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A. Schulman to webcast quarterly conference call April 7

By Jim Mackinnon Published: March 31, 2015

Polymer company A. Schulman Inc. will webcast its fiscal 2015 second quarter earnings conference call at 10 a.m. April 7. The Fairlawn company will release the quarterly results after the stock market closes on April 6.

The conference call can be accessed at www.aschulman.com.

On the call will be Bernard Rzepka, president and chief executive officer, and Joseph Levanduski, vice president and chief financial officer.

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Akron RubberDucks Extreme Menu bulks up again

By Katie Byard Published: March 31, 2015

The “Extreme Menu” is expanding again at Canal Park, with a super-size Italian sub, named "The Don Corleone," as well as wedge salad made with a full head of iceberg lettuce and served in a baseball helmet.

@AkronRubberDuck s reveal new Extreme Menu items including this huge wedge salad; cor. earlier tweet @ohiodotcom pic.twitter.com/atbe75U8gI

 

Another addition revealed Tuesday by the Akron RubberDucks is a pile of French fries topped with gravy, cheese curds, BBQ pulled pork, bacon bits and green onion.

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Akron maker of sauerkraut balls and other food gets a new name

By Katie Byard Published: March 31, 2015

Or Derv Foods, the growing Akron company that is the creator of regional favorite Bunny B sauerkraut balls, is changing its name.

The new name, effective April 13, is Ascot Valley Foods LLC.

The new name is a reference to Ascot Industrial Park, which is in Akron's far north end and is the site of the company's new 20,000-square-foot factory.

Company CEO Keith Kropp said in a letter to customers and suppliers that the reason for the name change is growth.

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Kentucky trucker named 32nd Goodyear Highway Hero

By Jim Mackinnon Published: March 30, 2015

The 32nd Goodyear Highway Hero is Clinton Blackburn, a truck driver from Morehead, Ky., who saved a law enforcement official from being strangled by a prisoner.
Blackburn accepted the Goodyear North America Highway Hero Award, which includes a $5,000 prize and other items, at the Mid-America Trucking Show in Louisville, Ky. The award honors professional truck drivers who put themselves in harm’s way to help others.
Blackburn was driving near Elizabethtown, Ky., last year when he saw a sheriff’s cruiser lurch toward the highway median and stop suddenly. Blackburn stopped and saw the driver, Spencer County jailer Darrell Herndon, was being strangled from behind by a prisoner.
Blackburn struggled with the prisoner to free Herndon. When the prisoner grabbed Herndon’s gun, Blackburn  grabbed the gun barrel pointed it away. Herndon released his seat belt and rolled out of the car. Blackburn turned the weapon around and aimed it at the prisoner.
After the prisoner unsuccessfully tried to drive the car away, Blackburn and Herndon subdued him.

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Soap maker Amish Country Essentials to open Wooster retail store

By Jim Mackinnon Published: March 30, 2015

Amish Country Essentials, a soap and salves retailer based in Berlin, will open its fourth store the week of April 6 at 156 East Liberty St. in downtown Wooster.
Amish Country Essentials makes and sells soaps, lotions, shampoos, and other items.
The family-owned business was founded in Millersburg in 2008 and moved its main store to Berlin in 2013. It has outlets at the Walnut Creek Flea Market and Holmes County Flea Market. Shane and Tracy Cultice are the co-owners.
Wooster business hours will be 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays; and closed on Sundays.
For more information, go to www.amishcountryessentials.com or call (330) 601-0775.

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FTC halts Yellow-page imposters

By Betty Lin-Fisher Published: March 26, 2015

Signet Jewelers earnings, revenue up for quarter and full year

By Jim Mackinnon Published: March 26, 2015

Jewelry retailer Signet Jewelers Ltd. reported higher fourth-quarter and full-year earnings and revenue Thursday, saying all divisions and brands showed strength.
Signet had net income of $228 million, or $2.84 a share, on revenue of nearly $2.3 billion for its fourth quarter, ending Jan. 31. That compares to net income of $175.2 million, or $2.18 a share, on revenue of nearly $1.6 billion a year ago. Sales at stores open at least a year increased 4.2 percent compared to a year ago. Adjusted earnings per share were $3.06, up 40.4 percent from a year ago.
For the full year, Signet reported net income of $381.3 million, or $4.75 a share, on revenue of $5.7 billion.

