TQL to Open Downtown Akron Location, Add Up to 70 Jobs


Crain's Cleveland Business

Greater Akron—A project a year in the making involving the city of Akron, Greater Akron Chamber  JobsOhio and Cincinnati-based Total Quality Logistics (TQL) has come to fruition, and with it, TQL is bringing 70 jobs to a new downtown Akron location.  TQL Senior Director of Communications Kristine Glenn confirmed this week that the freight brokerage company will open a satellite office at 50 S. Main Street in January.  Headquartered in Cincinnati, TQL has more than 30 brokerages across the country, including one in Independence, Glenn said.  “The easiest way to understand it is that we are the middleman between buyers of transportation services and the ‘sellers’ – which are the carriers,” Glenn said. “We mainly work with companies with smaller fleets of six or less, so a lot of our clients are owner-operators.”

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New Akron Meet-up Gives Entrepreneurs Space to Help One Another


When Randi Hodge decided to put allergen-free skin care products she created on the market, she knew she needed advice and support from other new entrepreneurs. But networking in large groups, she said, was overwhelming. When she saw a post on Facebook announcing a new entrepreneur meet-up taking place in Akron, Hodge's interest was piqued. "I went with a friend because I was a little nervous. But there was a very welcoming vibe," she said of the first session, which took place at Hazel Tree Interiors on the edge of downtown Akron. "Everyone was in the same boat." She got so much out of that November session that Hodge attended the following one in December. And she planned to be at the next Akron Entrepreneurs Meet-up from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 6, at the Bit Factory in the Bounce Innovation Hub (formerly known as the Akron Global Business Accelerator). Heather Roszczyk, the innovation and entrepreneurship advocate for the City of Akron, said Hodge's story is similar to many startups who want to meet others facing similar challenges. "The businesses I'm engaging with these days are very eager to — even if it's not a direct partnership — have a relationship with the other retail businesses out there," Roszczyk said. Similar events have taken place in Akron with an emphasis on tech businesses, but Roszczyk said she thought it was important to provide something for those who are looking to open lifestyle businesses, such as a clothing boutique or dry cleaners, and providing services from a storefront or online.

Akron's Revitalization Fund Gets Noticed, Big Year at the Zoo, and UA's Biomimicry


The Council of Development Finance Agencies has awarded a 2017 CDFA Excellence in Development Finance Award to the Development Finance Authority of Summit County and Development Fund of the Western Reserve (DFWR) for their work in creating the Akron Community Revitalization Loan Fund, the CDFA said in a release. The revolving loan fund, which was fully capitalized in July, provides financing for business development projects in distressed and urban areas of Akron, those places with a poverty rate of at least 30% and an unemployment rate of at least 10%, the DFWR told Crain's in July. .

U.S. recession unlikely soon but federal tax reform failure could be a trigger, chamber speaker says


There’s little likelihood that the U.S. economy, years into a slow expansion, will go into a recession anytime soon, the chief economist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce told a Cuyahoga Falls audience Wednesday morning. And there is a high likelihood that Congress will pass tax reform legislation this year, economist J.D. Foster said in a speech at the Greater Akron Chamber’s annual economic outlook program. He addressed about 170 people at the breakfast event in the Sheraton Suites hotel. “We will have another recession someday. Nothing is on the horizon,” Foster said.

Akron-Area Leaders Check Out Local Success Stores


Dozens of area leaders spent Sunday and Monday taking a closer look at efforts to redevelop communities close to home. More than 45 participants in the Greater Akron Chamber’s IntraCity Leadership Visit had two busy days visiting everywhere from the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton to Bounce, formerly known as the Akron Global Business Accelerator.

Fresh Produce Grows Big Results for Akron Startup


A downtown Akron company that was started in late 2014 by two young men who wanted to be part of the restaurant industry without giving up all of their nights and weekends has seen explosive growth in the demand for its fresh-grown basil, lettuce and microgreens. Vigeo Gardens, which grows its crops in an indoor, highly controlled, chemical-free environment in downtown Akron and delivers its products fresh to area restaurants, grocery stores and food distributors, had about $23,000 in sales the first year. In year two, sales were $250,000, and they are on pace to be at least $750,000 in 2017, said Vincent Peterson, the company's chief executive officer.

