A Letter of Gratitude to Lake Chamber Members

Lake Township Chamber Members,

Chamber President Christa Kozy & Board Chair Matt Erb at the One Bite Taste Event

These last 10.5 years at the helm of the Lake Township Chamber of Commerce have been a gift–working with all of you to put Lake Township on the map, representing you at events, answering calls and inquiries of interest in what we have to offer, encouraging all of you to partner and collaborate and seeing the end result of those programs, events, and networking opportunities, showing what a wonderful place to live, work and play Lake is to my daughter Lucy so she grows up valuing her community, and the list goes on. My gratitude for this experience is endless!

I wanted to announce today that I will be at the Lake Township Chamber of Commerce until December 15 and then I will join the Marketing team at Hartville Kitchen & Collectibles. I will remain a part of the Chamber’s activities and events as a member and will be able to tell our township’s story at travel and trade shows, which is a blessing!

To that end, we are seeking a candidate for the job of President and I have complete faith in the strong leadership of Matt Erb and our Board of Directors to continue to grow this organization to achieve our mission, which is to create a positive environment to promote the success and growth of businesses, while reflecting the values of the community. Those have been and will continue to be the words the Board and I live by, and we remain committed to continuing to add value to this organization which has become a vital part of the businesses and non-profits’ success in Lake Township.

Our Dedicated Board of Directors

I’m forever grateful to the visionary men and women who founded this Chamber.  The people who sat down at a table 29 years ago and saw the value in working together as a team are the reason we work so well together to this day. It has been my honor to work toward the vision that they set forth. Our work here is never done, we are always continuing to strive toward our mission and vision and I’m excited to remain a part of the organization, now as a member and volunteer alongside all of you who have supported this organization and to continue to highlight the amazing potential we have here in Lake Township.

Inquiries about the position of President and resumes can be directed to Matt Erb, Board Chair, at lakechamber@gmail.com.

With Gratitude,
Christa Kozy

10 Fun Facts for 10 Years at a Chamber of Commerce

Thank you for a great first 10 years!  On May 1, 2007, I had no idea what an impact the Lake Township Chamber would have on my life, both personally and professionally.  I’m blessed to be a part of this amazing community and wanted to share 10 “fun facts” about life as a Chamber President.  Enjoy!

-Christa Kozy, President

Intern Insider: The Most Valuable Lesson I Learned Working for my Local Chamber of Commerce

From the desk of Sadie Newman, our Summer 2016 Intern:

Before I began my internship with the Lake Township Chamber of Commerce, I quite honestly did not know what the Chamber’s role was in my society, or in any society for that matter. I took what I heard from other people about what Chambers of Commerce are and what they do and built my own fabricated collage of ideas from the “knowledge” I had gained from asking my friends and family. Little did I know, my speculations of what Chambers do was nothing close to their actual necessity to a community and their ability to bring business men and women together.

I have learned a lot from working at the Lake Township Chamber of Commerce under President, Christa Kozy. I can now explain the importance of Second Saturday, 2016--July - 44 of 44networking, the strategies for when and how to post on social media, the amount of work that goes into a simple email marketing newsletter, how to go about organizing an event for 200 people or more, and the list goes on and on. These skills I have acquired are amazing lessons that I am so grateful to have learned and I know will greatly assist me in my professional life.

However, there is one lesson that I have found to be invaluable. The lesson comes in a small, simple package of one word: Passion. From watching the inner-workings of the Chamber to meeting business owners from around Lake Township, one theme remains constant, and that is passion.

Passion within the Chamber

From the moment I first spoke with Christa Kozy (she being highly caffeinated of course) I noticed her love for the Lake Chamber and the community. She spoke so specifically and with such excitement about the Lake Chamber that I could tell she truly enjoys what she does. I admire her passion for what she does and for the place I call my hometown. Watching someone else care so deeply for my own community, taught me to further appreciate it myself. I learned from working under Christa what it is like to have passion within the workplace.

Having passion about what you do is necessary and contagious.

Passion within the Community

IMG_7908Working at the Lake Township Chamber of Commerce gave me the opportunity to learn more about my hometown and the people that live inside it. Through numerous networking events I met many uniquely special people who I am so thankful to had the chance to connect with. Whenever I met my fellow locals I noticed that there was something different about them. They spoke so highly of our community and so highly of each other. Each business owner did not make owning a small business seem like a competitive world, but a world full of dedication and support. As cliche as it sounds, each person I met seemed to have a spark in their eye. A spark that did not seem to be fueled by individual ambition, but a desire to make our community an even better place. They, just like the inner-workings of the Chamber, have a passion for their work and our community.

