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.  

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.



Lake Township’s Year in Review

2015 was a fantastic year of growth for Lake Township and we look forward to a prosperous 2016!

Business Openings:

A Niche in Time (Historic Downtown Hartville) – March – Great estate finds await you at this shop, located in Historic Downtown Hartville

Comfort Suites: Hartville – April – 81 suites available to help all your friends and family come visit the area

Yoder Medical – June- Newly remodeled and rebranded, Yoder Medical offers fashionable scrubs, shoes, and supplies

261 Boutique (Uniontown Square) – July – Fashionable and sophisticated, a great addition to any shopping spree

Arukah Market Health and Restoration – August- A plentiful selection of healthy foods awaits at this Uniontown-based market

Peace, Love & Little Donuts (Historic Downtown Hartville) – August – Offers a variety of 20+ kinds of delicious donuts

Uniontown Community Park – August – A new playground has been added to help kids get out and be active

Uniontown Police Department– August – UPD has relocated and gained new facilities

upd ribbon cutting

Cocoa Concepts – September – Learn the history and process of making chocolate at this location, they also specialize in small parties. Cocoa Concepts hosted the largest Business After Hours event yet at 125+ peopleHartville Children’s Boutique – November – Has a great array of baby gear and toys, the perfect shop for anyone with a child in their life

hv childrens boutique for year in review

Chamber & Community Events:

SCORE Canton: Business After Hours – January – Highlighted SCORE Canton’s free and confidential business counseling, hosted at Grinders

Annual Leadership Awards Dinner – February – The Chamber’s annual dinner, hosted by Hartville Kitchen, which featured Pro Football Hall of Fame President, David Baker and Leadership Awards for five community leaders


POPS Hullabaloo & YMCA Kid’s Day April – An event where parents of young children could tour area preschools, while local businesses, aimed at children, could network

Speed Networking – April – A lightning-fast networking event, hosted by Elite Sports Uniontown, with the North Canton and Green Chambers

STAR Training – April/September – A two part series, with VisitCanton.com, training front line employees to be tourism ambassadors 

Get Your Businesses Online with Google – July – A Google sponsored workshop, which promoted getting our area on the map

gybo presenters

MAPS Air Museum – September- Small Business Showcase with North Canton and Jackson/Belden Chambers

Second Saturday – June through September – A Historic Downtown Hartville event, taking place between June and September, which featured live music, art, food and more

Tailgate Party and Pep Rally – September- Hosted by the Hartville Marketplace & Flea Market, this event helped bring the community together for the Lake High School band, cheerleaders and football team

Leadership Stark County Bus Tour – Highlighted the great features of Lake Township to area colleagues from Leadership Stark County

Homecoming Parade -October- A parade to celebrate Lake High School’s Homecoming, hosted by PNC Bank

One Bite – October – A Chamber taste event featuring local restaurants and businesses

1One Bite 2015 Best Bite WinnersEvening the in Village – December – Hartville’s annual, festive occasion hosts a plethora of activities, such as music, vendors, and the Ride the Fire Truck with Santa contest

eiv collage for year in review

Holidays at the Hollow Luncheon  December – Chamber’s Annual Holidays at the Hollow Luncheon featured One Bite Taste Event winners The Pierogi Lady, Mi Casa Mexican Restaurant, and Quail’s Covey Bed & Breakfast at Quail Hollow Park

All Year – Morning Connections Networking was hosted at Consumers National Bank on the first Wednesday of each month for a networking & education series

Press and Features:

Southwest MagazineThanks to Southwest Magazine for featuring our area in a well represented manner

About Magazine –  Thank you About Magazine for your piece on Downtown Hartville

Akron Life – Thank you Akron Life for featuring Hartville

New Day Cleveland –  Thank you New Day Cleveland for your piece on Hartville shopping, for the holidays

Stark County Visitor’s GuideThank you VisitCanton.com for featuring our area in the guide

