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Area Business News

The Greater Akron Chamber keeps members informed of the latest news and activities in economic development, government advocacy, regional collaboration, and workforce development.


Greater Akron Economic Development Partners Launch COVID-19 Resource Guide for Employers and Employees


On Friday, March 20, Greater Akron’s economic development ecosystem partners launched a one-stop regional guide to assist impacted employers and employees in the navigation of information, guidance and resources in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its corresponding economic implications. The City of Akron, County of Summit and Greater Akron Chamber, in partnership with a large number of organizations aligned with our Elevate Greater Akron initiative, are working closely together, coordinating resources and focusing efforts to ensure businesses and the people they employ have the access to timely, accurate information through an easily navigable website, gaccovid19.org.

Effort to Increase City’s Economic Inclusion Needs Your Help


Mayor Dan Horrigan’s State of the City address underlined the need for all of us to recognize the value of driving shared prosperity in our region. At the Greater Akron Chamber we have been working closely with Mayor Horrigan, County Executive Ilene Shapiro and dozens of leaders within the philanthropic, business and non-profit ecosystem through our shared Elevate Greater Akron economic development strategy that includes driving action and measurable progress on economic inclusion.

Akron Launches Rubber City Match Program to Help Entrepreneurs, Great Streets Districts


Akron is launching a new program called Rubber City Match that aims to help both entrepreneurs and the city's Great Streets initiative. The program, which Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan is expected to formally announce at his state of the city address Wednesday, Feb. 26, provides new and existing businesses in the 12 Great Streets Akron districts with financial aid, training and education. It also matches businesses to vacant retail properties in the districts, according to a news release.

Nationally Recognized Minority-Focused Startup Accelerator Coming to Akron


Greater Akron—Bounce Innovation Hub, GAR Foundation, Burton D. Morgan Foundation, the City of Akron and the Greater Akron Chamber announced today their partnership with MORTAR, an accelerator and business development service for historically marginalized entrepreneurs.  MORTAR was founded in 2014 in Cincinnati and is a 15-week program that helps both existing and aspiring entrepreneurs learn the fundamental elements of business ownership and build a comprehensive business canvas. A primary goal of the program is to launch businesses that contribute to local economic development and establish a path to generational sustainability and wealth. It has been credited by Essence Magazine with helping Cincinnati become the fastest-growing economic power in the Midwest for minority small business owners.

Apply for the Fourth Cohort of the Scalerator® NEO Program


Northeast Ohio companies with roughly $5 million - $15 million in sales and a desire to grow are encouraged to apply as soon as possible for the fourth cohort of the Scalerator® NEO program, as spaces are limited. This intensive, six-month program is a proven classroom and peer-to-peer learning experience that has helped over 200 companies in the United States and around the world achieve significant, top-line growth including 40 in Northeast Ohio. The 2020 program will run April - October in Akron at Bounce Innovation Hub.   The online application and information about the program are available at www.ScaleratorNEO.org.  Apply by March 1.

The Reluctant Recession: NE Ohio Manufacturers Didn't Get the Slowdown They Expected and Project a Strong Economy


Economists have warned of the beginnings of a national manufacturing recession since late summer, but even with a recent moderate slowdown in the industry, manufacturers in Northeast Ohio remain optimistic heading into 2020. Manufacturing has long been considered a reliable indicator of the health of the rest of the economy. Data from the Institute for Supply Management's Manufacturing Index indicated that November was the fourth straight month that the number used to represent whether there is expansion or contraction in the industry came in below the growth threshold. Strong profits, though, have most manufacturing owners upbeat and in the mood for expansion, even when the market slows a bit, as it did in 2019.

Akron Unveils 5-Year ‘Framework’ to Improve, Grow City


Akron on Monday unveiled what it calls a strategic plan aimed at helping the city grow and thrive in upcoming years. The Five-Year Strategic Framework will help the city better focus its resources and relationships, advance equitable outcomes, and deliver improved services for all Akron residents, the city said in a news release. The plan is part of the new Office of Integrated Development, or OID, headed by Deputy Mayor James Hardy. The five-year plan will address issues reported in the Elevate Greater Akron initiative and other economic and community development programs, the city said. The plan does not call for tax increases. The plan’s progress will be tracked using economic and social indicators; the indicators will be reported annually.

Akron Startups Look for Bounce


Akron’s Bounce Innovation Hub just helped 15 fledgling businesses network with potential investors, customers and mentors. The Akron organization at 526 S. Main St. hosted its first “Startup Showcase” Thursday evening in its recently renovated first-floor Generator event, meeting and work space. Local entrepreneurs made live pitches about their high-tech and low-tech businesses to about 100 audience members. The program was intended in part to show off the range of businesses that are using the 300,000-square-foot, multistory Bounce building in the former B.F. Goodrich complex. The structure is located within the Canal Place complex but is not affiliated with Canal Place. The business owners and other attendees also got to mix and mingle at the three-hour event.

Elevate Akron Event Connects Minority Business Owners With New Opportunities


Mike Smith is looking for ways to help build his year-old trucking and logistics company, Smooth Transporters. The 37-year-old Kent businessman was among about 100 people who walked into the Bounce Innovation Hub early Thursday afternoon in downtown Akron to network at what was called the “Procurement Corridor.” The program was aimed at connecting minority-owned businesses with other local companies and organizations.

Akron, Canton Working Together Helps Both


Individually, the Greater Akron and Greater Canton regions are wonderful places to live and work. We’re home to great companies, hardworking, smart people and a diverse economy that has industrial roots and 21st century possibilities. In recent months, we have been talking about how much better the stories of both communities could be if we took more opportunities to tell them together. With more than 1.2 million people in our combined Metropolitan Statistical Areas, we share a number of related and connected assets, like the Akron-Canton Airport, the I-77 Corridor, plastics and petrochemical opportunities, a national park and trail system and several unique visitor attractions. We also share unique institutions that serve the region seamlessly, like the Pro Football Hall of Fame, NEOMED, Stark State College’s Akron, Canton and Jackson Township locations, the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank and Akron Children’s Hospital in Akron and North Canton.