Akron's New Revitalization Loan Fund is Up and Running


Akron has a new loan fund in place to help finance projects in urban areas and especially in challenged neighborhoods, where developments likely could not qualify for a bank loan or other funding. With backing organized and partially provided by the Akron-based Development Fund for the Western Reserve (DFWR), the Akron Community Revitalization Loan Fund has about $6.75 million to lend out, at least initially, DFWR president Christopher Burnham said. The money will be used to fund projects smaller than what DFWR usually takes on. The larger Western Reserve fund sets up individual limited liability corporations for most of its projects, including major hotels that it has helped finance in recent years near Kent State University and in Akron's East End development. Those and other projects often require tens of millions of dollars of capital to complete.

Downtown Developers Grab $5 Million More in Tax Breaks


Akron developers will save $5 million in state taxes, on top of local incentives, once renovations are completed on six downtown buildings. The rebates from the Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program were announced Wednesday morning by the Ohio Development Services Agency in partnership with the State Historic Preservation Office and in accordance with construction standards set by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior. In total, developers in 13 communities will pay $35 million less should they complete renovations on 36 Ohio buildings that might otherwise fall further into disrepair and neglect.

Last Year’s Bridgestone Invitational Chips in $1 Million for Area Nonprofits


The World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational is chipping in more than $1 million for Akron Children’s Hospital, UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital and 36 area charities. Officials from the invitational and Northeast Ohio Golf Charities announced the donations — totalling $1,015,981 — during the annual Bridgestone Invitational, Northern Ohio Golf Charities luncheon Thursday at the Bridgestone Americas Technical Center in Akron.

Goodyear Joins Companies Backing Akron Community Revitalization Loan Fund


The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. is joining other local supporters of an Akron revitalization fund. The Akron-based tire maker announced on Monday, May 8, that it is donating $100,000 to the Akron Community Revitalization Loan Fund, which will provide financing for business development projects in distressed and urban areas of Akron.

New Fund to Focus Its Investing on Akron Companies


Bill Manby might just be the most important Akron businessperson that you've never heard of — he's the man behind the money that's behind some of the city's more notable recent startups. He might become even more important, too. As managing director of Akron's Acquire Investments, Manby is about to launch a venture capital fund specifically aimed at growing companies in and around Akron.

Akron's Economy is Seeing a Nice Rebound


Akron's doing just fine. That's not the opinion of just anyone. It's the take of John Augustine, chief investment officer of Huntington Bank's private client group. Augustine was in town Wednesday, March 22, to speak to wealthy clients of the city's largest bank. Akron has become very important to Huntington, thanks to its 2016 acquisition of FirstMerit Corp. and its $25 billion in assets. Augustine told clients, and then told Crain's, that Huntington is pleased to see that the Akron area is faring well and, in fact, is doing better than Northeast Ohio's other large cities — with a lower unemployment rate and prospects for more growth ahead.

Report Suggests Ways Akron Can Grow Through Housing


Just as Akron sets out on a new initiative to rebuild its population, two of the state's leading nonprofits focused on urban planning and economic development have unveiled some suggestions for revitalizing the city's housing stock.

Akron Zoo Sets Annual Attendance Record in 2016


The Akron Zoo had a record-setting 2016. The zoo announced Friday, Jan. 6, that last year it set a new all-time attendance mark by drawing 398,878 visitors. That surpasses the previous mark of 389,508, set in 2013. The zoo also set a new single-day attendance record when 7,550 people visited on Oct. 23 during its Boo at the Zoo event. That Halloween-themed event also registered the most people ever over its six-day run: 29,938.

Downtown Akron Gets the Plan It Needs


Downtown Akron looks and feels much better than the hollowing years of the early 1980s. It has advanced since the improvements a decade later. Yet the core of the city needs a new chapter, lost momentum apparent in a higher vacancy rate, blocks resisting new development, even the appearance of more homeless.

