West Side Business News & Notes
New GFS Marketplace store opens in Copley
COPLEY — GFS Marketplace officially opened in Copley March 10. The new store is located at 120 Rothrock Road.
The Copley Township Board of Trustees attended a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of the new location, along with Scott Shields, president of the Copley Township Chamber of Commerce. GFS Marketplace presented a $1,000 donation to Haven of Rest.
GFS Marketplace offers a shopping alternative for retail and wholesale consumers. Customers can shop without membership and purchase restaurant-quality items. The store features wide aisles, quick checkouts and advice from staff members, according to company officials.
“We are excited to be expanding our reach in the Akron market,” said President Jay Zylstra. “GFS Marketplace has been a part of the Akron community for many years, and we look forward to welcoming new customers and those who have shopped with us before.”
The celebration will continue with a week of grand-opening festivities through March 23. There will be food tastings each day, and shoppers can enter for a chance to win a $300 shopping spree. A Giant Taste Fest will take place tomorrow, March 22, and March 23.
The new GFS Marketplace location employs approximately 40 people, including store manager Mike Cochran, assistant store managers Ryan Brown and Greg Studer and shift leader Bonnie Justice-Sutton.
GFS Marketplace will be open Mondays through Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sundays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Graphic business in Norton expands
|Jon Sommer, shown at left, and Nick Reinfeld have partnered their companies, Action Sports Apparel and Power Graphics, respectively, in Norton.|
|Photo courtesy of Nick Reinfeld|
Nyles (Nick) Reinfeld, owner of Power Graphics Inc. and chairman for the Norton Business Development Task Force, had been in talks with Sommer since late 2011.
“The final agreement was finalized in late November 2012, which brings four full-time jobs and three part-time jobs into our city,” Reinfeld said.
“Finding a location that was centralized with highway access was key,” Sommer said. “In today’s fast-paced work environment, our clients enjoy not fighting the retail traffic to get to our offices.”
Action Sports Apparel, a 30-year-old business, specializes in branding apparel such as hats, shirts and jackets, and includes a digital four-head embroidery machine, screen-printing department and customer care staff. Power Graphics employs three people who specialize in graphic design, printing, vehicle graphics and website design.
Both companies will utilize the Coffee & Copies front desk, offering coffee brewed daily, free Internet, a lounge and 5-cent self-service copy machine.
The owners are both entrepreneurs who were born, raised and educated in Northeast Ohio. They met several years ago at Grace Brethren Church’s North Campus in Norton.
Reinfeld said he plans to continue improvements to his property.
“With the proper vision of the future, Norton can attract job-building businesses, sustain its rural beauty and improve city services to all our residents by an increased business tax base,” he said. “I believe, with intelligent design, we can leave Norton a little better then we found it.”
Power Graphics Inc. and Action Sports Apparel can be visited at 3070 Wadsworth Road. The office hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.
RNT Solutions serves aquatic industry with new products
BATH — RNT Solutions LLC has been formed to focus on new quality product development and business acquisitions for the competitive swimming and water polo markets.
Neal Thomas brings more than 30 years of experience in the aquatic industry to create the new company focused on the end-user of aquatic products. Thomas formerly headed up Competitor Swim Products, a Division of Richey Industries.
During his 25 years with Competitor, Thomas helped build the global Competitor Racing Lane brand, he said. According to Thomas, during his tenure, Competitor Lanes were selected for the Olympic Games in 1988, 1992, 2004, 2008 and 2012. In addition, he said, while with Competitor, Thomas helped design and market the Competitor “Gold Medal” Racing Lane, used in major swimming venues throughout the world.
“Having had the pleasure of working with over 300 domestic and international accounts over my career, I am looking forward to bringing my brand of personal customer service to our new venture,” he said. “RNT Solutions will be offering an ever expanding line of high-quality products and accessories specifically targeted to the swimming and water polo enthusiast, coach and facilities.”
For more information, contact: RNT Solutions LLC, 3331 Shade Road, Akron, OH 44333; call 888-499-7946 (SWIM) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
West Side Story closing after nearly 50 years
WEST AKRON — The West Side Story salon in Fairway Center will be closing its doors March 30 after nearly 50 years in business.