Benefits of Inclusion and Diversity Topic of Akron Summit


Inclusion and diversity make for good business and a strong economy, says the Elevate Greater Akron initiative. A summit Thursday morning at Quaker Station in downtown Akron will make the case to local leaders that, among other things, employers of all sizes need to be more inclusive in their hiring and sourcing. A top goal is to strengthen and tap the talents of the region’s largely economically excluded black population. And that means a lot of people, and businesses, will need to get out of their comfort zones, organizers say.

Smithers Group Moving Headquarters to Downtown Akron


The former home of a struggling nonprofit medical research and development center is slated to become the new multimillion-dollar world headquarters of an Akron company.  Summit County Executive Ilene Shapiro made the announcement during her third State of the County address at the John S. Knight Center on Thursday, during which she also discussed improvements at the Summit County Jail.  Shapiro said legislation will be introduced at the first Summit County Council meeting in September to redevelop the Austen BioInnovation Institute in Akron campus at 47 N. Main St. into a new $16.9 million world headquarters and research and development facility for The Smithers Group.  

Summit, Stark Leaders Adopt ‘Metroplex’ Label to Market Region


When it comes to attracting the businesses, investment dollars and opportunities leading to the economic development that can reshape a city or entire county, the path to success often boils down to one key number.  As state Sen. Kirk Schuring succinctly put it Friday, “Population is power.” With that in mind, Schuring and a group of prominent government and business leaders from Stark and Summit counties have been meeting for several months to craft ways to market the region more effectively and with more frequent positive results. Looking to capitalize on the assets this area can offer to prospective partners, the group agreed formally Friday to adopt and use a new moniker: Akron-Canton Metroplex.  

Akron Developer Builds on Downtown Arts & Entertainment


A local developer is looking to attract businesses and tenants with a new deli, bakery and health foods store, a medical marijuana dispensary (which will open later than scheduled due to construction-related water damage), a rooftop bar and up to 30 more loft apartments in Akron’s downtown arts and entertainment district.

Ohio Brewing Opens in Cuyahoga Falls


The brewery, which shuttered its Highland Square location in Akron in late 2017, has opened its new, long-awaited brewpub at 2250 Front St. in Cuyahoga Falls.  “It’s a beautiful place,” co-founder Chris Verich said with a smile during a recent tour. “This is a relaunching of Ohio Brewing.”  The brewery occupies a two-story, red brick building at the corner of Front and Stow Avenue within the city’s former pedestrian mall. It joins a thriving craft brewery scene in Cuyahoga Falls that already features HiHO, McArthur’s and Missing Mountain.

Amazon Bringing 1,500 Jobs to Former Rolling Acres Mall Site in Akron


The worst-kept secret in economic development is out: Amazon is building in Akron. In a statement issued Monday morning, the e-commerce giant finally laid claim to the fulfillment center planned at the former Rolling Acres Mall site on the southwestern edge of town. This and a second distribution warehouse in Rossford, near Toledo, which also was announced Monday, will be the seventh and eighth shipping hubs Amazon will operate in Ohio as the trendsetter in convenience shopping continues to dominate online retail sales in America.

Downtown Akron's $30 Million Law Building Project Poised to Begin


From the Akron Beacon Journal: Work on a $30 million redevelopment of the 11-story Law Building in downtown Akron could begin as early as next month, the developer behind the project said Monday, July 8. Tom Rybak, principal-in-charge of Tom Rybak & Associates of Rutherford, New Jersey, said his engineering and architectural firm will be ready to start immediately following Akron City Council’s endorsement of the project and closing of the construction loan. The project was discussed Monday at a City Council Planning Committee meeting, which will consider it for a week before bringing it to the full council for its blessing.

Steve Millard: Narrow the Skills Gap by Passing the JOBS Act


In Greater Akron, we have experienced an extraordinarily significant shift to a ... From 2002 to 2016, the growth in the level of digital skills required for the average job in our region increased by 18% — just five other metro areas in ....

Bounce’s New Generator Nods to Akron’s Past While Looking to Build the Future


The Bounce Innovation Hub’s first floor Generator space is open for business in Akron. What had been long-empty warehouse space dating back to the days of a once thriving tire-making complex is now repurposed with an eye to the entrepreneurial future. And it retains a strong Akron-y feel by showcasing the work of nearly 80 local artists and makers who created and put together 160 original works including furniture and decorations, made with locally sourced materials including some from the former tire factory. Bounce on Wednesday took the wraps off its now-finished $3.5 million renovation project and attracted hundreds of people to a daylong open house and grand celebration that stretched into the evening inside the former B.F. Goodrich building.

Summa’s New Tower Almost Ready


Summa Health’s new “front door” — a seven-story tower that has been under construction since 2017 — is nearly ready for its debut. Patients will officially be seen in the new tower beginning May 28. The Akron health system is hosting an invitation-only reception Wednesday, followed by a community open house from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday.

NEOMED Breaks Ground on $36M Expansion Project for Bio-Med Academy


The Northeast Ohio Medical University community celebrated the groundbreaking on Monday of its new, $36 million medical office building, which will allow Bio-Med Science Academy to expand.  The new building will house Bio-Med on its top two floors, an expanded area for clinical simulations on another floor and a yet-to-be-determined clinical partner offering community services on the ground floor. 

Jay Gershen and Elizabeth Bartz: Gov. DeWine Understands Our Transportation Needs


Ohio must pass a transportation budget that addresses our transportation infrastructure funding issues, now, rather than providing a temporary fix that does not live up to the current needs of the state. Currently, there is earnest support from within the business community for increasing the state’s investment in roads and bridges and for increased levels of public transportation funding. Key leaders from within the Greater Akron region’s business community firmly believe that to properly address the tangible needs of Ohio’s infrastructure and ensure Ohioans can travel reliably and affordably, the administration of Gov. Mike DeWine must fight for the investment in roads and bridges that is consistent with its original proposal of increasing the motor fuel tax by 18 cents and support the House’s proposed increased level of support for public transportation.

