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Akron's Signet Jewelers cuts 80 jobs across Akron, Dallas and UK operations; makes other job moves

By Katie Byard Published: January 29, 2016


Signet Jewelers Ltd., the world’s largest retailer of diamond jewelry that is headquartered in Akron, said Friday that it has eliminated 80 jobs across its Akron, Dallas and United Kingdom operations that support its stores.
“This was a difficult business decision but one we believe we needed to make,” said David Bouffard, Signet vice president of corporate affairs, in a news release.

He noted the company — operator of Kay Jewelers and the Jared chain, among others —  is “performing well and just reported excellent holiday sales results.”

The cuts are among other personnel moves, including promotions and people being assigned to new positions. The changes were discussed in an internal announcement that employees received earlier this week.

Bouffard said the company is providing affected employees with a “comprehensive transition package.”
Bouffard said Signet’s focus on growing its business to maximize shareholder value requires “a constant evolution” as it grows the mid-market jewelry sector.
Signet Sales during the all-important holiday retail season at Signet Jewelers Ltd. stores open at least a year were up 4.9 percent from the eight-week period the prior year.
The increase in 2015 compares with an increase of 3.6 percent for the 2014 holiday season ended Dec. 27, 2014.

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Akron area companies Testa Builders and Welty Building Co. create alliance

By Katie Byard Published: January 29, 2016

Two high-profile Akron area builders —  Testa Builders and Welty Building Co. — are combining forces, creating a new company, in hopes of increasing market share.
Testa Companies, parent of Testa Builders and based in Cuyahoga Falls, and Welty Building Co., headquartered in  Fairlawn, will continue to operate independently.
The new company —Welty-Testa Builders LLC — will be operate out of the Welty Building Co. headquarters on Ridgewood Road in Fairlawn.
“This strategic alliance is a match made in heaven,” said Paul Testa, founder and CEO of Testa Companies, in a news release..

Paul Testa and Testa Companies president Joel Testa will lead the business development efforts for the new Welty-Testa organization.
Among Welty Building Co.’s projects are the new Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. headquarters in East Akron.

Testa Companies  developed the new Marriott, set to open in March at the northern edge of downtown Akron. Last year, a Testa Companies entity purchased the 115-acre former West’s Mogadore Country Club, and plans to transform the property into West Village, a mix of residential housing, small retail and office space, along with gardens and a community center.
Twelve Testa Builders employees will leave Testa Companies., transferring to the new organization. Beginning Monday, they will work out of Welty Building Cos.'  Fairlawn offices.

The remaining roughly 40 Testa Companies employees will continue to work out of Testa Companies’ offices at 2335 2nd St. in Cuyahoga Falls.
Testa Companies, founded in 1967, designs, develops, constructs, sells, leases and manages residential, mixed-use (residential and commercial), medical, commercial and education-related properties in Ohio and Tennessee.
Welty Building Co. provides construction management services for clients in a variety of markets — including healthcare, commercial, education and hospitality.

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Goodyear showing off new tires at annual dealers conference

By Jim Mackinnon Published: January 28, 2016

Goodyear is introducing new car, SUV and truck tires at its annual North American dealers conference, being held just outside Washington, D.C. at the Gaylord National Resort and Convention Center in Maryland.
Among the new tires Goodyear is showing off is an Eagle F1 Asymmetric 3 premium summer tire that is original equipment on the 2016 Chevrolet Camaro; a Kelly Edge HP high performance car tire; the Wrangler TrailRunner AT for light trucks and SUVs;
Fuel Max and Endurance RSA tires for regional and long haul truck fleets; and the Endurance WHA waste-haul truck tire;
The three-day conference ends this Friday.

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TimkenSteel shows loss but 4th quarter earnings better than expected

By Jim Mackinnon Published: January 28, 2016

TimkenSteel Corp. lost money for its fourth quarter and full year.
But fourth quarter earnings beat estimates by analysts who expected a larger loss.
The Canton steel maker on Thursday reported losing $25.5 million, or 58 cents per share, on revenue of $206.6 million for the fourth quarter ending Dec. 31. A year ago, TimkenSteel had a profit of $16.4 million, or 36 cents per share, on revenue of $408.3 million.
TimkenSteel’s earnings and revenue beat analyst estimates.
For the full year, TimkenSteel said revenue fell 34 percent to $1.1 billion from nearly $1.7 billion for fiscal 2014. The company lost $73.7 million, or $1.65 a share, compared to a profit of $104.4 million, or $2.27 a share in 2014.
“While we continue to feel the impact from weak global commodity markets and high customer inventory levels, our cost reduction efforts and pace of new business from innovation reduced the losses we anticipated in the quarter,” Ward “Tim” Timken, chairman, chief executive officer and president, said in a statement.
 

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Latest news on Huntington purchase of FirstMerit

By Betty Lin-Fisher Published: January 26, 2016

Here is the most up-to-date story about the news of Huntington Bancorp's purchase of Akron-based FirstMerit Corp. Continue to come back to www.ohio.com for more updates throughout the day.

http://www.ohio.com/business/lin-fisher/the-latest-firstmerit-employees-awaken-to-news-of-huntington-acquisition-1.657411

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Former Hoover distribution Center to be closed with loss of 96 jobs in Jackson Twp.