First opened by Betty Boone in May 1963, West Side Story has been owned by Debi Davis for 23 years and moved to its current location at 1867 W. Market St. from Wallhaven 35 years ago.
West Side Story’s lease was not renewed when the Summit County Public Health Department purchased the Fairway Center building in December.
Davis plans to retire, she said.
“It’s kind of bittersweet,” she said. “I’ve been a hairdresser for 44 years.”
The salon employs nine. Davis said the hairdressers will be relocating once West Side Story closes. She plans to sell the fixtures in the business or donate them to Habitat for Humanity, she said.
Clients are being told of the impending closure.
“It’s kind of sad,” Davis said. “We’ve been there so long. We’ve been through generations of families.”
Davis said she is thankful for the community’s support of the business and plans to host an open house in April at Papa Joe’s to celebrate 50 years of business and commemorate the salon’s closing. Details will be forthcoming, but Davis said she hopes that Boone, who is 92 and was her mentor, will be in attendance.
MyAkron kicking off March 26
DOWNTOWN AKRON — The Downtown Akron Partnership (DAP) Emerging Leaders kick off a new initiative March 26.
According to DAP officials, MyAkron is for residents, downtown employees and “idea people” with a passion to transform Downtown Akron for the better. MyAkron is modeled after Detroit Soup, and the goal is to create a collaborative atmosphere that will help empower citizens to present new and progressive ideas that will continue Downtown Akron’s progress toward becoming a thriving, urban atmosphere, according to DAP officials.
“I came up with MyAkron after I graduated from The University of Akron in May 2010,” said Andrew Smith, Emerging Leaders member and MyAkron founder, in a news release. “I started working with young professionals through numerous organizations, and I noticed one common interest amongst everyone: a passion for Downtown Akron.”
Participants pay $5 at the door to participate in the event, which will take place at 7 p.m. at Paolo’s, 1 W. Exchange St. During the event, individuals will present project ideas for the downtown corridor. Ideally, projects will be small in budget but mighty in impact and focused on tasks that can be accomplished with a reasonable amount of resources, according to DAP officials. After the presentations, the group will vote on its favorite idea. The idea with the most votes will receive the money raised that evening to implement the project.
Food will be provided. Emerging Leaders plans to host these events three to four times annually in various downtown locations.
“It is my hope that MyAkron will grow into more of a downtown movement that empowers people to make this city their own and create a defined sense of community and identity,” said Smith.
Bernsen announces launch of Indiegogo campaign for Powsumer
AKRON — Powsumer, a new consumer-driven pricing company founded by Corbin Bernsen, has launched a “Powsumer.com: The Future of Online Shopping” campaign on Indiegogo, an international fundraising platform.
Powsumer is a tool allowing communities to more actively participate and drive down the price in the consumer choices they make, according to company officials. Powsumer brings together consumers into purchasing groups (“packs”) through social and web networks. Lead by a “Pack Leader” who has established the product or service the pack wants, as well as the lowest price each member of the pack is willing to pay for the product or service, Powsumer will connect potential suppliers with the pack in order to complete the deal as a volume purchase. Powsumer alerts these suppliers with real time market, product and pricing trends to help them move products at a profitable margin.
“Indiegogo is a great way to launch Powsumer,” said Bernsen, founder and interim president of Powsumer. “Powsumer will rely on broad-based Internet participation to bring the best deals to consumers, much the same way Indiegogo uses the Internet to crowd-source funds for many worthy causes.”
Supporters of the campaign will receive, depending on contribution level, a range of perks.
The team at Powsumer includes Bernsen, Andrew Maas and Peter Tahmin.
Maas is vice president and co-founder, as well as working for The University of Akron Research Foundation (UARF) as a project manager and as the assistant vice president for University Innovation Ventures (UIV). Tahmin is vice president and co-founder, as well as working as the executive vice president of MailPix.com.
Stephanie Kist contributed to these reports.
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