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Quaker Square Comics to relocate downtown; rename itself Rubber City Comics

By Betty Lin-Fisher Published: August 28, 2015

Quaker Square Comics, currently housed in the Quaker Square General Store, which is closing, is relocating and renaming itself.

The comic-book business will relocate from the University of Akron facility at Quaker Square to share space with The Stew Pot Kitchen at 23 South Main St. in downtown Akron starting in September. The longest running comic book shop in the area will also be changing their name to Rubber City Comics.

Established in 1974 in the former Quaker Oats factory turned quirky shopping center, Newstand Comics (later known as Quaker Square Comics) was acquired in 2007 when the University of Akron purchased the hotel, conference facilities, and shops. It was announced in July of this year that the university would be closing the last of the retail operations and contracting the banquet facilities to an outside company.

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Earnings and sales for Signet Jewelers top analysts' expectations

By Katie Byard Published: August 27, 2015

Signet Jewelers Ltd., which is the world's largest retailer of diamond jewelry and is headquartered in Akron, on Thursday reported earnings and sales that beat analysts' expectations.

Signet said sales -- boosted by the company's purchase last year of rival Zale Corp. of Irving, Texas -- and cost management drove an increase in profits for the second quarter ended Aug. 1.

Signet shares closed Thursday at $138.82, up $17.55. or 14.5 percent.

Signet, with operations in the United Kingdrom, is no longer identifying its U.S. operation with the Sterling name. It said it is now operating all of its brands under the Signet name, with Akron as its headquarters. Previously, the company had identifed Akron as the headquarters of its U.S. operations.

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Akron medical device company gets new digs; wins approval for camera system used during surgery

By Katie Byard Published: August 26, 2015

Two years after setting up shop in Akron, a company with roots in the Netherlands has won a crucial government hurdle to market its camera system used to locate lymph nodes and make cancer tumors visible during surgery.
Quest Medical Imaging Inc., also has graduated from the city’s business incubator, the Akron Global Business Accelerator,  and has moved several blocks north to the Everett Building, at the corner of the Market and Main streets in downtown Akron. The business incubator is in the old B.F. Goodrich complex on South Main Street.
“This is a success story,” said Sam DeShazior, Akron’s deputy mayor of economic development, “they have moved... now they are on their own.”
Quest Medical will celebrate winning approval from the Food and Drug Administration and its move at an open house Monday at its offices on the fifth floor of the Everett building.
The company, founded by a software engineer from the Netherlands, now employs a handful of full and part-time workers as well as contract employees. Now, with FDA approval to market its camera system to surgeons and hospitals, Quest Medical plans to add roughly 5 to 6 additional workers this year and hire another handful or so next year.

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Kent-headquartered Carter Lumber continues to expand in the Southeast

By Katie Byard Published: August 26, 2015

Carter Lumber, the building materials store chain headquartered in Kent, is expanding its presence in the Southeastern United States, with plans for a new store in Georgia and a North Carolina location set to open soon.
Carter Lumber’s president and chief operating officer, Jeff Donley, said Carter Lumber’s growth in the Atlanta Charlotte, N.C., areas mean the company needs “additional locations for support.”
The new Georgia location — which will be in Powder Springs — will be the fourth Carter Lumber location open in the Atlanta metropolitan area during the past two years. It will be a full-service lumberyard, serving builders in the northwestern corridor of the Atlanta market.
The new North Carolina location will be in Lexington and will be the sixth Carter Lumber location serving the Charlotte area. It will be a delivery hub for framing components, and by the beginning of March 2016, Carter Lumber expects to start production of trusses, wall panels, engineered wood products and millwork at the site.
The privately-held, family-owned Carter Lumber is one of the country’s largest building materials suppliers. It opened in 1932 in Akron and now has 142 locations across 12 states in the Midwest, Mid-Atlantic and Southeast. The original location is at 172 N. Case Ave. in east Akron.
Last year, it has sales of $979.2, up 2 percent from 2014 sales, according to ProSales magazine. The company has roughly 2,850 employees.

