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Monday, 22 July 2002 09:43

Business Notes

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Stephen Mears of Plain Township has formed StrategyONE, a marketing communications services provider. Mears uses technology and a network of fellow entrepreneurs to manage the spectrum of marketing communications tactics, from the strategic plan to the finished product. Covey & Koons Inc., Canton, has been named advertising and public relations agency of record for OMNI Orthopedics, D&L Energy Group, International Utilities Revenue Protection Association, Dresser Nilcor Operations and Allen Keith Construction Co. Canton-based Innis Maggiore Group won the Canton Advertising Club’s American Advertising Awards’ Best of Show award for the print campaign it developed last year for Smithers-Oasis, a global…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:43

A campaign with bite

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When The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. wanted to tout the advantages of its new Mud Runner Run-Flat tire for all-terrain vehicles, a courageous crew at Akron-based Hitchcock Fleming & Associates Inc. went more than the extra mile to produce a convincing promotional video and brochure for the product. In fact, the team went all the way to the Everglades, where Hitchcock creative director Bob Clancy, account manager Amy Freed Humbert and art director Tony Carter found themselves up to their necks in alligators. Literally. “Amidst hundreds of gators, we demonstrated how the Mud Runner Run-Flat gets you through the…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:42

Movers & Shakers

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Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs, Akron, has elected four new shareholders: Kevin A. Denti, Dirk E. Riemenschneider, John P. Slagter and Terry W. Vincent. Bruce H. Fahey has joined the Akron law firm of Kastner Westman & Wilkins. Michael E. Markowski has become a partner in the Akron office of Bruner-Cox, an accounting firm with offices in Canton and Akron. Anthony Manna is leaving the Akron law firm of Amer Cunningham Brennan to start a new law firm with partner David Brennan. The firm will specialize in business transactions, and will be located at the former Akron Art Museum building on…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:42

Take stake in your name

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In 1998, Robert Miller decided it was time he registered the name of his family’s then 4-year-old store with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The manager of Thinker Toys, an educational toy store located in Fairlawn’s West Market Plaza, envisioned at one point starting a mail-order Web site, and he knew the move would take the store name into areas far beyond its sole west Akron location — areas where other entrepreneurs might adopt the catchy moniker as their own. As it turned out, someone already had. Local intellectual property attorney Roger Emerson discovered the proprietors of a California…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:42

Newsclips

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Hey, that’s my name! When Jamie Cain founded her Akron computer firm in 1995, she wanted to convey her company’s mission in her business name. So she went to great lengths to secure the identity that Internet companies are now clamoring to call their own. If you’ve driven near the intersection of Arlington Road and I-77, you’ve likely seen her building’s 50-foot-high, 10 feet by 16 feet sign touting the company name: Dot.Com Technologies Inc. “We’re a computer consulting company that does all the really complicated stuff in back-end Internet development, so I picked out Dot.Com Technologies and acquired first-use…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:42

Larry’s Main Entrance

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When Demetra and Larry Smith asked Larry’s parents for a loan in 1977 to buy what was then Mike’s Main Entrance, they saw it as a long-term opportunity to make a living together. Today, 23 years later, Larry’s Main Entrance is a West Market Street landmark known for its handmade burgers and 3 a.m. steak and eggs breakfasts. Owner Demetra Smith spoke to SBN about longevity in an industry known as much for overnight successes as for sudden bankruptcies. What is your key to longevity? Stubbornness. You have to get up every day and you have to go in and…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:42

First aid

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As an author, management consultant and former police officer, local businessman Timothy Dimoff has tried his hand at many professions. This month, Dimoff, with partner John Vitullo, unveils his most recent venture — Omega Labs in Mogadore. The lab is the only drug testing facility in the region that can detect illegal drugs in hair. (The other three hair testing laboratories in the U.S. are located in the West.) Dimoff and Vitullo — who owned a drug testing lab in Youngstown for 20 years — have invested $2 million so far in the 20,000-square-foot facility and the technology, which includes…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:42

Cashing in on dot-com

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Dot-coms are predicted to be the well of wealth for the new millennium. A booming economy, a potent supply of venture capital and increasing customer reliance on the Internet are some of the reasons companies are clamoring to launch electronic-commerce sites. Whether used as an instrument of specialization, a tool for brand-building or as the ladder to an IPO, businesses are lining up to compete at the breakneck pace of the dot-com world. While many firms are starting up to operate as dot-coms, many well-established companies have integrated e-commerce strategy to enhance their overall corporate agenda. Despite their rationale for…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:41

