Market researchers use a variety of methods to gather data. Each has its advantages and disadvantages in terms of effectiveness, cost, reliability and expedience.
Here’s a rundown of various research methods and their pros and cons. The information is derived from the Web site of market research firm Taylor Nelson Sofres Intersearch:
Telephone surveys Telephone surveys can ensure qualified respondents, allow the researcher to probe the respondent, provide good response rates and allow the researcher to gather and quantify the information quickly. On the down side, they can be moderately expensive.
In-person surveys Like telephone surveys, these can ensure that the respondents are qualified and interviewers can delve deeply into the attitudes and opinions of those being questioned. They also enjoy good response rates and active respondent involvement. The disadvantages are that interviewer bias can skew the results, turnaround time is slower and they are expensive.
Internet surveys These kinds of surveys are inexpensive and eliminate interviewer bias. The problems are that they don’t ensure qualified respondents and they can produce biased respondent demographics. Also there’s no opportunity to probe for more information.
Mail surveys As with Internet surveys, mail surveys prevent interviewer bias and are usually low in cost. However, they don’t ensure that the respondents are qualified or offer the ability to probe for more information. Response rates and turnaround time are often poor. How to reach: Taylor Nelson Sofres Intersearch, www.intersearchcorp.com
The owners of the landmark supermarket in Penn Hills and the operators of Giant Eagle stores in Verona and Oakmont are taking over the former Food Gallery in Fox Chapel.
In contrast to the Food Gallery, Community Market built its reputation with highly competitive pricing and powerful advertising, a strategy that, in part, has allowed it to survive the onslaught of the huge chains. Its owners say they have every intention of employing that same strategy for their newest location.
The Food Gallery, with four Pittsburgh area stores, found that it was becoming harder to compete with the large chain stores. But the Fox Chapel location, the new owners maintain, was profitable as a Food Gallery store.
Were very pleased to buy a successful operation like the Food Gallery in Fox Chapel, says Jerry Rosenberg, one of the new owners.
The store was founded in 1927 by Lou Rosenberg. Rosenbergs son, Jerry, says the 30,000-square-foot store wont be enlarged, but it will have new dairy cases and freezers installed, improved lighting, wider aisles and a bigger staff.
Jerry Rosenbergs son, Howard, and brother, Paul, also share in running the family business.
Time will tell if trendy Fox Chapel will take to an old stalwart like Community Market.
Roberts Express, Akron, has named David H. Carline as information technology manager and Virginia C. Albanese as managing director, service and safety.
Spector & Saulino, Akron, has added Angela Alexander to its tax staff; Jeffrey Neuman to its audit staff; Tammi Lewis as marketing assistant; and Jennifer Hura as staff accountant
John V. Lund has been appointed vice president of business development for CTI Environmental Inc. of Green.
Saltz, Shamis & Goldfarb Inc. has promoted the following to partner/director in its Akron office: James M. Dannemiller, Bruce H. Friedman, Carolyn H. McNerney and Mark L. Mussig.
John M. Dohner has been accepted as a member of the Leadership Akron Class of 1999/2000. Dohner is a shareholder in the Akron law firm Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs.
Debra Radecky has been named new executive director of Sunrise Assisted Living in Bath.
Kim Hurray has been named convention sales manager by the Akron/Summit Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Suzanne M. Church has been named account executive for Wirtz Integrated Marketing in Akron.
Ted Curtis, former partner with Curtis and Rasmussen architectural firm, was named to the Summit County Chapter of the American Red Cross board of trustees.
Second National Bank of Warren has appointed Rick L. Blossom as president and CEO of the bank and president and COO of Second Bancorp., the holding company.
Kathy Reid, owner of Prudential Kathy Reid Realty, Akron, was chosen as one of the 500 most powerful women in real estate by the National Relocation and Real Estate magazine.
Babcock, Schmid, Louis & Partners, a Bath design firm, has appointed the following to its staff: Kara Levee as interior designer; Craig Griffin as senior designer; Michelle Kaser as special projects manager; Thomas McNair as retail designer/specifier; and Terri Sefcik as production manager.