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Winter? It'll be here soon - local group recommends furnace checks

By Betty Lin-Fisher Published: August 25, 2015

Though we're all still savoring the summer weather, winter will be here before we know it. The Akron Canton Heating and Cooling Association today released this information, reminding consumers to have a furnace check-up and scams to avoid.



“Winter Heating Season Is Just Around the Corner…Stay Safe & Warm”

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Akron SCORE offers free small business workshops

By Jim Mackinnon Published: August 21, 2015

Akron SCORE, the no-cost mentoring program for new and  existing businesses, will offer 13 workshops during August and through September.
The workshops offer practical guidance to help new businesses get  started, and existing businesses improve their operations and profitability.
The  free workshops are conducted by professional counselors certified by SCORE, the non-profit Small Business Administration-affiliated organization.
The workshops:
• Fundamentals of Writing a Business Plan workshop will be held Aug.  27 and again on Sept.  24, from 5:30-8:30 p.m., at the University of Akron’s Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing;
• Fundamentals of Financial Management will be presented Sept. 3 from 5:30-8:30 p.m. at the Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing;
• Introduction to Patents and Patent Searching will be held Sept. 16 from  6-8 p.m. at the Akron Public Library;
• Marketing Techniques for Success will be  held on Sept. 30 from 6-9 p.m. at the Midpoint Campus Center in Brunswick.
• Non-Profit Basics will be Sept. 10 from 5:30-8:30  p.m. at the Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing;
• A two-part session on QuickBooks will be held Sept. 14 and Sept. 15 from 6:30 p.m.-8:30 p.m. at the Hudson Library;
• Part one of Simple Steps for Starting Your  Business, a six-step program, will be presented on Sept. 23, and part two on Sept. 30.  Both are 5:30-8:30 p.m. at the Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing;
•  Starting Your Own Business programs run 6-9 p.m. Sept. 16 at  Midpoint, and from 5:30-8:30 p.m. Sept. 17 at the Taylor Institute for  Direct Marketing;
• A Social Media seminar will take place Sept. 9 from 10  a.m. to noon at the Taylor Institute for Direct Marketing.   
For more information, go to the SCORE Website at
Individuals and companies interested in  attending can register at the website or by calling 330 379-3163.
Akron SCORE serves Medina, Portage, Summit and Wayne counties. Offices are at 175 S. Main St., Suite 204, in Akron.

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Akron Women in Tech receives Knight grant; details on several upcoming events

By Betty Lin-Fisher Published: August 21, 2015

 Akron Women in Tech, a community of women and friends who are interested in learning to code websites and mobile application, has won a grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

The group is receiving a $5,000 planning grant to help support some of its programming.

The group offers a free presentation each month, the next being Wednesday, Aug. 26, "Intro to Python with Mike Meffie." It will be held at 6:30 p.m. at OSC Tech Lab, 12 E Exchange St, 2nd Floor.

Here's the details:

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Goodyear names new Asia Pacific president

By Jim Mackinnon Published: August 21, 2015

A food company chief executive in Australia and New Zealand, with prior experience at Procter & Gamble, will become president of Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.’s Asia Pacific unit.
Chris Delaney will join Goodyear on Aug. 24 and will become unit president on Jan. 1. He was CEO the last four years of Goodman Fielder Limited and has more than 30 years of global leadership experience, the Akron tiremaker said in its announcement Friday.
Daniel L. Smytka, current president of the company’s Asia Pacific business, will assume another leadership role with the company and will report to Richard Kramer, Goodyear’s chairman and chief executive officer. The company did not say what Smytka’s new title will be.
Delaney “is a proven leader who has spent extensive time in the Asia Pacific region during his career and joins us at a critical time as we drive for growth amid challenging economic conditions in the region,” Kramer said in a statement.
Delaney’s worked for 20 years at Procter & Gamble. He also worked at Campbell Soup Co.
Delaney has a bachelor’s degree in history from Trinity College in Hartford, Conn. He is a native of Huntington, N.Y.
Smytka joined Goodyear in 2008 and was named Asia Pacific president in 2011.
 “He deserves much of the credit for our performance in the region since 2008,” Kramer said. “Dan is a valued member of my leadership team, and I look forward to his continued contributions.”