By Jim Mackinnon Published: January 25, 2016

The company that bought the iconic Hoover vacuum cleaner brand will close its Jackson Township distribution center by this summer, resulting in the loss of all 96 jobs there.

TTI Floor Care North America, based in Glenwillow just north of Summit County, said Monday it will start phasing out its large distribution center off Shuffel Street. The Stark County plant will shut down by the end of July.

“We determined we had excess distribution capacity in the Midwest,” said Gary Appel, vice president of operations for TTI Floor Care.

The company made its decision following a study of its North American operations, he said.

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Growing snack foods maker Shearer Foods in line for tax credits in exchange for creating 130 jobs

By Katie Byard Published: January 25, 2016

Snack food maker Shearer Foods expects to create 130 full-time jobs, generating $3.9 million as the result of an expansion project in Massillon that has been been approved for state tax credits.

The Ohio Tax Credit Authority has approved an eight-year Job Creation Tax Credit for the project according to a news release issued Monday by Ohio Gov. John Kasich's communication department.

Shearer Foods potato chips and other snack foods are sold at grocery stores through the region.

The credit would be paid over eight years -- if the company creates the 130 jobs. The company must prove, through reporting to the state's Development Services Agency, that it has created the jobs.

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Medina Sears Hardware closes

By Betty Lin-Fisher Published: January 22, 2016

The Sears Appliance & Hardware Store in Medina has closed, according to The Medina Gazette.

The store at 1180 N. Court St. closed on Wednesday, the paper said. The store was considered an anchor of the CenterPointe Plaza.

No further details were available about the closing. An inquiry was made with the corporate headquarters.

Many Sears Hardware stores are franchise owned and the locations in the Montrose area of Akron and Macedonia, which are owned by a separate franchise owner than Medina, closed last year.

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New book shares how Goodyear pioneered ‘lean’ processes to transform

By Jim Mackinnon Published: January 22, 2016

Norbert Majerus readily admits that English is not his first language.

The longtime Goodyear engineer — he’s been at the Akron tire maker since 1979 — was born in Luxembourg. He grew up speaking Luxembourgesh, then learned German, French and finally English.

Majerus also admits he got low grades for communication in annual work reviews.

So naturally, he wrote a book, in English, explaining how Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. is transforming itself using processes he helped pioneer at the company. And it’s getting really good reviews.

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Manufacturing-focused staffing agency opens in Green

By Jim Mackinnon Published: January 21, 2016

A Northeast Ohio staffing agency that specializes in placing manufacturing jobs is opening an office this month in Green, with three more offices to open later this year.
Alliance Industrial Solutions will open an office at 1033 E. Turkeyfoot Lake Road, Suite 108 for clients and job candidates in Summit and Portage counties. A ribbon cutting ceremony is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. Jan. 28.
Alliance Industrial Solutions already has offices in Akron, Independence, Upper Sandusky, Streetsboro, Elyria, Mentor and in the Mahoning Valley.
The firm does such things as conducting and recording video interviews, which are then stored and made available to clients.

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Medina County storage complex sold for $3.8 million

By Katie Byard Published: January 20, 2016

Gateway Storage Corp. has sold its 48,000 square-foot storage complex at 5010 Gateway Drive in Medina Township to Valley Storage Co. for $3.8 million.
The complex includes 175 storage unites, temperature controlled storage, drive-up units and RV/boat parking, as well as a records storage area and shredding services. Jerry Fiume of NAI Cummins in Akron represented the seller.
Valley Storage has about a dozen storage facilities in Ohio, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
 

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Omnova Solutions reports loss for 4th quarter, full year

By Jim Mackinnon Published: January 19, 2016

Beachwood polymer company Omnova Solutions Inc. lost money in its fourth quarter and for its full fiscal year.
The former Fairlawn company on Tuesday reported it lost $18.9 million, or 43 cents per share, on net sales of $200 million for the fourth quarter ending Nov. 30, compared to net income of $5.1 million on revenue of $243 million a year ago. Adjusted fourth quarter earnings were 13 cents per share, up 30 percent from a year ago.
For the full year, the company lost $17.8 million on revenue of $838 million compared to a profit of $11.5 million on revenue of $987.4 million for 2014. Adjusted earnings were 36 cents per share, up 29 percent from 2014.

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Max & Erma's closing 13 Midwest locations, including Belden Village

By Betty Lin-Fisher Published: January 19, 2016

Restaurant chain Max & Erma’s is closing 13 Midwest locations, including one in the Belden Village area, as it streamlines operations and deals with underperforming outlets.

The Ohio restaurants in Belden Village, Westlake and Sylvania were affected by the closures, according to NewsNet 5.

The owner, Nashville, Tennessee-based American Blue Ribbon Holdings, says senior managers went to the restaurants in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana on Monday morning to deliver the news.

