Save The Date!! One Bite Taste Event October 25, 2018

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

With Gratitude,
Christa Kozy

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 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

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



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

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, 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 for featuring our area in the guide

Gift Local this Holiday Season!

We are inspired everyday by the work of our community emergency assistance program, named Lake Township F.I.S.H. (Faithfully I Serve Him).  This Holiday season, FISH is giving back in a number of ways to people in need in our community.  You can give them a helping hand throughout the season by participating in the Affordable Christmas program, as well as Thanksgiving and Christmas food drives.

What is Affordable Christmas?  As a Chamber of Commerce, we look at this program as a gift not only for those in need, but a gift back to our local community as well when gifts are purchased locally.  Affordable Christmas is a local shopping event on December 13 for lower-income, working-class families to provide their children fun and exciting gifts during the holiday affchristmasseason. Families are invited through partnering community organizations such as Lake Local Schools, Lake Township FISH and Stark County Family Council to attend the event and purchase new, unused gifts at 1/10 the cost of their original price. All gifts are intended for children and teens ages 0-16 years old.  Volunteer on Sunday December 13 from 3-6pm for this program, hosted at RiverTree Christian Church Lake Campus.

Local businesses are invited to place their own stock of toys and clothes at registers and encourage customers while they are checking out to purchase an extra item to donate to Affordable Christmas or host their own toy drive.  For a list of items Fill stockings for FISHneeded, click here.  Hartville Collectibles‘ new Children’s Boutique (located on the second floor) is participating in this program as well and toy drop-off locations are Best Bib and Tucker and Peace, Love and Little Donuts of Hartville.

On Tuesday, November 24, a group of local churches led by Hartville Mennonite Church gathered together to provide all of the ingredients of a traditional Thanksgiving meal to Lake Township residents referred by Lake Township FISH, Lake Center Christian School, Lake Local Schools and Greentown Elementary.   GentleBrook Event Center hosts the event and the children can make Thanksgiving cards while their parents select their ingredients.  Donors that made this event possible are Hartville Kitchen, Holy Spirit Catholic Church, Hartville Church of the Brethren, Advent Lutheran Church, Bethany Mennonite Church, Church Upon the Rock, Adventure Place, Rivertree Lake, Maple Grove Mennonite Church, Uniontown United Methodist Church, East 12108809_741787219285765_8812601852599261478_nNimishillen Church of the Brethren, FISH, Solid Rock Church, St. Jacob’s Lutheran Church, Hartville Mennonite Church, Pole Position Marketing, GentleBrook and New Life Episcopal Church.  

Lake High School National Honor Society student Megan collaborated with FISH and local volunteers and employees from Pole Position Marketing and Best Bib and Tucker in our community to make 180 stockings that have been distributed throughout Lake Township shops to fill with donations.  Twice is Nice and Best Bib and Tucker are collecting items until November 30.  Those donations will stock the pantry shelves for the winter months when need is greater.  On December 7, the giving continues as a “Breakfast Food Drive” at Lake High School fills the stockings with the makings of a wonderful Christmas morning breakfast!

Lastly, stop on out to Evening in the Village in Historic Downtown Hartville on Sunday, December 6 from 4:30-7:00pm for a Lake Township tradition!  Tree lighting, visit with Santa, wagon rides, choirs, children’s activities, and downtown shops open! A collection site for Affordable Christmas and donations for Lake Township FISH will be available during the event.

Lake Township is known for its generous and giving nature.  Thank you, especially during this Thanksgiving week, for making this a great community for all!


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


Community Impact Award – Debbie Marshall

Lake High School Guidance Counselor Debbie Marshall impacted the Lake Township area and surrounding communities with the creation of Lake Community Cares.  Lake Community Cares is an educational support series to help families dealing with the crisis of addiction in our community.

Debbie Marshall Community Impact

When Lake High School counselor Debbie Marshall accepts the Community Impact award at the Lake Chamber of Commerce Award dinner on February 17, she has quite a story to tell about the need for intervention and education. Her involvement began with conversations with her friend and former colleague Jan Miller regarding the growing crisis. Certainly, Mrs. Marshall has been a driving force to educate our community. She attests to bringing on a broad range of professionals to help fight against addiction’s grip. As a result, in 2014 Lake Community Cares was formed.

To educate and support families about substance abuse in our community, the group had created a series of topics. “Gone but Not Forgotten” held in November, featured three Lake High School seniors, who had each lost a brother to heroin overdoses within a year. From L Taylor Alaina Amanda“Hidden in Plain Sight” held in January of this year was an interactive exhibit, showing more than 150 items, which may be found in a teenager’s room and may reflect addictions and risky behaviors. On February 23 the group will host a town hall meeting featuring Sheriff Maier and Judge Forchione. In addition, a support group for those suffering from addiction is in the planning stages.

The Stark County SOLACE (Surviving Our Loss And Continuing Everyday) group will be in Hartville for the next three months. Uniontown Police Department now has a drug drop off box. She hopes to continue providing educational support programs.

faces of the community for debbie marshall video

Mrs. Marshall has been with Lake Local Schools since 1997 and currently works with Junior & Senior Career Tech/Prep students.  She is a graduate of Kent State University, and has a Master’s Degree from Malone University in school counseling. She and her husband Joe have two children.

Congratulations to Debbie Marshall!

Contributions by:  Penelope Frederick The Hartville News