When Jessica Paris comes across old, outdated furniture, she sees the potential for something so much more. "I like the fact that it has good bones and structure and they don't make it like that anymore," said Paris, who owns J Paris Designs in Cuyahoga Falls. "You can turn something really old and ugly and outdated into something beautiful."
At Paris' store, 13 to 15 artists and designers offer their wares. Paris' speciality is furniture, like tasteful bits of color added to antiques, and chalkboard paint over wood surfaces, and her artists sell soy candles, repurposed frames made from barn wood and pillows, among the inventory.
Walking into the store, a customer is met with an eclectic array of colorful furnishings, but it's in no way cluttered or "thrift store" like. Everything fits in its place. And even the displays are recycled, as pallets serve as shelves and repainted industrial radiator covers offer their efforts as tables.
Bricco's restaurant in downtown Akron was the site recently of the area's first ever SunDown RunDown. Founded in Columbus by Paul Proffitt last March the concept is simple: pitch your startup or small business idea for five minutes, then field questions on your concept for five minutes and receive feedback and input from those in the audience in a relaxed setting.
Sometimes ten minutes is all it takes to connect an entrepreneur to an investor or a business mentor. The event was an opportunity for people with imaginative business ideas to meet and network with those in the community who might be able to help them turn their dream into a reality.
Katie Mang, 28, of Silver Lake, experienced trouble getting advice and finding local mentors to help with her startup business, an online site that lets people donate their talents to raise money for charities. So she went to the Columbus group's meeting in august to present her pitch and decided to begin working on bringing the idea to Akron.
Two local business majors have created their own watch company, Aevus watches, using the expertise of watch-making and marketing.
Joshua Jones, a Stark State student, said he's been interested in starting a watch service and repair company, and Jonathan Marsek, from The University of Akron, says his forte is sales and marketing. Aevus' watches are brightly colored, with interchangeable bands and faces. The watches can even be customized with logos, photos and custom text.
"I wanted to have something that my customers could customize and make their own, so they could have their own style," said Jones. "They're definitely very retro, but that's something that's really in right now."
Over the last five years, the number of abandoned and demolished buildings in the Akron area has exploded. Many of these structures are pre-World War II homes, some even century homes with historic or architectural worth. Others are schools or apartments.
Every time one of these structures is torn down, a piece of local history is lost to the landfill. This is what motivated two local men to start an architectural salvage business called Retread, Akron.
Micah Kraus and Jason Horinger work together at Hoban High School: Kraus is an art teacher and Horinger is director of Service and Outreach. Retread, Akron’s mission is to salvage and save architectural and other artifacts from houses being torn down and buried in the landfill.
Re/Dress, a popular clothing store catering to sizes 14 and up, is re-opening under new ownership after a five-month hiatus. Cleveland-based clothing designer Rachel Kacenjar purchased the company after a successful crowdfunding campaign in March. Previously located in Brooklyn, N.Y., Kacenjar plans to keep the company in Northeast Ohio with a storefront location set to open later this year.
Kacenjar, formerly head of independent plus-size labels Cupcake & Cuddlebunny and Sweetooth Couture, was employed by Re/Dress for just under two years before purchasing the company. Due to the lack of stylish yet affordable clothing options available to plus-size women, she felt she could not allow there to be one less option when the previous owner announced plans to sell the company.
Kacenjar started a 21-day crowdfunding campaign, during which she exceeded her goal of $25,000, collecting more than $27,000 from friends and fans to put toward the purchase of the company and start-up costs. “I am so thrilled that the plus size community sees the need for a store like Re/Dress and was willing to contribute their money to make it happen," said Kacenjar. "My goal is to exceed the expectations of every donor and shopper, as well as make them feel like they have some ownership in what we do. This isn’t just a store -- it’s a revolution, as far as I’m concerned."
Whether it's Grumpy Cat, Boromir or Futurama Fry, if you've spent even a few minutes online, you've probably encountered and even helped spread a meme. A meme is defined by Merriam Webster's dictionary, as "an idea, behavior, style, or usage that spreads from person to person within a culture."
Online memes are usually a photo with a funny caption that get reposted or forwarded from friend to friend in e-mails. Memes usually occur spontaneously: someone creates a funny post and it gets forwarded and forwarded again in the cyber equivalent of a germy handshake. But now Hudson artist Justin Crowe has created a project he calls Meme the World (MTW) in which he seeks to create and document a meme from scratch.
Consumers looking for deals in and around the Akron area and businesses wanting to tender their goods and services to make that happen have a nice outlet in which to do so: Save Local Now ($LN), a mobile app offered by the Greater Akron Chamber.
"We're always looking for ways to add value for our chamber members," said Chad Hamman, vice president of membership for the chamber. "And consumers can download the app for free to find out where there's deals."
Save Local Now is only available for Greater Akron Chamber members and comes at no additional cost. When a business joins the chamber the app is included in part of its annual membership dues.
Consumers can download the $LN app, available for iPhone and Android devices, at www.akron.savelocalnow.com or visit the iTunes store and Google Play.
At one point or another many have witnessed boorish behavior during a business luncheon. And the fact that an attendee may be wearing a silk tie with perfectly shined shoes does not guarantee that same individual won’t also be piling a dozen shrimp cocktail and a half-pound of Swedish meatballs on his tiny hors d’oeuvre plate. While chatting on his cell phone.
“Only seven percent of what we do is verbal,” says Robert Pacanovsky, “The other 93 percent is non-verbal communication.” Obviously appearances do matter. A lot. And Pacanovsky emphasized that during his “Art of the Meal” presentation to members of the Greater Akron Chamber’s Young Professionals Network.
The thrust of Pacanovsky, who owns Robert J. Events & Catering and Robert J. Training & Design, was to educate these folks about dining etiquette.
Bill Manby to lead Service Club as it moves to the Portage Country Club for weekly meetings
As autumn arrives, the Rotary Club of Akron is seeing changes in its leadership and its meeting location. William “Bill” Manby, Jr., a lifetime resident of West Akron and a graduate of Firestone High School, has been handed the gavel to lead the club during 2012-13.
Manby, an Akron resident, is the CEO of Paradigm Equity Strategies, located in the Merriman Valley, and is a partner in the Akron-area venture capital firm, Acquire Wealth Advisory Group. Manby has been married to Suzanne Manby for 16 years and has three children, Ashton (11), Greyson (9) and Tatum (5).
During a regular August meeting of the club, Manby laid out his aggressive plans for the service organization during his term as president. Citing an annual theme of “Get engaged. Be inspired.” he outlined expected growth in all Akron Rotary’s avenues of service while stating that communication will be a top priority.
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