I learned from my community: Being passionate about your community is what truly makes a community flourish.

I truly did learn more at the Lake Township Chamber of Commerce than I ever thought I could. I am grateful to have had the opportunity to learn more about my own community. My internship with Lake Chamber was not what I was expecting it to be. After four months, I take pride in my ability to thoroughly explain the benefits that a Chamber of Commerce can provide for a community. The people around Lake Township taught me a lesson that will be an inspiration for the rest of my life, and that lesson is to have passion. I can only hope that wherever I end up, I can have that same passion that I have been blessed to witness within my hometown of Lake Township.

-Sadie Newman, Lake High School Class of 2015
Sophomore at Ohio University

The 5 W’s of the New YAC (Young Adult Center) in Hartville

If you haven’t heard the news, a young adult center (YAC) is coming to Hartville! Through a volunteer effort, in partnership with GentleBrook, the YAC is hosting an open house this weekend, and we at the Lake Chamber are here to give you the “5 W’s of the YAC.”

V9595BD19Who: The YAC will be targeting young adults, aged 15+, no membership will be required to join the fun Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings. During the day time, GentleBrook will be using the facility for various programs.

What: The Young Adult Center will be a multi-level space with a range of activities. The lower level includes a kitchen with seating and will host an area for basketball, volleyball and a space for live music. The upper level will consist of a large living room, for friends, groups, projects and games.

When:  Open House is this Sunday from 4-8pm.  Initially, the center will be open on Sundays from 4pm-midnight and expand as attendance grows.

Where: The center will be located in the back of GentleBrook’s corporate headquarters at 880 Sunnyside St. SW, Hartville.

Why: To give young adults a safe environment environment on the weekend to hang out with their friends, or meet up with a group.

-Contributed by Sam Tornow

Meet our Community Workforce Development Leadership Award Winner, Men’s Challenge

The Lake Township Chamber presents the Community Workforce Development award for the creation of Men’s Challenge, a local non-profit organization that serves a population in need in our region.  Part six in our blog series honoring our Leadership Award recipients focuses on this Christ centered multi-step program which empowers men to take up their God-given roles as providers and protectors of the family.

Men’s Challenge was launched in February of 2012, when three Christian men, Ray Hall, Paul Dykshoorn and Gil Goodwin, felt led to pray for an avenue that would help bring men to the understanding that God has placed in them a purpose for their work. Ed Carter, current Chairman of the Board, was asked to pray for an organization that would engage experienced, hard-working men to pour into young men who hadn’t Mens'sChallengePaulyet learned the blessings of working.  The vision was to create a place where these seasoned men could invest in the next generation of employees. “But it was going to be more that that…it was a place where those men could pour into them the love and teachings of Christ. I have been a mentor, a teacher, board member and now I am currently the Chairman of the Board,” Ed stated. He continued, “Many men don’t understand the principle of hard work, they are not taught this; They view work as something evil, a means to an end even. But God never intended that to be the case, God intended man to work, to find pleasure…yes it would be hard, but it would be purposeful. To provide, to achieve, to accomplish…those are blessings of God found in our work.”

The concept was church-focused from the outset. The Men’s Challenge founders view the local church as the hope of the world and a natural partner to Men’s Challenge. They believe that the church body consists of quality older men with Christ at their core, who are equipped to mentor the program’s participants.  DSCN0087The organization, currently supported by four local churches, gives credit to Consumers Bank for understanding the unique financial and legal situations of the men participating in the program and for offering services that are custom-tailored to their needs. Ed noted, “Consumers Bank is rooted in this community and committed to its success.”

“We really believe that God is doing great things through Men’s Challenge, and in both Alliance and Canton, we have been openly received,” stated Ed. The organization has seen great growth since day one and they are currently streamlining their processes and identifying ways to be more effective in helping participants. They note plenty of growth opportunities in surrounding areas such as Massillon, Akron and others, but have Chainsaw Classresisted the temptation to grow too fast. They believe they must be sustainable if they hope to continue to impact the communities where they are active.

