Your investment broker's ready to make a new trade for you, but you're not quite convinced. Do you know what to ask to make your decision?
The Ohio Department of Commerce's Division of Securities puts it all in black and white for you at its Web site, www.securities.state.oh.us/information/info.html. Click on the "Investor Notepad" link for a one-page form complete with questions to ask and documents to request before you buy or sell. The "Questions for Informed Investors" link also will help you through the decision-making process.
Don't forget the division's caution: "If you don't know the broker, feel free to hang up!"
The Tallmadge Chamber of Commerce has elected to its board as trustees John Bokas, Billow Funeral Homes and Crematory; Tony Fanizzi, Anthony Fanizzi Realty; Larry Basler, CITGO Petroleum Inc.; Karen Fuller, Alpha Graphics; Heather Menendez, PAK Computers; and Don Rainey of American Express Financial Services.
Dale A. Ruther, partner at Bober, Markey, Fedorovich & Co. of Akron, has been elected to serve as a member of the Polaris International National Construction Industry Committee for 2001.
Joe W. Woodell has joined Brouse McDowell of Akron as its director of human resources.
Digital Day of Fairlawn has hired Cindy Nelson as director of marketing and Lisa Bachman as business development executive.
Cross Town Traffic of Fairlawn has added Howard Zoss as CEO.
Mark E. Krohn has been promoted to partner of the Akron law firm Brennan, Manna & Diamond LLC.
Kristen Simpson has been promoted to vice president of public relations for The Urda Co. Inc., an Akron-based marketing, advertising and public relations firm. Diane Kell has been hired as director and Sarah Snyder as administrative assistant.
Hitchcock Fleming and Associates Inc. of Akron has promoted Pat Kunklier to vice president, public relations, and Eric Hartline and Rene McCann to ergotechnologists.
Gigi Doney has been hired as administrative assistant for Akron's BCG Systems, the systems affiliate of Brockman, Coats, Gedelian and Co.
Robert R. Renner, manager of Brockman, Coats, Gedelian and Co., has been appointed to serve on the Ohio Society of Certified Public Accountants Committee.
Bob Cohen, an Akron executive, will host a nationally syndicated talk show that will draw upon his professional background. Listen to him at www.renaissanceradio.com Mondays at 1 p.m.
ShipLogix in Hudson has added Mary O'Connell, Merrill Watts and Harrison Baker as directors of business development.
Kent State University has appointed Ronald H. Stolle as the 18th Goodyear Executive Professor in Business Administration.
The Home Builders Association, which serves Portage and Summit counties, has elected as its 2001 officers President Fred Ayers, F.G. Ayers Inc.; Vice President John Galehouse, Galehouse Construction; and Secretary Treasurer Steve Conant, Steve's Best Built Homes. The Executive Committee consists of Fred Zumpano, Fred Zumpano Design and Construction, and Patrick Williams, WCCV Floor Coverings. The Portage County representative is Bob Cady.
System Optics has added Kirsten Baughman-Harvey, director of marketing, to its system optics and cosmetic and surgical arts center.
Joyce Beck has been promoted to team coordinator of the Intensive Treatment Services program at Portage Path Behavioral Health.
Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs LLP, Akron, has appointed Joseph H. Scarcella to director of finance and Lance A. Lanier to its Litigation and Creditors Rights/Bankruptcy Practice Group.
Urology Inc. announced the retirement of Dr. Wesley H. Van Fossen, who served the Akron area for 31 years. Ahmad Z. Vafa has been appointed to the staff of doctors.
To submit notices of business expansions, additions and moves and management-level transitions, write: Editor, SBN Magazine, 84 W. Bowery St., Akron, OH 44308; or fax: (330) 535-6491
S.R. Arner & Co. of Canton has acquired Canton-based Spectra Resources, a human resources and executive recruiting firm.
DeHOFF Development of Green has announced its plans for the new Gateway Corporate Park at the Akron-Canton Airport interchange. The development will include a Hilton Garden Inn Hotel, restaurants and an office building complex. Groundbreaking is set for spring 2001.
Canton-based Puritech Recycling Systems Inc., an industrial on-site oil recycler, has purchased the assets of Detroit-based Fluid Recycling Services' Midwest recycling operations.
A Mail Boxes Etc. has opened in North Canton.
The 2000 Ameritech Partnership Award of $10,000 was given to Walsh University. The university will use it to create an interactive educational resource Web site for students and faculty in the education division, and for teachers in local school systems.
