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West Side Business News & Notes

12/12/2013 - West Side Leader
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By Staff Writer

Robeks flagship store celebrates 10th anniversary in Akron with deals

WEST AKRON — Robeks, a smoothie and fresh juice franchise that has 11 locations in Northeast Ohio, is celebrating its 10th anniversary in Akron with a week of deals at its first Ohio location — 1650 W. Market St.

Dan Stanowick, who opened the store 10 years ago and serves as regional director for Robeks, said in a press release he looks forward to giving back to customers.

“Akron and Cleveland have embraced Robeks, and I’ve gotten to know a lot of wonderful people — customers and franchise owners,” Stanowick said. “I like knowing that we have made it easy and convenient for people to eat healthy and live better. That’s what people are looking for, and we keep finding new ways to help.”

The 10th anniversary deals run Dec. 16-21 and include:

  • Dec. 16: 50 percent off any smoothie, bowl, juice or frozen yogurt;
  • Dec. 17: free cookie, muffin or pretzel with any medium or large smoothie or juice purchase;
  • Dec. 18: buy one, get one free for smoothies, bowls, juices or frozen yogurt;
  • Dec. 19: free “quick shot” with any medium or large smoothie or juice purchase;
  • Dec. 20: free size upgrade with any small or medium smoothie or juice purchase; and
  • Dec. 21: free 12-oz. “fan favorite” or “classic smoothie” from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., and games and prizes all day.

According to company officials, Robeks continues to grow throughout the region. Anne Randles, who owns a Robeks in Stow, recently partnered with One Love Yoga and Boutique to open her second Robeks inside a healthy lifestyle center in Kent.

Los Angeles-based Robeks has more than 200 locations open or in development worldwide, and Robeks has seen 23 consecutive months of same-store sales growth company-wide, according to company officials.

The Akron Robeks’ hours are 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., and the store can be reached at 330-865-9552.


Round River Consulting announces new center

WEST AKRON — Round River Consulting LLC, an Akron-based consulting firm specializing in community engagement, organizational development, assessment and evaluation, announces the launch of a new center.

The Round River Center for Personal Leadership and Community Health aims to advance individual and community health by providing leadership, education and capacity building to advance social and emotional well-being.

The center marks the culmination of a multi-year collaboration for its founders — Sue Lacy, Katie Fry and Mayra Porrata, who began their professional affiliation in 2005.

“Through our extensive work in the community, we’ve observed that equipping individuals with skills to improve social and emotional well-being is a critical adjunct in community, worksite and health care settings,” said Porrata, who will serve as the center’s director. “In reality, we are all practitioners. Overcoming internal obstacles to vibrancy and productivity requires education and support. We want to assist individuals and organizations in that journey.”

Porrata has more than two decades of experience in the development of community-based interventions to meet the needs of chronically ill and other patients in the community. Most recently, Porrata worked as part of a multidisciplinary team through the Austen BioInnovation Institute of Akron. The project was enabled by a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Community Transformation Grant to create and deliver a specialized curriculum to diabetic patients in Akron. This program resulted not only in national recognition for its approach to chronic disease management, but improved health outcomes for the participants, according to company officials. 

Since 2007, Porrata has served as a faculty member at Kent State University’s School of Health Sciences. In 2008, she founded Sunny Day Publishing LLC focusing on the promotion of social, emotional and mental health education.

The center will bring together a group of practitioners in the areas of inter-personal, social, emotional and mental health education and promotion. Courses and training are slated to begin in March. Additionally, the center will launch Healthy Community Journal, a print and web-based quarterly publication that will provide information and tools for inspired and productive living.

For more information, visit www.roundriverconsulting.com.


Torchbearers to develop programs to attract, retain new talent in Akron

AKRON — Torchbearers, a local organization that supports young professionals, is developing two programs aimed at attracting and retaining Greater Akron’s next generation of leaders.

The programs are supported by $65,000 from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

Intern Edge will connect Akron summer interns in both for-profit and nonprofit companies to community life and foster connections among interns, community leaders and other civic players. Interns will gain exposure to new places to live, play and volunteer while building relationships with peers and community change makers. The six- to eight-week program aims to create a deeper sense of attachment to Akron and help local companies attract young talent to the area. It also will provide career resources to interns who want to return to or remain in Akron.

Torchbearers will partner with Leadership Akron in designing and administering the program.

In addition, Torchbearers Ambassadors will help promote Akron as a vibrant place to work and live. Ambassadors will work with human resources representatives in local companies to connect with job applicants after interviews and inform them about places to live, play and connect in Greater Akron and the region. The goal is to help local employers recruit and retain more employees, particularly young professionals.

The Knight Foundation is providing $45,000 to support the internship program and $20,000 for the Ambassadors pilot. The funding will go to resources needed to develop the programs and inspire participants to pursue careers in Greater Akron, according to Torchbearers officials.

“These two programs will highlight Akron’s rich community life and encourage talented professionals who are considering Akron as a career destination to make it their home,” said Jennifer Thomas, Akron program director for the Knight Foundation. “Building on the existing talent pool in Akron will add to the vitality of the city and create more opportunities into the future.”

The Torchbearers Ambassadors pilot will begin in early 2014, and Intern Edge will launch in the summer of 2014. Both programs will ultimately be maintained through fees from participating companies. Torchbearers will announce an application process and additional program details in early 2014.

Contact Kyle Kutuchief at KyleKutuchief@gmail.com for more information.

Employers who hire veterans eligible for tax credit

GREATER AKRON — Employers who hire veterans by the end of the year might be able to claim the federal Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) worth thousands of dollars, according to Internal Revenue Service (IRS) officials.

The WOTC is available to employers that hire qualified veterans before the new year. The credit was set to expire at the end of 2012, but the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 extended it for one year.

The tax credit limit is $9,600 per worker for employers who operate a taxable business. The limit for tax-exempt employers is $6,240 per worker.

The credit amount depends on a number of factors, including the length of time a veteran was unemployed, the number of hours worked and the amount of the wages paid during the first year of employment.

Employers hiring veterans with service-related disabilities may be eligible for the maximum tax credit.

Employers must file Form 8850, Pre-Screening Notice and Certification Request for the Work Opportunity Credit, with their state work-force agency. They must file the form within 28 days after the qualified veteran starts work. For more information, visit www.doleta.gov/business/Incentives/opptax.  

For more about this topic, visit www.IRS.gov and enter “WOTC” in the search box.


Stephanie Kist contributed to these reports.

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