For nearly three decades, Tim and Glenda Huffman have weathered changing economies and continued to serve the Upper Arlington community through their family-owned grocery store, Huffman's Market at 2140 Tremont Center.
In addition to savvy and customer-friendly business practices -- for which Tim Huffman was recognized in September 2012 with induction into the Ohio Grocers Hall of Fame -- the couple has remained a local fixture due to the connections they've established with the people of Upper Arlington and the Tri-Village area.
On Saturday, March 8, St. Agatha Catholic Church and St. Agatha School will honor the Huffmans for their service and dedication, particularly to the K-8 school.
"When I finally did meet (Tim and Glenda) I found them to be committed to the parish, very friendly and outgoing," said the Rev. Daniel Ochs of St. Agatha Catholic Church. "I thought, 'These are very neat people. They're such an instrumental part of bringing people together, to help people get to know each other and to build us up as a community of people, in addition to a worshipping community."
The recognition will take place during the annual St. Agatha Auction, which will begin at 6 p.m. March 8 at the St. Agatha Parish Hall, 1880 Northam Road.
This year's auction has a Kentucky Derby theme, and attendees are encouraged to don their best Derby Day hats and outfits while taking part in a live, silent auction and enjoying other Derby traditions, such as mint juleps.
Event co-chairs Shannon Lyons and Jen Mastropetro said the auction raises funds for St. Agatha School tuition assistance and helps finance facilities and program improvements, but it also will be a night to honor the Huffmans for their work within the school.
Lyons said the Huffmans' contributions are "immeasurable," and noted St. Agatha students have come to cherish ongoing interactions with the couple, including trips to see them in costumes at their store each Halloween.
"They're involved in both the church and school," Lyons said. "They sponsor field trips for the kindergarten, they provide food to the school and new parishioners.
"There have just been countless hours of their time. They've been involved in the committees and they really touch so many different facets of the church and school."
Reached last Friday at the store he's operated in the Tremont Center for close to 28 years, Tim Huffman said he and his wife were "very humbled" to be honored by St. Agatha School.
He noted the couple attempts to provide support to all Upper Arlington schools, but felt an immediate connection to church and school when they moved to UA from Westerville about 12 years ago.
"It's like a two-minute walk from our house," he said. "We felt welcome from the first day we walked in."
In addition to supporting school programs, the Huffmans regularly host tours of their market for St. Agatha students. The couple also helped cook food for the Knights of Columbus and painted the St. Agatha School playground.
"We love doing things for kids," Tim Huffman said. "It's a very fun thing for me to do. We do whatever we can to support them.
"It's just very rewarding. We're able to give to them and they give back to us -- not only by shopping here but by letting us get to know them."
Tickets for the St. Agatha auction cost $50 per person in advance and $60 at the door.
The evening will feature a buffet dinner by Berwick Manor and an open bar.
Bidding for auction items will be held that night, but bids can also can be submitted online in advance of the event at bidpal.net/wildcat.
Among items featured will be a Scotch- and wine-tasting for a party of 10 with Rev. Ochs, a trip for four couples to Manzanillo, Mexico, a trip to Liberty National Golf Course outside New York City and a trip to a Napa Valley villa.