Car-Maggedon is Coming: Here is Everything You Need to Know to Survive on Area Roads, Starting this Week


Akron Beacon Journal/Ohio.com

Greater Akron—In addition to the I-76 work in Akron, ODOT will begin an $80.4 million project to rebuild the pavement on I-76 in Barberton and Norton.  The work includes widening the highway between state Route 21 and Central Avenue.  Barber Road under I-76 will be closed August 8-11.  The state agency also will begin making $930,000 worth of pavement repairs Monday on Route 8 between Graham Road and state Route 303 in Cuyahoga Falls, Hudson and Stow.  Motorists should expect lane closures between 7:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.  The projects are part of more than $500 million worth of ODOT road and bridge construction planned in Summit County over the next five years.  For details and a list of other highway projects, go to:www.dot.state.oh.us/districts/D04.

Cleveland Indians Akron Minor League Team Now Glitters Under New Ownership



Greater Akron—"A ballpark needs a community a lot more than a community needs a ballpark."  That's what Jim Pfander told me as we walked through an empty Canal Park.  Pfander is the general manager of the Akron RubberDucks, who are preparing to host Wednesday's Eastern League All-Star game. This is a big deal, but it's another sign of a franchise that has been revived. It's about Ken Babby's ownership, which takes nothing for granted when it comes to appealing to fans.

To quote another Akronite, LeBron James: "In Northeast Ohio, nothing is given. Everything is earned."  In the last three years, Babby and his staff have been earning back the support of Akron's baseball fans. 

To read more, click here.

Stark State College to build Akron campus at Perkins Street & Route 8


Akron Beacon Journal/Ohio.com

Greater Akron—Stark State College will build its new Akron campus on 11 acres of vacant, city-owned property along Perkins Street near state Route 8 just northeast of downtown.  The Jackson Township-based school — along with city, Summit County and business leaders — announced the location Thursday morning during a news conference at the John S. Knight Convention Center downtown.  The campus will be called Stark State College Akron.

Ground broken for BCG & Co. building, first construction in new Akron office park


Akron Beacon Journal/Ohio.com

Greater Akron—A groundbreaking Wednesday celebrated the beginning of work on the first building in a new suburban-style office park off White Pond Drive in West Akron.  “We might be able to get 10 or 11 buildings in there,” said Sam DeShazior, Akron’s deputy mayor of economic development, noting the city-owned White Pond Office Park, south of Frank Boulevard, comprises more than 70 acres.  Wednesday’s groundbreaking was for the new offices of accounting company BCG & Co., whose employees are now spread among three buildings in Akron’s Merriman Valley.

Goodyear’s newest airship holds first flight


Akron Beacon Journal/Ohio.com

Greater Akron—After months of blimp-free skies, there’s a new Goodyear airship flying over the Akron area.  Goodyear’s second NT, or New Technology, airship – not yet named – took its first flight Saturday afternoon at the company’s Wingfoot Lake blimp base in Suffield Township.

The first test flight originally was scheduled for Monday, but was pushed up to the weekend to avoid the high potential for predicted bad weather. Saturday, skies were clouding up, with a light breeze and temperatures rising to the low 50s – perfect blimp-flying weather.

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Weaver Fab & Finishing Receives Women's Business Enterprise Certification


Weaver joins an elite group of qualified Women Business Enterprise manufacturing companies

Weaver Fab & Finishing (Weaver), serving the precision metal fabrication needs of the aerospace, medical, food equipment, heating and cooling, packaging equipment and robotics industries for more than 70 years, today announced it received national certification as a Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE). Given by the Ohio River Valley Women’s Business Council, a regional certifying partner of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), Weaver joins an elite group of qualified WBE manufacturing companies and one of 930 WBE organizations in the council’s region of Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia.