Summit County Debuts New Economic Development Website


Summit County is looking to harness the power of the internet to help its economic development efforts. The county on Monday, March 25, unveiled its new economic development website, www.summit4success.com, which is designed as a one-stop site for those looking to relocate or expand their operations in Summit County. Created by the county's Department of Community and Economic Development, the site offers everything from general information about the business environment in the county to data on available sites and demographic information. "My team is constantly developing creative and innovative ways to retain and grow existing business while also attracting new talent and commerce to Summit County," county executive Ilene Shapiro said in a news release. "This website provides convenient access to a wide range of information related to living and working in Summit County, allowing any interested party to make informed business or personal decisions. This website will further the exciting economic resurgence we are currently seeing throughout Summit County."

Greater Akron Chamber Unveils Inclusive Economic Development Strategy


The Greater Akron Chamber has a new strategy to help grow the regional economy as well as the organization. The “strategy blueprint” was unveiled Thursday night before about 900 people at the chamber’s 112th annual meeting at the John S. Knight Center in downtown Akron. The blueprint reflects the changes taking place in the area as well as in the chamber’s mission to help local businesses, Steve Millard, who nine months ago became the organization’s president and chief executive officer, said prior to the meeting. “We are laying the foundation for the work we need to do,” Millard said. “We can’t wait to write a perfect plan. You need flexibility in everything you are doing.” This new chamber initiative succeeds its previous Advance Greater Akron program. The plan incorporates significant parts of the “Elevate Greater Akron” program that the chamber, Akron and Summit County governments developed last year to help the region grow, thrive and include all residents in economic opportunities.

Collaborate and Elevate


The Bowery is proof real progress is being made toward regionalism.  There has long been talk of the need for a regional approach to economic development in Northeast Ohio. However, in most cases over the years, regionalism has been easier said than done.

New $20 Million Investment Fund Set to Launch in Akron


If some local investors and their advisors are successful, Akron's about to get a shot of vitamin C — C as in capital. A new early stage investment fund promises to offer $20 million in capital for software startups and other fledgling, high-growth businesses in and around Akron. Akron-based Acquire Investments, the Bounce Innovation Hub and JumpStart Inc. are launching a new fund, dubbed the Fusion Fund, and are working to gather investments. The fund starts life with a little more than $4 million in investments and capital. Most of that is from the Acquire Investment Growth Fund, which is being merged into the new entity, Acquire founder and managing partner Bill Manby said. He'll oversee the new fund's investments as its founding partner, as he's previously done with Acquire.

Akron and Peninsula shine in Ohio’s new Holiday Lights Trail


TourismOhio has launched a new statewide Holiday Lights Trail and it showcases three Akron-area venues.  Deck the Hall at Stan Hywet Hall & Gardens in Akron, the Akron Children’s Hospital Holiday Tree Festival in Akron and Christmas in Peninsula are featured.  Statewide, there are 30 stops. “The Ohio Holiday Lights Trail is a fantastic way to help travelers find outstanding light displays and activities to enjoy with those who mean the most to them,” Jim Mahon, Akron/Summit Convention & Visitors Bureau vice president of marketing and brand management, said in a prepared statement. “We are thrilled that Akron/Summit County is part of TourismOhio’s Holidays In Ohio campaign by encouraging visitors to travel Ohio and share what makes our state special.”

Beacon Journal/Ohio.com Editorial Board: Elevate Akron? There's Now a Plan


During much of his long and successful run as mayor, Don Plusquellic seemed to carry the city’s economic development plan in his head — sharing on a need-to-know basis. That is an exaggeration, but not by much. The approached worked on many fronts, until the city started to lose momentum, among other indicators, its poverty rate climbing and vacancies rising downtown. The city and surroundings needed to do better, and that has been the focus of Dan Horrigan, Plusquellic’s successor, and Ilene Shapiro, who stepped into the Summit County executive’s office after the death of Russ Pry. They have been aided by Christine Mayer of the GAR Foundation. On Monday, the unveiling arrived, the city and the county, along with the Greater Akron Chamber, sharing their framework for moving ahead on economic development.

Akron-Area Players Team Up on New Economic Development Strategy


The city of Akron, Summit County and the Greater Akron Chamber are teaming up on a new economic development strategy called Elevate Akron.  With backing from the GAR Foundation, the city, county and chamber spent recent months studying the Akron area's strengths and challenges. Now the partners plan to address the area's needs with a new spirit of collaboration and more economic development tools and resources, which will likely require funding.

Akron Getting New Approach to Economic Development


Soul-searching and hard data are behind a plan to raise the economy in Akron and surrounding communities. That strategy, called “Elevate Akron — Embracing The New Fundamentals,” will be discussed publicly today at a special Akron Roundtable luncheon at Quaker Station. 

Myers Industries Changes Mind, Opts to Stay in Akron


Myers Industries Inc. will be staying in Akron.  The plastic parts manufacturer and tire tool distributor on Monday issued a statement saying that executives have decided not to move the corporate offices to Cleveland, which would have taken about 120 jobs out of Akron. Myers in mid-September said it planned to move into 40,000-square-feet of space at North Point Tower near Lake Erie in downtown Cleveland. 

B&W Comes to Town


The news about Babcock & Wilcox Enterprises coming to Akron belongs in the category “what a difference a week makes.” The Monday announcement arrived just days after Myers Industries, long a presence on South Main Street, unveiled plans to take its headquarters to Cleveland, touching old wounds in the collective psyche dating to the exit of tire-making from the city.

Akron to Kick Off Transformative Main Street Corridor Project


Akron will kick off its Main Street Corridor Project Wednesday, Sept. 12, with a groundbreaking ceremony for what city officials hope will be a major part of downtown's continuing transformation.  Formerly known as Main Street Promenade, the Corridor Project is a major overhaul of downtown.

On the Table Greater Akron to Dig Into Akron's Issues on Oct. 3


On the Table Greater Akron returns next month with more public mealtime conversations designed to improve the community. “On the Table is an opportunity for everyone in the community to have their voice heard,” Akron Community Foundation Vice President of Community Investment John Garofalo said in a prepared statement. “We want to ensure all residents have the opportunity to participate, even if they don’t know someone hosting a conversation or are not comfortable hosting themselves. We’re excited that this will also give attendees the opportunity to meet and interact with people from different backgrounds and neighborhoods.” The conversations, headed by the foundation, are open to Summit and Medina County residents.  They will be held Oct. 3 at various locations.