Yoder Medical Gives Back

Yoder Medical, located in the Edison Park Plaza, has been “Outfitting The Medical Community And Beyond” since 1992.  We are a one-stop destination for medical supplies, uniforms, footwear and accessories.  We are also a family owned and community-minded business that has recently re-branded into a specialized community minded uniform boutique.  We pride ourselves on the ideology of giving back through our partnership with local non-profits such as the “Ronald McDonald House of Akron” and “Banded”.
We invite our customers to stop by “Annabelle’s Corner” for a Dansko shoe fitting; where each pair purchased results in a personal contribution made to the Ronald McDonald House of Akron on Annabelle’s behalf.  Annabelle is the name of owners’ Titus & Carla Yoder‘s granddaughter whose immediate family had an excellent experience with the organization while she was undergoing medical treatment.
Our accessory department shines with the addition of our Banded headband products.  This organization provides both fashionable and functional headbands while giving back through their partnership with Amazima Ministries.  For each product purchased, 3 meals are provided for the children in Uganda, making a difference for them.  As of June 2015, 1.8 million meals have been provided by Banded’s retail partners and consumers!IMG_0211
Why not make your purchase count by making a difference in someone else’s life?  We have enjoyed the concept and hope that you will too!  Stop by and see us at our Edison Park Plaza location and visit our Facebook page for our “Scrubs of the Week, Wacky Wednesday and Fun Fact Friday” posts to find out more about our promotions and new products!

Lifetime Achievement Award – Ellis Erb

Lifelong Lake Township resident Ellis Erb will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Lake Township Chamber of Commerce at their Annual Leadership Awards Dinner on February 17, 2015, at the Hartville Kitchen. His keen philanthropic interests, combined with his business skills and building photo (3)knowledge, have enabled Mr. Erb to promote positive interests in our community for residents of all ages.

Founder of Ellis Erb, Inc., his commitment to our community remains strong.  He is currently serving his fourth term on the Board of Lake Township Trustees.  Even so, Mr. Erb’s desire to make a positive difference has been multi-generational.

His career began as a building contractor in residential and church construction. He was instrumental in the founding and development of the Lake Senior Center, serving as its first president.  He was one of the community leaders who helped purchase and design the Lake High School Athletic Complex.  He worked on all of the Lake Local Schools facility designs. Mr. Erb and his team built the 7-acre Alumni Field 2 lake high schoolHartville Hardware,  America’s largest independently owned hardware store.  Some of his other local well-known buildings are the Hartville Village Hall, Lake Center Christian High School, the Chapel in Marlboro, Consumers National Bank, Grinders Above & Beyond and Schoner Chevrolet.  The additions to the Hartville Church of the Brethren and Advent Lutheran Church are his work. He built the Edison Park Plaza, which included the True Value Hardware, and the nearby residential area. He developed the Indian Village residential allotment and the Cheviot Court Condominiums.ellis buildings

Mr. Erb served as Street Commissioner for the Village of Hartville for fifteen years. He was an active member of the Hartville Lions Club. Currently, Mr. Erb is a voting member of the Stark County Regional Planning Commission and the Stark County Township Association. He is a member of the National Association of Home Builders.

He and his wife Janice are members of Grace Brethren Church.  They have four children, ten grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.


Contributions by:  Penelope Frederick, The Hartville News

Community Service Leadership Award – Crissy Mudd

Crissy Mudd continually  inspires her Teen Leaders at the Lake Community YMCA through her work as the Teen & Family Director.  The Lake Chamber will Crissy Mudd Community Service Awardhonor her with the Community Service Award at their Annual Leadership Award Dinner on Tuesday, February 17 at the Hartville Kitchen.  The Leadership Award is presented to an individual that has distinguished herself by selflessly demonstrating an act of community servitude, a spirit of volunteerism, uniting the community in a common goal, or raising awareness of an issue.

Mudd and her Teen Leaders partnered with GentleBrook clients to “Disable the Label” and Teen Leader Hunter Bussey stated  “We are making a difference and spreading the awareness to others about their choice of words that they use.  One small act of kindness can spread the wordmake a huge difference in someone’s life.  I am thankful to be in YMCA’s Leaders Club to take a stance!”

The majority of Crissy’s role at the Lake Community YMCA is with the Teen Leaders program.  Teen Leaders is a Middle School and High School program that meets bi-weekly to impact the community through service projects and volunteering.  They gain personal growth through experiencing leadership roles and responsibilities.  Last school year the program had over 2,400 service hours recorded.  Mudd stated, “We have one of the largest, if not the largest, Teen Leader programs in the state of Ohio. The best part is splatter scatter 1having the teens realize that no matter what it is that we do it is fun to help others and that we receive so much more than we give!  True happiness is found when you are serving others! ”  Mudd has been married to her high school sweetheart, Mark, for 24 years.  Together they have four children.

The family attends Rivertree Church where Mudd and her daughters serve in Treehouse Kids nursery, caring for children.

Contributions by:  Penelope Frederick, The Hartville News