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BUSINESS UPDATES | Belmont Avenue businesses launch Liberty for All

Among today's business updates: Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley and HFLA of Northeast Ohio; Lordstown Motors Corp.; DataOhio Portal; Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber; Youngstown State University's Association of Professional/Administrative Staff ; Nationstar Mortgage; Ohio Craft Brewers Alliance; AAA East Central’s Gas Price Report.

LIBERTY — Feeling the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, Belmont Avenue businesses are launching Liberty for All, a collaborative marketing campaign that shares resources, boosts promotional efforts and calls on Mahoning Valley residents to rediscover and patronize local businesses.

“Small-business owners need to be stubborn, clever and adaptable,” Jack Kravitz, president of Kravitz Delicatessen, said in a news release. He points out that his mother moved the business to its current location, 3135 Belmont Ave., more than 50 years ago because of its important north-south accessibility. “We are resolved to survive this, too, but we can only do it if the community supports this type of shop local initiative."

Some of the samplings from the Belmont Avenue business corridor:

  • Searching for an international specialty? Look no further than The Jerusalem Market, Jimmy’s Italian Specialties or Kravitz Deli.
  • Want a great meal? Iconic restaurants such as Station Square, Golden Hunan, El Jalapeno or K’nafa all offer both safe in-person dining and takeout options.
  • Looking for a deal? Check out the value-minded finds at the area’s largest Goodwill store or shop the curated selections at Racks Consignment.
  • Want something unique? Indulge in the hand-crafted soaps and personal care items at BodyGoodies, or inquire about the personally compounded prescriptions at Allen’s PharmaServe.

“When you shop in Liberty, you are not just keeping the local economy alive, you are resurrecting the Main Street way of doing business, Greg Cizmar, Liberty Township trustee, said in the release. “You’ll be spending time with business owners who greet you by name and where your money matters — plus your dollars stay in the regional economy and take care of your neighbors.”

CFMV, HFLA partner to provide
COVID-19 emergency loans

YOUNGSTOWN — The Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley is partnering with HFLA of Northeast Ohio to offer interest-free emergency loans specifically for the Mahoning Valley, available to both individuals and businesses.

A revolving loan fund has been created so assets are repaid by borrowers to be borrowed without interest by new individuals and businesses in the future. So far, three individual loans and one business loan have been made from the COVID-19 emergency fund.

Community Foundation funding was part of a $50,000 collaborative grant made with the Raymond John Wean Foundation to seed the interest-free loan fund.

Individuals interested in learning more about HFLA of Northeast Ohio’s COVID-19 emergency loan program and finding out if they qualify for an interest-free loan can visit the organization’s website or email team@interestfree.org.

Lordstown Motors receives
tax credit assistance approval

LORDSTOWN — Lordstown Motors Corp. moved another step forward in its plans to produce the Lordstown Endurance as the Ohio Tax Credit Authority approved the project for tax credit assistance at its Monday meeting. 

The approval to support the hub motor and battery line helps accelerate the timeline of the project, which is expected to bring 1,570 high-tech jobs to the Mahoning Valley and surrounding communities.

“From Day One, Lordstown Motors was designed to represent the tough, gritty, hardworking people that have maintained this community for more than 50 years,” Lordstown Motors CEO Steve Burns said in a news release. “We are not just here to build electric vehicles — we are here to impact this region by providing innovative and sustainable technology and resources.”

State partnership paves the way
for unprecedented data access

COLUMBUS — Lt. Governor Jon Husted and InnovateOhio, in partnership with the Department of Administrative Services and the Office of Information Technology’s InnovateOhio Platform, on Monday announced the launch of the DataOhio Portal, which offers a first-of-its kind service to Ohioans by delivering unprecedented access through an innovative, data-sharing platform.

The DataOhio Portal is a public-facing portal that provides more than 200 datasets and more than 100 interactive visualizations to inform data-driven decision making for state agencies and their partners. The DataOhio Portal enables data collaboration and sharing while also featuring enhanced security and privacy.

