Strengthening the regional economy Featured

2:39pm EDT October 1, 2012
Strengthening the regional economy

It is with great pleasure that I would like to congratulate the 52 Cascade Capital Corp. Business Growth Award winners for 2012. This is the program’s 18th years, and we couldn’t be more excited about the honorees. These companies are located within Summit, Medina, Portage, Wayne, Stark and Ashland counties in Northeastern Ohio.

Based on the both Business Growth Awards criteria and the challenges facing small companies in today’s business environment, this is quite an accomplishment. A company may earn a Business Growth Award by either increasing its sales level or increasing its employee base over the course of the past five years. The importance of this growth measures far beyond actual sales and employee figures. From an economic development perspective, increased local company sales to other parts of the state, across the nation and even internationally enrich our local/regional economy. Receipts and profits generated by growing area companies are positively manifested when these companies purchase local goods and services, invest in new operating facilities and equipment, and hire new employees. These wealth-creating mechanisms directly lead to the economic vitality of our regional economy.

The goal of Cascade Capital Corp. is to provide meaningful financing assistance to small and medium-sized companies poised to grow through investment in new operating facilities, equipment and human resources. Over the course of the past five years, Cascade Capital Corp. has approved financing for more than 150 local/regional company projects totaling in excess of $100 million through its core SBA 504 and Ohio 166 loan programs. The collective completion of these projects was expected to result in the creation of nearly 1,000 new jobs for our region.

Cascade Capital’s SBA 504 Loan Program is its primary financing tool. The SBA 504’s most recent 20-year fixed interest rate was only 4.28 percent; the 10-year rate was only 3.47 percent. The SBA 504 is very versatile financing option for small to medium-sized companies expanding the scope of their operations by in investing in new/larger operating facilities. In combination with traditional bank financing, the SBA 504 can offer up to 90 percent financing for major fixed-asset purchases. With commercial real estate still available at very reasonable prices, now is a great time to consider SBA 504 Loan Program financing for a capital expansion project.

Cascade Capital’s Ohio 166 Loan Program continues to offer the best fixed interest rate “bargain” available — only 3 percent fixed on a five-year loan. I am pleased to report that Cascade Capital approved a record number of Ohio 166 loans this year.

A number of 2012 Business Growth Award winners have received funding from Cascade Capital through its SBA 504 and Ohio 166 loan programs.

Again, congratulations to all of Cascade Capital Corp.’s 2012 Business Growth Award winners on a job well done. Thank you too for your continuing role in supporting and revitalizing our local and regional economy through your sustained growth and investment.

Robert Filipiak is executive director of Cascade Capital Corp., an economic development finance company that has provided dependable financing options to growing small to medium-sized companies in Greater Akron and Northeastern Ohio since 1983. Reach him at (330) 379-3160 or rflipiak@cascadecapital.org.

The 2012 Winners

MANUFACTURING

ACS Industries Inc.

Joe Zeno

ACS Industries Inc. is a manufacturer and seller of construction equipment attachments and replacement parts. The company strives to not only create but also maintain high-paying manufacturing jobs to boost the local economy. To this end, the company doubled its staff size from 2007 to 2011.

Amish Mills/Daniels Amish Collection

Christopher J. Karman

Wooden household furniture manufacturer Amish Mills/Daniels Amish Collection has focused on expanding its product line to combat the decline of the company’s original market, curios. With the input of customers helping to fuel new, innovative designs, the company has seen national success — with sales increased 167 percent and its staff grown 300 percent from 2007 to 2011.

Little Guy Worldwide LLC

Joe Kicos

Little Guy Worldwide LLC is a leading teardrop camper trailer manufacturer and seller. The company resurrected the retro teardrop design — an economical, practical and aerodynamic trailer that can be pulled by any vehicle with a hitch. Production has increased with demand — sales jumping 143 percent from 2009 to 2011. The company tripled its staff in that time.

Marik Spring Inc.

Greg Bedrick

Marik Spring Inc. is a manufacturer of springs, wire forms and metal stampings. The company pledges to exceed customer expectations, and does so through consistent quality, engineering experience and on-time delivery at competitive prices. Because of its continued growth, Marik had to relocate from its original 13,000-square-foot building to a 26,500-square-foot building in 2005.

Network Polymers Inc.