Viking Glass Station, a branch of The Glass Station, has relocated to East Maple Street in North Canton.
United National Bank & Trust Co., Canton, received the Distinguished Partner Award from the Stark County Out of Poverty Partnership. The award recognizes the bank's efforts to provide financial assistance and support to lower income families through its Individual Development Accounts Asset Management Program.
Republic Technologies of Fairlawn, a supplier of special bar quality steel, will invest $6.2 million to upgrade the technology and quality of its steelmaking, rolling and finishing capabilities at its Canton division.
United National Bank & Trust Co. of Canton recently unveiled its enhanced Web site, www.united-bank.com. The site allows United Bank clients to access their accounts at any time from any Internet-connected computer.
The Schneider Lumber Company of Canton has been named to the Circle of Excellence, an exclusive program developed by Anderson Windows Inc. for its top dealers.
The Stark County Regional Planning Commission continues to accept applications from small businesses for its Micro-Enterprise Loan Program. The program offers loans of up to $10,000 to owners/operators of qualified Stark County businesses. For more information, contact Jeff Dotson at (330) 451-7402.
- The department has raised to $25,000 the threshold at which financial institutions must freeze accounts of a person who dies, pending the presentation of a tax release form.
- Financial institutions are no longer required to await a county auditor's inventory of a safe deposit box upon the death of its owner before access can be gained to it.
- The department no longer requires a form for the first six-month extension for estate tax returns. This means estates will have a total of 15 months after the person's death to file the return before a written extension request is required.
The following staff members of Info Line Inc., Akron, have qualified as Certified Information and Referral Specialists: Roxanne Lange, Cheryl Cogley, Karen Elliott, Molly Hren, Nancy Milligan and Tonoa Walker.
The law firm Amer Cunningham Co. of Akron has as shareholders Joseph Cook Jr., Thomas Saxer, Michael Urban and Jack Weisensell. Kevin Csontos has joined the firm as CEO/comptroller.
The Akron Area Board of Realtors has installed as its 2001 officers Kristine Burdick of Realty One in Fairlawn; Stephen Merckle of Merckle Realty in Akron; and Sandy LoCascio of Realty One in Cuyahoga Falls.
The FirstMerit Bank board of directors promoted Wendy S. Bolas to senior vice president and retail sales manager for Summit and Portage counties and Barbara D. Mathews to senior vice president of administration and manager of public affairs for the Akron office.
Jones and Wenner Insurance Agency Inc., Fairlawn, named Robert C. Gehring III as vice president and director of marketing.
Bruner-Cox has added to its Akron office Karen Randall, manager in the tax department; Lisa M. Francis, associate in the general services department; and Misti Buchanan, associate in the report department.
Brian Bialik has joined the main office of Home Savings Bank of Kent as assistant vice president, commercial lending officer.
Akron law firm Brennan Manna & Diamond has promoted Mark E. Krohn and John F. Martin to partner. Frank A. Lettieri has been added as partner and Nickolas P. Andreeff as corporate business counsel.
Sedlak Management Consultants, Richfield, has promoted Dave Gealy to senior consultant and Elaine Cirino, Scott Gallik, Julie Heater and Brian Innes to consultant. In addition, seven associates have been named to the staff: Brian Drees, Rob Fink, Doug Bayer, Tim Davies, Leslie Butler, Mark Manti and Christina Urban.
James A. Popio has joined Smithers Scientific Services Inc. of Akron as general manager of its indoor tire and wheel testing operations at the firm's tire and automotive testing division in Ravenna.
SS&G Financial Services, Akron, has promoted Richard K. Warfield to director and Paula M. Steinhart to associate director. Susan Paley Zak has joined the firm as a senior consultant in the recruiting and human resource consulting department and Angela Callander has joined as administrative assistant. Kathleen M. Sautters, marketing director for SS&G, has been honored as the winner of the Distinguished Sales and Marketing Award.
Pamela Crutchfield has joined Kent-based Schlabig & Associates as a network administrator.
Cuyahoga Falls General Hospital has appointed Dr. Carl J. Simmers to its corporate board to fill a five-year term.
Waltco Truck Equipment Co., Tallmadge, has promoted Bill Rector to manager of distributor and OEM development; Joe Moran to inside sales supervisor; Randy Reid to western regional manager; and David Heatherington to manager of field sales. Clay Johnson has joined the company as district sales manager.