The Cuyahoga Falls City Council has elected John C. Weisensell to its Zoning Appeal Board. Weisensell is a partner with Amer Cunningham Brennan, Akron.
Buckingham, Doolittle & Burroughs, Akron, has added Aaron W. Sarra to its complex litigation practice group.
Melanie McDougal has been hired as provider relations representative for Ohio Comp Network Inc. of Stow.
John Cassiday has joined Winer & Bevilacqua, a CPA firm in Fairlawn.
Mozes Cleveland & Company of Hudson has named Jim Zedella as CEO. Zedella most recently served as co-president of DMAC, a Cleveland finance company.
Bober, Markey & Co., Akron, has added: Al Palfi as staff accountant; Tricia Scoville as tax senior; and Ray Dunkle as supervisor.
The Fred W. Albrecht Grocery Co. has promoted Robert Hoch to manager of Acme No. 7 on State Route 59 in Kent.
Lewis W. Adkins, general counsel for the Summit County Executive Office, will join Akron law firm Roetzel & Andress as a partner early next year.
The Anderson Group, Akron, has appointed Kenneth J. Klika as vice president; Mark Byers as technology support manager; and Jack Sporup as logistics manager.
Szalay Design Associates Inc., an Akron communications and design company, has added designer Michael Fraser to its staff.
Timothy A. Dimoff, president of SACS Consulting & Investigative Services Inc., of Akron, has been named vice chairman and chair-elect of the Akron Regional Development Board's Small Business Council.
Lamancusa appeared with contributors to her latest book, “Flowers Are Forever,” including Canton business owners Kathy Wise, owner of Wise Nutrition Concepts, and Lois DiGiacomo, founder of The Rainbow Repertory Company in North Canton.
They were part of a segment called “Remembering Your Spirit,” and talked about the ways in which flowers have enriched their lives.
But even national exposure on a top-ranked show can’t help if the timing isn’t right.
“It was a little bit bittersweet when they called,” Lamancusa says. “Any publicity done now on Oprah isn’t going to sell any books.”
Her book, to be released by Simon & Schuster in February, was featured five months too early, she says. “We decided we obviously didn’t want to tell ‘The Oprah Winfrey Show’ no.”
Lamancusa is hoping that the connections she made will help her land a bigger part on the show when her book is out.
“It’s definitely a possibility. They are interested.”
Former U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Grady L. Pettigrew Jr. has joined the law firm of Cox & Stein Co. LPA as a shareholder and principal. The firm has changed its name to Cox, Stein & Pettigrew Co. LPA. Prior to joining the firm, Pettigrew was an equity partner in the Columbus office of Arter & Hadden for 12 years. Earlier in his career, he served as a judge of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Ohio, was a member of the bankruptcy faculty at the Federal Judicial Center in Washington, D.C., and worked as an adjunct professor at the Law School of Capital University and The Ohio State University College of Law.
New officers for the Columbus Chapter of the Service Corps of Retired Executives include Dan Pealer, chairman; John Boyers, vice-chairman; Barry Turner, secretary; and Lowell Masten, treasurer.
George W. Smith, vice chairman of the board for HER Inc., Realtors, has been elected as the year 2000 president of the Ohio Association of Realtors. Smith was president of the Columbus Board of Realtors in 1993. Currently he serves as a director of the National Association of Realtors.
Columbus Countywide Development Corp. has honored Leslie Weilbacher, director of the Central Ohio Small Business Development Center, as the Economic Development Professional of the Year. Columbus Countywide also recognized six Central Ohio lenders for their contribution to small business job creation and community development in 1999. The Lenders of the Year include Scott Green, Fifth Third Bank; Robert Halley, Heartland Bank; Ryan Henson, Key Bank; Dave Entsminger, Firstar Bank; Laura Frum, The Huntington National Bank; and Roger File, Champaign Bank.
