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Business news briefs — Compiled Sept. 18

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LOCAL BUSINESS

Blimps have safety message

Goodyear’s three U.S. blimps will be urging drivers not to text and drive.

Starting today the three blimps will exclusively carry messaging on their lighted signs devoted to “It Can Wait,” a national education and awareness program devoted to encouraging people to never text and drive.

The blimp messaging is timed with the Drive 4 Pledges Day, part of the It Can Wait movement. Goodyear’s three blimp bases are in Suffield Township, Pompano Beach, Fla., and Carson, Calif.

For more information, go online to www.ItCanWait.com.

Garrettsville store purchased

The parent company of Buehler’s Fresh Foods Supermarket, which also runs area Ace Hardware stores, has purchased Garrettsville Hardware.

Family-owned E&H Hardware, which operates Buehler’s, is in the process of purchasing the store at 8009 State St. in Garrettsville. The store will be converted to an Ace in the near future, the company said.

The current owners of Garrettsville Hardware will be retiring and Casey Everett, the son of Richard Everett, one of the owners, has been hired as manager.

Financial details were not disclosed.

UTILITIES

AEP makes meter request

American Electric Power wants to add “smart meters” to 900,000 houses and businesses in Ohio, up from 110,000 that were part of a test project that included parts of central Ohio.

The Columbus-based utility is asking regulators for permission to charge customers about $2 a month to cover the cost, about $290 million.

obituary

Eiji Toyoda dies at 100

Eiji Toyoda, a member of Toyota’s founding family who helped create what was called the “Toyota Way” production method, has died. He was 100.

Toyoda, a cousin of the Japanese automaker’s founder Kiichiro Toyoda, died of heart failure. He served as president from 1967 to 1982, engineering Toyota’s growth into a global automaker. He became chairman in 1982, and continued in advisory positions up to his death.

COMMODITIES

Rubber protests continue

The Thailand government said it could declare a security emergency to stop violent protests over low rubber commodity prices. The statement came a day after dozens of police and demonstrators were injured in rioting.

Protesters demanding higher subsidies for rubber farmers hurled rocks, bricks and other objects at riot police and set fire to several police vehicles on Monday.

Protests started last month when thousands of rubber farmers blocked roads and railways in the south, where most of the country’s rubber is grown.

Thailand is the world’s top producer and exporter of natural rubber, which is used in products from condoms to car tires. Weak demand has seen prices for rubber steadily drop since peaking in 2011.

Last week, the Cabinet approved a $657 million subsidy for farmers. Most farmer groups have agreed in principle to the government’s offer but hard-line groups have threatened to shut down a port, a border checkpoint and a major road junction.

RETAIL

Wage floor refused in D.C.

Walmart and other large retailers won’t be required to pay their employees a “living wage” of at least $12.50 an hour in the District of Columbia. The D.C. Council failed to override Mayor Vincent Gray’s veto of the wage bill on Tuesday, signaling an end to an effort that made the nation’s capital part of a national debate over compensation for low-wage workers. A two-thirds majority was required to override the veto. The council fell two votes short, voting 7-6.

The bill was approved in July by an 8-5 margin. Gray said it would drive Walmart and other retailers out of the city. Debate over the bill has led the council to consider a minimum wage increase for all workers.

ECONOMY

Home building data

Builders started work in August on the most single-family homes in six months and requested permits to build even more in future months. The figures suggest housing remains a driver of economic growth despite higher mortgage rates.

Builders increased construction of single-family homes 7 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 628,000, the Commerce Department said Wednesday.

Compiled from staff and wire reports.


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