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Worthington Industries layoffs include 33 in Wooster

By Jim Mackinnon Published: March 26, 2015

Columbus-based metals manufacturer Worthington Industries is laying off 555 employees, including 33 in Wooster.

The company cited weak market conditions caused by a strong dollar that has caused steel prices to plummet and from the decline in oil prices that has reduced demand in its oil and gas equipment segment.

Worthington is closing its Engineered Cabs plant in Florence, S.C., putting 310 employees out of work. It will shift production to a facility in Greeneville, Tenn.

The company is laying off 245 people in its Oil and Gas Equipment segment, which  makes such things as metal storage tanks.

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Smucker complete Big Heart Pet acquisition

By Betty Lin-Fisher Published: March 23, 2015

Summit County home sales up 17 percent

By Katie Byard Published: March 23, 2015

Home sales in Summit County jumped 17 percent last month from the year-ago figure.

A total of of 393 home sold last month. That's up 17 percent from the 336 sold in February 2014, according to the Akron Cleveland Association of Realtors.

Unlike national and state data, Summit County figures are not adjusted for seasonal variations.

Check back with www.Ohio.com for more information.

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Akron gets its own bootcamp for entrepreneurs; Bit Factory opens

By Katie Byard Published: March 23, 2015

Akron now has its own boot camp for entrepreneurs, in which young companies participate in a six-month program to give their startup ideas a big boost.
The city’s program is called the Bit Factory, and it will cater specifically to promising tech entrepreneurs, who will pay nothing to participate.
Organizers and initial participants will Tuesday celebrate the program’s opening at Bit Factory. which is in space within Akron’s downtown incubator, called the Akron Global Business Accelerator.
Tuesday’s opening event is by invitation only.
The Bit Factory — the name derives from computer “bits” — is in space on the fifth floor of the Global Business Accelerator, one of the red-brick buildings off South Main Street that are part of the sprawling former B.F. Goodrich factory complex, now known as Canal Place, in downtown Akron.
The Bit Factory program got $150,000 in funding last year from the nonprofit Burton D. Morgan Foundation of  Hudson. The state’s Ohio Third Frontier program granted an additional $250,000.
Check back later with www.Ohio.com for more information.
 

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Schulman lowers earnings guidance on euro weakening

By Jim Mackinnon Published: March 23, 2015

A. Schulman Inc. expects to earn less money this year because of weakening overseas currencies.
Shares in the Fairlawn polymer company sold off slightly Monday morning after Schulman lowered its earnings guidance for its 2015 fiscal year.
Schulman said in a press release it now expects to earn between $2.50 and $2.55 a share this year, down from previous guidance of $2.60 to $2.65 a share. The $2.4 billion company cited the “continuing deep decline of the euro and other foreign currencies.”
The euro was trading at $1.18 when Schulman gave its initial guidance in early January; the euro has since declined to below $1.05. The company said improved operations and restructuring are partially offsetting the euro’s rapid decline.
The revision does not include Schulman’s recently announced $800 million purchase of Citadel Plastics Holdings Inc.
Shares of Schulman were down 94 cents, or 2.1 percent, to $43.85 as of 11:10 a.m. Second quarter results are scheduled to be released April 6.

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L.L. Bean coming to Legacy Village

By Betty Lin-Fisher Published: March 19, 2015

B&W releases details on upcoming spinoff in SEC filing

By Jim Mackinnon Published: March 17, 2015

Babcock & Wilcox Co. has released more information on its upcoming spin off later this year of its Power Generation Group in a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The Charlotte, N.C.-based company on Tuesday said an initial Form 10 Registration Statement was filed with the SEC that spells out numerous details on the soon-to-be independent company, to be called Babcock & Wilcox Enterprises Inc. The spinoff will retain B&W’s fossil and renewable energy business, which includes building coal-fired boilers and pollution control equipment for electric power plants.
What remains of the parent company, made up of B&W’s  Government and Nuclear Operations segments, will be renamed BWX Technologies Inc.
The document does not say when the spin off will take place: B&W previously has said the split will take place this summer.
B&W Enterprises will trade under the ticker symbol BW. While B&W Enterprises will retain its 1,700-person campus in Barberton, plans are for the corporate headquarters to remain in Charlotte.