Pamela S. Rodriques has been named director of Premier Comp of HomeTown Health Network of Akron, the health insuring corporation's managed workers' compensation program. John Strah has been appointed director of business development; Deanna L. Kazamek has been named manager of business development; and Catherine S. Ambrose has been appointed case management/return-to-work manager.
The Urda Company Inc., an Akron-based marketing, advertising and public relations firm, has named Kristin Panning production/traffic manager.
Phillip Russo has joined Patio Enclosures Inc. of Macedonia as administrative manager of advertising.
Brockman, Coats, Gedalian & Co., Akron, has added Theresa Wilson as an administrative assistant.
Hitchcock Fleming and Associates of Akron has hired Dave Elwell as account manager.
Smythe, Cramer Co. has honored William P. Askin of the Akron office as manager of the year; Barbara E. Wilson of the Medina office as the Marcus L. Smythe professional of the year; and Kathleen A. Fenwick of the Akron office has been inducted into the circle of achievement.
Brewster & Stroud has named Linda Grimm as sales manager of the company's newest store in Montrose.
The anderson group of Akron, a regional business technology solutions provider, has hired Donna Kastner as client consultant.
S.A. Comunale Co. of Akron has hired Edward S. Belcastro as head of the new design build division and David A. Ross as head of the new service division. Vandi Dies has been promoted to division manager of the fabrication shop.
William E. Childers has been appointed vice president of the foundation and development divisions for Summa Health Systems of Akron.
Derek Lashua has been named marketing coordinator for Spectrum Surgical Instruments Corp. of Stow.
To submit notices of business expansions, additions and moves and management-level transitions, write: Editor, SBN Magazine, 84 W. Bowery St., Akron, OH 44308; or fax: (330) 535-6491.
Massillon Community Hospital and LaurusHealth have formed a partnership that will bring health information and patient education resources to consumers.
Scott Kline has established a local ProForma distributorship that will do business as ProForma Benchmark Business Systems in the printing, promotional products and personalized clothing industries. The company serves Stark, Summit, Mahoning, Medina, Portage, Tuscarawas and Wayne counties.
Avalon Distributing, a wholesale foodservice distributor in the Canton area, has been awarded ASI Food Safety Consultants' Certificate of Excellence in Food Safety.
DSW Shoe Warehouse, a national shoe retailer, has relocated to Dressler Road.
The accounting firm of Hall, Kistler & Co. of Canton has joined BKR International, an international association of independent accounting firms.
Rea and Associates Inc., a regional accounting and business consulting firm with an office in New Philadelphia, is offering new profit and value enhancement services to better serve its clients
Many owners cite the work ethic and the good deeds of their employees when explaining their company's success.
And while no owner would dare say his or her employees have no impact on the bottom line, few could admit to having the role Scott Robertson has in hand-picking the people who work for his company, Robertson Heating Supply.
Robertson not only attributes his company's success to his employees, he believes so strongly in the impact each person can have that he personally takes part in the interview and selection process of each employee. And with 240 positions, including 100 he labels as key management, that's a big responsibility.
Robertson, who majored in personnel management in college, has been president of the family-owned company since taking over from his grandfather in 1991.
"Over the years, we have built the company with people who are high on integrity and honesty -- down-home type people who are customer-friendly," he says.
He says finding the right people takes more time and requires more of a commitment from managers, but the results are worth it.
"Our top managers understand that an employee's attitude will far outweigh what we can teach," he says. "We can change or improve an employee's knowledge of a job or of the industry, but we're less likely to be able to change your attitude or work ethic."
Maintaining a turnover rate of less than 5 percent is just one of the benefits the time-consuming search process offers.
Robertson Heating Supply's sales jumped from $55 million in 1994 to nearly $80 million last year. And with a fully automated distribution system in the works, including a distribution center in Alliance that is completely bar coded, Robertson expects sales to continue to rise.
The company was founded in 1934 by John Robertson, Scott's grandfather, out of a warehouse in Alliance. Since then, the plumbing and heating wholesale company has expanded into 27 locations in Ohio and Pennsylvania, including two retail lighting centers in Columbus and Belden Village. Since 1994, the company has acquired two wholesalers and opened three wholesale outlets in Wooster, Sheffield Lake and Toledo.
Robertson says most of his family still works for the company on a part-time basis -- including his father, Ed, as vice president -- while he and his sister, Sue Neil, a corporate secretary, work full-time. How to reach: Robertson Heating Supply, (330) 821-9180
Charles M. Hilterbrand Jr. has been named president of Alpha Land Title Co. of Canton.
