Grand opening events planned for early April at new Dressler Road NW location.

JACKSON TWP.  After years of looking at potential sites, Petitti Garden Centers is set to open a Stark County location in early March.

The company spent "every bit of a good 10 years" looking for a spot in the Belden Village shopping district, said Angelo G. "AJ" Petitti, president of the family owned company. Last year the company made the decision to open at 5656 Dressler Road NW., the former home of Grand Slam USA.

"As soon as we saw the spot, we knew we liked it," Petitti said. "We saw the right opportunity and we jumped on it right away."

The location will be the ninth Petitti Garden Center in Northeast Ohio.

Work to transform the building started last summer. The Petitti family worked with local architectural firm SoL Harris/Day to redesign the building. Changes include adding 35,000 square feet and creating a 30,000-square-foot area for the garden center.

The garden center will be opening in time for spring planting. Petitti grows more than 90 percent of the plants sold in its stores. The business, which started in Oakwood Village in 1971, maintains a 1,000-acre nursery in Madison and several greenhouses in Columbia Station.

The centers also feature outdoor furnishings, such as patio furniture and grills, along with lifestyles and decor items, fire pits, outdoor lighting and other items. The company looks for product lines that are different from those carried by other retailers.

During late fall, as the holidays approach, Petitti stores transform into a Christmas wonderland.

Angelo Petitti, who was 16 when he immigrated to the U.S. from Italy, started Petitti Landscape Co. in the late 1960s with his brother, Dominic. They initially worked from a garage in Oakwood Village. When passersby started stopping to ask about buying plants stored outside the garage, the brothers decided to open their first garden center.

The Oakwood Village location serves as flagship store and home office for the regional chain. Other retail centers are in Tallmadge, Avon, Bainbridge, Boardman, Brunswick, Mentor and Strongsville.

AJ is the oldest of three children born to Angelo and Maria Petitti.

While the store opens in the coming week, look forward to a grand opening event in early April. A ribbon cutting is planned for April 12, Petitte said.

Timken executive on Team NEO board

Timken Co. executive Philip D. Fracassa has been named as director on the Team Northeast Ohio board.

As executive vice president and chief financial officer, Fracassa leads Timken's finance organization and directs the company's information technology and enterprise shared services operations.

In a news release announcing the appointment, Team NEO officials said they are happy to have Fracassa join the board.

Robert C. Smith, the Team NEO board chairman, said Fracassa would be "an ideal board member and important voice to have at our table" when considering his skills and commitment to the region, as well as Timken's long history of investing in Ohio.

Bill Koehler, Team NEO's chief executive officer, said the board will benefit from Fracassa's “understanding of the region’s economic development system through his past involvement with the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce." Fracassa also brings insights in finance, manufacturing, technology and international business and knows the value of innovation in driving economic growth, Koehler said in the release.

Fracassa joined Timken in 2005 and has held several keys finance positions. He led the project to spin the company's steel business off as TimkenSteel Corp. and has been chief financial officer since 2014.

Team NEO is an economic development organization based in Cleveland that works with regional development groups and chambers of commerce to create jobs in the region. The organization works to attract and retain businesses, help company's expand and helps company's attract talent to the region.

Help from SCORE

Business owners hoping to expand have plenty of questions when they try to secure capital for the project.

Answers can be found at a SCORE workshop, "An Insider's View: Securing Capital to Grow Your Business." The program is from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. on March 7 in the community room at Jackson Township Hall, 5735 Wales Road NW.

Presenters are Mark Hansel, a lender relations specialist for the Small Business Administration in Cleveland; Adriene Bruce, who is regional representative for KeyBank's community benefits plan; and Dick Kress, who has 40 years experience in corporate banking.

There is a $10 fee, to cover costs, for the workshop, although students are admitted free with their identification card. To register, contact SCORE at or call 330-244-3280.

Business Expo

The Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce 2018 Business Expo is Thursday evening at the Conference Center on the Kent State University Stark Campus.

The event features 100 area businesses as well as more than a dozen local restaurants offering a "Taste of Stark." Admission is $5 or free with a business card.

The business expo is part of the Chamber's Small Business Events Series and is presented by AultCare. Register at or call 330-458-2070.

Soy oil a winner

Technology that substitutes soybean oil for petroleum is winning awards for Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.

The company received the Tire Technology International Award for Innovation and Excellence in the category of “Environmental Achievement of the Year” during the 2018 Tire Technology Expo in Hannover, Germany. Goodyear is using the technology on its Assurance WeatherReady and Eagle Enforcer all weather tires.

Goodyear determined that soybean oil could improve tire flexibility at low temperatures. The company said that helps the rubber remain pliable in cold weather and enhance traction in rain and snow. The soybean oil also mixes more easily with rubber compounds and reduces energy consumption, which makes manufacturing more efficient.

Reach Edd at 330-580-8484 or

On Twitter: @epritchardREP