Alan Woll

Plastic resin manufacturer and distributor Network Polymers Inc. provides raw material to numerous manufacturers in Northeast Ohio, while creating manufacturing and high-paying research and development jobs in the Akron area. Its 12 percent staff increase from 2007 to 2011 was made possible by a $16 million sales increase during that time.

Ohio Hickory Harvest Brand Products Inc.

Darlene, Joseph and Michael Swiatkowski

Ohio Hickory Harvest Brand Products Inc. has grown from a small mail order company selling smoked beef sausage and cheeses to a multifacility company also selling dried fruits, nuts and candies and providing bulk grocery items to local stores. Growth continues, due in large part to equipment investments. Sales jumped $6.4 million while staff increased 138 percent from 2007 to 2011.

OrDerv Foods Inc.

Keith A. Kropp

OrDerv Foods Inc., a manufacturer of sauerkraut balls, has expanded its product line to include appetizers, such as Wonton Poppers, Fried Pickles, Reuben Bites, Fried Banana Peppers and a new line of Olivations, since Kropp purchased the business in 2005. OrDerv also creates custom design products for area restaurants and food manufacturers. Sales increased 81 percent while staff jumped 133 percent from 2007 to 2011.

Portage Precision Polymers

Doug Hartley

Rubber compound and rubber-based products manufacturer Portage Precision Polymers continues to operate at capacity, prompting the need for further expansion. The growing company has invested in a new mixing lineup, as well as in new computer systems, forecasting, models and extensive staff training. PPP grew their staff 27 percent from 2007 to 2011.

Shearer’s Foods Inc.

Robert J. Shearer

Shearer’s Foods Inc. is the manufacturer and distributor of Shearer’s award-winning snacks, as well as select private label products. In response to rising market demands and new product development opportunities, Shearer’s built its Millennium Manufacturing Facility — the first LEED Platinum snack-food manufacturing plant in the world. Shearer’s sales increased by $279 million — 220 percent — from 2007 to 2011, and it hired 1,194 new employees.

Ten Point Crossbow Technologies

Rick Bednar

Ten Point Crossbow Technologies is a manufacturer, wholesaler and retailer of a full line of crossbows and accessories. The company engineers and designs its products in-house, ensuring superior quality. This prompted a 117 percent increase in sales from 2007 to 2011, enabling the company to grow its staff 88 percent.

TECHNOLOGY

AtNet Plus Inc.

Jim Laber and Jay Mellon

IT support company AtNet Plus offers managed services, Web development, backup solutions, hosting and co-location services. Experiencing significant growth, the company saw a sales increase of 90 percent from 2007 to 2011. Over that same time period, the company has put more Northeast Ohio residents to work, increasing its staff by 21 percent.

Cletronics Inc.

David Sands

Manufacturer of custom wound components, Cletronics Inc., began a major push in 2007 to increase in size by further penetrating customers’ transformer requirements. The results over the next four years was the doubling of the company’s sales revenue and a 58 percent increase in staff. To reward this growth, Cletronics has built a new 12,000-square-foot manufacturing facility.

Corporate Technologies Group Inc.

Jeff Sumner and Brett Harney

Corporate Technologies Group Inc., a voice and data technology company, has fostered growth by focusing on redesigning its website to meet new marketing goals, as well as keeping up with the changing demands of new technology. Efforts have led to a 31 percent sales increase and a 20 percent staff increase from 2007 to 2011.

Etactics Inc.

Michael P. Teutsch

Etactics Inc. is a cost-effective EDI and print services company that enhances the accuracy and delivery of many time-sensitive documents, especially invoices. These services improve the cash flow for more than 2,000 clients. Etactics has seen a 55 percent increase in sales — totaling $4.3 million — and a staff increase of 75 percent from 2007 to 2011.

Knotice

Brian Deagan

Knotice delivers direct digital marketing software solutions. Its Concentri product was the first online communication product to integrate content targeting for websites, mobile marketing, email marketing, targeted display advertising and analytics in a single software solution. Knotice grew sales a whopping 467 percent — $9.8 million — from 2007 to 2011 and increased its staff by 267 percent — 64 people.

PartsSource Inc.

A. Ray Dalton

PartsSource Inc. has expanded on its role as a provider of medical replacement parts. As of 2006, the company also offers software solutions related to the management and acquisition of parts, cutting costs and improving efficiencies for clients. This new component contributed to a $39 million sales boost from 2007 to 2011, prompting the hiring of 57 additional employees.