Men who are interested in involvement, either as mentors or as participants, can call one of the offices in Canton, 330-754-6203, or Alliance, 330-821-6367. There is an intake process that needs to be completed to help identify any barriers to employment, but interested men are also welcome to attend any class on a walk-in basis. They currently have a need for mentors at both locations.

For more information on Men’s Challenge, visit their website.

Meet our Economic Impact Award Winners | Troyer Corporation, Comfort Suites Hartville

We are excited to introduce our Leadership Award Winners, who will be recognized Tuesday, February 23 at our Annual Leadership Awards Dinner held at the Hartville Kitchen.  Part four in our Leadership Award Winners Blog Series features the Troyer Corporation, this year’s recipient of the Economic Impact Award.  The Economic Impact Award is presented to David Troyer, President and Nathan Stambaugh, Director of Operations in recognition of their vision, commitment and dedication to the community which impacts job growth, enhances tourism and sustains the economic growth and viability of Lake Township.

The Troyer Corporation was initially attracted to the Hartville area 10 years ago, after taking note of the destination presence of the HRM Corporation, through Hartville Hardware, Hartville MarketPlace and Hartville Kitchen, which together attract 2 million visitors to town, annually.

Hotel2With 20 years of experience in the hospitality industry, The Troyer Corporation’s hospitality expertise brought to life a vision for having a hotel in Hartville and Lake Township that would enhance the tourism experience here. The addition of Comfort Suites Hartville is one that will impact the community and local economy for years to come.

Demonstrating a strong commitment to the community and a willingness to collaborate with local businesses, parks and community organizations as well, The Troyer Corporation epitomizes all that is valued in this community. Because of their contribution to the community, through the willing participation of employees and management, and the sincerity and generosity of the entire organization, they are our 2016 recipient of the Economic Impact Award.

“This property’s guest service is exceptional due to our staff’s demonstration and understanding of the culture of the community, stated David Troyer, President.  Our high expectations have been exceeded.”  He continued, “they understand and identify with the guests, which provides a valuable connection.”  

After opening in May 2015, guests were able to see examples of their high standards: Instead of ordering standard hotel furniture (made overseas) through a supplier, the Troyer Corporation was determined to procure locally-made furniture, and other building materials through local businesses. While this increased the overall cost, they felt strongly about the local community partnerships and that the excellent craftsmanship sets them apart from others. The quality finishes in the hotel reflect the history and culture of Hartville and Lake Township. They credit our Chamber as a part of their successful entry into our community, citing the connections and support it has provided since day one.

LobbyDuring the planning, David Troyer and Director of Operations, Nathan Stambaugh, were involved in every aspect, making specific changes to the architectural plans to increase operational excellence and efficiency and other key changes toward enhancing the guest experience, the guest- staff connection and overall morale. They made additional alterations to enhance the guest experience by increasing the soundproofing between adjacent rooms and in the ceilings between the four floors.

Guests enjoy access to a park adjacent to the hotel, as well as the driveway leading to the Hartville Kitchen and HRM campus.  Guests who visit the hotel are provided with a Discover Hartville map and Visitors’ Guide and can access an electronic ExploreBoard to plan their itinerary and get directions to local shopping, dining and attractions.


For more  information on Comfort Suites Hartville, visit their website or Facebook page.  

Meet our Community Impact Leadership Award Winner John Birk | Uniontown Community Park

We are excited to introduce our Leadership Award Winners, who will be recognized Tuesday, February 23 at our Annual Leadership Awards Dinner held at the Hartville Kitchen.  Part three in our Leadership Award Winners Blog Series features John Birk as the 2016 Community Impact Award John Birk head shotwinner, specifically for his ongoing contribution and efforts involving the recent enhancements to the Uniontown Community Park.

John Birk was born in the early 1930’s in the Uniontown area. He graduated from Uniontown High School and soon after married his wife Kay. More than 61 years later, their family has grown to include three children, six grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren. John and Kay continue to live in the area.

In 1969, The Lion’s Club formed a committee to survey the community in search of finding suitable land for a community park, and on June 28, 1972, the Lion’s Club purchased 17 acres of land from Lloyd Grable and began 1184789_381522918643062_1538404976_nwork on the park known today as the Uniontown Community Park. Through the years, the Uniontown Community Park has added a community center, playgrounds, a half-mile walking path, a fishing pond for children, horseshoe and volleyball courts and several other amenities. John has been instrumental in its growth and success. Early on, John’s work involved the construction of the first playground, the community center and the creation of the park as a whole.