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Goodyear hires new treasurer, TRW Automotive executive Peter Rapin

By Jim Mackinnon Published: August 20, 2015

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. is getting a new vice president and treasurer, Peter R. Rapin, an executive with TRW Automotive.
Rapin will succeed Thomas Kaczynski , treasurer since January 2014. Kaczynski left Goodyear to become vice president and treasurer of Marathon Petroleum Corp.

Rapin will report to to Laura K. Thompson, executive vice president and chief financial officer, the Akron tire maker said Thursday.
Rapin was vice president, treasury and tax for TRW Automotive. His responsibilities included directing global treasury, tax, insurance, and pension functions.
 “He is an accomplished finance executive with extensive treasury experience, an in-depth knowledge of the automotive industry and a proven leadership track record in corporate finance,” Thompson said in a statement.
Rapin joined TRW in 2003. He previously worked for Engelhard Corp. and Westinghouse Electric Corp.
He has a bachelor’s degree in finance and an MBA from Duquesne University.

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Lockheed Martin to test tethered aerostat over Akron Fulton airport

By Jim Mackinnon Published: August 19, 2015

Lockheed Martin will begin flying a large tethered aerostat – a small blimp – over Akron Fulton International Airport next week.

The defense contractor and city on Tuesday announced that the company will be testing a new lighter-than-air system at the city-owned airport.

The initial tests start this week with moving a mooring system and control truck to the middle of the mooring circle at the airport facility.

The aerostat will be 115 feet in length, white and have a hull volume of 74,000 cubic feet. By comparison, Goodyear’s new Wingfoot One airship is 246.4 feet long and has an envelope volume of nearly 300,000 square feet.

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Montrose area of Bath may get a Melt Bar & Grilled; regional chain eyes former Friendly's site

By Katie Byard Published: August 18, 2015

Melt Bar & Grilled, the regional grilled-cheese chain that has a bit of a cult following, plans to move into the old Friendly's location at 3921 Medina Road (state Route 18), in the busy Montrose retail area of Bath Township.

Folks with Melt, headquartered in Cleveland, couldn't be immediately reached for comment, but Bath zoning inspector William Funk said he understands Melt wants to open in the spot by sometime late this year or early next year. Melt is seeking various zoning approvals from the township.

Melt is known for its wide variety of grilled cheese sandwiches, served on thick bread. and its wide selection of beers.

Founder Matt Fish began the enterprise with a single location in Lakewood, outside Cleveland, in 2006. Melt now has eight locations, including a stand that opened this year at Progressive Field in downtown Cleveland, and a site in the Easton shopping complex in Columbus. Earlier this year, Fish was named the 2015 SBA Ohio Small Business Person the Year by the U.S. Small Business Administration.

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Landmark Plastic building in Akron bought by Chicago area company

By Katie Byard Published: August 18, 2015

Brennan Investment Group LLC, a private real estate investment firm based northwest of Chicago, has purchased the Landmark Plastics Corp. building at 1331 Kelly Ave. in Akron.

The building in southeast Akron, near the Akron Fulton International Airport, is 100 percent leased to Landmark Plastic Corp., a manufacturer of thermoformed and injection molded products for the horticultural industry. The building serves as the company’s headquarters and sole manufacturing facility.

Brennan Investment did not disclose terms of its acquisition, but Summit County property tax records show a limited partnership, apparently formed by Brennan Investment, paid $9.2 million for the building. The sale closed earlier this month.

The tax records say the building was constructed about 1994 and has about 184,000 square feet of space that is used for manufacturing. The building has additional space that is used for offices.

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PNC Bank expects manufacturing to propel Northeast Ohio economy

By Jim Mackinnon Published: August 17, 2015

PNC Bank expects manufacturing will remain the primary driver of growth in Northeast Ohio, with the regional economy picking up momentum this year and into 2016.
But the bank, in its latest Northeast Ohio Market Outlook report, says manufacturing growth likely will be slower than in recent years.
Helping Northeast Ohio manufacturers will be improving consumer finances as well as a strong automobile market that will support local production.
Healthcare, finance and professional services will also help the regional economy, PNC said.
A weak global economy and a strong dollar that slows exports could hurt the region. Also, continued population loss will mean below-average long-term job growth in Northeast Ohio.
The full report can be found at

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Akron Children's recognized for healthy financial position

By Cheryl Powell Published: August 14, 2015

A national industry publication recognized Akron Children's Hospital this week as one of five health systems nationwide with strong finances.