SERVICE

Americas International Inc.

Wayne Stair

Americas International Inc., a wholesale distributor of rubber and rubber chemicals, has expanded beyond its Akron roots to include regional sales offices in Atlanta, Chicago and Los Angeles, with a network of warehouse operations that ensure accurate and on-time deliveries. Its efforts have grown the company’s sales 312 percent from 2007 to 2011 — an impressive $40.4 million.

Appalachian Outfitters/Appalachian Outdoors LLC

Michael Leffler

Appalachian Outfitters/Appalachian Outdoors LLC is an outdoor specialty store. Longtime, outdoor-experienced employees ensure customers not only receive the best products for their needs, experience levels and budgets but also understand the best way to use them. The company’s sales have increased 25 percent over a four-year period ending in 2011.

AssuraMed (f.k.a. Edgepark Medical Supplies)

Michael Petras Jr.

Edgepark Medical Supplies, parent company AssuraMed, has continued to evolve over the years, starting out as a corner pharmacy in 1928. Eventually focusing solely on the mail-order business of medical supplies, the company has since expanded to locales across the nation. From 2007 to 2011, the company saw a $285.5 million increase in sales and added 344 new employees.

Carrara Cos.

Justin Sucato

Restoration, construction and cleaning company, Carrara Cos., has built its impressive growth on three core strengths: building a culture around company values, recruiting and developing true leaders and providing industry-best customer service. The company saw an impressive sales increase of 127 percent, totaling $4.2 million, from 2007 to 2011, and grew its staff by 136 percent.

Chemspec Ltd.

Dave Moreland

Chemspec Ltd. is a distributor of chemical products and additives to the rubber, plastic and polymer industry. The company’s success stems from the use of state-of-the-art facilities with extensive quality programs — success seen in its $8.8 million increase in sales from 2007 to 2011, coupled with 120 percent staff growth.

Cohen & Co. Ltd.

J. Michael Kolk

Cohen & Co. Ltd. provides entrepreneurs and privately held companies with a range of accounting, tax and business advisory services. By helping area businesses remain profitable, the company has been able to grow in return — increasing sales by $8 million and adding 14 new employees over a four-year period ending in 2011.

Epiphany Management Group LLC

Suranjan Shome

Epiphany Management Group LLC aims to transform and improve K-12 education through collaborations with progressively minded school leaders and industry innovators. EMG works in areas such as technology management and improvement, efficiency improvements and cost reduction, and marketing, branding and development. The company’s efforts resulted in a 331 percent increase from 2007 to 2011.

Ferry Industries Inc.

Harry Covington

Ferry Industries Inc. manufactures rotational molding machines, high-intensity mixers, powder handling systems and precision cutting machines. The company manufactures in-house using Process Logic Controllers, advanced industrial computers and innovative engineering to improve its products’ processing capabilities, benefiting customers. The company’s sales jumped $5.7 million from 2009 to 2011.

Great Lakes Fasteners Inc.

Kevin R. Weidinger

Great Lakes Fasteners Inc. is a supplier of standard, metric and military specification fasteners to Midwest manufacturers and has recently entered the maintenance and repair segment. The company recently undertook an aggressive acquisition strategy and invested in sales people and marketing tools, doubling its staff from 2007 to 2011.

Group Management Services

Mike Kahoe

Group Management Services is a professional organization providing payroll, benefits, risk management and human resources services. GMS has grown by providing clients with superior service and cost savings, leading to a customer retention rate of more than 90 percent. The company increased sales by $10.6 million during a four-year period ending in 2011, and added 26 employees.

HMT Dermatology Associates Inc.

Helen M. Torok

HMT Dermatology Associates Inc. has focused on service-related innovation, expansion and strategic planning to grow business operations and services during the past nine years. Two key services added are Mohs Skin Cancer Surgery and on-site pathology services. As a result of the company’s efforts, revenue increased by $3.13 million from 2007 to 2011.

Illumetek Corp.

Jim Pulk

Lighting management company Illumetek Corp. specializes in retro-fitting commercial building lighting systems. This industry can save facilities more than 40 percent on utility bills and also helps companies reduce their carbon footprint — all without reducing lighting quality. Illumetek’s sales grew by $4.3 million during a four-year period ending in 2011.

InfoCision Management Corp.

