Gorant Chocolates Sold; Hardy, Lainey Wilson at Covelli

The week got off to a somber start Monday as Americans looked back on the horror of 9/11 while observing the 22nd anniversary of the deadliest terror attack on U.S. soil. 

The Business Journal was in Austintown that day for a ceremony that took place at the Mahoning Valley 9/11 Memorial Park, which features steel from the twin towers in New York, stone from the Pentagon and soil from the crash site in Shanksville, Pa.

As many Americans reflected on the tragedy, a group of architecture students from Kent State University focused on a brighter future in Warren. The students and an associate professor toured an area of the city Monday and will develop plans for new, affordable housing.

On Tuesday, Utica Shale Academy in Columbiana County officially opened its new Ascent Resources Welding Lab. Superintendent William Watson called the outdoor lab the “Cadillac” of several projects the school has been trying to complete.

And speaking of things that are hot, country music superstars Hardy and Lainey Wilson will perform tonight at Covelli Centre in downtown Youngstown. Demand was high for the concert when tickets went on sale six months ago, and it might have gotten even stronger, Guy D’Astolfo reported

D’Astolfo also talked with Youngstown-based artist Kenny Greco about his new album and highlighted the trio of Maureen Collins, Mary Jo Maluso and Rick Blackson, who are teaming up for shows that will pay tribute to The Carpenters.

Some Valley icons in the treats business made headlines this week. On Tuesday, Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream announced that it plans to open at least 30 more shops by the end of this year. Then, on Wednesday, we learned that Gorant Chocolates has been sold. Also, Gabriele Brocker, who owns Bake Me Treats in Poland, opened a second location in Salem.

In an article that first ran in our September issue, Deanne Johnson profiled David Dastoli, president of Farmers Trust Co. And looking ahead to the MidSeptember issue, Johnson gave a preview of the next installment of The Business Journal Roundtable Series., which featured local marketing experts.

Here’s a look at those stories and other top stories this week from BusinessJournalDaily.com:

OH Donut Owners Purchase Gorant Chocolates

The Gorant store at 8301 Market St. in Boardman.

Gorant Chocolates has been purchased by Valley businesspeople Bergen Giordani and Dr. Nino Rubino. The 74-year-old company will continue with the same name and chocolate recipes, Giordani said.

Giordani is founder and co-owner of One Hot Cookie and OH Donut, which have multiple locations in the Mahoning Valley. Her business partner, Rubino, is a family medicine practitioner and partner at Poland Medical Center and co-owner of OH Donut. READ

Red-hot Hardy, Lainey Wilson Are Heading for Covelli

Hardy performs during a recent concert. (Photo by Ryan Smith)

Hardy was already hot when his Covelli Centre concert was announced in March. But the hard-rocking country artist’s tour – which also includes rising superstar Lainey Wilson – has only gotten more buzzworthy.

Hardy is at the vanguard of a wave of country music artists who aren’t afraid to embrace their rock side. His concert this Saturday, Sept. 16, at Covelli sold out faster than any show at the downtown arena in the post-pandemic era. READ

Farmers’ Dastoli Builds Trust Managing Wealth

David Dastoli, president of Farmers Trust Co.

The president of Farmers Trust Co., David Dastoli, learned investment jargon at a young age from his father, who taught finance at Youngstown State University.

“I found a way into trusts through a love, through an interest in investment management that was probably seeded by my father,” Dastoli says. “We never had any money. He was a college professor. But he knew the technicals and the trade options. So I was always intrigued by that.”

Even after he studied finance at Kent State University, Dastoli admits he did not know where he fit into the profession’s job market. READ

Marketers Help Area Businesses Focus Social Media Efforts

Front row, from left: Adrienne Sabo, Rebecca Bayley and Caitlyn Chrystal; back row, from left: Steve Cross, Jeff Hedrich and George Farris.

As the ways to reach customers continue to grow and evolve, local business owners can depend on several quality marketing firms based in the Mahoning Valley.

The Business Journal Roundtable Series invited representatives of six local marketing and communications firms to the Courtyard Waypoint in Canfield on Aug. 22 to discuss issues in marketing. READ

Kenny Greco Goes It Alone on New Album

Kenny Greco’s blue-collar rock shines through on his new album.

“This is the record I’ve always wanted to make,” Kenny Greco says.

The Youngstown-based artist’s latest album – his fourth – stays true to his blue-collar singer-songwriter style. But Greco feels like he nailed it this time. The self-titled album came out in August and is available on all online platforms. READ

KSU Students Get Tour to Help Plan New Housing in Warren

Michael Keys, left, Warren’s community development director, and Wiley Runnestrand, a principal of Sapientia Ventures LLC, talk to Kent State University College of Architecture and Environmental Design students Monday.

A group of Kent State University architecture students is embarking on a quest to devise ways to revitalize a long-neglected area of the city.

Sixteen students and William T. Willoughby, associate professor at KSU’s College of Architecture and Environmental Design, toured the Southwest Neighborhood of the city’s 6th Ward on Monday.

The idea is for them to develop plans for new, affordable housing in that area, bordered by the Mahoning River and Tod Avenue (state Route 45). READ

Sweet Expansion: Bake Me Treats Opens New Location in Salem

Bake Me Treats owner Gabriele Brocker stands in front of her new Salem location.

When a real estate agent showed Bake Me Treats owner Gabriele Brocker an East State Street storefront, she knew that’s where she wanted to open her second location.

“I fell in love with it,” Brocker said.

The 657 E. State St. space is the perfect size, and her shop fits with the surrounding small businesses. READ

Other Top Stories

Youngstown OKs Agreement for Ridge Avenue Building
Company Sparks Realization of Utica Shale Welding Lab
Good Morning, Trumbull Speakers Tout Progress, Development
Valley Partners Prepares to Launch New Grant Program
Handel’s Ice Cream Plans 30 More Shops as Growth Continues
Oil Output Down but Strong for Columbiana County Wells
Employee’s Panerathon Efforts Inspire Greenwood Donation
Chill Can Attorneys Seek to Disqualify Court Magistrate
Commentary: Sidewalks Open to Local Businesses!
Maluso, Blackson, Collins Team Up for Tribute to The Carpenters
Local Recovery-to-Workforce Programs Receive Funding
Website that Commemorates Playhouse Centennial Goes Live

From Around Ohio

Team NEO Report: Region Well Positioned for Semiconductor Industry
H2Ohio Incentive Program Expanding Statewide
Ohio’s TechCred Funded 430 Employers in July
Ohio Signs Memorandum of Understanding with Serbian Organization

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