U.S. Tire Industry Growth is Good News for Akron


For the first time in several years, U.S. tire industry output grew. A Rubber Manufacturers Association report says production in 2015 of passenger, light truck and medium truck and bus tires rose nearly 8 percent. Reasons for the growth include low fuel prices and rising auto and truck sales. Rick Rebadow of the Greater Akron Chamber says the U.S. tire industry’s growth bodes well for the city. And, he says it shows the value of major expansions earlier this decade at Akron-based research and development centers for Goodyear and Bridgestone.

For more information, click here.

New Goodyear Airship Takes on a Familiar Shine and Preps for First Flight


Akron Beacon Journal/Ohio.com

Greater Akron—Goodyear’s second NT, or New Technology, airship has that new car — make that new blimp — smell.  And it looks ready to fly out of the Wingfoot Lake base in Suffield Township, where workers have spent most of 2015 assembling it from parts shipped in from maker Zeppelin in Germany.

But first flight is still maybe a month away — for one thing, the semi-rigid airship is inflated with air, not helium, and remains suspended from the ceiling inside the Portage County hangar.  The unnamed craft is now adorned with the Goodyear corporate name and traditional blue, gold and silver-gray colors recently painted on the envelope skin by workers with Akron painting and construction company Thomarios.

For more information, click here.

CBS Flew With New Goodyear Airship on Sunday Program


Greater Akron—CBS News Sunday Morning featured the Goodyear blimps, with both current and historical looks, on January 10 on their national program.

A CBS news crew visited all three Goodyear blimp bases, including the Wingfoot Lake base in Suffield Township where the second NT airship is now being built and will fly later this year. The first NT airship, Wingfoot One, is now at its Pompano Beach, Fla., base, after flying more than a year in Akron area skies.

In case you didn't catch it when it aired, here's a link to the segment:  http://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-next-generation-of-goodyear-blimps/

East End Redevelopment of Former Goodyear Campus Hits Milestones


Akron Beacon Journal/Ohio.com

Greater Akron—It’s a milestone week for The East End redevelopment project of the former Goodyear campus — and there’s more work to be done.

The East End Residences, which involved converting the former Goodyear Hall into 105 apartments and retail space while retaining the large gymnasium and 1,200-seat theater, celebrated its grand opening Wednesday, November 11, 2015. The first tenants moved in during July of 2015.

All of the major work at the Residences has been done, said Carol Smith, vice president of development service with developer Industrial Realty Group. Just minor “punch-list items” remain, she said.  “We are almost 75 percent leased,” Smith said. “We have the 100 percent certificate of occupancy.” 

For more information, click here.

Akron Public Schools' STEM Middle School Honored in Washington


West Side Leader

Greater Akron—The National Inventors Hall of Fame (NIHF) Center for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Learning was among eight schools honored nationally for its efforts to integrate the arts into STEM programs.

The Ovation Foundation, the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH) and Americans for the Arts (AFTA), in cooperation with the Congressional STEAM Caucus, honored the Akron Public Schools’ middle school with an innOVATION STEAM Grant Award. The awards were given to public school programs in an effort to raise awareness about the importance of the arts in the STEM curriculum.

For more information, click here.

Involta's South Akron Operations Expanding, Company Breaking Ground


Greater Akron—Involta, the company that owns and operates data storage facilities, broke ground on October 1 on an addition that will roughly double the size of its complex on Miller Avenue in South Akron.  It will total about 26,000 square feet.  Involta, headquartered in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, earlier added data storage capacity in Akron.  This is the first new construction at the facility since Involta entered the Ohio market in 2012, building the $17 million data center on Miller Avenue.  With the addition, Involta has said, the company’s capital investment in Akron will total nearly $27 million.  Click here to read the rest of the story.

More than $2 million awarded to community organizations from GAR Foundation


Greater Akron—GAR made a grant of $500,000 to the Development Fund of the Western Reserve (“DFWR”), an affiliate of the Development Finance Authority of Summit County, in support of their newly created Targeted Loan Fund. The Targeted Loan Fund will help to catalyze real estate development projects in distressed census tracts and urban areas, such as downtown Akron.  The Fund will include capital from community funders like GAR Foundation, as well as capital received from the sale of New Markets Tax Credits which DFWRwas recently awarded by the US Treasury. DFWR, in partnership with Village Capital Corporation, will apply its development finance expertise to select and vet promising urban real estate projects.