Interim UA President to Kick Off DriveIT Speaker Series on Aug. 30


​University of Akron Interim President John C. Green will be the featured guest Thursday at the inaugural event in the [email protected] speaker series. ​ DriveIT, a high-tech skills training, media and experiential learning company, announced in a news release Tuesday that the monthly series will feature personalities from different walks of Northeast Ohio life and focus on leadership, innovation, vision and engagement. Green has served as director of the Ray C. Bliss Institute of Applied Politics at UA since 1984. His presentation is titled SurrealPolitik: Leading a Medieval Institution in the Modern World. Upcoming events include: • Sept. 18: Randy Cole, executive director of the Ohio Turnpike and Infrastructure Commission. • Sept. 25: Blake Squires, principal of Hatch LLC and founder of Moveable. • Oct. 30: Mark Smucker, CEO of the J.M. Smucker Co. The series is sponsored by the Greater Akron Chamber and is free and open to the public. Due to limited seating at DriveIT, the events will be live-streamed from the center at 755 White Pond Drive to an on-campus audience by the EXL Center at UA. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. for refreshments and networking, with presentations starting promptly at 6 p.m. Participants for Thursday’s kickoff are encouraged to RSVP through Eventbrite.

Stark State to Expand Partnerships and Programming in Summit County


Stark State College is adding two Summit County residents to its board of trustees and more programs to complement a truck driving school opening in early 2019.  With the opening of its new Akron campus later this month, Stark State is expanding its relationships with businesses and governments in Summit. The school’s seven-member board of trustees will add and fill two seats with Summit residents — one appointed by Gov. John Kasich and the other by the Stark County Educational Service Center.  Current trustees hope to have the new board members appointed by November, after a new state law goes into effect that allows for community colleges to formally expand their footprints. Stark State, which offers two-year associate degrees and certification programs, has its main campus in Jackson Township. Classes there and at the new campus in Akron, just west of state Route 8 north of the University of Akron, will begin Aug. 27. Stark State President Para Jones said Tuesday in a meeting with a Beacon Journal reporter and editors that the new trustees likely will be selected from the board of the Stark State Foundation or Akron Advisory Council membership.

Akron Fulton Airport to be Rebranded as Akron Executive Airport


Akron Fulton International Airport is going to be rebranded, complete with a new name: Akron Executive Airport. Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan and others will make the official announcement at 10 a.m. today at the municipal airport, which is home to the iconic Akron Airdock. A member of the Akron Fulton Airport Advisory Commission, Randy Theken, posted Thursday night on Facebook the upcoming name change and said it is part of a plan to position the airport as an “economic development hub.”

Akron’s Bowery Development Gets Needed Backing; Brewery, Restaurants May be Part of Downtown Mix


The nearly $40 million Bowery Development, a key project aimed at revitalizing downtown Akron, appears back on track with work possibly starting before summer ends.  When all is complete, some 15 to 18 months later, there could be a new downtown brewery, perhaps three restaurants and other retailers in the six long-vacant blighted buildings next to the Akron Civic Theatre — with apartments in the upper stories — the developer and financing partners say.

New Akron Chamber Chief Steve Millard Aims to Foster Collaboration in Akron, Beyond


Call it a simple question. Or call it a concern.  Since the April announcement that longtime Cleveland-based economic development professional Steve Millard would take over as president and CEO of the Greater Akron Chamber, chairman Marc Merklin has fielded inquires about whether his board's choice of leadership signals a move toward greater regionalism. The underlying issue — a persistent worry among some — is that the Rubber City's identity could be at stake.

Magnet Strengthens its Rubber City Ties


Magnet, the Manufacturing Advocacy and Growth Network, may be based in Cleveland, but the organization is charged with supporting manufacturers throughout Northeast Ohio. In the past year, the group has taken steps to strengthen its services in the Summit County area, and it now has officially opened an office in Akron. Magnet is a Manufacturing Extension Partnership center, which means it's part of a national network focused on serving small and midsize manufacturers. At current, Magnet serves manufacturers in 18 counties in Northeast Ohio. Darlyn McDermott came to Magnet from Oswald Cos. about a year ago to start working as the market leader for what she calls Magnet South, which focuses on manufacturers in Summit, Stark, Wayne, Medina and Portage counties. Magnet South also serves companies in Mahoning and Columbiana counties.

Akron's Northside District Gets Colorful Makeover, Thanks in Part to 80 Volunteers


A new public green is blossoming in Akron’s Northside District, transforming under-used pavement into a colorful sort of ground mural lined with potted plants, trees and benches. No parking places in this busy, creative neighborhood nook near downtown — a cut-off slice of what was once part of Akron’s Main Street — were sacrificed for the transformation. But the extraordinarily wide area to maneuver around the spaces has narrowed as the new, colorful green carves a path between the spaces where vehicles once parked nose-to-nose, said Sharon Gillberg, communications director with Downtown Akron Partnership.

Do Akron, Youngstown and Other Parts of the Industrial Midwest Have What It Takes to Interest Silicon Valley?


Youngstown and Akron are focal points of this MarketWatch story about the "Valley to Valley" group — a team of entrepreneurs, politicians and Silicon Valley investors who "are on a mission to restore those cities and industries with big venture capital money; new, cutting-edge technology; and local talent motivated to take risks and innovate." Patrick McKenna, a serial entrepreneur and venture capitalist who is participating in the effort, tells MarketWatch "There's a crisis and an urgency" to bring more investment to the industrial Midwest. The modern technology economy needs to work for more people and more places." Total Silicon Valley venture investment in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin "has declined each of the past three years, now accounting for just 8% of the total in 2017, according to figures from PitchBook, a financial data company," MarketWatch reports. That led to this spring's "Comeback Cities Tour" that took a dozen Silicon Valley investors to cities including Youngstown and Akron.