Carl Albright

InfoCision Management Corp. is a leading inbound and outbound call center provider and direct marketing partner, specializing in customer acquisition, care, retention and fundraising. The successful growth of the company — with sales boosted $19 million from 2007 to 2011 — enabled InfoCision to provide more than 1,000 new jobs during that time period.

J. Rayl Transport

Jeremy Rayl

J. Rayl Transport, a full-service transportation company, continues to grow beyond its original Akron headquarters, with recently opened terminals in Ohio, Virginia and Texas. The company caters to customers via its ability to provide several logistics options for a variety of commodities. It grew sales 180 percent — $27.9 million — from 2007 to 2011, adding 135 employees.

Jarrett Logistics Systems Inc.

W. Michael Jarrett

Jarrett Logistics Systems Inc. provides supply chain management services, including transportation management, freight bill auditing and payment, premium freight management, claims processing and custom reporting. Clients have more control over their supply chain thanks to JLS’s centralized routing center — saving them money and increasing efficiencies. The company saw a $6.9 million sales increase from 2007 to 2011.

Knox Marketing

Randy Godding

Knox Marketing is passionate about delivering quick, cost-effective solutions to customers, focusing on conducting thorough research, writing strategic marketing and communication plans, and producing appropriate creative executions. The advertising agency has taken a particular interest in health care, boosting the company’s growth. Knox Marketing grew sales $1.8 million over a two-year period.

Laudan Properties LLC

Kevin R. Weidinger and Nico Cottone

Regional mortgage field services company Laudan Properties LLC operates in a growing service area stretching from Michigan to Florida and expanding west. The company maintains a competitive advantage thought a vast network of licensed contractors. Its growth is reflected in its 2008 to 2011 sales and staff increases: 480 percent and 400 percent, respectively.

Lighting Services Inc.

Kurt Allerman

Lighting Services Inc. offers full lighting retrofit installations, interior and exterior service and a variety of scheduled maintenance programs. The company helps clients cut energy costs and provide a positive, productive work environment through high-quality but cost-effective lighting. It saw an 204 percent sales increase — $4.9 million — from 2007 to 2011, and grew its staff 48 percent.

Linnea’s Candy Supplies Inc.

Chris Romocean

Linnea’s Candy Supplies Inc., first started as a retail operation, has grown and evolved into a business-to-business candy supply wholesaler. It has expanded beyond its current Ohio headquarters and warehouse to include a West Coast warehouse in California. The popularity of Linnea’s products is seen in its 2007 to 2011 sales increase of $6.1 million — a 119 percent leap.

National Interstate Insurance Co.

Dave Michelson

National Interstate Insurance Co. is a leading provider of transportation and specialized insurance products. It continues to expand its portfolio and increase market penetration, and recently completed its first major acquisition. The company also developed a risk management program to help customers become safer operators. Its efforts led to a $180 million increase in sales from 2007 to 2011.

Ohio Tool Systems

Jack Grace

Ohio Tool Systems is one of the leading industrial tool and material handling distributors in the Midwest. The company’s success stems from its commitment to customer service and satisfaction in all nine sales locations and five factory-authorized repair and warranty service centers. Ohio Tool Systems grew sales by $10.5 million throughout a four-year period ending in 2011.

Outtech Inc.

Jay Scholes

Outtech Inc. manufactures and sells hunting and outdoor products and equipment. Its professional sales and marketing associates are dedicated to providing clients with excellent service while contributing to the success of the manufacturers it represents. The growing company hired 20 new employees from 2007 to 2011 and expanded its headquarters in 2008.

PackShip USA

W. Michael Jarrett

PackShip USA provides packaging and shipping services for large, high-value merchandise and logistics management services for mid-market businesses. The company stays up-to-date with the latest technology and methods to ensure delivery of top-notch service. PackShip saw a 21 percent increase in sales, as well as a 71 percent increase in staff, over a four-year period ending in 2011.

Payroll4Construction.com

Mike Ode

Payroll service provider Payroll4Construction.com caters to the distinct needs of contractors, making processing complex construction payroll easier. The company ensures a comprehensive service package by incorporating cutting-edge software tools, such as the recent addition of remote timecard entry application Foundation mobile.  The company grew a staggering 918 percent from 2007 to 2011, and increased its staff by 367 percent.