TQL to Open Downtown Akron Location, Add Up to 70 Jobs


Crain's Cleveland Business

Greater Akron—A project a year in the making involving the city of Akron, Greater Akron Chamber  JobsOhio and Cincinnati-based Total Quality Logistics (TQL) has come to fruition, and with it, TQL is bringing 70 jobs to a new downtown Akron location.  TQL Senior Director of Communications Kristine Glenn confirmed this week that the freight brokerage company will open a satellite office at 50 S. Main Street in January.  Headquartered in Cincinnati, TQL has more than 30 brokerages across the country, including one in Independence, Glenn said.  “The easiest way to understand it is that we are the middleman between buyers of transportation services and the ‘sellers’ – which are the carriers,” Glenn said. “We mainly work with companies with smaller fleets of six or less, so a lot of our clients are owner-operators.”

Delegation of Akron-Area Leaders to Visit Greenville, SC in Fall 2015


Akron Beacon Journal/Ohio.com

Greater Akron—A delegation of Akron-area business and civic leaders will take a business trip this September to learn how a South Carolina city redeveloped its downtown.  The trip to Greenville, sponsored by the Greater Akron Chamber, builds upon previous trips to Milwaukee and Omaha two and four years ago. The Chamber sponsors the trip, which is paid for individually by the participants or through sponsorships, as a way to bring community leaders together to find programs and ideas that would be good to bring back to Akron, said Becky Guzy Woodford, Senior Vice President at the Chamber.

FirstEnergy Extends Lease at Downtown Headquarters


Company Affirms Commitment to City it has Called Home for Over 100 Years

Akron, Ohio—FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) announced that it has signed an 8 ½-year lease extension for its 19-story downtown Akron office headquarters, which currently houses more than 900 company employees.

LeBron chosen to receive Greater Akron Chamber’s H. Peter Burg award


Akron Beacon Journal/Ohio.com

Greater Akron—LeBron James can add another honor to his voluminous trophy case.  The Greater Akron Chamber has named the Cavs All-Star the winner of its 2015 H. Peter Burg Award.  The award is by far the most prestigious James has won away from a basketball court, where he has risen from Ohio’s only three-time Mr. Basketball at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School to a four-time Most Valuable Player in the NBA and two-time Olympic gold medalist.  Click here to read the rest of the story.

Cuyahoga Falls mayor gives State of the City address


Akron Beacon Journal/Ohio.com

Cuyahoga Falls—Mayor Don Walters touted the achievements of his first year in office and promised more for the second in his State of the City address to the Cuyahoga Falls Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday, February 25, 2015.  “As I have stated before, my goal as mayor is to ensure that there are only two groups of people: those that live in Cuyahoga Falls, and those that wish they did,” Walters told the gathering at the Sheraton Suites.  To read the rest of the article, click here.

Green mayor Dick Norton outlines plans, accomplishments in final ‘State of City’ speech


Akron Beacon Journal/Ohio.com

Green—Green Mayor Dick Norton said he was optimistic about the city’s future, while recounting past accomplishments during his time in office, as he delivered his final State of the City address to more than 200 people Wednesday night at Raintree Country Club.

“In the past seven years, we have built a road map of success. We have prospered amidst a period of recession. We have progressed to a young, vibrant city. And we have built on this promise,” said Norton, who will retire when his term concludes at the end of the year.

He told the audience of guidelines his administration developed, starting with fiscal responsibility, to create a city with strong values.  For more information, click here.

Ruhlin Co. builds on 100 years of construction history


Some 100 years ago, John G. Ruhlin and brothers Charles and Edward, all masons, submitted the winning bid for their first major project: Creston School.

The fledgling Ruhlin Brothers Construction Co. erected the 29,000-square-foot building in Wayne County for $30,000 — by one calculation that’s $701,438 in today’s dollars.