Akron's Lock 15 Brewing Co. Aims to Open in June in Historical, Natural Setting


A strong sense of history is fueling Lock 15 Brewing Co., which plans to open in Akron this summer. Lock 15 Brewing Co., in the shadow of the Y Bridge, is in the Cascade Valley Metro Park. It's a mix of old, new and nature: Trails wind through the area and its montage of historic buildings, rushing water and electrical towers. Soon, Colin Cook's vision and restaurant background, Tony Troppe's development acumen and Joe Karpinski's brewing know-how will converge to open one of Akron's newest breweries. Not that long ago, "The area was a complete utter disaster. Nothing was in the park area, no signs of life," Cook said. He said revitalization of the area where Lock 15 Brewing is located — not far from the main drag of West Market Street — really began years ago.

R. Shea Brewing Signs Lease for New Production Brewery, Restaurant


Ron Shea celebrated signing a lease for his new Akron production brewery, taproom and restaurant the way you would expect — he cracked open a beer and toasted the accomplishment. Shea, the founder and brewer at the popular R. Shea Brewing Co. in the city’s Merriman Valley, on Thursday showed off his future home, a cavernous and industrial space that covers about 60,000 square feet inside downtown’s Canal Place complex. He also signed his lease while surrounded by family, city leaders and others who helped him get to this point.

Site Selection Finds Ohio No. 2 – for Corporate Investment


The Columbus region, and Ohio as a whole, are being recognized among the country’s top locations for corporate investment. Site Selection magazine has released its closely watched annual report tracking new and expanded business facilities, ranking the Columbus region No. 8 among metro areas, and Ohio No. 2 among states.

New Akron Meet-up Gives Entrepreneurs Space to Help One Another


When Randi Hodge decided to put allergen-free skin care products she created on the market, she knew she needed advice and support from other new entrepreneurs. But networking in large groups, she said, was overwhelming. When she saw a post on Facebook announcing a new entrepreneur meet-up taking place in Akron, Hodge's interest was piqued. "I went with a friend because I was a little nervous. But there was a very welcoming vibe," she said of the first session, which took place at Hazel Tree Interiors on the edge of downtown Akron. "Everyone was in the same boat." She got so much out of that November session that Hodge attended the following one in December. And she planned to be at the next Akron Entrepreneurs Meet-up from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 6, at the Bit Factory in the Bounce Innovation Hub (formerly known as the Akron Global Business Accelerator).

Akron's Revitalization Fund Gets Noticed, Big Year at the Zoo, and UA's Biomimicry


The Council of Development Finance Agencies has awarded a 2017 CDFA Excellence in Development Finance Award to the Development Finance Authority of Summit County and Development Fund of the Western Reserve (DFWR) for their work in creating the Akron Community Revitalization Loan Fund, the CDFA said in a release. The revolving loan fund, which was fully capitalized in July, provides financing for business development projects in distressed and urban areas of Akron, those places with a poverty rate of at least 30% and an unemployment rate of at least 10%, the DFWR told Crain's in July. .

U.S. recession unlikely soon but federal tax reform failure could be a trigger, chamber speaker says


There’s little likelihood that the U.S. economy, years into a slow expansion, will go into a recession anytime soon, the chief economist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce told a Cuyahoga Falls audience Wednesday morning. And there is a high likelihood that Congress will pass tax reform legislation this year, economist J.D. Foster said in a speech at the Greater Akron Chamber’s annual economic outlook program. He addressed about 170 people at the breakfast event in the Sheraton Suites hotel. “We will have another recession someday. Nothing is on the horizon,” Foster said.

Akron-Area Leaders Check Out Local Success Stories


Dozens of area leaders spent Sunday and Monday taking a closer look at efforts to redevelop communities close to home. More than 45 participants in the Greater Akron Chamber’s IntraCity Leadership Visit had two busy days visiting everywhere from the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton to Bounce, formerly known as the Akron Global Business Accelerator.

Fresh Produce Grows Big Results for Akron Startup


A downtown Akron company that was started in late 2014 by two young men who wanted to be part of the restaurant industry without giving up all of their nights and weekends has seen explosive growth in the demand for its fresh-grown basil, lettuce and microgreens. Vigeo Gardens, which grows its crops in an indoor, highly controlled, chemical-free environment in downtown Akron and delivers its products fresh to area restaurants, grocery stores and food distributors, had about $23,000 in sales the first year. In year two, sales were $250,000, and they are on pace to be at least $750,000 in 2017, said Vincent Peterson, the company's chief executive officer.

Akron's New Revitalization Loan Fund is Up and Running


Akron has a new loan fund in place to help finance projects in urban areas and especially in challenged neighborhoods, where developments likely could not qualify for a bank loan or other funding. With backing organized and partially provided by the Akron-based Development Fund for the Western Reserve (DFWR), the Akron Community Revitalization Loan Fund has about $6.75 million to lend out, at least initially, DFWR president Christopher Burnham said. The money will be used to fund projects smaller than what DFWR usually takes on. The larger Western Reserve fund sets up individual limited liability corporations for most of its projects, including major hotels that it has helped finance in recent years near Kent State University and in Akron's East End development. Those and other projects often require tens of millions of dollars of capital to complete.

Downtown Developers Grab $5 Million More in Tax Breaks


Akron developers will save $5 million in state taxes, on top of local incentives, once renovations are completed on six downtown buildings. The rebates from the Ohio Historic Preservation Tax Credit Program were announced Wednesday morning by the Ohio Development Services Agency in partnership with the State Historic Preservation Office and in accordance with construction standards set by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior. In total, developers in 13 communities will pay $35 million less should they complete renovations on 36 Ohio buildings that might otherwise fall further into disrepair and neglect.

Last Year’s Bridgestone Invitational Chips in $1 Million for Area Nonprofits


The World Golf Championships-Bridgestone Invitational is chipping in more than $1 million for Akron Children’s Hospital, UH Rainbow Babies & Children’s Hospital and 36 area charities. Officials from the invitational and Northeast Ohio Golf Charities announced the donations — totalling $1,015,981 — during the annual Bridgestone Invitational, Northern Ohio Golf Charities luncheon Thursday at the Bridgestone Americas Technical Center in Akron.

