Ohio State alumna Gail Stoy returned to German Village after one of her first dates with her husband almost 40 years ago. She now runs the German Village Walking Tours with her business partner John Clark. Credit: Courtesy of Gail Stoy

Gail and Frank Stoy met as sophomores at Ohio State in 1975. Forty years later, they returned to live in the same neighborhood they explored on one of their first dates.

The couple first took a trip to German Village and ate at Schmidt’s Sausage Haus and Restaurant in 1977, and married in August of that same year.

“We raised our family in Toledo and were empty nesters. My daughter [lived in Columbus],” Gail said. “My husband had an opportunity to come here to Columbus and so we thought we’d turn the page and sell the family home.”

Gail said that it was her daughter who kept encouraging the two to settle in German Village and when Gail and her husband discovered their double-turned-single, two-story colonial house, they knew that’s where they wanted to be.

“We looked all around town and we ended up here and couldn’t have been happier,” Gail said.

The Stoys have only lived in German Village for about two years, but Gail said she was eager to get involved in the community right away. She began reading about the history of German Village and eventually joined the German Village Society where she gives tours and met her current business partner, John Clark.

John Clark and his wife, Jan, have lived in German Village for more than 20 years and, like the Stoys, John was fascinated by the long history of his community.

Gail and John saw an increase in interest for tours and decided to turn their passion of being volunteer tour guides into a business called German Village Tours.

“They have more business than they can really handle at the society, more tour business,” John said. “So we decided that we would take part of that and at the same time we will be giving back to the society a portion of our profits to support them.”

The business partners have been in operation since the beginning of the year and hope to share their knowledge of the community with those who visit.

Despite having a romantic history with German Village, Gail said it’s special to her for more reasons than just that.

“I think between the history, the commitment of the people, it’s a real sense of neighborhood,” she said. “You really do know your neighbors. There are get-togethers. It’s just a strong sense of community. People are involved and, frankly, it’s beautiful.”

The strong sense of community is why Gail stays in German Village, but the house she and her husband chose to live in at the beginning is just around the corner from Schmidt’s Restaurant where the two began their relationship.

“Here we are, 40 years later, living our dream here,” Gail said.