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West Side Business News & Notes

8/25/2011 - West Side Leader
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By Stephanie Kist

Akron, Chinese city sign ‘Friendship Agreement,’ create new jobs

Members of the Weihai Triangle Group announced the opening of its American headquarters, A3T, at 411 Wolf Ledges Parkway, Suite 300, Aug. 19. Shown above, from left, are Dr. Yuhua Ding, chairman of the board of Weihai Triangle Group; Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic; Dr. Shutao Sun, mayor of Weihai; and University of Akron Provost W. Mike Sherman.
Photo: Bruce Ford/courtesy of the city of Akron
DOWNTOWN AKRON — The mayors of Weihai City, located in the Shandong Province of China, and Akron entered into an agreement for the purposes of promoting mutual understanding and friendship between the Chinese and American people Aug. 18.

According to city officials, this new Weihai-Akron Friendship City relationship will promote people-to-people friendly contacts and economic and trade interflow between the two cities. Both cities agreed to the free exchange of information and to cooperate in the fields of economics, trade, science and technology, culture, sports, health, education and work force.

“Through this agreement, the cities of Weihai and Akron acknowledge that to succeed in this global economy, we must seek out and develop relationships beyond our borders,” said Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic. “I am excited that Weihai has joined with Akron in this venture, which has already resulted in one very successful business from Weihai agreeing to locate its U.S. headquarters in Akron and open offices for research and development and sales.”

The following day, members of the Weihai Triangle Group announced the opening of its American headquarters, A3T, at 411 Wolf Ledges Parkway, Suite 300. According to city officials, the Triangle Group is one of China’s largest tire manufacturers, with revenue of $3 billion annually.

The Triangle Group has partnered with the city of Akron and The University of Akron. It has already hired its first local employee, Joanne Li, and will be hiring high-level technical staff along with support personnel in the coming months, according to city officials. The company plans to start with 30 new local employees (10 in research and development and 20 in sales) and expand from there.

“We not only welcome U.S. companies to invest in Weihai; we would also encourage our companies to invest in the U.S.,” said Weihai Mayor Shutao Sun. “The signing of this agreement will strengthen the collaboration between companies from Weihai and companies in Akron. I am convinced that, through the efforts of both sides, our cooperation will be successful.”

Agencies collaborate to form Prism Health

AKRON — On July 25, officials from four local social services organizations announced Prism Health LLC, a new behavioral health care venture designed to create opportunities for providers, customers and employees.

Prism Health is a collaboration among Child Guidance and Family Solutions, Community Health Center, Community Support Services and Portage Path Behavioral Health, all of which collectively serve 33,000 area residents with services such as outpatient counseling and psychiatry, emergency psychiatric series, case management, crisis intervention, video therapy, addiction treatment and specialty services like housing, employment, criminal justice diversion, homeless outreach, medical and other supportive services.

Prism Health member agencies employ more than 770 people at 20 locations.

Initially, Prism Health was born of necessity to keep up with increased demand in the face of shrinking funding, according to agency officials. Moving forward, Prism Health is looking to build a stronger network of care for residents in Northeast Ohio.

A call center, where anyone with a mental health or substance abuse need can call one number and quickly be connected with the appropriate service provider, is being developed and will be adapted for use online, according to Prism Health officials. In addition, the four members are developing “one-stop shops” intended to meet all behavioral health needs under one roof.

For more information, visit www.prism-health.com.

Another Hattie’s Café & Gifts opens at Canal Place

DOWNTOWN AKRON — A second café at Canal Place, located at 520 S. Main St., is the newest addition to Hattie’s Café & Gifts, a series of coffee shops operated by Hattie Larlham that employs people with developmental disabilities. With this café, Hattie’s Café & Gifts now provides employment to 66 people with developmental disabilities, according to agency officials.

Open to the public and visible from the street level, this new café complements the upstairs one that Hattie Larlham operates at Canal Place. Whereas the original Canal Place Hattie’s Café & Gifts offers a food court-like lunch option for the building’s more than 2,000 employees, this new site has a Mediterranean twist to the menu and offers a soup of the day and sandwich of the day. It also features American classics like all-beef Coney Island hotdogs.

Like all Hattie’s Café & Gifts, everything on the menu at Canal Place is made fresh daily. Made-from-scratch items from The Bakery at Hattie’s Café also are available.

One of the most unique aspects of the new café is its “Snack Patch,” a section fully stocked with treats. Healthy options such as peanuts, sunflower seeds or 100-calorie packs also are available.

Hattie Larlham’s new café in Canal Place is open from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays.

New Sleep Number store stayed open overnight

BATH — For the first time, Sleep Number opened its doors overnight to provide sleep solutions for area residents. The Aug. 18-19 event took place locally at a new Sleep Number flagship store located in West Market Plaza, at 3891G Medina Road.

The first 15 guests who arrived in their pajamas and found their Sleep Number setting also received a free pillow. Also, the store offered 50 percent off its Sleep Number iLE bed (valued at $4,199) and a chance to win a new Sleep Number bed.

Regular store hours are Mondays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sundays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

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