ProSource Solutions LLC

Lowell T. Messner

ProPource Solutions LLC is a five-time Microsoft Gold Certified Partner specializing in Microsoft-based software engineering and IT consulting. ProSource combines technology expertise, business knowledge and diverse experience in solution development to deliver creative and effective solutions to its clients. The company increased sales 320 percent from 2009 to 2011 and tripled its staff.

QualCare LLC d.b.a. Home Instead Senior Care

Therese Glorioso

QualCare LLC, doing business as Home Instead Senior Care, provides home health care and elderly home care for seniors, with services such as Alzheimer’s and dementia support, respite care and companionship. The trust established helps families to eliminate worry, reduce stress and re-establish personal freedom. QualCare grew sales 517 percent, and its staff 746 percent, from 2007 to 2011.

Rezkem Chemicals

Eric H. Gorze

Hydrocarbon resins importer and distributor Rezkem Chemicals has experienced tremendous growth by focusing on adding new domestic and international customers, providing excellent customer service and managing product volatility. The company also rebranded last year, incorporating a new logo and website. It saw a sales increase of 381 percent during a four-year period ending in 2011.

SS&G

Mark Goldfarb and Robert Littman

Regional accounting and business advisory firm SS&G provides assurance, tax, consulting, investment and retirement plan services. The financial guidance SS&G provides has helped customers continue the success of their businesses through an economic downturn. These efforts have been favorable in return, with a $16.6 million increase in sales from 2007 to 2011 and the addition of 126 employees.

SS&G Healthcare Services LLC

Thomas Ferkovic

SS&G Healthcare Services LLC specializes in medical billing and accounts receivable, independent physician and dental practice management, clinical research and financial and operational consulting. The company takes a hands-on approach, with experienced professionals holding a range of advanced degrees and certifications. This staff grew 51 percent from 2007 to 2011, during which time sales increased by $5.5 million.

Sequoia Financial Group LLC

Thomas A. Haught

Financial advisory company Sequoia Financial Group LLC offers comprehensive wealth management services. Its salaried, non-commission staff of professionals focuses entirely on what works best for the customer. As a result of the firm’s success, Sequoia has expanded in both existing and new markets, experiencing a $1.05 million sales boost and 15 percent employee growth from 2007 to 2011.

Slate Rock Safety LLC

Heidi Sweeney

Slate Rock Safety LLC, a retailer and wholesaler of safety apparel, was recently named among the 500 fastest growing businesses in America by Inc. magazine. The company strives to automate and streamline technology and processes for maximum efficiency, while employees provide excellent service and establish lasting relationships with clients. Company sales grew 26,700 percent from 2007 to 2011, with a 1,000 percent staff increase.

Spectrum Surgical Instruments Corp.

Rick Schultz and Rick Costello

Spectrum Surgical Instruments Corp. sells and repairs surgical instrumentation that contributes to safer patient outcomes. But the company promotes proper care and handling of surgical instruments beyond selling products, through published articles, lectures, consulting, Instrument University and educational seminars. Spectrum more than doubled its staff as well as sales, with a $17.1 million increase in revenue from 2007 to 2011.

Summa Western Reserve Hospital

Robert Kent

Summa Western Reserve Hospital’s commitment to high-quality health care, cutting-edge technology and patient-centric service bolsters its reputation as one of the nation’s leading health care systems. The hospital grew sales 135 percent — totaling more than $63 million — from 2009 to 2011.

Tegrit Group

Mike Spickard

Tegrit Group is a national leader in actuarial consulting, administration and technology solutions for public and private retirement plan sponsors. The company continues to grow due to its commitment to state-of-the art solutions and maintaining a knowledgeable staff. Tegrit Group added 86 employees 2007 to 2011, and increased sales by 146 percent, totaling $7.6 million.

Trillium Creek Boutique LLC

Heather Funk

Trillium Creek Boutique LLC offers cosmetic consultations and sells a wide variety of skincare products, makeup and gifts. Steady growth has been achieved through product and service innovations, such as its skin typing software system that matches Trillium Creek Dermatology patients with the best skin care products for their type. The boutique increased sales 24 percent from 2007 to 2011.

White Space Creative

Keeven White

Strategic integrated marketing communications agency White Space Creative helps businesses and organizations motivate others into action. The company’s creative, high-energy efforts have fostered continuous growth, making it a recipient of multiple Northeast Ohio Success and Leading Edge business distinctions. White Space Creative increased its staff by 4 percent from 2007 to 2011 to support its efforts.