What those three brothers started in 1915 has since changed names several times and grown into The Ruhlin Co., a $200 million construction firm with some 90 salaried employees and as many as 450 hourly seasonal workers during peak warm-weather months. The headquarters, in Medina County’s Sharon Township, sits about 15 miles from that first school

The company, with deep roots in Akron, is planning a yearlong celebration of its centennial.  For more information, click here.

Green City Council clears way for new tire maker


Akron Beacon Journal/Ohio.com

Green—City Council has approved legislation to bring an international tire maker’s research and development center with 45 full-time jobs to Green.

The council also extended the contract with Kimble Recycling and Disposal for another five years while expanding the recycling segment at no increase in cost to residents.

The economic development grant agreement with Kenda Tires USA will allow the company, which operates a sales office in the Columbus suburb of Reynoldsburg, to locate its first North American research and development facility in Green. For more information, click here.

Acme No. 1 in West Akron to get $9 Million Overall


Akron Beacon Journal/Ohio.com

The venerable Acme No. 1 in West Akron will get a $9 million overhaul.  “The store is going to be totally transformed,” said Jim Trout, president of Akron-headquartered Acme Fresh Markets.  “Really, it’s tired, and it needs updated. We’re very excited to reinvent this location,” Trout said Thursday.  The makeover of the store at 1835 W. Market St. will include exterior and interior renovations and is set to begin May 1 and will take about 15 months to complete.  For more information, click here.

Summit County Attractions and Businesses Get Bucks to Boost Tourism


Akron Beacon Journal/Ohio.com

Greater Akron—A wide mix of businesses and nonprofits — including a glassblowing studio in downtown and the Akron Marathon — are this year’s recipients of grants aimed at boosting tourism, awarded by the Summit County Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Click here to read more.

Lithuanian entrepreneurs to work in Akron Global Business Accelerator


City’s deputy mayor calls development ‘international bridge’ Two entrepreneurs from Lithuania will be working in the Akron Global Business Accelerator in the next month to explore getting the medical devices they helped develop ready for distribution in the U.S. marketplace.

Building 9 to move to Copley Township in spring


Discount supplier to relocate to Copley Twp. to make room for Akron highway interchange

Building 9, a popular discount building materials supplier in downtown Akron, will be moving to Copley Township next spring.

The supplier didn’t want to move from its location of 31 years at 945 S. Main St., right off the Interstate 77 interchange. But it is among 30 other properties — mostly commercial, some residential — that are slated to be demolished as the Ohio Department of Transportation builds a new $96 million highway interchange at South Broadway and South Main.

Giti Tire, now open in Green, is sixth tire tech center for Akron region


Singapore company Giti opens research, development center in Green, Akron-area’s sixth. Local talent pool and polymer programs are draw

The Akron area’s newest tire technical center is up and running.

Giti Tire, a $3.8 billion Singapore company and by some measures a global top 10 tire maker, which announced last year it was locating its first U.S. tech center in the greater Akron area, has opened its offices in Green. Giti moved into a corporate park building off Boettler Oaks Drive directly behind the Giant Eagle Market District supermarket.

Need for speed built new Parker Hannifin polymer facility in Ravenna


Tucked inside the just-dedicated Polymer Innovation Center at Parker Hannifin’s Parflex Division headquarters in Ravenna is a “clean room.”

You rightly might wonder why Parflex, a company known globally for its hoses and varieties of polymer tubing, feels the need to have a clean room.

Because it’s not just clean — it’s nearly spotless. And necessarily so.

William J. Ginter is H. Peter Burg Award recipient


William (Bill) Ginter is one of those people who understands the importance of giving back.

“When you drive past the Red Cross headquarters building at 501 W. Market Street, you see an example of Bill’s leadership. When you see the Canal Park area, there’s another example,” said Mark Auburn, a member of the American Red Cross of Summit, Portage and Medina counties board of directors. “He’s been instrumental in a number of ways to help guarantee the quality of life in the Akron area. He’s one of those folks who likes to pay it forward.”