His contributions continue to make an impact today. Most recently, a new playground was added to the park, providing a safe area for children to play and explore. Additionally, a Veteran’s Memorial was established at the park, specifically honoring those soldiers who have lived in our community. The park is an incredible addition to the community and has had a lasting economic impact. His involvement and participation have helped create an environment where the community gathers, organizations conduct meetings, children can experience play and exploration and America’s local heroes are remembered.

For more information on the Uniontown Community Park, go to http://uniontowncommpark.org/ or visit their Facebook page.

Meet our Outstanding Business Professional | Mark Hanlon, Schoner Chevrolet

We are excited to introduce our Leadership Award Winners, who will be recognized Tuesday, February 23 at our Annual Leadership Awards Dinner held at the Hartville Kitchen.  Part two in our Leadership Award Winners Blog Series features Outstanding Business Professional of the Year Mark Hanlon with Schoner Chevrolet.

Mark Hanlon was born here in Lake Township, the grandson of Earl Schoner, who opened Schoner Chevrolet in 1936. Some 32 years later, at the age of 16, Mark began his career at Schoner as a salesman.  Mark is a Lake High School graduate and attended Ashland University. After returning to the community, he set his sights on helping out the family business and giving back to the community.  Not long after re-establishing himself here, Mark married his wife Beth, whom he has been with for the last 23 years. Together they have 6 children.

Since taking over the business, Mark has made it a point to continually support the community, specifically youth programs. He has been known to have supported Toys for Tots, choir events, the yearbook, a variety of sports programs and also made a sizable donation to the new Alumni Field at Lake High School. Additionally, his store launched a toy assembly program during the Christmas season 25 years ago, that remains a huge part of the company’s Christmas season today. Schoner staff will assemble toys, bikes and other gifts for no charge for area parents.

His employees have described him as “caring,” and are “grateful to work with him.” Mark’s door is always open and he demonstrates regularly the value of good employees. Mark was selected as the recipient of the Outstanding Business Professional Award because of his selfless service, partnerships with other local businesses and organizations and the longevity and success of Schoner Chevrolet under his leadership. Our congratulations to him on a job well done!

For more information on Schoner Chevrolet, visit their website or Facebook page.

To attend the Leadership Awards Dinner in recognition of Mark and his fellow award winners, go to www.lakechamber.com/annualdinner.

Schoner 002

Leadership Award Winners | Frank Pilato, Community Connection

We are excited to introduce our Leadership Award Winners that we will be recognizing Tuesday, February 23 at the Hartville Kitchen.  Part one in our Leadership Award Winners Blog Series features Community Connection Award winner Frank Pilato.

The Community Connection Award is presented to a person who goes above and beyond to connect the community for a specific purpose that benefits both the community and the parties involved.  Frank Pilato was chosen as the 2016 recipient, for his efforts in creating meaningful connections between Lake High School students and the community, specifically through marketing projects that provide the students with hands-on business experience and tangible benefits.frankheadshot

At Lake High School, Frank has been a prime example of what the Community Connection Award embodies. As a Career Tech Prep teacher, he has helped students learn valuable, real-world, marketing skills. Every year he hosts projects involving real money, real business and real scholarships. The two largest projects are the Lake High School Prom Fashion Show and the Classroom Apprentice. The Prom Fashion Show takes place every spring and students advertise, plan and work at the show, which raises money for the prom committee and Lake Local Schools.  Additionally, Classroom Apprentice gives students the opportunity to work their way through a series of challenges. When just two students remain, they compete in a sales competition in which the winner takes home a scholarship.  Additionally, some of the students’ assignments are related to public safety and are used to promote awareness, such as participating in Safe Auto’s campaign to encourage drivers to keep both hands on the steering wheel.

Other projects or events which connect students to the community include: a Shark Tank project in which actual professionals invested in student’s ideas, networking with local businesses, promoting awareness for the school levy, and a social media project which allowed students to advertise the finding of a golden ticket.

Frank was born in the Macedonia area and attended Nordonia High School.  He later studied at Walsh University, where he obtained his B.A. in Education and his MBA.  He has been teaching since the 2006-2007 school year and more recently has joined Lake Local schools as their Career Tech Prep teacher. Personally, he has three children, Giada, Guilianna and Giacomo, with his wife Christine, whom he has been married to for seven years.