The chain’s website listed 51 locations in 10 states.

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Goodyear to pay dividend March 1

By Jim Mackinnon Published: January 18, 2016

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. will pay a quarterly dividend of 7 cents per share on March 1 to shareholders of record as of Feb. 1. The payout represents an annual rate of 28 cents per share.
 

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Cleveland Auto Show opens Feb. 26

By Jim Mackinnon Published: January 15, 2016

The public gets an extra half a day to walk through the annual Cleveland Auto Show and look at an estimated 1,000 vehicles.
The show this year will open 5 p.m. Feb. 26 – a Friday – at the I-X Center next to Cleveland Hopkins International Airport. That’s the first time the show has opened on a Friday in recent history; the typical opening day is a Saturday.
This year’s show runs through March 6.
The 2016 show will feature interactive displays, ride-n-drives and more. Tickets are $13 for adults, $11 for seniors and preteens. Children six and under are admitted for free. Parking is also free.
Hours are 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. Feb. 26; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday; and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays.
For more information go to www.clevelandautoshow.com

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Akron’s Nuevo eatery opening 2nd location in planned lakefront development in Cleveland

By Katie Byard Published: January 14, 2016

Not yet two years old, the locally owned Nuevo Modern Mexican & Tequila Bar in downtown Akron will open a second location this summer —  to a new building in a planned lakefront development in downtown Cleveland.
“We’ve already broken ground on the building... We hope to be complete for the RNC [Republican National Convention] on July 17” in Cleveland, said Dick Pace, owner of Cumberland Development of Cleveland.
The two-story building, behind the Rock N’ Roll Hall of Fame and next to Voinovich Park, is the first building in the first phase of the planned development on land that Cumberland and the Trammel Crow Co. of Dallas are leasing from the city of Cleveland. Planned are apartments, offices a hotel, restaurants and shops, as well as recreation spots, such as a volleyball court.
Pace said he’s excited about bringing “a new name and a new face into the food scene in Cleveland.”
Nuevo, spiced up the downtown Akron dining scene when it opened in February 2014, offering a modern twist on Mexican food, with fresh, local ingredients, and dozens of types of tequila. The long-awaited Akron restaurant opened in the 1903 Gothic building at 54 E. Mill St., across from the John S. Knight convention center.

Nuevo is owned by husband-and-wife Zack and Lisa Hirt.
Check back with www.Ohio.com for a more complete story.

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Goodyear to keep sponsoring Cotton Bowl games

By Jim Mackinnon Published: January 14, 2016

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. will continue its title sponsorship of the Cotton Bowl.
The Akron tire maker, the Cotton Bowl Athletic Association and ESPN announced Thursday that Goodyear signed a multiyear agreement to continue the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic played at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.
The multiyear deal will highlight the Goodyear Blimp as the preferred aerial provider for College GameDay and key college football games on ESPN. Goodyear last year provided aerial coverage of regular season college football games, four conference championships and 12 bowl games.

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98 to lose jobs in Plasti-Kote factory closing in Medina

By Jim Mackinnon Published: January 14, 2016

The Plasti-Kote Co. Inc. factory at 1000 Lake Road in Medina will close on April 30, with all 98 employees there to be laid off.
Parent company Valspar Corp. filed a notice with the state of Ohio about the upcoming layoffs and closing. Plasti-Kote makes automotive paints and related products.
“Effective April 30, 2016, all employees working in the Plasti-Kote facility located in Medina, Ohio, will be permanently laid off without the possibility of recall,” the company said in its notice to the state.

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Akron Marathon founders to speak at Women’s Endowment Fund dinner; tickets on sale

By Katie Byard Published: January 14, 2016

Akron Marathon founders Steve and Jeannine Marks will be the featured speakers at this year's For Women, Forever dinner March 10.
The Women’s Endowment Fund of Akron Community Foundation presents the annual dinner.
Since founding the marathon in 2003, Steve and Jeannine Marks and marathon employees have grown the race into an event that annually generates an estimated more than $8 million in economic impact for the Greater Akron community.
The race has raised more than $1 million for local charities.
The dinner, which raises money for the Women’s Endowment Fund, will be March 10 at the Hilton Akron/Fairlawn, across from Summit Mall in Fairlawn. Tickets start at $75 per person and include a 5:30 p.m. cocktail reception with the fund’s most recent grantees, followed by dinner and the program at 6:30 p.m.
Tickets for the event are on sale now at www.regonline.com/ForWomenForever.
The Women’s Endowment Fund was established in 1993 as a permanent endowment “committed to encouraging the advancement of Summit County women and girls and their growth as philanthropists,” according to the Akron Community Fundation. To date, the fund has grown to nearly $3 million and awarded more than $750,000 in grants to various programs and groups.
Jeannine Marks, a lifelong Akron-area resident , is a graduate of the University of Akron and is the director of development at Stewart’s Caring Place. Steve Marks, also a graduate of the University of Akron, is the co-founder and CEO of Main Street Gourmet, headquartered in Akron.
Event sponsorship opportunities are still available. To learn more, contact event co-chair Debra Shifrin at 330-762-6474 or debra@shifrin-newman.com. For more information about the event, visit www.akroncf.org/WEFAnnualDinner or call 330-376-8522.

