Growth Report 2020

BBB Members Value Integrity in Marketplace

By Carol Potter, President and CEO
YOUNGSTOWN – Since 1974, the Better Business Bureau of the Mahoning Valley has served our community by advancing trust in the marketplace. With over 1,100 accredited businesses in Columbiana, Mahoning and Trumbull counties, BBB connects consumers with companies committed to standards and best practices underlined by the values of excellence, integrity, teamwork, trust and respect. 

Throughout the year, BBB team members seek proven ethical and trustworthy businesses, accurately report on marketplace information, work with media and marketing outlets to reach consumers and businesses and provide a neutral environment where people can share their experiences, good or bad. 

BBB strives to build productive, trustworthy relationships and, in turn, local businesses recognize the strategic importance of trust. In 2019, the BBB of the Mahoning Valley had the second-highest retention rate in the United States and Canada, retaining over 90% of our businesses. 

Local BBB business profile views increased last year to 406,630 from 328,041, an increase of 19%. These local enterprises are expanding their digital footprint through BBB. Industries for which we received the most inquiries were construction services, roofing contractors and auto transportation.

Recent research compiled in collaboration with Experience on Demand found that local accredited businesses responding to a survey said the most important reasons to be affiliated with BBB are: increases the credibility of the business (69%), shows integrity in business practices (53%) and shows that the business cares about their customers (48%). 

BBB encourages victims to be fraud fighters by reporting scams to BBB ScamTracker. Data from ScamTracker, an online tool that enables consumers and businesses to report fraud and keep others from falling prey to similar cons, revealed that the top impersonated organizations are the IRS, government agencies, Publishers Clearing House, Microsoft and Apple. Be aware of these prevalent imposter scams.

In 2020, BBB, in partnership with 898 Marketing, will launch a new lunch & learn speaker series for accredited businesses. The “People Worth Sharing: Journey to the Top” series will present dynamic  national experts in marketing and other fields with a focus on increasing success.

BBB will soon have access to reports from IBISWorld to help businesses, marketers and sales teams better understand current market conditions, industry trends and analyses. These BBB branded tool kits are designed to help accredited businesses be successful. Specific industries selected for 2020 are HVAC, professional services, movers, roofing contractors, furniture stores and wireless telecom. 

The Torch Awards for Marketplace Trust were presented in June. This enormously successful luncheon was made possible through the underwriting of the BBB TrustBuilders: PNC Bank, Chemical Bank, Farmers National Bank, Huntington Bank, and Home Savings Bank. We applaud our Valley’s TrustBuilders for their work to encourage economic development and home ownership. 

Four businesses – Bolt Construction, Westside Tire & Service, Morris Financial Group and Komara Jewelers – were honored with Torch Awards for their efforts to embody integrity. The Torch Award for Nonprofit Excellence was awarded to The Youngstown Foundation and the Torch Award for Civic Leadership was given to Sharon Letson, executive director of Youngstown CityScape.

With support from Sweeney Chevrolet Buick GMC and Farmers Trust Co., BBB also provided five high school seniors with $1,000 scholarships. Thirty-one high school seniors have received scholarships since 2014. A key requirement to apply for a scholarship is for the students to write an essay on the meaning of ethics and integrity.

This year’s scholarships will be awarded June 11 at the 2020 Torch Awards at The Lake Club. 

Copyright 2020 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.