In addition to teaching, Frank Pilato helps coach the Lake High School football team and runs an AdvoCare business with his wife and a business named SpiritHogz which specializes in making sports themed wall decals.

For more information on Lake High School’s Career Tech Prep programs, go to this link or attend their Open House on February 2.   To attend the Leadership Awards Dinner in recognition of Frank and his fellow award winners, go to www.lakechamber.com/annualdinner.



A Young Person’s Perspective on Lake Township

I have lived in Hartville/Lake Township my entire life and I, like many of my peers, swore one day making my way to other areas of the country and out of this little midwestern town. When College came around, I chose to go as close to the edge of the state as possible in an attempt to help myself become acclimated with the distance I would put between myself and home one day. What moving away taught me was to make yourself as Sam Tornow internship photomarketable as possible for your career and to create your own opportunities, but never being so prideful as to never ask for guidance. Through that ideology, and with the help of lucky connections, I found myself with the chance to intern at the Lake Township Chamber of Commerce this winter, and now with it coming to end, I can say with confidence that my view on this town has changed in more ways than one.

For those of you who don’t know what a Chamber of Commerce is, it is a business network and non-profit organization that has the aim of promoting and helping local businesses grow. I could go on and on about how much I learned related to my journalism major, but that is not the most important thing I took away. Yes, I did write a lot of blog posts. Yes, I helped manage multiple social media accounts. Yes, I attended meetings. Yes, I learned fantastic marketing and social techniques. Yes, I made more phone calls than my introverted self would of hoped. Yes, I learned how to make those phone calls less painful. Yes, I networked and gained references from some amazing people. But what this internship taught me most about, was a sense of community.

Lake Township is a small, but mighty township. It’s not hard to miss on the map or to drive by on a roadtrip, but to us, it is home. However, I am not deaf to the comments my friends, peers and even myself (not anymore) make about it, and the conversation which always unfolds:

  • “I’m bored, there is nothing to do around here.”
  • “We’ve done everything around here.”
  • “Everything fun is at least a 20 minute drive.”
  • “That’s way too far.”
  • “Let’s just go watch a scary movie in someone’s basement.”

board of directors 2015 holiday board meeting at quails coveyThis constant conversation is ludicrous. There is plenty to do in Lake Township, however people have to be willing to look and open their eyes to new possibilities. Remember when the Flea Market was on the corner of Market and 619? That was when there was less to do around here. While I have nothing against poor quality horror films (trust me, I’ve seen more than I care to admit), and there is nothing with wrong with finding things to do outside of the community occasionally, there is much more to this town. In my time at the Chamber, I have had the opportunity to connect with businesses that I didn’t even know existed, or have been around for years, but I never tried out. I could write a list or make a flowchart of neat things to do in a 15 mile radius, but all that would do is send every reader into information overload and leave them with nothing but a list of businesses, which they would ultimately never glance at again. Rather, I challenge you all to explore your town and begin thinking locally.

The most common problem I see, is the willingness to write off local businesses in favor of those in other townships. Why drive to out of the township connect with us image for cc social mediafor a cup of coffee when we have plenty of great coffee shops in town? Why scour the state for thrift shops when your town has a massive list of them? Why drive nearly an hour to go to a park when we have multiple (I know you all haven’t been to them all)? I am not saying you shouldn’t take advantage of all the state has to offer, but the fact is, if you spend $1.00 at a business in Lake Township, $0.68 will be put back into the local economy, if you spend the same amount in a different township, it is doing nothing to help this area continue to grow. That is staggering. Even in the last 19 years, Lake Township has grown immensely. You can continue to make this town bigger and better, but you need to invest in it first.

DHV map jpegLake Township has multiple hidden gems. I know most of my peers have an itch for exploration, but why not explore the place you live and find out what it truly has to offer?  The Chamber offers resources such as their blogs, Facebook pages, community calendar of events and their tourism website named Discover Hartville, which is dedicated to showcasing our area assets. The site also includes a downloadable map which helps tourists and locals navigate our area with ease.

I, like many of peers, swore to eventually get away from this community. The Chamber has not changed that, I still want to see the world. However, no city started as the behemoth it is today. It started as a small town like Hartville, Uniontown or Greentown. No matter where you travel, no matter where you wander, no matter if you stay or go, this place will always be your home, and we should treat it as such.

-Sam Tornow