Becker's Hospital CFO reviewed recent reports from national rating agencies to compile its list of hospital and health systems "with strong operational metrics and solid financial positions."

Children's was selected for its solid A1 rating by Moody's Investors Service, based on its leading market share in the region, its strong operating performance and good balance sheet ratios.

See the entire report here:

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UH Case Medical Center president announces retirement

By Cheryl Powell Published: August 13, 2015

The president of University Hospitals Case Medical Center in Cleveland announced Thursday he is retiring at the end of the year.

Dr. Fred C. Rothstein has served as president of the Cleveland hospital since 2003.

Rothstein previously served as acting president and chief executive of University Hospitals Health System in 2003 until the health system's current leader, Thomas F. Zenty III, assumed the permanent role.

Rothstein's other leadership role with UH include serving as senior vice president of clinical integration, chair of the University Hospitals Medical Group Board and chief of the Division of Pediatric Gastroenterology at UH Rainbow Babies & Children's Hospital.

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Timken Co. adds retired defense contractor CFO to board

By Jim Mackinnon Published: August 13, 2015

The recently retired chief financial officer of $24 billion defense contractor Northrop Grummon Corp. is the newest member of Timken Co.’s board of directors.
James F. Palmer was elected to a term that expires at Timken’s May 2016 annual meeting. Palmer becomes the board’s 12th director.
Jackson Township-based Timken said Palmer, who retired from Northrop Grummon this year, has extensive experience in leading change, transforming and restructuring complex businesses, mergers and acquisitions, capital markets and capital deployment.
Palmer for eight years was corporate vice president and chief financial officer of Northrop Grumman Corporation. Palmer previously worked at Visteon Corp., of Boeing Capital Corp., McDonnell Douglas Corp. and Ernst & Young. He is a CPA and has a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Southeast Missouri State University.

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Timken Co. declares quarterly dividend

By Jim Mackinnon Published: August 13, 2015

Bearings maker Timken Co. will pay a quarterly cash dividend of 26 cents per share on Sept. 3 to shareholders of record as of Aug. 24.

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TimkenSteel elects independent director to board

By Jim Mackinnon Published: August 12, 2015

TimkenSteel Corp. has a new independent director, Terry L. Dunlap, retired executive vice president of Allegheny Technologies Inc.
Dunlap’s election to the board means Canton-based steelmaker TimkenSteel now has 10 directors. Dunlap spent 31 years with specialty metals producer Allegheny Technologies.
“Terry brings a lifetime of knowledge in all aspects of the metals industry to the TimkenSteel board,” Ward J. Timken, Jr., chairman, CEO and president of TimkenSteel, said in a statement. Dunlap has experience in marketing, supply chain and leadership of a $2 billion specialty metals business, he said.
 Dunlap is principal at Sweetwater LLC, a consulting and investing business that focuses on manufacturing and technology. He has a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

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TimkenSteel to pay 14 cent dividend

By Jim Mackinnon Published: August 12, 2015

Canton-based steelmaker TimkenSteel will pay a 14 cents per share dividend on  Sept. 10 to shareholders of record as of Aug. 27.

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OEConnection adds electric vehicle charging station to Richfield headquarters

By Jim Mackinnon Published: August 11, 2015

Employees at OEConnection in Richfield now can get a charge out of their employer.
OEConnection LLC has installed a Bosch electric vehicle charging station at its Highlander Parkway headquarters.
 The OEC station can charge two vehicles simultaneously. It takes about three hours to deliver a full charge.
 “The number of people driving electric and hybrid cars has grown considerably over the last few years and this trend is expected to continue,” Amy French, OEC vice president and chief administrative officer, said in a statement.
The company says it is the first known electric vehicle charging station installed in a Richfield area business and issued a challenge to other businesses to put in their own charging stations.
The company said the addition of the charging station was part of a decision to be more environmentally conscious and to add to employee amenities. OEC connects original equipment vehicle parts makers via its e-commerce technology with dealerships and repair shops.