Thomas C. Sawyer, co-founder and president of Opinion Strategies, has received the Ralph Davenport Mershon award from The Ohio State University Alumni Association Inc. for demonstrating exceptional leadership and service to the university. Sawyer has served three terms on the Presidents Alumni Council and was elected to the alumni associations board of directors, also serving as its chair. He also was president of the Ohio State Student Loan Foundation and served on the campaign committee for the Longaberger Alumni House.
Dennis Dowdell Jr. has joined The Longaberger Co. as vice president of human resources. Dowdell joins the company after nine years as corporate vice president of human resources with Henry Ford Health System in Detroit.
Columbus Countywide Development Corp. has recognized Central Ohio lenders and businesses for their contribution to small-business job creation and community development in 1999. Fifth Third Bank was named Bank of the Year for number of loans, volume of loans and job creation. Projects of the Year and their lenders and financing programs included Diehl-Whittaker Funeral Services and lender National City Bank, SBA 504; Coyne Printing Inc. and lender Park National Bank, Ohio 166; Technology Advantage Inc. and lender Huntington Bank, SBA Pre-Qualified Program; Pepperberry Cottage, Central Ohio MicroLoan Program; and X Design Inc. and lender Key Bank, Columbus Growth Fund. Damons and lender Peoples Bank were named Enterprise Development Corporation Project of the Year, and the Economic Project of the Year was the Linden Medical Center, with lenders Key Bank and City of Columbus Department of Trade and Development.
Heartland Bank of Gahanna has received the inaugural Olive Award for Excellence and Innovation, co-sponsored by the Community Bankers Association of Ohio and Olive LLP, a financial services company in Cincinnati. This award recognizes high-performing Community Bankers Association of Ohio members who are ensuring a healthy future for their banks and their communities. Heartland Bank won for the significant role it plays in 4-H activities in its community and its innovative Switch program provided to help customers change banks.
Three local companies have received recognition on the Inc. 500, Inc. magazines list of Americas fastest growing private companies. Local recipients are No. 323 Quick Solutions Inc., a technology consulting company that has been on the list for the past three years; No. 338 Progressive Medical Inc., a national managed care provider; and No. 409 Photonic Integration Research Inc., a manufacturer of fiber optic components for telecommunication systems.
Athletic Business magazine has awarded Moody/Nolan Ltd. the 1999 Facility of Merit award for its design of the Jerome Schottenstein Center at The Ohio State University.
Construction Management Association of America has named Gilbane Building Co. a recipient of two 1999 Project Achievement Awards for its work on the Hilltop Development Project in Columbus. These awards honor the company for excellence in management of the construction process.
EXXCEL Contract Management Inc., a Columbus-based general contracting construction firm, has been ranked No. 72 on the top 100 design-build firms list by Engineering News Record magazine. The listings were based on 1998 revenue from design-build contracts.
The board of trustees of the Better Business Bureau of Central Ohio has presented 1999 Business Integrity Awards to Campbell Builders Inc. in the small business category, HYTEK Material Handling Inc. in the medium size category, and Holt CAT/Holt Power Systems in the large business category. The awards recognize firms whose business practices and related activities in the community exemplify the BBBs mission and principles.
The Ohio Tax Credit Authority has approved tax credits for business expansion projects in Ohio. Local projects include seven-year, 55 percent tax credits for three companies. The Scotts Co. in Marysville will expand production and create 30 new jobs; American Eagle Airlines Inc. will lease 63,800 square feet of space at Port Columbus for an aircraft maintenance and office support facility expected to create 57 new jobs; and AmeriLink Corp. in New Albany will construct new corporate headquarters, creating 65 new jobs. In addition, PETsMART Inc. will receive a 65 percent tax credit for eight years to construct a 600,000-square-foot distribution center in Columbus, creating 240 jobs. SubmitOrder.com Inc., located in Groveport, will receive a 65 percent tax credit for seven years to lease a 437,000-square-foot building and create 214 jobs.
The state Development Financing Advisory Council has approved a $142,800 loan for Cardinal Imaging Inc. to purchase machinery and equipment and a $350,000 loan for Action Group Inc. to acquire a 155,000-square-foot building, machinery and equipment.
