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West Side Business News & Notes

1/20/2011 - West Side Leader
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By Stephanie Kist

Kohl being honored as executive of year

Douglas Kohl
WEST AKRON — The Akron Chapter of Sales and Marketing Executives International (SMEI Akron) will present its 39th annual Distinguished Sales & Marketing Award Accent on Excellence Event Feb. 15.

Douglas Kohl, president and CEO of the Akron Area YMCA, will be honored as 2011 Executive of the Year.

Also receiving Distinguished Sales & Marketing Awards will be: Rick Addis, GM strategic sales, The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co.; Jill Arena, branch sales manager, Konica Minolta; Angela Dianetti, vice president/partner, Radcom Inc.; Kathleen Downing, president/CEO, Mobile Meals Inc.; Jennifer Fyffe, bridal show manager, Today’s Bride Magazine; Thomas Hager, CPA, managing partner, Schlabig and Associates Inc.; Keith Hanawalt, major account sales manager, ComDoc Inc.; Don Hubbard, senior vice president, sales and marketing, PartsSource; John Mayer, vice president, sales, grocery market, The J.M. Smucker Co.; Kevin McClellan, managing director, FedEx Custom Critical; Joseph Swiatkowski, president, Hickory Harvest Foods; Heather Taylor, senior sales executive, Greater Akron Chamber; Scott Taylor, executive director, Akron Area YMCA; Margie Toombs, owner and president, Maid Brigade of NE Ohio; and Arthur Yuan, vice president, retail sales and marketing, FirstEnergy Solutions.

Bryce MacDonald, of The University of Akron, will receive the Jim Butler Collegiate Award.

The event will take place at Tangier, 532 W. Market St. A cocktail hour will be from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., followed by dinner, the awards presentation and a keynote address by Kohl from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Tickets are $55 for SMEI Akron members, $75 for nonmembers or $700 for a table of eight, which includes program and table recognition and recognition as a bronze sponsor.

For tickets, contact Sue Warren at 330-945-7740 or smeakron@ameritech.net or visit www.smeiakron.org.

Other levels of sponsorship and recognition opportunities are available by contacting Warren.

University Park Alliance plans Urban Innovators Speaker Series

DOWNTOWN AKRON — Jeff Speck, principal of Speck & Associates LLC in Washington, D.C., will kick off the University Park Alliance (UPA) Urban Innovators Speaker Series tonight, Jan. 20, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Andrew Jackson House, 277 E. Mill St.

A city planner and urban designer, Speck has written on smart growth and sustainable design and will present “City Design as if People Mattered.”

From 2003 through 2007, Speck served as director of design at the National Endowment for the Arts.

According to UPA officials, the Urban Innovators Speaker Series features world-class urban thinkers and practitioners who will present creative approaches to planning economy and culture that can catalyze economic transformation in Northeast Ohio.

“Historically, cities have been the engines of the U.S. economy and today play an even greater role in fostering economic growth as incubators of innovation,” said UPA Executive Director Eric Anthony Johnson. “This series is designed to transform thinking and accelerate the kinds of core city investment that will lead to competitive success for Greater Akron in the new urban economy.”

Upcoming speakers in the series are Deborah Shufrin, senior vice president and director of programs for the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City in Boston, who will present “Investing in Your Inner City” Feb. 22; and Emily Talen, professor at Arizona State University and author of “Design for Diversity” and “New Urbanism and American Planning: The Conflict of Cultures,” who will present “Diversity and the Power of the Place” March 22.

The presentations are free and open to the public. Seating will be limited to 100 per presentation, and reservations are required. Call 330-777-2070 or e-mail info@upakron.com for reservations.

Towpath Credit Union celebrating 75 years

FAIRLAWN — Tomorrow, Jan. 21, Towpath Credit Union will host a party to kick off a year-long celebration of its 75th year in business.

On Jan. 22, 1936, Lewis Turner, a teacher at East High School, was granted a charter by the state to establish a credit union to serve his colleagues in the Akron Public Schools.

The credit union was a part-time venture operated out of the sun porch of his West Akron home until 1966, when the Akron Teachers Credit Union opened its first office on Tallmadge Avenue. Growth prompted the Board of Directors to approve building the office located at 645 N. Main St. in Downtown Akron that is still open today.

The Akron Teachers Credit Union continued to grow through mergers with smaller credit unions, the addition of numerous employee membership groups and finally by changing to a community charter in early 2004. Later that year, the Akron Teachers Credit Union also changed its name to Towpath Credit Union to more accurately describe its field of membership.

Today Towpath Credit Union is a full-service credit union with two locations — 645 N. Main St. and 2969 Smith Road in Fairlawn.

“We strive to bring our members the best value possible,” said Alan McArthur, CEO of Towpath since 1997. “Our loan and CD rates are very competitive within the area and in most cases better.”

Wendy Windemuth, the business development representative for Towpath, said tomorrow’s celebration kickoff will include a special treat for people using the ATM at the Fairlawn branch.

“We have placed 75 $50 bills randomly throughout our ATM for one week. You can drive up, take, for example, $100 out of your account and have a chance to get $130,” she said. “All of our members can use the ATM free of charge. For nonmembers, there will be a small fee from us and there might be charges from their financial institution.”

On the 22nd of every month (or the closest business day), Towpath will offer something special for members. Watch www.towpathcu.com for details, according to Windemuth.

Simon Property Group notes Summit Mall additions

FAIRLAWN — Simon Property Group Inc. has announced Summit Mall will welcome four new retailers this year, as well as the return of Starbucks, which reopened in the mall Jan. 13.

Quickfire Grill recently opened in the Summit Mall food court. The new dining option for shoppers offers burgers and other American classics, along with Mexican-inspired selections.

Bare Escentuals, a retailer in mineral-based makeup and other natural beauty products, will open in the spring.

Opening in mid-2011 will be The Limited and Francesca’s Collections. The Limited is a clothing retailer offering young, professional women an assortment of American styles, and Francesca’s Collection is a boutique providing women’s clothing, fashion jewelry and handbags, according to Simon officials.

SCORE contributed $2 million to area economy in 2010

AKRON — SCORE Chapter 81 counselors supplied counseling to 294 start-up and existing businesses in fiscal year 2010, which was worth approximately $2 million if supplied by a for-profit counseling firm, according to SCORE officials. All of SCORE’s services are free.

“Our 80-plus counselors contributed approximately 12,000 hours of their time last year to assist businesses in Medina, Portage, Summit and Wayne counties to improve their operations and grow,” said Rick Stupp, chairman of the SCORE chapter. “The small business sector is the only area of the U.S. economy that is growing at this time.”

SCORE conducts workshops, face-to-face counseling and special outreach programs throughout the four-county area. Active presentation of 73 workshops continued in 2010 aimed at improving the business skills of participants. More than 850 participated in these workshops.

Counselors for SCORE participated in 968 separate face-to-face counseling sessions last year, an increase of 20 percent over 2009 in Medina, Portage and Wayne counties and 5 percent in Summit County.

More than 65 workshops will be offered to SCORE clients in 2011, plus a new series with five components named “Simple Steps for Starting Your Business.”

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