Newsclips Featured

10:48am EDT October 23, 2001
Full speed ahead

The Germain family isn't letting recession threats hold down business. It expects to open its second Lexus dealership in Columbus, Germain Lexus of Easton, by September.

Lexus is behind the family with some impressive statistics.

"We speculate by 2005 a 58 percent growth in affluent households in Columbus -- those with an income of $100,000 or more," says Jim Farley, Lexus Central Region area manager, who spoke at the April groundbreaking for the 34,500-square-foot facility. "Average income will grow 24 percent."

The Germains' 10-year-old Lexus of Columbus dealership is one of the Lexus stars, with a 14 percent share in Columbus -- almost 4 percent higher than anywhere else in the country.

"This project wouldn't happen if it wasn't for our faith in the organization the Germains built and all of the associates in their organization," Farley says.

To hear Steve Germain, president of Germain Motor Co., tell it, he's already won the first round of the challenge to open the dealership, which will be built by Renier Construction Corp. with architecture by Architectural Alliance.

"There were a lot of things that were not part of the 'Easton thing,' and a car dealership was right below a dirty bookstore," he joked at the groundbreaking. "Right then I said, 'We've got to get into Easton.'"

He's projecting $64 million in sales within the first year.

Germain also gave assurances to the $8.5 million project's financial supporters at Bank One: "If it makes you feel any better, I have never met a Lexus dealer yet that felt like they spent too much money." How to reach: Steve Germain, Germain Motor Co., 868-0300 or; Bill Heifner, Renier Construction Corp., 866-4580 or; John Oney, Architectural Alliance, 469-7500

Who's in first?

Even though Schottenstein, Zox & Dunn is making headlines regarding its planned move to the Arena District, it won't be the first law firm to set up shop there. That honor will go to Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs, which is moving Sept. 1 from a 10,800-square-foot space in the Key building at 88 E. Broad St. to 18,500 square feet of new space in the 191 W. Nationwide Blvd. building at the corner of Nationwide and West Street.

"The Arena District provides the value of our law firm being downtown with the benefits of suburban amenities such as ease of access for our clients, parking on the premises and additional meeting space," says Donald B. Leach Jr., shareholder-in-charge of Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs' Columbus office. "These are the amenities needed to attract and retain clients as well as good lawyers and staff."

"They are a top-notch law firm with an outstanding reputation in the community," says Brian J. Ellis, president and COO of Nationwide Realty Investors, the entity developing the Arena District. "We feel this is a good match and that the law firm will be able to take advantage of the energy and excitement offered in the Arena District and still be in a prime downtown location."

Schottenstein, Zox & Dunn is scheduled to move into its Arena District home in 2003. How to reach: Donald B. Leach Jr., Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs, 227-4262 or

Pressing news

The newly established Franklin University Leadership Press isn't interested in theory. It's going after real-life success stories as its publication focus instead.

"The press will set itself apart from other university presses by concentrating on books that have practical application as opposed to works of theory and pure scholarship," says Linda Steele, senior vice president for strategic relationships and initiatives at Franklin.

That's why Leadership Press Director Jeanette M. Rivard will be pursuing book projects from established, successful leaders who have made real and significant contributions to the community or the world of business.

For would-be authors, Rivard prefers to review a prospectus prior to inviting a completed manuscript, according to the Leadership Press Web page ( In addition, the author's leadership experience and vita or resume will be reviewed closely. How to reach: Jeanette M. Rivard, Franklin University Leadership Press, 341-6404 or

Elsewhere ...

The management at Crane Performance Siding came to a big realization this spring: The VIPCO brand name the company has been using for more than 30 years to sell vinyl siding wasn't working anymore. It wasn't reflecting the attitude and marketing outlook of the company. That's why the VIPCO name has now gone the way of the brontosaurus.

"We've made significant changes in our product offerings and manufacturing capabilities, and the VIPCO brand no longer represents who we are as a company," says Mike Crane, president of Crane Performance Siding, which is also the new brand name under which the company's products are marketed.

Crane Performance Siding has also unveiled a new company logo in an effort to visually demonstrate a more upscale and bold product offering.

Studies show growth in women-owned businesses exceeds growth rates reported by American businesses overall. So why is it that we hear so little about the women running these fast-growth companies? The Columbus chapter of the National Association of Women Business Owners wants to change that.

The group will hold its third annual awards ceremony recognizing outstanding female business owners from Central Ohio at an 11:30 a.m. luncheon July 12 at the Hilton Columbus at Easton, 3900 Chagrin Dr. For details about sponsoring or attending the ceremony, contact Tricia Smith at 444-7455 or Karen McVey at 888-4674. SBN Magazine is a sponsor of this event.

A 3-year-old Columbus firm has hired its first COO.

Mike Covert comes to Infinis Inc. from Columbus-based Alta Analytics, where he served as vice president of product development and chief technology officer. Covert will manage the day-to-day operations of Infinis, an information technology company.

"Infinis has begun an expansion on multiple fronts -- from introducing e-business intelligence and customer intelligence services to launching new operations in Cincinnati and Cleveland," says CEO Mario Desiderio. "We hired Mike Covert as our new COO to assist in creating the infrastructure required to make these expansions successful."

Three directors at Johnstown-based Bigmar Inc. have joined the generic drug company's executive team. Cynthia R. May, who serves as the managing member of Jericho LLC -- an entity that has invested in Bigmar -- has been appointed president. She has been associated with Bigmar since 1996 and previously served as a director and vice president.