Goodyear Joins Companies Backing Akron Community Revitalization Loan Fund


The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. is joining other local supporters of an Akron revitalization fund. The Akron-based tire maker announced on Monday, May 8, that it is donating $100,000 to the Akron Community Revitalization Loan Fund, which will provide financing for business development projects in distressed and urban areas of Akron.

New Fund to Focus Its Investing on Akron Companies


Bill Manby might just be the most important Akron businessperson that you've never heard of — he's the man behind the money that's behind some of the city's more notable recent startups. He might become even more important, too. As managing director of Akron's Acquire Investments, Manby is about to launch a venture capital fund specifically aimed at growing companies in and around Akron.

Akron's Economy is Seeing a Nice Rebound


Akron's doing just fine. That's not the opinion of just anyone. It's the take of John Augustine, chief investment officer of Huntington Bank's private client group. Augustine was in town Wednesday, March 22, to speak to wealthy clients of the city's largest bank. Akron has become very important to Huntington, thanks to its 2016 acquisition of FirstMerit Corp. and its $25 billion in assets. Augustine told clients, and then told Crain's, that Huntington is pleased to see that the Akron area is faring well and, in fact, is doing better than Northeast Ohio's other large cities — with a lower unemployment rate and prospects for more growth ahead.

Report Suggests Ways Akron Can Grow Through Housing


Just as Akron sets out on a new initiative to rebuild its population, two of the state's leading nonprofits focused on urban planning and economic development have unveiled some suggestions for revitalizing the city's housing stock.

Akron Zoo Sets Annual Attendance Record in 2016


The Akron Zoo had a record-setting 2016. The zoo announced Friday, Jan. 6, that last year it set a new all-time attendance mark by drawing 398,878 visitors. That surpasses the previous mark of 389,508, set in 2013. The zoo also set a new single-day attendance record when 7,550 people visited on Oct. 23 during its Boo at the Zoo event. That Halloween-themed event also registered the most people ever over its six-day run: 29,938.

Downtown Akron Gets the Plan It Needs


Downtown Akron looks and feels much better than the hollowing years of the early 1980s. It has advanced since the improvements a decade later. Yet the core of the city needs a new chapter, lost momentum apparent in a higher vacancy rate, blocks resisting new development, even the appearance of more homeless.

Car-Maggedon is Coming: Here is Everything You Need to Know to Survive on Area Roads, Starting this Week


Akron Beacon Journal/Ohio.com

Greater Akron—In addition to the I-76 work in Akron, ODOT will begin an $80.4 million project to rebuild the pavement on I-76 in Barberton and Norton.  The work includes widening the highway between state Route 21 and Central Avenue.  Barber Road under I-76 will be closed August 8-11.  The state agency also will begin making $930,000 worth of pavement repairs Monday on Route 8 between Graham Road and state Route 303 in Cuyahoga Falls, Hudson and Stow.  Motorists should expect lane closures between 7:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m.  The projects are part of more than $500 million worth of ODOT road and bridge construction planned in Summit County over the next five years.  For details and a list of other highway projects, go to:www.dot.state.oh.us/districts/D04.

Cleveland Indians Akron Minor League Team Now Glitters Under New Ownership



Greater Akron—"A ballpark needs a community a lot more than a community needs a ballpark."  That's what Jim Pfander told me as we walked through an empty Canal Park.  Pfander is the general manager of the Akron RubberDucks, who are preparing to host Wednesday's Eastern League All-Star game. This is a big deal, but it's another sign of a franchise that has been revived. It's about Ken Babby's ownership, which takes nothing for granted when it comes to appealing to fans.

To quote another Akronite, LeBron James: "In Northeast Ohio, nothing is given. Everything is earned."  In the last three years, Babby and his staff have been earning back the support of Akron's baseball fans. 

To read more, click here.

Stark State College to build Akron campus at Perkins Street & Route 8


Akron Beacon Journal/Ohio.com

Greater Akron—Stark State College will build its new Akron campus on 11 acres of vacant, city-owned property along Perkins Street near state Route 8 just northeast of downtown.  The Jackson Township-based school — along with city, Summit County and business leaders — announced the location Thursday morning during a news conference at the John S. Knight Convention Center downtown.  The campus will be called Stark State College Akron.

Ground broken for BCG & Co. building, first construction in new Akron office park


Akron Beacon Journal/Ohio.com

Greater Akron—A groundbreaking Wednesday celebrated the beginning of work on the first building in a new suburban-style office park off White Pond Drive in West Akron.  “We might be able to get 10 or 11 buildings in there,” said Sam DeShazior, Akron’s deputy mayor of economic development, noting the city-owned White Pond Office Park, south of Frank Boulevard, comprises more than 70 acres.  Wednesday’s groundbreaking was for the new offices of accounting company BCG & Co., whose employees are now spread among three buildings in Akron’s Merriman Valley.

Goodyear’s newest airship holds first flight


Akron Beacon Journal/Ohio.com

Greater Akron—After months of blimp-free skies, there’s a new Goodyear airship flying over the Akron area.  Goodyear’s second NT, or New Technology, airship – not yet named – took its first flight Saturday afternoon at the company’s Wingfoot Lake blimp base in Suffield Township.

The first test flight originally was scheduled for Monday, but was pushed up to the weekend to avoid the high potential for predicted bad weather. Saturday, skies were clouding up, with a light breeze and temperatures rising to the low 50s – perfect blimp-flying weather.

For more information, click here.

Weaver Fab & Finishing Receives Women's Business Enterprise Certification


Weaver joins an elite group of qualified Women Business Enterprise manufacturing companies

Weaver Fab & Finishing (Weaver), serving the precision metal fabrication needs of the aerospace, medical, food equipment, heating and cooling, packaging equipment and robotics industries for more than 70 years, today announced it received national certification as a Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE). Given by the Ohio River Valley Women’s Business Council, a regional certifying partner of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC), Weaver joins an elite group of qualified WBE manufacturing companies and one of 930 WBE organizations in the council’s region of Ohio, Kentucky and West Virginia.