 

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Akron area revitalization fund gets $500,000 from Medical Mutual foundation

By Katie Byard Published: January 14, 2016

A new fund designed to spur real estate development projects in economically distressed areas, such as downtown Akron, has received a $500,000 grant from the Medical Mutual Community Investment Fund.
The $500,000 grant went to the newly created Targeted Loan Fund. This fund is part of the Development Fund of the Western Reserve, which is an affiliate of the Development Finance Authority of Summit County, formerly called the Summit County Port Authority.
The new Targeted Loan Fund will help finance revitalization projects in Akron and Barberton census tracts deemed economically distressed because of high unemployment, high poverty rates and other factors.
One way the loan money could be used is for the restoration of a vacant building or underutilized property.
The $500,000 joins $1.75 million already received from other groups: the Akron-headquartered GAR Foundation, FirstEnergy Corp. and the Akron Development Fund.
The loan fund also will get $6.75 million from the sale of federal New Markets Tax Credits. The Development Finance Authority’s affiliate plans to sell the tax credits to a bank, which would then put money into the loan fund. In return, the bank would receive a break on its federal income taxes.
Christopher Burnham, who president of the Development Finance Authority, has said the goal is to create a $10 million loan fund with flexible terms, such as low-interest rates, to encourage development.
Burnham said his agency hopes to raise other money for the loan fund through donations and investments from other community nonprofits, as well as conventional lenders.
The $6.75 million in tax credits is a portion of the $45 million in New Markets Tax Credits awarded to the Development Finance Authority affiliate in a competitive process last year.
Burnham has said only 12 other local development agencies nationwide received the tax credits last year.
Congress created the New Markets Tax Credits Program in 2000 as a way to spur investment in low-income communities.
Cleveland-headquartered health insurer Medical Mutual established the Community Investment Fund in 2012, initially setting up a $5 million fund, to benefit the Akron area community.
The fund is part of the Akron Community Foundation group of funds and as such the initial $5 million was invested. Income from investments is used to make donations to charitable gifts. Investment income also is plowed back into the fund.
 

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Downtown Akron Marriott debut delayed again

By Katie Byard Published: January 13, 2016

Officials with the Northside Courtyard by Marriott, downtown Akron’s first new hotel in decades, now say the hotel will not open until mid-March.
Cindy Sherman, who heads sales and marketing for the hotel, said the new scheduled opening date is now March 15.
Late last year, hotel officials said it was possible the 10-story hotel could open by mid-February.
Currently, the Marriott online reservation system will only accept reservations for room nights starting March 31.
This is because Marriott has built in a two-week buffer in case there are further delays.
Customers who booked for stays earlier in March, when the plan was to open the hotel in February, are being notified.
The opening of the 147-room hotel on Furnace Street, diagonally across from Luigi’s restaurant, initially had been set for mid-November.
Later, it was pushed back to mid-December and then to February and now until March.
Sherman said the delay is again due partly to ongoing construction. Additionally, some furniture, which is being shipped from overseas, has not yet arrived.
The hotel is owned by Testa Cos. of Cuyahoga Falls and Concord Hospitality Enterprises of Raleigh, N.C. Concord is the hotel’s manager.
The opening will come more than five years after Joel Testa, president of Testa Cos., the project’s developer. initially revealed his ambitious plans for a Courtyard on downtown’s northern edge.
Those wanting to book events and 10 or more rooms should call 330-252-9228 and ask for the sales department, Sherman said.

 

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Akron Area YMCA names first woman CEO

By Katie Byard Published: January 12, 2016

Jill Kolesar, who started as YMCA volunteer in 1988, has been named CEO of Akron Area YMCA.
Kolesar, a longtime leader in the association and currently its president, will be the first woman to lead the association in its 145-year history.
She will take over for Doug Kohl, who is retiring, beginning March 1.
Kohl, who has been CEO for 25 years, is the Akron area association’s longest tenured chief executive.
“Early in his CEO career, Doug envisioned, strategized and involved others to grow this association from serving 3,000 members to serving
over 78,000 members and program members today,” said Akron Area YMCA Board of Trustees Chair Jeff Kline in a news release.
Kolesar has been president the Akron Area YMCA since Jan. 1 of last year, running the day-to-day operations of the organization’s 11 branches and oversees its camps, day care centers and roughly 850 employees. She will retain the position of president.
In 1988, the Riverfront YMCA branch in Cuyahoga Falls invited Kolesar, who was working in banking at the time, to join an advisory committee.
She was asked to work part time in the day care in 1994, and eventually went full time as a membership director.
In that role, she oversaw membership at all 11 branches before moving to the post of executive director at the Nordonia Hills branch in Macedonia. She became head of the Riverfront branch in 2007. She became vice president and chief operating officer in 2013, taking over for then chief operating officer Larry Griffin, who retired that year.
Kolesar, a native of Bel Air, Md., a Baltimore suburb, received a bachelor’s degree in sociology, with a minor in management, from Youngstown State University.