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Akron-area gasoline prices fall below $2 at some stations

By Jim Mackinnon Published: March 17, 2015

Gasoline prices on Tuesday fell below $2 a gallon at some stations in the greater Akron area and remain far below where they were a year ago. But prices didn't stay below $2 for long -- by the afternoon prices were above $2 a gallon.
The GetGo station at Darrow and Stow roads in Stow was selling a gallon of regular for $2.93 a gallon through late Tuesday morning, according to the web site AkronGasPrices.com. A Marathon station in Canton was also selling regular gas for $1.99 a gallon, according to the web site.
There were numerous stations selling gasoline for $2.07 a gallon and under in the region.
 According to AAA’s FuelGaugeReport, the average price of a gallon of regular in the greater Akron area on Tuesday was $2.18, down from $2.20 on Monday and $2.29 a week ago. The average price a year ago was $3.60 a gallon.

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Rust-Oleum buys South Africa paint company

By Jim Mackinnon Published: March 16, 2015

Medina-based RPM International Inc.’s Rust-Oleum Group has acquired Spraymate Group, a South African company.
Spraymate, considered South Africa’s leading aerosol paint brand, has annual sales of about $5 million.
Terms were not disclosed. The acquisition allows Rust-Oleum to use Spraymate’s manufacturing and distribution capabilities. Consumer paints get the Spraymate brand name, while mining industry paints use the Mine Mate brand name.

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Americhem upgrades manufacturing plant

By Jim Mackinnon Published: March 16, 2015

Cuyahoga Falls company Americhem Inc., which makes custom color and additive products for the polymer industry, has revamped part of its manufacturing facilities to increase capacity.
Americhem said it installed two small-lot manufacturing cells and made other improvements at its Cuyahoga Falls plant that will add three million pounds of capacity. The changes also improve speed and reduce waste.
The changes let Americhem meet increasing demand for smaller lot sizes of its products, the company said.
Workflow elsewhere in the plant was rearranged and upgraded, barcoding was implemented to improve quality and inventory control, and other changes made, Americhem said.

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Sheriff's sale of downtown property scrapped

By Katie Byard Published: March 16, 2015

The nearly 100-year-old building on South Main Street in downtown Akron that has housed a variety of nightclubs is no longer scheduled for a sheriff’s sale Tuesday.
The owner of the building, which most recently housed The Bank nightclub, filed for bankruptcy protection, halting the sheriff’s sale.
The building’s owner, Globalcor Associates LLC, which owes more than $87,000 in delinquent Summit County real estate taxes, interest and penalties, filed for reorganization under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code on Monday.
The Bank nightclub closed last year. The building had earlier housed Whiskey Ranch, Purgatory and the Vault.
Check back later with www.Ohio.com for more information.

 

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Summit County unemployment rate rises

By Jim Mackinnon Published: March 12, 2015

Summit County’s jobless rate rose significantly in January.

The county unemployment rate hit 6.4 percent in January, up from 4.9 percent in December but down from 7.6 percent a year ago.

While Summit County’s jobless rate rose, the number of people counted as working in January totaled 252,100, up from 247,400 in January 2014.

For the full story, go here.

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Insurer National Interstate names Cholnoky as new director

By Jim Mackinnon Published: March 12, 2015

The former president of General Reinsurance Corp., John Cholnoky,  is a new director for Richfield specialty insurer National Interstate Corp.
National Interstate expanded its Class II board of directors from four to five seats and filled the open position with Cholnoky. He retired from General Reinsurance in 2014 after 33 years at the company.

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Tri-County Labor Council has new executive secretary-treasurer

By Jim Mackinnon Published: March 12, 2015

David Prentice is the new executive secretary-treasurer of the Tri-County Regional Labor Council, which is based off Wolf Ledges Parkway in Akron.
Prentice was elected to a three-year term over Tom Morneweck. Prentice is the fourth secretary-treasurer for the AFL-CIO council in two years. The council works with union locals in Summit, Medina and Portage counties.
Prentice is a long-time union activist. He lives in Green and is married to Paula Prentice, Summit County Council District 8 representative.
He said he is focused on providing quality leadership to Ohio AFL-CIO affiliated unions.

