The Sawmill Grill named Business of the Year in Oxford
● By Steven Hoffman
When John McGlothlin found out that his Sawmill Grill had been chosen as the 2015 recipient of the Oxford Area Chamber of Commerce's Business of the Year Award, his first reaction was to declare that the award really belonged to the people who make the restaurant what it is—specifically the staff and the customers.
“I really think it's an Oxford award,” McGlothlin said of the Business of the Year honor, which was presented to him at the Oxford Area Chamber of Commerce's annual awards dinner and dance on March 5. “The community supports us so much. I was humbled by the award. I really think it's a testimonial to how supportive this community is.”
The restaurant on Market Street very quickly became a favorite spot for local residents after it opened.
Jerome Rodio, the president of the Oxford Area Chamber of Commerce's board, said that the restaurant was a very worthy recipient of the Business of the Year honor, in part because of all that McGlothlin does for the community. Rodio explained that the restaurant regularly hosts breakfast fundraisers for various groups and organizations in the Oxford area. McGlothlin is also an active participant in community events, and The Sawmill Grill is also a popular spot to enjoy sandwich or burger at lunch, a beer after work, or a nice dinner.
The Oxford Area Chamber of Commerce also recognized another important business in downtown Oxford—the Octoraro Hotel and Tavern, which McGlothlin owns with Brannon Seaman. The Octoraro Hotel and Tavern was a cornerstone in Oxford's revitalization efforts until it was damaged by a fire in November of 2014.
McGlothlin explained that they are extensively renovating the 189-year-old building. Plans right now are for the first floor to be utilized for the restaurant, with the bar located on the second floor. Apartments will likely be included in the third floor of the building.
McGlothlin said that it was difficult for him to even go inside the Octoraro Hotel and Tavern for about a year after the fire because they had invested so much time, effort, and energy into building up the business. But now that the renovation work is moving fast and something special is being created, he enjoys going in whenever he can. The hope is that the Octoraro Hotel and Tavern will be reopened at some point this year.
McGlothlin praised the work of Oxford Mainstreet, Inc. executive director Donna Hosler and the staff for promoting the downtown and planning successful activities like the First Friday events. The Sawmill Grill plans special events throughout the year to help with the effort of bringing more people to downtown Oxford.
“We're really looking forward to a great summer here,” McGlothlin said, adding that he considers himself to be blessed to have a business in this community.