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A.Schulman shares plunge on earnings miss and internal probe costs

By Jim Mackinnon Published: January 11, 2016

A. Schulman Inc. stock plunged after the Fairlawn polymer company missed first quarter earnings and revenue estimates while spending $4.9 million on an internal probe of two plants it acquired less than a year ago.
Schulman on Monday reported earning $7.1 million, or 18 cents per share, on revenue of $649.2 million for its first quarter. That compares to net income of nearly $13.4 million, or 45 cents per share, on revenue of $615 million a year ago.
Earnings and revenue fell below analyst estimates.
Schulman shares dropped $7.12, or nearly 25 percent, to $21.49. Shares are down 30 percent since Jan. 1 and are down 36 percent from a year ago.
Schulman’s financial results were also hurt by low European sales and a stronger dollar.
Despite the lower-than-expected first quarter results, Schulman executives reaffirmed their full-year earnings guidance of $2.80 to $2.85 per share.
The $2.4 billion company said it incurred $4.9 million in costs related to an internal investigation into two manufacturing facilities that were once part of Lucent Polymers and then Citadel Plastics Holdings. Schulman bought Citadel, a specialty engineered plastics company, last year for $800 million.

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Free tax help for many in area; see here for dates and how to set up an appointment

By Katie Byard Published: January 11, 2016

Thousands of area workers are eligible for federal Earned Income Tax Credits, and free services are again available this year to help eligible people claim the credits, worth as much as $6,242 this year.
Free tax preparation, where trained volunteer workers help low— and moderate-income taxpayers determine eligibility for the credits, is available at a number of sites in the area.
Appointments begin Jan. 19 through programs overseen by the Akron-Summit Earned Income Tax Coalition.
See below for locations and numbers to call for appointments.
In 2015, certified tax preparers volunteering at various sites for the Akron Summit Community Action Inc. Earned Income Tax Program prepared a total of 3,129 federal tax returns, resulting in $3,823,250 in total federal refunds.
The volunteers prepared 2,390 state returns, prepared, resulting in $355,318 total state refunds.
Program organizers figure they may have saved area residents hundreds of thousands of dollars in tax preparation fees.
Meanwhile, the Internal Revenue Service says as many as one in five taxpayers do not file for the Earned Income Tax Credit that is owed to them.
This year, the Earned Income Tax Credit income thresholds range from $14,820 to $53,267, depending on filing status and number of dependents.
The maximum credit is $503 for taxpayers with no qualifying children (taxpayer must be between the ages of 25 and 64); $3,359 with one, $5,548 with two and $6,242 with three or more. (For more information on the Earned Income Tax Credit, go online to www.IRS.gov and click the “Credits & Deductions” tab.)
There are various preparation sites for the free tax preparation. Call 1-866-861-6401 to set up an appointment at either the Akron Summit Community Action Inc. at 670 W. Exchange St.; Barberton Parks & Recreation Active Adult Division, 500 W. Hopocan Ave., Barberton; Cascade Village, 210 E. North St., Akron or Ohio Means Jobs/ Summit County Department of Job and Family Services, 1040 E. Tallmadge Ave., Akron.
Beginning Feb. 2, volunteers at the Kent State University Swartz Center, at 800 E. Summit St. in Kent will see clients on Tuesdays from 10:00 a.m. to 4 p.m. Appointments also will be available Saturday Feb. 6, March 5 and April 2. Call 211 for the Greater Cleveland area at 1-216-436-2000.
Beginning Jan. 30, volunteers at the George W. Daverio School of Accountancy, College of Business Administration, 259 S. Broadway, Room 106, will see clients from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. (No appointments on March 26). Appointments must be scheduled online at www.uakron.edu/cba/departments/accountancy/vita.dot.
Also, in February, Super Refund Saturday events will be offered in which walk-ins are taken.
These sessions are:
Feb. 6, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Akron Summit Community Action Inc., 670 W. Exchange St. in Akron.
Feb. 13, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Akron Summit Community Action Inc. 670 W. Exchange St. in Akron.
Feb.  13, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., University of Akron, George W. Daverio School of Accountancy, 259 South Broadway, Room 106.
Feb. 20, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Akron Summit Community Action Inc., 670 W. Exchange St.
Feb. 20, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. University of Akron. George W. Daverio. School of Accountancy, 259 South Broadway, Room 106.
 

