “We look for neighborhoods where there is a need and busy corners,” Hill said. The store at 4135 Dixie Highway in Elsmere is at one of those “perfect” spots. “We also work hard to be a part of the community,” Hill said. That goes beyond just talking shop, but taking action. That comes in the form of donating free rentals to local children who’ve done well in school, Hill said. In addition, for two weeks in the month of March, every Family Video takes up a collection for the Lymphoma Foundation. Together they typically raise $1 million every year. During the holidays, Family Video purchases turkeys and hams to give to local families in need. “We get so much support from our community that we want to give back as much as possible,” Hill said. It’s those personal touches that has kept Family Video around for 39 years. “Times certainly have changed and so has our competition,” Hill said. “But we get a sense that we are complimentary to online streaming businesses. “We offer a different selection. It’s nice to have so many options to choose from. We’re also always looking to the future and how we can adapt. We look forward to the future.”

COVINGTON – As a youngster, Bill Scheyer spent many a day pulling books off the shelves at the library. Having a vivid imagination, Scheyer would put himself “in the action.” Often, he’d discover himself standing in the crowd at the dedication of the Soldier’s National Cemetery in Gettysburg hanging on every word spoken by President Abraham Lincoln. Scroll through the years and there Scheyer was at Walt Disney Studios, next to the famed cartoon inventor himself, watching him squiggle Mickey Mouse on a page. “These things captured my attention,” Scheyer, now 67, said. “I was always interested in reading about people and history.” Walt Disney happens to be a favorite of the soon-to-be retired Northern Kentucky’s Skyward president. “Like all those I read about, I was interested in his background and how he came to be who he was,” Scheyer said. “The thing that fascinated me most about Walt Disney was his ability to create a slightly different reality. He had the ability to create a universe that was like our own, but a little bit brighter. He had vision. He could picture in his mind what he wanted people to see, feel and experience. And he accomplished it.” In Northern Kentucky, in the year 2017, perhaps the same could be said of Scheyer himself. “Bill has passion,” Jill Morenz, Skyward’s director of operations and vibrancy initiatives, said. “It’s a passion that makes people want to be involved. He’s a strategic thinker and has vision for what could be. He is an effective leader because he engages you in his vision.” That vision, Scheyer said, has always been a “brighter” Northern Kentucky. Scheyer, of Union, grew up in Covington. He enjoyed baseball and reading. Through his interest in books he found himself inspired at an early age to make a difference in his community. “I spent a lot of time at the Co-

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Skyward President Bill Scheyer will retire at the end of February.

vington branch of the Kenton County Public Library and read just about every biography in the young adults section,” he said. “I was interested in people’s story – what they had done with their lives. What that did was create a real desire in me to make a difference with my life. I knew I could do anything I wanted to do and I wanted to do something interesting, something positive.” Scheyer always had an interest in society and communities work and wondered what makes society tick. So, he studied sociology at Northern Kentucky University. For 20 years he worked in health care management at Bethesda and almost 20 years in government administration in Erlanger. Then he found his “perfect fit.” In 2009, Scheyer started serving as president of Vision 2015, now known as Skyward. Skyward is Northern Kentucky’s planning agency whose goal is to implement the five-year myNKY with a focus on early childhood education, people’s health, jobs and making the area more vibrant. On Feb. 9, the Skyward Board of Directors voted to reorganize under a new operating model designed to expand the impact and magnitude of projects in Northern Kentucky. The new organization will be called The Alliance. As a result of myNKY, Skyward has implemented LiveWell NKY, a key plan to provide Northern Kentucky with a common vision for a culture of good health. LiveWell lays the framework for active living, healthy eating and being tobacco-free by engaging communities, work sites, schools and faith-based orSee PRESIDENT, Page 2A

Vol. 21 No. 16 © 2017 The Community Recorder ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

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