Under new direction

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Eight years ago, Larry Wilgus had to accept an ominous reality. If he didn’t dream up a potent marketing approach to multiply the audience of Spectacular Music Productions, the performances would cease and his dream company would die. Spectacular Music was born in 1976 when Wilgus, a choral and orchestral conductor, assembled an orchestra and choir of 90 high school students to entertain 6,000 people at Canton’s Memorial Civic Center. Within a year, the choir numbered 200 performers, ages 17 to 75, from 30 towns in Stark, Wayne, Tuscarawas and Summit counties. In 1985, Canton’s Palace Theatre became home to…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:41

Slow track to success

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If you want to discuss rapid start-up, accelerated growth and IPO exit strategies, Jeff Clair wouldn’t be your likely source. But if you want to learn why some consider it crucial to take your own sweet time to build a successful business, pull up a chair. Clair is president of a Canton firm that some refer to as “the dot-com behind the dot-coms,” partly because Data Direct Inc. (www.datadirect.com) develops and hosts Web sites, with an emphasis on e-commerce and database development. The designation also applies because Clair was a pioneer who launched the area’s first independent Internet firm, and…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:41

No regrets

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We all have things hanging over our heads. In folklore, they were referred to as daggers and black clouds. But they’re just pieces of unfinished business. Some remain there, dangling inches above us, for years. Some slip, leaving a place for another unresolved issue to slide in. I have a few clouds lingering over my head: finishing my master’s thesis (that one’s been there for years); taking my car in for an estimate (that one’s been there since I was rear-ended on I-77 a week ago); and hiring a reporting staff. When I was transferred to SBN’s Akron office a…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:41

Getting down to business

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Daniel Colantone lives by his watch, his desk clock and his daily planner. The president and CEO of the region’s largest business association says that after having his personality assessed through a Briggs-Meyers test several years ago, he realized that he needed a rigid schedule. And that was OK. These days, that rigidity is well-suited to Colantone’s position. As head of the Akron Regional Development Board, he is charged with managing a $2.5 million budget and 26 employees, and fulfilling the lofty mission of the 25-year-old organization: to facilitate economic growth in the region. A membership of 2,000 businesses, and…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:41

Double vision

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On a busy street just off the circle in Tallmadge, there’s a multifaceted firm doing business as System Optics Inc. Contrary to the name, the company doesn’t just meet the need for comprehensive optical, optometric and ophthalmologic services — the specialties on which Dr. Jerry Sude and Dr. Todd Beyer established the company in 1992. The practice also includes laser vision correction surgery. Launched in 1998 under the banner of Refractive Surgery Associates, this division incorporates current medical technology and pre-operative, operative and post-operative care for patients who opt for refractive surgery. And there’s a division that offers head-to-toe plastic…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:40

Who do you trust?

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In God We Trust — All Others Pay Cash.” The amusing sign in the delicatessen caught my eye and started me thinking — What place does God have in the marketplace today? Ohio is the most recent state to come under attack for references to God. A challenge to the 6th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals to remove the phrase “With God all things are possible” as the official state motto for Ohio, suggests just one more step in the process of removing any mention of deity in our lives. The first step is removing God from our government and…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:40

Team mentality

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CRESCO Real Estate was founded nine years ago on a strong basis of teamwork. Where other traditional brokerage organizations are composed of independent contractors with different goals, CRESCO sought to create a company that worked together and shared both the good and the bad. In the past five years, CRESCO has grown by 50 percent and is a respected player in the industrial real estate market it serves. Company President Armand Aghajanian believes the company’s success rests on its mix of industry experience, quality customer service and a strong team mentality. “I’m an active guy,” says Aghajanian. “I’m not just…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:40

Road trip to success

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Two decades ago, Frank Pistone never envisioned himself as president of a well-established and consistently growing business that today tops $2 million in annual sales. After all, he says, his company evolved by accident, literally. And he didn't even have a business plan when he started his ground transportation service 18 years ago. "My brother had wrecked my family car, and since I've always been a 'big-car' guy, I decided to buy a used 1978 formal limousine from a local limo company," Pistone says. "After I bought the car, the seller asked me to sign a contract agreeing not to…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:39

On the Mark

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When it became apparent that Florine Mark had achieved success in her early days as a Weight Watchers franchisee, some people attributed it to good luck. She didn't necessarily disagree with the assessment. "They used to say, 'Well, you're very lucky,' and I used to say, 'Yeah, I'm very, very lucky, but I work very hard at being lucky,'" says Mark, president and CEO of the WW Group, the largest franchisee of Weight Watchers International. "I think that's what everybody has to do, you have to work hard and you have to -- I believe I'm lucky, I really believe…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:39