U.S. Tire Industry Growth is Good News for Akron


For the first time in several years, U.S. tire industry output grew. A Rubber Manufacturers Association report says production in 2015 of passenger, light truck and medium truck and bus tires rose nearly 8 percent. Reasons for the growth include low fuel prices and rising auto and truck sales. Rick Rebadow of the Greater Akron Chamber says the U.S. tire industry’s growth bodes well for the city. And, he says it shows the value of major expansions earlier this decade at Akron-based research and development centers for Goodyear and Bridgestone.

For more information, click here.

New Goodyear Airship Takes on a Familiar Shine and Preps for First Flight


Akron Beacon Journal/Ohio.com

Greater Akron—Goodyear’s second NT, or New Technology, airship has that new car — make that new blimp — smell.  And it looks ready to fly out of the Wingfoot Lake base in Suffield Township, where workers have spent most of 2015 assembling it from parts shipped in from maker Zeppelin in Germany.

But first flight is still maybe a month away — for one thing, the semi-rigid airship is inflated with air, not helium, and remains suspended from the ceiling inside the Portage County hangar.  The unnamed craft is now adorned with the Goodyear corporate name and traditional blue, gold and silver-gray colors recently painted on the envelope skin by workers with Akron painting and construction company Thomarios.

For more information, click here.

CBS Flew With New Goodyear Airship on Sunday Program


Greater Akron—CBS News Sunday Morning featured the Goodyear blimps, with both current and historical looks, on January 10 on their national program.

A CBS news crew visited all three Goodyear blimp bases, including the Wingfoot Lake base in Suffield Township where the second NT airship is now being built and will fly later this year. The first NT airship, Wingfoot One, is now at its Pompano Beach, Fla., base, after flying more than a year in Akron area skies.

In case you didn't catch it when it aired, here's a link to the segment:  http://www.cbsnews.com/news/the-next-generation-of-goodyear-blimps/

Akron Public Schools' STEM Middle School Honored in Washington


West Side Leader

Greater Akron—The National Inventors Hall of Fame (NIHF) Center for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Learning was among eight schools honored nationally for its efforts to integrate the arts into STEM programs.

The Ovation Foundation, the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities (PCAH) and Americans for the Arts (AFTA), in cooperation with the Congressional STEAM Caucus, honored the Akron Public Schools’ middle school with an innOVATION STEAM Grant Award. The awards were given to public school programs in an effort to raise awareness about the importance of the arts in the STEM curriculum.

For more information, click here.

East End Redevelopment of Former Goodyear Campus Hits Milestones


Akron Beacon Journal/Ohio.com

Greater Akron—It’s a milestone week for The East End redevelopment project of the former Goodyear campus — and there’s more work to be done.

The East End Residences, which involved converting the former Goodyear Hall into 105 apartments and retail space while retaining the large gymnasium and 1,200-seat theater, celebrated its grand opening Wednesday, November 11, 2015. The first tenants moved in during July of 2015.

All of the major work at the Residences has been done, said Carol Smith, vice president of development service with developer Industrial Realty Group. Just minor “punch-list items” remain, she said.  “We are almost 75 percent leased,” Smith said. “We have the 100 percent certificate of occupancy.” 

For more information, click here.

Involta's South Akron Operations Expanding, Company Breaking Ground


Greater Akron—Involta, the company that owns and operates data storage facilities, broke ground on October 1 on an addition that will roughly double the size of its complex on Miller Avenue in South Akron.  It will total about 26,000 square feet.  Involta, headquartered in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, earlier added data storage capacity in Akron.  This is the first new construction at the facility since Involta entered the Ohio market in 2012, building the $17 million data center on Miller Avenue.  With the addition, Involta has said, the company’s capital investment in Akron will total nearly $27 million.  Click here to read the rest of the story.

More than $2 million awarded to community organizations from GAR Foundation


Greater Akron—GAR made a grant of $500,000 to the Development Fund of the Western Reserve (“DFWR”), an affiliate of the Development Finance Authority of Summit County, in support of their newly created Targeted Loan Fund. The Targeted Loan Fund will help to catalyze real estate development projects in distressed census tracts and urban areas, such as downtown Akron.  The Fund will include capital from community funders like GAR Foundation, as well as capital received from the sale of New Markets Tax Credits which DFWRwas recently awarded by the US Treasury. DFWR, in partnership with Village Capital Corporation, will apply its development finance expertise to select and vet promising urban real estate projects.

TQL to Open Downtown Akron Location, Add Up to 70 Jobs


Crain's Cleveland Business

Greater Akron—A project a year in the making involving the city of Akron, Greater Akron Chamber  JobsOhio and Cincinnati-based Total Quality Logistics (TQL) has come to fruition, and with it, TQL is bringing 70 jobs to a new downtown Akron location.  TQL Senior Director of Communications Kristine Glenn confirmed this week that the freight brokerage company will open a satellite office at 50 S. Main Street in January.  Headquartered in Cincinnati, TQL has more than 30 brokerages across the country, including one in Independence, Glenn said.  “The easiest way to understand it is that we are the middleman between buyers of transportation services and the ‘sellers’ – which are the carriers,” Glenn said. “We mainly work with companies with smaller fleets of six or less, so a lot of our clients are owner-operators.”

Delegation of Akron-Area Leaders to Visit Greenville, SC in Fall 2015


Akron Beacon Journal/Ohio.com

Greater Akron—A delegation of Akron-area business and civic leaders will take a business trip this September to learn how a South Carolina city redeveloped its downtown.  The trip to Greenville, sponsored by the Greater Akron Chamber, builds upon previous trips to Milwaukee and Omaha two and four years ago. The Chamber sponsors the trip, which is paid for individually by the participants or through sponsorships, as a way to bring community leaders together to find programs and ideas that would be good to bring back to Akron, said Becky Guzy Woodford, Senior Vice President at the Chamber.

FirstEnergy Extends Lease at Downtown Headquarters


Company Affirms Commitment to City it has Called Home for Over 100 Years

Akron, Ohio—FirstEnergy Corp. (NYSE: FE) announced that it has signed an 8 ½-year lease extension for its 19-story downtown Akron office headquarters, which currently houses more than 900 company employees.