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Cheap gas boosts new vehicle sales in Northeast Ohio for 2015

By Jim Mackinnon Published: January 11, 2016

Low fuel prices boosted new vehicle sales – particularly SUVs and light trucks – last year in Northeast Ohio by nearly 3 percent from 2014.
Strong December sales also helped close out a strong 2015 in a 21-county area, the Greater Cleveland Automobile Dealers’ Association reported.
There were 251,651 new cars and light trucks sold in 2015, up 2.7 percent from 245,053 in 2014, the organization reported. December new vehicle sales hit 20,465, up 6 percent from 19,303 in December 2014, the association said.
“The market exhibited strong, steady growth in 2015. However, we did see a dramatic shift in its makeup with SUVs and trucks showing double digit growth over the previous year,” Louis A. Vitantonio, president of the GCADA, said in a statement.
Lower fuel prices and some other factors contributed to the sales growth, he said.
Sales of SUVs and light trucks grew 16.3 percent in 2015 compared to 2014, the Cleveland auto dealers group reported.
In Summit County, new vehicle sales for the year hit 25,418, up 1.4 percent from 25,055 in 2014, according to the Northeast Ohio Automobile Dealers Association.
December sales in the county totaled 2,060, up 8 percent from 1,907 a year ago, according to the Akron-based association.
 

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CBS to fly with new Goodyear airship on Sunday program

By Jim Mackinnon Published: January 8, 2016

Attention, Helium Heads: CBS Sunday Morning is going to fly with the new Goodyear airship.
The morning program announced it will do a segment this Sunday on the next generation of Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. airships, the semi-rigid NT, or New Technology, Zeppelin model.
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.

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Signet Jewelers of Akron says holiday sales were up 5 percent

By Katie Byard Published: January 7, 2016

Sales during the all-important holiday retail season at Signet Jewelers Ltd. stores open at least a year — including Kay Jewelers and the Jared chain — were up 4.9 percent from the eight-week period the prior year.
The increase for the 2015 holiday season compares with an increase of 3.6 percent for the 2014 holiday season ended Dec. 27, 2014, the Akron-headquartered company said Thursday.
Total sales — sales at all stores — totaled $1.948 billion for the holiday season ended Dec. 26 last year and were up 5 percent from the period the prior year.
Signet also Thursday revealed that it was narrowing its guidance for the fourth quarter ended Jan. 30, forecasting that earnings per share would range from $3.44 to $3.50. That compares with the earlier forecast of $3.30 to $3.50. Signet’s new forecast for adjusted earnings per share is $3.54 to $3.60. That compares with the earlier forecast of $3.40 to $3.60.
Also Thursday, Signet declared a fourth-quarter dividend of 22 cents a share, payable Feb. 26 to shareholders of record Jan. 30.
 

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Retail gasoline prices drop to lowest level since 2009

By Jim Mackinnon Published: January 7, 2016

Good news for consumers from the U.S. Energy Information Agency:

U.S. regular retail gasoline prices averaged $2.43 per gallon (gal) in 2015, 93 cents/gal (28%) less than in 2014 and the lowest annual average price since 2009.

Lower crude oil prices in 2015 were the main cause for lower gasoline prices. In 6 of the 10 cities for which EIA collects weekly retail price data, gasoline prices did not exceed $3.00/gal. Cleveland is one of the 10 cities.

The full report is here.

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Medical Mutual's chief marketing officer to retire

By Katie Byard Published: January 7, 2016

By Amanda Garrett

Beacon Journal medical writer

Medical Mutual's chief marketer, Jared Chaney, has decided to retire next year and the company has moved Steffany Larkins in to fill part of his role now, hoping to ensure a smooth transition when Chaney leaves, the company said.


Larkins took over the role as chief marketing officer last week. Chaney, meanwhile, continues his position as executive vice president and chief communications officer of the oldest and largest Ohio-based health insurance company.

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Seven Summit County office buildings sold to New York buyer for $30 million

By Katie Byard Published: January 7, 2016

Seven Summit County office buildings, including some in the Embassy Park complex in Bath Township and Fairlawn, have been sold by one investment group to another for $30 million.
Rubenstein Partners of Philadelphia and an affiliate of investor Mark Munsell of Beachwood were the sellers of the properties, all built by area real estate developer John Dellagnese & Associates. The buyer is Group RMC of New York.
Rubenstein Partners, which bought the properties in 2012 in a deal involving Munsell, buys office properties that it considers to be under-valued — dated properties and ones with lower occupancy rates. Rubenstein then improves the properties, with the hope of selling them at a profit.
Today, the seven buildings, with a total of 400,000 square feet of space, are about 80 percent full.
A spokesman for Rubenstein said Thursday that the Embassy Parkway properties were acquired in 2012 at a “significant discount” from the $30 million. “The value achieved through this transaction exemplifies the upward trend of suburban office market leasing activity and declining vacancy rates in northeast Ohio, where market fundamentals are at their strongest since the recession in 2007,” Russell Rogers, who brokered the sale with Thomas Gustafson of the Collier International real estate brokerage, said in a news release.
Five of the buildings are in the Embassy Park complex, one is at 3560 W. Market Street in Fairlawn, east of Cleveland-Massillon Road, and one is at 5399 Lauby Road in Green, near the Akron-Canton Airport.
They were all built by area real estate developer John Dellagnese & Associates, which began developing Embassy Park in 1986.
A spokesman for Rubenstein said Thursday that the Embassy Parkway properties were acquired in 2012 at a “significant discount” from the $30 million. Rubenstein bought the entire “Embassy Park Portfolio,” which was comprised of 10 office buildings, that year.
At the time, the occupancy rate for the overall portfolio was 68 percent.
Rubenstein bought all ten properties through a deal that involved paying off existing loans at a discount.
The previous owner, a group including Munsell, and a special servicer, a company that handles troubled debts, were involved in the deal, and Munsell continued to be a minority owner.
Brandon Huffman, director at Rubenstein, said in the news release that the purchase in 2012, while “fairly complex,” allowed Rubenstein to persue it’s “value-added business plant to improve and lease up the assets, leading to successful disposition.
Rubenstein sold two of the ten buildings in 2012 and 2013. Another building that was part of the initial purchase in under contract to be sold to the building’s main tenant.
The addresses of the seven buildings sold this week are: 3560 West Market Street, 3700 Embassy Parkway,
3737 Embassy Parkway, 3875 Embassy Parkway, 4000 Embassy Parkway, 4040 Embassy Parkway, Fairlawn, Ohio and 5399 Lauby Road in Green, near the Akron-Canton Airport.
Rubenstein is a private equity real estate investment management company that buys and sells.