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Summit County new car, truck sales rise

By Jim Mackinnon Published: March 12, 2015

New car sales in Northeast Ohio pushed through February’s cold and heavy snow, rising 1.3 percent from a year ago. Summit County sales did even better.
There were 13,791 new cars and light trucks sold last month in a 21-county region of Northeast Ohio compared to 13,608 a year ago, the Greater Cleveland Automobile Dealers’ Association reported. Sales since Jan. 1 total 32,963, up 0.9 percent from the same period a year ago.
“With the adverse weather we experienced in February, many dealers were expecting an off month,”  Louis A. Vitantonio, GCADA president, said in a statement. “Several market factors are contributing to our growth this year, including serious demand in the market, an improving economy, lower overall fuel prices, and the better availability of financing.”
New vehicle sales in Summit County totaled 1,393 in February, up 3.5 percent from 1,346 a year ago, according to the Northeast Ohio Automobile Dealers Association. Used vehicle sales in Summit County fell to 2,772, down 1.4 percent from 2,811 in February 2014.

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Giant Eagle recalls Irish soda bread

By Katie Byard Published: March 11, 2015

Giant Eagle has voluntarily recalled its Giant Eagle brand Irish Soda Bread sold between Feb. 24 and March 11 because the product label did not list milk as an allergen.
All of the product now on shelves is correctly labeled, the Pittsburgh-headquartered company said.
Customers with a milk allergy who have purchased the bread should dispose of it or return it to their local Giant Eagle for a refund, the company said.
The omission of milk on the label “creates the potential for serious health consequences if consumed by those with milk allergies,” the company said in a statement released Wednesday.
The product is safe for consumption by those who do not have milk allergies, the company said.
The recalled Irish Soda Bread was sold with a UPC (Universal Price Code) of 20761800000 and a net weight of 16 ounces.
About 2,000 customers bought the bread in Giant Eagle and Market District supermarkets in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland and West Virginia.
Giant Eagle said one reported case of a customer illness associated with the bread prompted an investigation.
Customers with questions can call Giant Eagle Customer Care at 1-800-553-2324 from 9 a.m to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday.

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IT plans and small businesses topic of talk

By Katie Byard Published: March 11, 2015

Small businesses and information technology plans will be the topic of a free talk at 6:30 p.m. Monday at the Hudson Library & Historical Society.
Jon Elsasser, former senior vice president and chief information officer of the Timken Co.,  will discuss the The Big Three Questions businesses should ask before updating or creating their information technology plans.
Elsasser has served as a start-up business board member and advisor for several companies including Arkovi, Tiffin Metal Products, Jarrett Logistics Systems and V2 Technology. He is an investor and member of East Central Ohio Tech Angel Fund and the recently created Impact Angel Fund.

This workshop is part of the Hudson Library & Historical Society's MBA-Lite mini-series of more advanced programs focusing on entrepreneurs and small business owners. The series is sponsored by the Burton D. Morgan Foundation. To register for this free program, go to www.hudsonlibrary.org or call 330-653-6658, Ext. 1010. The library is at 96 Library St. in the First & Main shopping complex.

 

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Sen. Sherrod Brown, other lawmakers seek to combat tax-related identity theft