Clary Communications Inc. and Mod Dog Internet Services have formed a strategic business partnership to develop business-focused Internet solutions for clients.
Executive Jet Inc. has opened the first phase of its new $25 million operational headquarters at Port Columbus International Airport. The new facility includes support space, office space and an operations center. We are eager to remain at Port Columbus since this is where it all began, says Richard Smith, executive vice president of the Executive Jet Columbus facility. Executive Jet is a Berkshire Hathaway Inc. company. Gilbane Building Co. is overseeing the construction of the new facility, which was designed by architects URS Greiner Woodward & Clyde.
Where do executives stand on the issue of desk chairs? They don’t stand; they sit.
In fact, a new poll shows that execs spend most of their time in their chairs a full seven-and-a-half hours a day. That’s an increase of more than an hour-and-a-half a day from a similar survey in 1990.
The poll, conducted by American Furniture Rentals, headquartered in Bensalem, Pa., shows a 67 percent increase in rentals or sales of ergonomic desk chairs with lumbar support systems.
Why? Write it off to a combination of longer hours and more computer time, says AFR CEO Neil Scholnick.
“Chairs with lumbar supports are booming, because back pain has become the ulcer of the ’90s,” Scholnick says. “When most executives feel tension, their backs ache. When their backs ache, they look for a chair that will ease the pain.”
What are the most asked-for features in ergonomic chairs? The survey says:
- Pneumatic seat adjustment, 84 percent;
- Lumbar support, 56 percent;
- Adjustable seat and back angle, 42 percent;
- A tilt forward feature, 28 percent;
The days of the big leather desk chair are over.
“The ‘status’ chair is all but gone in our orders,” Scholnick says. “The boss is looking more to form and function. Those chairs that you could sink into never really gave the proper support. Now, people want features like lumbar support, knee tilt, pneumatic seat height and adjustable seat and back angle. Many new chairs offer a tilt forward feature, which helps ease the strain of computer work.”
The poll sampled rental and buying habits of 400 executives.
Scholnick is a 1999 Ernst & Young “Entrepreneur Of The Year” finalist. American Furniture Rentals has showrooms and outlet centers in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland.
A recent federal court ruling may make it easier for employees to win reverse discrimination lawsuits. The 3rd Circuit Court of Appeals rejected a heightened standard adopted by many courts for people charging reverse discrimination and reinstated a white New Jersey postal workers suit alleging that he was passed over for promotion because of his race.
Under federal law, a member of a minority group or a woman can make an initial claim of discrimination by showing that he or she was turned down for a job which that person is qualified to do, and that the job remained open. The employer has to show its actions were based not on discrimination, but on legitimate business reasons.
Courts have generally held, however, that the person alleging reverse discrimination must first show background circumstances showing a bias against a majority group. That is, the plaintiff must initially show that the employer tends to discriminate against white people, and that discrimination motivated the employment decision.
The 3rd Circuit rejected such a disparity in placing the burden of proof, and called the background circumstances requirement vague and ill-defined. The court said that a plaintiff charging reverse discrimination need only show that the employer is treating some people less favorably than others based on race, color, sex, religion or national origin.
William E. Adams
One incident, one harassment case A federal court has ruled that one act of physical aggression by an employee can serve as the basis of a sexual harassment lawsuit even in cases in which the employee committed no sexual misconduct.
A panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit made the ruling in a case in which the defendant, a jail guard, allegedly battered a female officer at the jail in 1992. The victims arm was twisted so badly she needed surgery. Although no explicitly sexual contact occurred, the attacker did use gender-based epithets.
According to the panels majority opinion, the offensive conduct doesnt necessarily have to be inspired by sexual desire. The panel cited the Supreme Courts 1998 opinion in Oncale v. Sundowner Offshore Services Inc., in which the high court found that a claim identifying a workplace as a hostile environment need only be somehow related to the victims sex.