 

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Email telling Time Warner Cable email customers to change password is legitimate

By Betty Lin-Fisher Published: January 7, 2016

While most consumers are trained to assume all emails asking you to change a password or access your account via a link is a scam, in the case of an email from Time Warner Cable email, it's legitimate.

Time Warner Cable email customers received an email telling them that some of their email addresses, including passwords were compromised and suggesting they change their password.

Here's the official press statement from Time Warner:

"Time Warner Cable was recently notified by the FBI that some of our customers' email addresses, including account passwords may have been compromised.  Our understanding is that the compromise had nothing to do with TWC's systems or processes. TWC is proactively reaching out to those customers who could be potentially impacted so they can take precautionary measures to protect their accounts by changing their password, by using a strong, unique alternative. The emails and passwords were likely previously stolen either through malware downloaded during phishing attacks or indirectly through data breaches of other companies that stored TWC customer information, including email addresses. About 320,000 across our markets could be impacted by this situation."

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Macy's closing Chapel Hill Mall store

By Jim Mackinnon Published: January 6, 2016

The Macy’s store at struggling Chapel Hill Mall in Akron will close in the next eight to 12 weeks, the Cincinnati-based retailer said Wednesday.

The company also is closing its store at Midway Mall in Elyria.

Macy’s is closing 36 of its 770 stores as part of a cost-cutting measure, with the closures to take place in early spring. Final clearance sales start Jan. 11 and will run for eight to 12 weeks, the company said.

The closing of the Macy’s at Chapel Hill Mall is a major blow to the struggling property. Macy’s said 91 people work at the Chapel Hill site.
 

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Area law firm, Kisling, Nestico & Redick, adds shareholders

By Katie Byard Published: January 6, 2016

Four lawyers have been named shareholders of personal injury law firm Kisling, Nestico & Redick, with headquarters in Fairlawn.
In 2012, managing partner Rob Nestico, bought out the two other founding partners, Gary Kisling and Robert Redick.

The three men created the firm in 2005. Kisling and Redick remain with the firm, which now has 29 lawyers and 10 offices throughout Ohio.

Named shareholders are two lawyers who work out of the Fairlawn office, Joshua Angelotta and John Reagan, and two who work out of the Youngstown office, Nomiki Tsarnas, and Thomas Vasvari.
Angelotta has been with the firm as a member of the pre-litigation team since 2011. He first joined the Youngstown location before transferring to Fairlawn, where he has remained since. He focuses on all areas of personal injury with a specialization in motor vehicle accidents.
Reagan is the lead attorney of the litigation team working out of the Fairlawn office. He specializes in commercial trucking and other motor vehicle accidents.
Tsarnas joined the Youngstown office of Kisling, Nestico & Redick in November 2007 and focuses on personal injury litigation.
Vasvari, managing attorney of the Youngstown office, also joined the firm in 2007. He focuses on the pre-litigation of motor vehicle accidents and personal injury cases.
All four of the lawyers have won settlements or verdicts in excess of $1 million and each has trial experience, according to a news release from the firm.
 

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Convention and visitors bureau awards grants to 18 in Summit County

By Jim Mackinnon Published: January 6, 2016

The Akron/Summit Convention & Visitors Bureau awarded $49,950 to 18 Summit County organizations, businesses and events through its 2016 Partnerships in Motion – Destination Development Grant Program.
The program is designed to enhance and increase tourism in Summit County.
Goals include:
• Increase overnight stays in Akron/Summit County;
• Promote a positive image and increase visibility of Akron/Summit County attractions;
• Increase expenditures by visitors to Akron/Summit County;
• Provide programs and activities beneficial to attracting additional tourists.
Grantees include: Akron Civic Theatre - $2,500; Akron Marathon Race Series - $3,500; Akron RubberDucks - $5,000; Akron Zoo - $3,750; ArtsNow - $5,000; Barberton Beautification Program - $950; Conservancy for Cuyahoga Valley National Park - $1,500; Crafty Mart - $1,250; Cuyahoga Valley Scenic Railroad - $2,000; FirstEnergy All-American Soap Box Derby - $1,500; Hale Farm & Village - $3,500; MAPS Air Museum - $1,000; RDA Hotel Management - $3,500; The Summit County Historical Society - $4,000; Summit Artspace - $1,500; Tuesday Musical Society - $1,500; World Golf Championships Bridgestone Invitational - $4,000; and Zeber-Martell Clay Studio & Art Gallery - $4,000.
 

