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Cottage Gardens CEO appointed to Lake County Ohio Port and Economic Development Authority Board

Andrew Cass | The News-Herald

The Lake County Ohio Port and Economic Development Board is now at full capacity.

The board added two seats—now nine total—after the Greater Mentor Port Authority dissolved in April.

Lake County commissioners, who appoint members to the board, approved KeyBank Senior Vice President and Associate General Counsel Mark T. Freeman in late-April to fill the first open seat.

For the second opening, the commissioners wanted someone representing the eastern side of the county, something the board lost after Debonne Vineyards owner Tony Debevc stepped down at the end of 2015.

After interviewing five east-side candidates for the opening, the commissioners approved Cottage Gardens Inc. CEO Nathan Hicks to join the board at their Sept. 7 meeting.

Hicks, a North Perry Village resident, is the fourth-generation owner of the business started by his great grandfather. The business was started in Michigan in 1923 and it came to Perry Township in the late-1960s, Hicks said.

He said his business grows trees, shrubs and roses and distributes them to retail stores throughout the Midwest.

Hicks said he thinks he’ll be able to bring a business perspective to the board and represent Eastern Lake County, as well as the agriculture industry.

“Obviously the nursery and winery industries are very important components of our economy here… (Hicks) seems to fit the bill here and I’m sure will do a good job,” Commissioner Daniel P. Troy said.