LeBron chosen to receive Greater Akron Chamber’s H. Peter Burg award


Akron Beacon Journal/Ohio.com

Greater Akron—LeBron James can add another honor to his voluminous trophy case.  The Greater Akron Chamber has named the Cavs All-Star the winner of its 2015 H. Peter Burg Award.  The award is by far the most prestigious James has won away from a basketball court, where he has risen from Ohio’s only three-time Mr. Basketball at St. Vincent-St. Mary High School to a four-time Most Valuable Player in the NBA and two-time Olympic gold medalist.  Click here to read the rest of the story.

Cuyahoga Falls mayor gives State of the City address


Akron Beacon Journal/Ohio.com

Cuyahoga Falls—Mayor Don Walters touted the achievements of his first year in office and promised more for the second in his State of the City address to the Cuyahoga Falls Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday, February 25, 2015.  “As I have stated before, my goal as mayor is to ensure that there are only two groups of people: those that live in Cuyahoga Falls, and those that wish they did,” Walters told the gathering at the Sheraton Suites.  To read the rest of the article, click here.

Green mayor Dick Norton outlines plans, accomplishments in final ‘State of City’ speech


Akron Beacon Journal/Ohio.com

Green—Green Mayor Dick Norton said he was optimistic about the city’s future, while recounting past accomplishments during his time in office, as he delivered his final State of the City address to more than 200 people Wednesday night at Raintree Country Club.

“In the past seven years, we have built a road map of success. We have prospered amidst a period of recession. We have progressed to a young, vibrant city. And we have built on this promise,” said Norton, who will retire when his term concludes at the end of the year.

He told the audience of guidelines his administration developed, starting with fiscal responsibility, to create a city with strong values.  For more information, click here.

Green City Council clears way for new tire maker


Akron Beacon Journal/Ohio.com

Green—City Council has approved legislation to bring an international tire maker’s research and development center with 45 full-time jobs to Green.

The council also extended the contract with Kimble Recycling and Disposal for another five years while expanding the recycling segment at no increase in cost to residents.

The economic development grant agreement with Kenda Tires USA will allow the company, which operates a sales office in the Columbus suburb of Reynoldsburg, to locate its first North American research and development facility in Green. For more information, click here.

Ruhlin Co. builds on 100 years of construction history


Some 100 years ago, John G. Ruhlin and brothers Charles and Edward, all masons, submitted the winning bid for their first major project: Creston School.

The fledgling Ruhlin Brothers Construction Co. erected the 29,000-square-foot building in Wayne County for $30,000 — by one calculation that’s $701,438 in today’s dollars.

What those three brothers started in 1915 has since changed names several times and grown into The Ruhlin Co., a $200 million construction firm with some 90 salaried employees and as many as 450 hourly seasonal workers during peak warm-weather months. The headquarters, in Medina County’s Sharon Township, sits about 15 miles from that first school

The company, with deep roots in Akron, is planning a yearlong celebration of its centennial.  For more information, click here.

Acme No. 1 in West Akron to get $9 Million Overall


Akron Beacon Journal/Ohio.com

The venerable Acme No. 1 in West Akron will get a $9 million overhaul.  “The store is going to be totally transformed,” said Jim Trout, president of Akron-headquartered Acme Fresh Markets.  “Really, it’s tired, and it needs updated. We’re very excited to reinvent this location,” Trout said Thursday.  The makeover of the store at 1835 W. Market St. will include exterior and interior renovations and is set to begin May 1 and will take about 15 months to complete.  For more information, click here.

Summit County Attractions and Businesses Get Bucks to Boost Tourism


Akron Beacon Journal/Ohio.com

Greater Akron—A wide mix of businesses and nonprofits — including a glassblowing studio in downtown and the Akron Marathon — are this year’s recipients of grants aimed at boosting tourism, awarded by the Summit County Convention & Visitors Bureau.

Click here to read more.

Building 9 to move to Copley Township in spring


Discount supplier to relocate to Copley Twp. to make room for Akron highway interchange

Building 9, a popular discount building materials supplier in downtown Akron, will be moving to Copley Township next spring.

The supplier didn’t want to move from its location of 31 years at 945 S. Main St., right off the Interstate 77 interchange. But it is among 30 other properties — mostly commercial, some residential — that are slated to be demolished as the Ohio Department of Transportation builds a new $96 million highway interchange at South Broadway and South Main.

Giti Tire, now open in Green, is sixth tire tech center for Akron region


Singapore company Giti opens research, development center in Green, Akron-area’s sixth. Local talent pool and polymer programs are draw

The Akron area’s newest tire technical center is up and running.

Giti Tire, a $3.8 billion Singapore company and by some measures a global top 10 tire maker, which announced last year it was locating its first U.S. tech center in the greater Akron area, has opened its offices in Green. Giti moved into a corporate park building off Boettler Oaks Drive directly behind the Giant Eagle Market District supermarket.

Lithuanian entrepreneurs to work in Akron Global Business Accelerator


City’s deputy mayor calls development ‘international bridge’ Two entrepreneurs from Lithuania will be working in the Akron Global Business Accelerator in the next month to explore getting the medical devices they helped develop ready for distribution in the U.S. marketplace.

Need for speed built new Parker Hannifin polymer facility in Ravenna


Tucked inside the just-dedicated Polymer Innovation Center at Parker Hannifin’s Parflex Division headquarters in Ravenna is a “clean room.”

You rightly might wonder why Parflex, a company known globally for its hoses and varieties of polymer tubing, feels the need to have a clean room.

Because it’s not just clean — it’s nearly spotless. And necessarily so.

William J. Ginter is H. Peter Burg Award recipient


William (Bill) Ginter is one of those people who understands the importance of giving back.

“When you drive past the Red Cross headquarters building at 501 W. Market Street, you see an example of Bill’s leadership. When you see the Canal Park area, there’s another example,” said Mark Auburn, a member of the American Red Cross of Summit, Portage and Medina counties board of directors. “He’s been instrumental in a number of ways to help guarantee the quality of life in the Akron area. He’s one of those folks who likes to pay it forward.”