In the current case, the opinion said the defendants intent to discriminate was shown by his history of verbally abusing only female colleagues. Moreover, the defendant had never been disciplined, and it was the plaintiff, rather than the defendant, who was transferred to a job she deemed inferior.
A dissenting opinion said the case should have been handled as a case of assault, not a sexual discrimination case. A representative of the Cook County states attorneys office, which handled the appeal for the defense, said a petition for rehearing will be filed shortly.
William E. Adams
Records: Keep or toss?You probably sometimes feel swamped by old records; other times, youre terrified of throwing anything out. Here is a quick guide of what to keep and for how long:
Forever Never throw out tax records or related documents, mostly in case the IRS gets curious about them. This includes tax returns, correspondence relating to tax returns, audit reports, financial statements and legal correspondence. Also preserve eternally contracts, real estate transaction documents and leases, and corporate records, all of which may be needed in connection with lawsuits. With employment-related lawsuits increasingly common, keep employment-related records indefinitely.
Six years Other records which relate to tax returns only need to be kept six years from the date of the return or the date the return is due, whichever is later. This includes financial records such as bank statements, deposit slips and sales records, employee expense records, including expense reports and supporting documentation, and income records such as W-2 and 1099 forms.
Three years This group includes documents which can be tossed three years after the filing date or due date, whichever is later, of the associated tax returns. This includes canceled checks, paid invoices, payroll records and depreciation schedules, and other documents related to expenses, such as 1098s for mortgage interest received, receipts for charitable donations and real estate tax bills. Inventory records should be kept for at least three years, but much longer if your company uses last-in, first-out inventory accounting.
Eileen R. Sisca
Law briefs is compiled by attorneys from Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott, a national law firm based in Pittsburgh.
Hunting for a new home in Ohio? You may want to put a tour of the Internet at the top of your research list.
Simply pull up a search engine, type in real estate agencies and Ohio, then click, scroll and point your way to the offices and offerings of a majority of the states real estate firms.
Most of the states real estate companies have some sort of presence on the Web, says Waleed A. Muhanna, associate professor of management information systems at the Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University. Another 13 percent are planning to do so within the next two years.
Muhanna, who also serves as interim director of the center for Information Technologies in Management at Fisher College, late last year released results of a telephone survey of real estate firms, conducted in collaboration with the colleges Center for Real Estate Education and Research.
He noted that the number of Ohio real estate firms with a presence on the Internet exploded in the middle of 1999. A study conducted earlier in the year showed only 50 percent had a presence on the Web, and the average age of the Ohio sites is 14 months.
The Internet is quickly becoming the place where customers first look to shop for products and services, Muhanna says. The activity of buying a home is no exception.
He cites statistics from the National Association of Realtors showing that the number of U.S. customers using the Internet to shop for homes rose from only 2 percent in 1995 to 23 percent in 1999. A recent study of home buyers in Ohio showed 73.5 percent had access to the Internet and 38.7 percent used it in some aspect of their home search.
Those Internet searches are turning into profits for real estate firms, he says.
Eighty-eight percent of those we surveyed characterized their presence on the Web as a success, Muhanna says. They found that, on average, they could attribute up to 5.2 percent of gross sales to the Web marketing channel. But when we asked what they expected that percentage to be in the year 2002, their average was 20 percent.
Ohios real estate industry, he says, clearly sees an Internet presence as a competitive necessity.
Muhannas study sought to examine how residential real estate firms in Ohio are attempting to adapt to the new medium and satisfy the growing number of Internet-savvy home buyers. The study is based on telephone interviews of 150 firms randomly selected from a database of 3,200 principal brokers in Ohio, supplied by the Ohio Association of Realtors.
Most people wouldnt. But Doug Buffington does.
Since 1995, Buffington has been president of Square Two Golf, a leading golf equipment manufacturer based in Fairfield, N.J. When he took the job, Buffington insisted that he be allowed to maintain his Jackson Township, Ohio, residence.
So he flies from Akron-Canton Airport about once a week, doing the majority of business out of his home.