United National Bank & Trust Co. of Canton has promoted Christopher Gemma to assistant vice president, collections. Bridget Dix has joined the company as a business banking officer.
Hall, Kistler & Co., a certified public accounting and consulting firm based in downtown Canton, has promoted Karen M. Marker to the position of partner.
Avalon Distributing of Canal Fulton has added Bonnie Willis as nutrition services manager and Melissa Hohman as buyer/merchandiser in the purchasing department.
North Canton resident Tod T. Morrow has joined Akron law firm Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs as a shareholder in its litigation, employment law and workers' compensation practice groups in the Canton office.
Anna Marie Mavrakis has been named president of the Northeast Ohio Chapter of the Interior Design Society.
Jack Gravo, president and CEO of FirstMerit Corp. of Akron, has been named to the National Advisory Council of Fannie Mae, the nation's largest source of financing for home mortgages.
The Hoover Co. has named Stephen K. Pollock vice president of finances and Timothy D. Schiltz vice president of human resources.
Barbara Waltz Eisenbrei of Canton has been certified as a specialist in the field of family relations law in Ohio.
Massillon Community Hospital has added Roselyn A. Manus to the associate medical staff. She has been granted privileges in internal medicine.
Douglas Malcolm, of The Malcolm Insurance Group of North Canton, participated in the Professional Insurance Agents of Ohio 2001 Legislative Conference. The event allowed professional insurance agents to gather at the Capitol to discuss important legislative and regulatory issues with lawmakers and other officials.
While some businesses will struggle to survive in a sluggish economy, many will do better than ever -- primarily because they have mastered proven, but seldom-used slowdown strategies.
So says Jerry Buchs, author of the recently published report, "Strategies for an Economic Slowdown: 16 Proven Ways to Sell More of Your Products and Services While the Experts Decide If We're in a Recession!"
"While a downturn may not last long, many businesses need to develop strategies that help them retain their current customers and keep them buying," says Buchs, an Ohio-based consultant who specializes in public relations and marketing strategies for businesses. "They also need to master marketing techniques that will win them new customers to replace any business they may lose during a slowdown."
Among the recession-proof business strategies Buchs outlines in his new report:
Commit to marketing consistently and aggressively all the time -- not just when you need the business. Planning an ongoing marketing campaign ensures a steady stream of new business leads. Marketing done today -- and every day -- begins a selling cycle that will result in new business when you need it six months down the road.
Give your existing customers superior service. In a slow economy, businesses should do everything they can to hold on to their existing customers or clients -- the bread and butter of their business.
"The best way to hold on to your customers is to please them," says Buchs, "and the best way to please them is through better customer service. Now is an ideal time to go the extra mile with extra service or courtesy. It can mean the difference between dazzling the customer vs. merely satisfying them."
Add value to your existing products or services. While prospects may seem reluctant to spend money in a soft economy, their real concern, says Buchs, is making sure they get the best value for their dollar. Keep existing customers and land new business by offering more value than the competition.
For instance, any business selling a commodity item could add value by offering faster delivery than the competition. Or a larger selection. Or more colors. Or easier payment terms. Or a better guarantee.
Motivate inactive customers. Contact past customers -- people you served at one time but who are not actively buying now -- to remind them of your existence. A properly scripted telephone call to past buyers should generate approximately one order for every 10 calls.
Motivate old leads. Most businesses give up on sales leads too early. Many of those dropped leads can be turned into profitable business with just a little extra sales effort, Buchs says. Repeated follow-up with better offers should convert 10 percent of prospects into buyers.
Repackage your products or services to accommodate smaller customers on reduced budgets. Businesses that sell products can offer compact models, economy sizes, no-frills versions, easy payment plans, extended credit, special discounts, incentives and smaller minimum orders to appeal to prospects with reduced spending power. Service providers can be more flexible by selling their services and time in smaller, less-costly increments.
Supplement your normal work. Fill gaps in your schedule with other types of related work. For example, a carpenter who normally handles large, lucrative home-remodeling jobs can take on lots of smaller jobs and handyman work to keep the money coming in if his home renovation work falls off.
Stay positive. The most important thing about a slow period is not to get depressed by it. If you are down, prospects can sense your desperation and fear, and it has a negative effect on your dealings with them. How to reach: Jerry Buchs, firstname.lastname@example.org or (440) 985-2813