Bernard Kramer, who has been a director of Bigmar since 1996, has been named its vice president and COO. Massimo Pedrani, who has been a director since 1999, has been named executive vice president of research and development. John Tramontana will continue as the company's chairman and CEO.

Roger Geiger, state director of the National Federation of Independent Business - Ohio and No. 5 on SBN Magazine's Power 100 list published earlier this year, has been appointed to the state's Sunset Review Commission. This commission reviews state boards, commissions, councils, committees and other entities to determine whether they should be abolished or continued.

Local attorney Gregory N. Finnerty was also appointed to the commission.

Construction is underway in Hilliard at the site of All Seasons Spas' forthcoming $2 million warehouse, showroom and retail facility. The 20,000-square-foot complex is being built by Ruscilli Construction Co. Inc. and is scheduled to be completed by September.

In other construction news, Apex/M&P Construction in Blacklick has been awarded a $2.6 million contract by the New Albany - Plain Local School District to perform the carpentry, doors, hardware, specialties, metal wall panels, louvers and cornices work for New Albany Middle School. Firestone Jaros Mullin Inc. in Powell provided architectural services for the project and Worthington-based Turner Construction Co. is the construction manager.

With the sweltering days of summer just around the corner, this could be an opportune time for the marketing team at Brookdale Living Communities to kick into high gear in promoting the company's latest development. The multimillion-dollar Trillium Place to be built near Dublin will feature the only indoor swimming pool in a retirement home in Central Ohio. Trillium, set to open next spring, marks Chicago-based Brookdale's official entry into the Central Ohio market.

Downtown development is a hot topic these days with the ongoing construction of the Arena District. And nine civic-minded business people have been named to executive posts on the Downtown Council to actively support and promote the benefits of a vibrant and vital downtown.

Robin Highfield, sales manager for the Crowne Plaza, has been named chair of the council, which is an affiliate of the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce. Joining Highfield on the executive committee are Brent LaLonde, media relations manager for the Greater Columbus Convention and Visitors Bureau; Patrice Gillespie, senior account executive with Paul Werth Associates; Paula Ryan, marketing manager with Mille/James Productions; Rick Studer, a partner with Clary Communications; Jen Walker, advertising coordinator with The Johnson Family Diamond Cellar; Pieter Wykoff, vice president of Columbus State Community College; Joan Terango, advertising manager with Grange Insurance; and Jack Russell, marketing coordinator with the Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce.

Urban Environments Inc. won Landscape Enhancement Awards from the "Landscape Ohio!" program this spring for two of its landscape maintenance projects: the Tuttle Crossing freeway interchange and office building complex, and the Easton Oval office park. Duke-Weeks Realty Corp. is the owner and property manager of both award-winning properties.

Nominations are being accepted through June 15 for the Governor's Awards for Women's Excellence in Enterprise 2001. Awards will be given in the following categories: manufacturing/high technology, service, wholesale/retail, real estate/construction and Rising Star (in business less than five years).

Nominees must be Ohio based with an annual sales revenue greater than $1.5 million, except in the categories of service (minimum $1 million) and Rising Star (minimum $750,000). Nominee businesses must also be majority female-owned, well-established, growing and profitable for the most recent reporting period. For details, contact Linda Saikas at 466-4945.

Donna James, executive vice president and chief administrative officer of Nationwide, has been elected to the board of directors at Intimate Brands. She has also been appointed as a member of the board's audit committee.

The Central Ohio chapter of the Public Relations Society of America gave Best of Show honors to Edward Howard & Co. at this year's PRISM Awards. The company was honored for its work with the Community Shelter Board on nonprofit community relations.

June 29 is the deadline for nominating local companies for the 2001 Business Integrity Awards, presented by the Better Business Bureau of Central Ohio. These awards are designed to recognize firms whose business practices and related activities in the community exemplify the BBB's mission and principles. Nominees will be separated into four categories for judging, based on number of employees. For details, contact Kip Morse at 486-6531, ext. 120, or visit

Caroll Conklin, managing partner of the Sullivan Consulting division of Lord Sullivan & Yoder, will present The Branding Imperative in E-Business during a June 11 Business Development Forum hosted by the Industry & Technology Council of Central Ohio. The forum will be held at 4:30 p.m. at the Edison Welding Institute, 1250 Authur E. Adams Dr. For details, call 225-6907.

Neil Anderson, president of NBBJ, will discuss Design in the New Economy at the June 15 Technology Leaders Luncheon at Holiday Inn on the Lane, 328 W. Lane Ave. For details, call 225-6907.

Home Office Warehouse and National Office Warehouse will present a seminar June 2 on Researching Trademarks or Brand Names. For details, call 228-2233.

More than 18 chapters of Network Professionals Inc. meet weekly either for breakfast or lunch at various locations around Central Ohio. For details, call Frank Agin, regional director, at 523-8717, or visit

LeadNet, a business-to-business networking group, meets at noon Tuesdays at the Martini Italian Bistro,1319 Polaris Parkway. For details, call Racey Morris at 846-8723, ext. 216, or Tim Moore at (740) 548-6067.

The Columbus American Marketing Association hosts Java Talk from 8 to 9 a.m. the third Thursday of each month for at Barnes & Noble on Polaris Parkway. Marketing and technology professionals meet to discuss technology topics affecting marketers. For details, contact Anne Kemter at 543-6317.

Jewish Family Services' Career and Workforce Development Center holds its Tips, Tricks and Techniques Tea from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Thursdays at Jewish Family Services, 1151 College Ave., for professionals in career search with experience in a wide range of industries. The meetings are free and open to the public. For details, call 237-9675.