Business training with the Stark County Minority Business Association

CANTON – Twenty-four other local business owners have completed the Expanding Resources for All training program offered by the Stark County Minority Business Association.

The program offers workshops on developing business plans, management and techniques. The program also matches small business owners with mentors who have run successful businesses across the county.

The goal of the ERA program is to help business owners learn and gain insights from professional trainers and be coached by experienced business owners. Members of the second group who completed the 10-month program were recognized during SCMBA’s monthly Lunch and Learn program last week. The first group of 15 entrepreneurs completed the program in 2021.

Felicia Bazen, owner of Reflections Mind & Body Wellness Center in Canton, and Starlett M. Isles, owner of Starz in downtown Canton, recently launched the Expanding Resources for All (ERA) business training program offered by the Stark County Minority Business Association closed.  They were among 24 business owners who completed the program's second cohort.

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Starlett M. Isles found herself a double participant in this year’s program, learning what she could and helping as a mentor.

Isles began her career in real estate. She opened the Fair Play Family Center to provide daycare 18 years ago and now has locations in Massillon and the Belden Village area. She opened the SandPit Cafe & Lounge in Massillon 12 years ago and last year she opened Starz, a restaurant and music club in downtown Canton.

With that in mind, Isles believed she had ample business knowledge to share. She was willing to step in and act as a mentor to Jessica Davis, who runs the Lovebugs & Ladybugs child care center in Canton.

But she also decided to take the training, working with local restaurant owner Maury Sullivan. Even after 12 years running a restaurant, Isles said she found great ideas working with Sullivan. He helped her improve menus at her restaurants and suggested ways to cut costs and save money. “It gave me a new idea,” Isles said of the ERA program.

Richard Bennett, another participant in the program, praised the faculty members and commended them for their help in formulating his business plan. “For me, the lynchpin of the whole thing was the mentoring,” Bennett said during the program last week.

Felicia Bazen, owner of Reflections Mind & Body Wellness Center in Canton, is one of 24 business owners to complete the second cohort of the Stark County Minority Business Association, ERA, or Expanding Resources for All, training program.

Felicia Bazen, who founded Reflections Mind & Body Wellness Center in Canton 18 months ago, also commended the instructors and mentors for giving her the will to continue pursuing her dream. Bazen worked as a physician’s assistant but trained as a masseuse, body contouring and other techniques before starting her own business.

“It was good to have someone to encourage me. It puts you on the path where you’re doing it right,” Bazen said of the program.

Isles recommends the ERA program to other small business owners. “If you want to grow your business, start your business, this is a great place to start.”

Minerva Dairy Executive honored by OSU

Phil Mueller, former chief executive officer of family-owned Minerva Dairy, has been inducted into the Ohio State University Department of Food Science and Technology Hall of Distinction.

Mueller, who ran Minerva Dairy from 1976 to 2010, was co-founded with Dr. Martin R. Okos and John G. Richardson inducted into the Hall of Distinction. Mueller, a past president of the Midwest Dairy Association, was recognized for his career in the dairy industry as well as for his services to Ohio State University and the local community.

Mueller represents the fourth generation of family members running Minerva Dairy. The company is now co-owned by his daughter Vanae Watts and son Adam Mueller. He also represents three generations of the family who graduated from Ohio State.

The Hall of Distinction recognizes significant contributions to food science by alumni and friends of the Department of Food Science and Technology, part of the Ohio State College of Food, Agricultural, and Environmental Services.

Mueller said he was humbled and grateful to receive the recognition. “I’m also grateful to my Minerva Dairy family — those who came before me and those who so competently carry the baton today — for allowing me to do the work I’ve loved for so long,” he said in a press release.

Encino Energy, Sellers Raise $30,000 for Charity

Encino Energy’s first appreciation event raised $30,000 for three regional charity groups.

Encino partnered with more than 25 vendors at the event, raising funds for the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio, the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy Foundation and the Ohio State Parks Foundation. Each organization received $10,000.

Jackie Stewart, Encino’s director of foreign affairs, said the company believes the donations will help bring about meaningful change in the region and state. “This money will make a lasting positive impact on the lives of our employees, our suppliers and the citizens of the communities where we operate,” Stewart said in a press release.

The additional service begins at Akron-Canton Airport

Flights to Orlando and Las Vegas are again available from Akron-Canton Airport.

Allegiant Air began non-stop service to Orlando-Sanford Airport and Breeze Airways began flights to Las Vegas. Meanwhile, Allegiant will begin service to Fort Lauderdale-Miami on November 19th. The airlines announced plans to add the destinations earlier this year.

Orlando and Las Vegas are popular vacation destinations, and Akron-Canton is pleased to have airlines serving these destinations, said Ren Camacho, the airport’s president and CEO.

The decline in new car sales continues

New car sales continue to lag in 2021, according to data collected by the Greater Cleveland Automobile Dealers’ Association from dealerships in Northeast Ohio.

Dealers sold 16,531 vehicles in September, down 4.16% from the 17,249 sold a year earlier. In the first nine months of 2022, sales are down 21.2% with dealers reporting that 149,404 new vehicles were sold compared to 189,551 sold by the end of September 2021.

Dealers report that inventories are improving, but higher interest rates have been a factor for some consumers buying cars, the association reported. The Cleveland-based group includes merchants in Stark and 20 other counties.

You can reach Edd at 330-580-8484 or [email protected] On Twitter: @epritchardREP

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