Mother of invention

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Most people who pass the former post office at East Market and Prospect streets assume that the business inside is an art or photography studio, a reasonable assumption since the signage reads “Charles Mayer Studios Inc.” Yes, the company does have a photography department, and offers services from executive portraits to motion picture photography. Picture framing is also a forte, with more than 2,000 molding choices, and services such as matting, installation and frame repair. But what’s surprising is that Mayer Studios is actually a manufacturer of sales tools and training aids, specializing in 15 core areas, with hundreds of…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:39

Funny business

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In the press package commemorating its 75th anniversary, Bruner-Cox LLP includes an amusing timeline that juxtaposes the accounting firm's milestones against other historical events. For example, Charles Lotz joined the firm as a partner in 1931 -- the same year Al Capone was sentenced to 11 years in prison for income tax evasion. A disclaimer clarifies that Capone was not a client of the firm. Noting that Steve Pittman became a partner in 1987, the narrative reads, "Based on his portfolio, Steve feels slightly responsible for the Black Monday Stock Market Crash." Another notation declares that managing partner John Finnucan…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:39

A flexible solution

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I woke up this morning to bold-faced headlines heralding another increase in gas prices. Even though my gas tank's on "E" right now and I have a 35-mile drive each way to work, I wasn't too put off by the prospect of spending $36 to fill up my mid-sized car's tank. The truth is, I'm not driving to work this morning. And I'm going to wait to fill up my tank until I absolutely have to. I'm working at home writing this column, proofing my dummy pages and writing and responding to e-mails on an hourly basis with the people…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:39

Automated HR

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People are a company's most important resource; however, many organizations are unable to generate up-to-date information such as employee turnover rates, employee training needs, costs to hire employees and skills gaps between the current and desired work force. All of this information is critical if a company wants to compete in today's market. Many companies have automated most of their business processes, including finance and manufacturing, to maintain their competitiveness in a fast-paced environment. What about the human resources function? How can a human resources information system (HRIS) benefit the bottom line?   Improved information retrieval. Companies must cope with…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:39

The time is now

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Given its large number of electoral votes, Ohio has always been an important state in presidential politics. As the 2000 campaign comes to the forefront, it seems to be developing into an important swing state in determining who will be our next president. In keeping with its mandate to promote the open discussion of issues affecting businesses, Ohioans for Better Business (with SBN affiliation) would like to host a two-part forum in September that will provide the Republican and Democratic nominees for president separate opportunities to discuss issues of concern to business owners and to explain their plans for creating…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:38

Under the microscope

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Joseph Palmer says that buying a business is like judging a beauty contest. "Unless you're a turnaround buyout company looking for a losing business, no one wants to buy a troubled company that requires a lot of heavy lifting to make it a profitable venture," he says. As a partner at Moore Stephens Apple, an Akron accounting firm and business management consultancy, Palmer says that logically, a company doesn't have much to offer if it has marginal sales, hasn't maintained customer relationships and isn't running efficiently and effectively. But if a company passes the following checklist, it's a worthy candidate…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:38

Taking it personally

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> When Dennis Drennan rode into town five years ago to launch a local office of Realty Executives, he vowed to raid his competitors of their better agents in order to land his franchise within the top four area real estate companies within two years (see SBN September 1995). Drennan, who had been vice president and regional director for ERA in Chicago before returning to Canton in 1995, had built a successful 20-year career as one of the top producers for several local real estate companies and for the 11-state territory of ERA he managed before deciding to set out…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:38

Letters to the editor

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Searching for flexibility I just finished reading your article, "A flexible solution." You spoke the sentiments of my heart. I completely agree with the philosophy that, "If the job gets done, it's not important where the job is getting done, but that it's accomplished in a quality and timely matter." As a computer analyst and mother, I need a flexible work schedule. I have successfully telecommuted in the past. I am currently looking for an employer with the same philosophy as SBN. Vera L. Parker Akron
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:38

Growing pains

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Tom Rice admits that one of the more difficult things he's done in his life is to name a successor for Rice's Nursery, a retail garden center, gift shop and design/build/landscape concern located on 35 acres in North Canton. It wasn't that he balked at the idea of turning the day-to-day operations over to someone else. The 58-year-old CEO was perfectly happy to be out of the office and running one of the nursery's three Stark County farms, a 90-acre spread he bought four years ago to produce shade and ornamental trees. Furthermore, he realized it was high time sons…
Monday, 22 July 2002 09:38

Do something

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A friend of mine, who evidently has more confidence in me than I do, let me man the wheel of his sailboat last week as he walked to the bow to raise the sail. It took about 30 seconds before the rudder became caught up in a turn and started to whip the boat around in a perpetual circle. My first reaction was to let go of the wheel and call for help. And boy, did I get reamed for that decision. There's a maritime rule every sailor knows, I was informed, and that is, if you're headed toward an…