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Dominion's January SCO monthly natural gas price still low

By Betty Lin-Fisher Published: January 6, 2016

The monthly natural gas price for residential customers who are on the Standard Choice Offer is going up a few cents, but is still lower than normal.

Effective Jan. 14, Dominion East Ohio’s SCO rate will be $2.39 per thousand cubic feet (mcf).

That’s 7.2 percent or 16 cents/mcf higher than the December rate of $2.23/mcf.

Still, the January rate is 33.9 percent or $1.23/mcf lower than the price of $3.62/mcf a year ago. Development of shale energy resources in Ohio and other states, have led to lower national market prices for natural gas, Dominion said.

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RPM International 2nd quarter earnings, revenue rise from year ago

By Jim Mackinnon Published: January 6, 2016

RPM International Inc. showed higher earnings and revenue for its second quarter compared to a year ago, with company executives reaffirming full-year earnings guidance.
The Medina maker of adhesives, coatings and related products on Wednesday reported net income of $83.4 million, or 62 cents per share, on revenue of $1.16 billion. That compares to net income of nearly $69.8 million, or 52 cents per share, on revenue of $1.07 billion a year ago.
Foreign currency translation hurt earnings per share by six cents, the company said.
RPM executives said the company is on track to earn $2.50 a share for the full year.
For the first six months of fiscal 2016, RPM had net income of $183.3 million, or $1.36 a share, on revenue of nearly $2.3 billion. That compares to net income of nearly $168.9 million, or $1.24 a share, on revenue of $2.28 billion for the same six month period a year ago.
RPM shares were down just 2 cents to $42.91 as of 11:59 a.m.
RPM consumer and industrial brands include Day-Glo, Testors, Rust-Oleum, DAP, Zinsser, Stonhard, Tremco and illbruck.

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RPM International to pay dividend on Jan. 29

By Jim Mackinnon Published: January 5, 2016

RPM International Inc. will pay a quarterly cash dividend of 27.5 cents per share on Jan. 29 to stockholders of record as of Jan. 15.
Medina-based RPM increased its dividend by 5.8 percent in October, the 42nd consecutive year the company has increased its dividend. That places RPM among just half of 1 percent of all 19,000 publicly traded U.S. companies; only 45 other companies have consecutively increasing annual dividends over the same period.

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Akron Woman's City Club to remain closed through January after fire

By Betty Lin-Fisher Published: January 5, 2016

The Akron Woman's City Club will be closed through at least the end of January to all activities for members and non-members as repairs from a kitchen fire are completed.

The club, which opened in 1923, sustained extensive damage to the kitchen and attic above the kitchen in a fire New Year's Eve. Original estimates had damage at about $40,000, but Patricia Brown, first vice president and immediate past president of the club's board of directors said it is more extensive. Insurance officials are working with the club on repairs, she said, and have not established a final damage estimate.

Club officials had hoped to re-open in a limited fashion this week, possibly using catering, since the historic parts of the building were not damaged, but Brown said the decision has been made to keep the club closed, except for perhaps a board meeting.

The fire, which Brown said is still suspected to have started due to an electrical issue, caused the club on West Exchange Street to cancel its New Year's Eve gala.

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Moving study again finds Ohio residents heading out of state

By Katie Byard Published: January 4, 2016

Ohio has again made a list of the top 10 states from which people moved.
The 39th annual United Van Lines’ National Movers Study shows Ohio ranked No. 5  on the list, with 58 percent of the moves headed out of instead of into the state.
The previous year, Ohio was ranked sixth, with 59 percent of relocating folks going out of state.
For the most recent study, the top ten outbound states were, in order: New Jersey, New York, Illinois, Connecticut, Ohio, Kansas, Massachusetts, West Virginia, Mississippi and Maryland.
Meanwhile, the top inbound locales were, in order: Oregon, South Carolina, Vermont, Idaho, North Carolina, Florida, Nevada, District of Columbia, Texas, and Washington.
“This year’s data reflects longer-term trends of people moving to the Pacific West, where cities such as Portland and Seattle are seeing the combination of a boom in the technology and creative marketing industry, as well as a growing ‘want’ for outdoor activity and green space,” said Michael Stoll and economist and professor at the University of California, in a news release issued Monday by United Van Lines.
Stoll, who is chair of the university’s Department of Public Policy, said aging boomers retiring in warmer areas are driving relocation from the Northeast and Midwest to the West and South.
 

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