By Katie Byard Published: March 11, 2015

Beacon Journal staff report
U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and other lawmakers again are working to get a bill passed that seeks to crack down on fraudulently filed tax returns and to protect taxpayers from identity-theft scams.
More than 9,000 Ohioans reported complaints of identity theft in 2014, according to Federal Trade Commission data that Brown’s office reported Wednesday.
The Internal Revenue Service earlier this month estimated that it paid $5.8 billion to identity thieves filing fraudulent returns in filing season 2013.
The General Accounting Office said last year that the IRS stopped $24.2 billion in theft. However, the GAO noted the extent of such fraud is not known.
The Federal Trade Commission says that tax-related identity theft has comprised the largest share of identity-theft complaints from consumers to the commission for the past five years.
The proposed legislation — the Identity Theft and Tax Fraud Prevention Act of 2015 — also would include measures designed to help those who are victims of tax-related identity theft.
Those include the creation of a single point of contact for victims.
Measures in the bill designed to prevent identity theft include an expansion of the IRS’s personal identification number (PIN) program to anyone requesting protection from tax-related identity theft and requiring the Medicare program to phase out collecting, using and displaying Social Security numbers.
The IRS would be allowed to accept a taxpayer’s truncated Social Security number or other identification number on W-2s, regulate paid tax-preparers and require preparers to verify the identity of clients.
The bill would increase the maximum penalty for tax-related identity theft from three years imprisonment and a $100,000 fine to five years imprisonment and a $250,000 fine.
A similar version of the bill was introduced last year but was held up in committee.
The Federal Trade Commission says taxpayers’ best defense against identity theft is to file their taxes as early as possible. This way, taxpayers can get ahead of scammers who might attempt to use their Social Security number to get a fraudulent refund.
The trade commission says if a consumer is a victim of tax identity theft, they should contact the FTC to file a complaint immediately either online or by phone at 1-877-FTC-HELP, as well as contacting the IRS at 1-800-908-4490.

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Martin P. Hauser joins firm

By Cheryl Powell Published: March 11, 2015

The former longtime leader of SummaCare has joined a national executive search firm as partner.

The Chandler Group announced this week that Martin P. Hauser will establish a new location for the firm in Northeast Ohio.
The Chandler Group, based in Minneapolis, helps health-care, nonprofit and commercial business clients with executive and board searches.
Hauser will assist in executive recruitment for integrated health systems, hospitals, commercial insurance companies, accountable care organizations, provider-sponsored health plans, health-care nonprofits, physician groups, medical device manufacturers and pharmacy benefits managers.
Hauser served in various leadership roles with Summa Health System, including head of SummaCare, until leaving the organization last year.

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True Value in Canton changing to Ace

By Betty Lin-Fisher Published: March 11, 2015

Akron drone maker teaming up with Iowa research group

By Katie Byard Published: March 6, 2015

An Akron startup company that makes drones  - the unmanned aircraft that have been in the news - said Friday its drones will be flying over crop fields for research programs throughout the Midwest.

The small local company, Event 38, said Cedar Valley Innovation, an Iowa agriculture research enterprise, plans to use Event 38’s flagship drone - the E384 - in its ongoing agricultural research programs.

Cedar Valley Innovation, based in Waterloo, Iowa, also will use proprietary software developed by Event 38.

The drones, combined with optical sensors and software, will be used to gather crop information.

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Myers Industries increases dividend 4 percent

By Katie Byard Published: March 6, 2015

Akron maker of plastic and rubber products Myers Industries, Inc. (NYSE:MYE) on Friday said its board has declared a quarterly dividend of 13.5 cents a share. That’s an increase of 4 percent from the 13 cents a share paid last quarter.

The dividend will be paid April 1 to shareholders of record as of March 16.

Myers, which also is a specialty tool distributor, is in the midst of a major restructuring.

The company last week reported net loss for the fourth quarter compared with year-ago results.

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Free tax prep in Stark County

By Betty Lin-Fisher Published: March 5, 2015

Two area Sears Hardwares to close

By Betty Lin-Fisher Published: March 4, 2015

Akron manufacturer of parts for construction machinery expands

By Katie Byard Published: March 2, 2015

Beacon Journal staff report
Paladin Attachments, the maker of attachments for construction and related machinery with a 180-employee operation in Akron, has purchased Kodiak Manufacturing Inc. in Charleston, Tenn.
Kodiak is a manaufacturer of agricultural implements. Charleston is about 45 miles northeast of Chattanooga.
Terms of the acquisition are not being disclosed. The Paladin operation in Akron is the former JRB Co. Paladin, headquartered in Dexter, Mich., outside Ann Arbor, purchased JRB in 2004.
The Akron Paladin facility, on Glaser Parkway, is in the Akron Fulton International Airport industrial park.
Paladin’s purchase of the Tennessee facility “supports Paladin’s continued product diversification objectives and improves its presence in the agricultural market sector,” a news released issued Monday said..
The Akron operation focuses on manufacturing attachments for equipment used in construction and landscaping. Paladin’s total employment is about 2,600.
 

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