Newsclips Featured

9:57am EDT July 22, 2002

Getting better at getting it there

In the transportation business, getting it there as soon as possible isn’t enough anymore. Nowadays, it’s getting it there when the customer needs it. To respond to demands for faster service, Pitt Ohio Express is offering its customers services that are customized for their particular needs.

Dedicated transportation is a service for customers who require time-specific deliveries within a given geographic region on a consistent daily basis. Contract warehousing combines Pitt Ohio’s knowledge of warehousing, in-house expertise with hazardous materials and freight handling processes.

The company’s pre-dawn delivery is a service that provides delivery of needed inventory before the start of the business day. Pitt Ohio also offers Fast Track, guaranteed express delivery to all points within its service area, with deliveries promised by 10:30 a.m. in parts of its service area.

High flier

Retailers might want to investigate what’s going on at the AIRMALL.

The AIRMALL, a complex of 100 restaurants, shops and services at Pittsburgh International Airport managed by BAA Pittsburgh Inc., grabbed an impressive five first-place awards in Airport Retail News’ 1999 Best Airport Concessions Poll.

The airport took top honors in best overall concessions program, most innovative services, best management team, best concession program design, and the “Most Favored by Road Warriors” category. In fact, frequent travelers selected Pittsburgh as their favorite for airport shopping.

Nominees were rated in 14 separate airport, food and beverage, news/gift and retail categories by a judging panel of 30 industry experts.

The mall’s popularity was reflected at the cash register, too, with per passenger spending reaching $9.90, besting the previous record of $9.19, set in 1997.

They seem to have the knack for getting sales to take off.

Putting mappers on the map

Hill Flaherty Sabol Marketing Communications has been selected by Baker/GeoResearch Inc. to assist in the marketing of its GeoLink Mapping System.

Formed in 1980, GeoResearch was one of the first firms to use geographic information systems (GIS) technology. With the advent of global positioning systems, GeoResearch combined the two technologies to form GeoLink as its primary product.

Personnel (company) changes

Callos Personnel Services, of Youngstown, has acquired Pittsburgh’s Strauss Personnel Services.

For Strauss employees, things aren’t expected to change much, as local staff and management stays in place. Clients, though, are likely to see new products in the offing before the first half of the year passes.

Plans call for Strauss Personnel to continue operating under its existing name, with additional product lines offered by Callos Personnel to be phased in by next month, according to Thomas Walsh, president of Callos Personnel Services.

Jeff McGraw, owner of Strauss Personnel, becomes a principal and shareholder in the company and will continue as vice president and general manager in Pittsburgh, supervising all Western Pennsylvania operations. McGraw says the Western Pennsylvania operations likely will add “at least one new office.”

Reflex Services Inc. and Reflex Staffing Solutions Inc., sister companies established in 1985 and 1993 respectively, have merged and will continue to conduct business as a single entity, Reflex Staffing Solutions Inc.

Red River resurgence

ProRiver Inc., parent company of Red River Barbecue & Grille restaurants, is planning expansion in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan market.

“We are excited about our Annapolis restaurant, which reaches the Washington, D.C., and the Baltimore markets, because it opened in October 1998 and has already exceeded budget estimates,” says Barry Strange, vice president of operations.

The company also has opened a new concept restaurant in Waldorf, Md., a Washington suburb. Ron’s Smokehouse Barbecue Co., which carries the name of Red River’s founder, Ron Sofranko, offers the same menu as the Annapolis store.

Lending support

The Mon Valley Initiative, a coalition of 16 community development corporations in four counties, has received government grants totaling $51,000 for the start-up of its Business Loan Fund.

MVI’s business loan fund will provide capital to businesses within and around the Mon Valley region. The target market is small, for-profit companies that are largely manufacturing related.

The MVI received $26,000 under the 1998 Community Development Financial Institutions Fund’s technical assistance component to develop its revolving loan fund, and a $25,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Community Development.

The CDFI fund was established to make federal money available for loans to businesses in poor inner cities and rural communities. The Pennsylvania Community Development Bank is an effort to strengthen the commonwealth’s communities physically, economically and socially.

Eventually, the MVI expects to be certified as a CDFI.


The Southwestern Pennsylvania Regional Planning Commission and the Southwestern Pennsylvania Regional Development Council have made official their decision to form the Southwestern Pennsylvania Commission.

The SPC is now the region’s Metropolitan Planning Organization and Local Development District, responsible for carrying out federal and state mandates regarding transportation planning and economic development.

Under the new structure, the City of Pittsburgh and eight counties will determine how regional transportation dollars are spent.

Beyond the economic development which the new organization is able to foster, fewer acronyms won’t bother us a bit, either.

Amish culture and the Internet and Web marketing might seem like they are worlds apart. Not so in cyberspace.

The Amish Peddler, a New Wilmington, Pa., retailer, has established a Web site,, to offer its products, produced by Amish craftsmen or designed by the store, to a global market.

Among the items offered on the Web site are an oak and hickory swing, embroidered sweatshirts, soft dolls and quilt-style placemats in traditional Amish colors. No barn raisings — yet.

Speaking of the Web ...

Need a quote on a printing job? Look on the Internet.

PrintQuote USA is offering a free online service that it says streamlines the task of obtaining quotes on printing projects.

PrintQuote USA is a free, Web-based service that gives buyers a convenient way to receive multiple competitive commercial printing quotes in a timely, efficient manner, according to the company, while printers gain access to a wider market of potential customers.

“It takes about five minutes to complete a project-specific quote form and, with the click of a button, the form is dispersed to 12 commercial printers in the category the print buyer selected,” says Harold Behar, president of PrintQuote USA.

Buyers who want to get a quote can log onto and complete one of the project-specific forms on the site. The forms are geared toward specific project types, such as brochures or newsletters.

Stacking up the savings

Ward Trucking credits its Stack Up Loading System with a reduction in shortage and damage claims for the second year in a row.

Ward Trucking reports its claims added up to only 0.75 percent of its revenue. The industry average, the trucking firm reports, is about 1.5 percent of revenues.

Ward began the program by implementing claim prevention weeks where photographs were taken of loads prior to departu re and then again upon arrival. The trucker also began a process of recording potential claims incidents and taking action where possible to prevent damage.

The Stack Up system allows Ward to compartmentalize and double-stack freight on steel decks for efficient transfer, with components designed to keep palletized, unitized freight safe and secure during loading, unloading and transport.

With the $230,000 Ward Trucking saved in claims in 1998, it purchased a new document imaging system to improve billing and record retrieval.

Business Notges

Turner Construction has been selected to serve as general contractor for the renovation of Gallery 12 at the Carnegie Museum of Art.

The project includes a renovation of the 4,700-square-foot gallery area. New heating and ventilation systems will be installed, along with new fireproofing, insulation, walls, skylight glass replacement and blackout shades.

Turner says the project will be completed by July.

MSA Process Automation Solutions & Services Inc. has designed automation systems for the first commercial liquid fuel-from-seawater plant to be built in the Dominican Republic.

Ware Communications Inc. has become an authorized Bell Atlantic dealer, qualifying it to sell local dial tone services to businesses.

The Bottom Line Inc. has been selected to assist the U.S. Small Business Administration in processing applications to certify firms as small disadvantaged businesses. The designation gives monetary incentives for prime contractors to subcontract with small disadvantaged businesses and a price evaluation adjustment of up to 10 percent for certified disadvantaged small businesses.