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Do home prices rise faster in areas with a Trader Joe's or a Whole Foods? Company analyzes trends

By Katie Byard Published: August 11, 2015

Home prices are rising faster in areas near a Trader Joe’s than those near a Whole Foods, according to real estate information company RealtyTrac.
Homeowners near a Trader Joe’s grocery store have seen an average 40 percent increase in home value since they purchased, compared to a 34 percent for  homeowners near a Whole Foods, according to a study of zip codes across the country by RealtyTrac, headquartered in Irvine, Calif.
The difference in appreciation could be tied to the more affluent areas in which Trader Joe’s has located. RealtyTrac values are higher in zip codes with a Trader Joe’s.
The study looked at at home values and property taxes for 1.7 million homes, condos and co-ops in 188 zip codes with at least one Whole Foods store (and no Trader Joe’s stores) and 2.3 million homes, condos and co-ops in 242 zip codes with at least one Trader Joe’s store (and no Whole Foods stores).
The Akron area has neither a Trader Joe’s or a Whole Foods —yet. A shopping area, anchored by a Whole Foods market is slated to be built on the current site of the locally owned West Point Market, in West Akron, and adjoining parcels.
West Point Market is slated to close at the end of this year. Whole Foods is scheduled to begin construction in six months and open in 2017.
The RealtyTrac study says homes near a Trader Joe’s have an average of value of: $592,339. That’s 5 percent more than the $561,840 average value for homes near a Whole Foods. Both of these averages are more than twice the average value of homes across all zip codes nationwide: $262,068, Realty Trac said.
Not surprisingly, given the higher home prices, homeowners near a Trader Joe’s pay more in property taxes than those near a Whole Foods. Homeowners in Trader Joe’s zip codes pay an average of $8,536 in property taxes each year. That’s 59 percent more than the $5,382 average for homeowners near a Whole Foods. The average property tax across all zip codes nationwide was $3,239 a year, according to RealtyTrac.

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Northeast Ohio new car sales fall slightly in July even as truck, SUV sales surge

By Jim Mackinnon Published: August 11, 2015

New vehicle sales fell slightly in July in Northeast Ohio, even as SUV and truck sales surged, the Greater Cleveland Automobile Dealers’ Association reported.
Summit County sales outperformed the region.
Sales in a 21-county area of northern Ohio totaled 23,761 in July, down 0.7 percent from 23,939 in July 2014. Sales since January total 145,559, up 0.4 percent from 144,935 for the same period in 2014.
Truck and SUV sales were up more than 15 percent in July compared to a year ago, the Cleveland dealer group said. Sales totaled 7,929 in July compared to 6,888 in July 2014.
New vehicle sales in Summit County for July were 2,427, up 3.5 percent from 2,345 in July 2014, according to the Northeast Ohio Automobile Dealers Association. Used vehicle sales in Summit County totaled 3,140, up 1.2 percent from 3,104 a year ago.

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Dominion reminds people to call 8-1-1 on 8-11

By Betty Lin-Fisher Published: August 11, 2015

Dominion East Ohio says August 11 -- 8/11 – is the best day to remind customers and contractors to call 8-1-1 at least 48 hours prior to any digging project to have underground utility lines marked as required by Ohio law to help ensure safe excavation.

Promotion of the Call 8-1-1 and other pipeline safety messages has helped Dominion East Ohio reduce third-party dig-ins by 50 percent over the past nine years.

When calling 8-1-1, homeowners are connected to the Ohio Utility Protection Service, the local one-call center, which notifies the appropriate utility companies of their intent to dig. This service is free of charge. Professional locators are then sent to the requested digging site to mark the approximate locations of underground lines with flags, spray paint or both.

Striking a single buried utility line can cause injury, repair costs, fines and inconvenient outages. State law mandates a call to 8-1-1 for every digging project, no matter how big or small. That includes installing a mailbox, putting in a fence, building a deck, or planting a tree, for example.