“We’ve all learned over the past year how critical data is to tackling our biggest challenges,” Husted said in a news release. “The IOP team has built a one-stop shop for the state’s data, providing a secure approach to data access and displaying datasets that, in some cases, are available now for the first time. This collaboration will help Ohio make better public policy decisions so we can better serve the people of our state."

Chamber names directors,
hires executive coordinator

YOUNGSTOWN — The Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber recently announced the promotion of two staffers and the hiring of a new executive coordinator.

  • Becky Litowitz has been named director of Member Services. She will take on a greater role in managing the organization’s cost-saving programs and services for members, including health care, energy, shipping, office supplies and more, while continuing to engage with chamber members and assist with their needs. 
  • Shea MacMillan has been named director of Economic Development Projects. Since joining the chamber in November 2017, he has managed 11 expansion and attraction projects, resulting in more than $2.3 billion of investment in real estate and machinery and equipment, the creation of 1,215 new jobs and the retention of 587 positions. He is also currently managing another 12 projects that could result in $51 million of investment and 425 new jobs in the next 12 to 24 months. 
  • Jenna Tyger joined the chamber team as executive coordinator Nov. 1. She will provide a range of administrative and managerial support to the president and CEO while also overseeing office management, preparing reports and data analysis, coordinating various projects and working with internal management and staff, as well as outside clients and vendors.

YSU administrators award
$250 to Salvation Army

YOUNGSTOWN — Youngstown State University's Association of Professional/Administrative Staff recently awarded $250 to the Salvation Army of Mahoning County for use during the holiday season.

“We are acutely aware of the toll this past year has taken on our community,” Edward Villone, APAS president, said in a news release. “With this donation, we hope to do our part to make the holidays brighter for those in need in the Mahoning Valley.”

Major Paul Moore of the Salvation Army said the funds would be used for food and children’s toys.

$86M settlement reached
with Nationstar Mortgage

COLUMBUS — Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost has joined with the attorneys general from all 50 states plus the District of Columbia and other federal and state agencies in reaching an $86.3 million settlement with Nationstar Mortgage

The consent judgment resolves allegations that Nationstar, which does business as Mr. Cooper, violated consumer protection laws during its servicing of mortgage loans. The settlement provides restitution for a variety of harms that were identified in the investigation. Thousands of borrowers had problems when their loans were transferred to Nationstar, leading to foreclosure in some circumstances. 

“When you make mistakes and it costs you money, that’s bad record-keeping," Yost said in a news release. "When your mistakes cost innocent Ohio homeowners money, that’s bad business — and you’re going to get a court date with a lawsuit.”

Nationstar is the country’s fourth-largest mortgage servicer.

OSHA, craft brewers renew
alliance to promote safety

COLUMBUS — The U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration and organizations representing many of Ohio’s craft brewers have renewed a two-year alliance to improve workplace safety in the industry.

The alliance includes OSHA, Ohio Craft Brewers Association, Brewers Association, Master Brewers Association of the Americas District Midwest and Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation. They will continue to develop and build upon awareness and education programs on hazards in the brewing, storing, bottling, canning, packaging, handling and delivery of craft beer. Alliance members will promote the free, web-based training accessible through the Ohio Craft Brewers Alliance. Participants originally signed an alliance agreement in October 2018.

“OSHA is pleased to renew this alliance focused on sharing best practices and training and educating both employers and workers in the growing craft brewery business to operate and work safely,” OSHA Area Director Larry Johnson in Columbus said in a news release.

For more information, click here.

Gasoline prices jump
15 cents in Northeast Ohio

YOUNGSTOWN — The average price for gasoline across Northeast Ohio is 15 cents higher this week at $2.06 per gallon, according to AAA East Central’s Gas Price Report.

The average price for unleaded self-service gasoline in the Youngstown area is $2.04 per gallon.

— Do you have a business announcement you'd like to share? Email news@mahoningmatters.com.