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Kent's Davey Tree is tops in Ohio on list of largest employee-owned companies

By Katie Byard Published: August 10, 2015

The Davey Tree Expert Co., the shrub, tree and lawn-care business headquartered in Kent, is the largest employee-owned company in Ohio, according to new data from the National Center for Employee Ownership.

The center’s 2015 Employee Ownership 100 list includes the nation’s largest companies that are at least 50 percent owned by an employee stock ownership plan (ESOP) or other broad-based employee ownership plan.

Employing more than 8,000 people, including about 1,000 in Northeast Ohio, Davey is the 15th-largest 100-percent employee owned company in the nation.

That is up from last year’s ranking of 17th largest, when Davey had more than 7,800 employees.

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National Interstate turns a profit in second quarter

By Jim Mackinnon Published: August 4, 2015

Specialty insurer National Interstate Corp. is back on the profitable side of the ledger.
The Richfield company on Tuesday reported earning $6.6 million, or 33 cents per share, on gross premiums written of $185.7 million for the second quarter ending June 30. That compares to a loss of $10.7 million, or 54 cents per share, on gross premiums written of $182 million a year ago.
For the first six months of 2015, National Interstate has earned $13.8 million, or 69 cents per share, on gross premiums written of $340.3 million. That compares to a loss of  $2.7 million, or 14 cents per share, on gross premiums written of $345.7 million for the same six-month period in 2014.
National Interstate reported its results after the stock market closed Tuesday. The company scheduled an earnings conference call with industry analysts at 10 a.m. this Wednesday. To listen in, go to http:// or dial (877) 837-3911.

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Downtown Akron's newest retail shop is blue/A GOODWILL BOUTIQUE

By Betty Lin-Fisher Published: August 4, 2015

blue/A GOODWILL BOUTIQUE is the newest retail shop in downtown Akron.

The upscale thrift boutique at 335 S. Main St. in the Evans building (entrance across from Bricco) opened on Saturday.

The store features unique, high-quality items at slightly higher prices than regular Goodwill stores. Prices can average $12 for a blouse, $15 for jeans and $20 for dresses.

Store hours are Monday through Thursday: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday and Saturday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday 12 p.m. to 5 p.m.

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Myers Industries to pay dividend

By Jim Mackinnon Published: August 3, 2015

Myers Industries Inc. in Akron will pay a regular quarterly dividend of 13.5 cents per share on Oct. 5 to shareholders of record as of Sept. 4.

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Timken diversifies into industrial belts with purchase of Carlstar

By Jim Mackinnon Published: August 3, 2015

Bearings maker The Timken Co. is diversifying its business by buying Carlstar Belts Business, an industrial, commercial and consumer belts maker, for $220 million.
Jackson Township-based Timken on Monday said it will use a combination of cash and debt to buy Carlstar from American Industrial Partners, pending regulatory approval.
For the 12 months ending June 30, Carlstar Belts sales were approximately $140 million, Timken said. The transaction is expected to close by Sept. 30.
“Acquiring the Carlstar Belts business expands our offering in existing and complementary end markets and broadens our ability to bring customers a diverse package of premium mechanical power transmission products and services,” Richard G. Kyle, Timken president and chief executive officer, said in a statement.
Kyle said Carlstar Belts brings an important new product category to Timken in addition to the core bearings business. The company in recent years has adding gearboxes, chain, couplings, lubrication systems and other industrial services to its portfolio.

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Twinsburg's Q Holding Co. expands into Europe with new acquisition

By Jim Mackinnon Published: August 3, 2015

Twinsburg-based Q Holding Co., which does business as Qure Medical and provides elastomer products to medical device makers, is going global with the acquisition of UK-headquartered Silicone Altimex.
Financial terms were not disclosed.
Silicone Altimex makes cleanroom-produced silicone tubing components and assemblies for the pharmaceutical industry.
“The acquisition provides us with manufacturing facilities in Europe and will enable us to grow our overall capacity, especially in the attractive pharmaceutical and assembly business,” Randy Ross, president and chief executive officer of Qure Medical, said in a statement.

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