Akron-based Apple Growth Partners marked 75 years in business during 2018 and opened an office in Belden Village to serve its Stark County clients.

JACKSON TWP.  Apple Growth Partners marked 75 years in business by expanding, and that included opening an office in Stark County to serve customers here.

The office at 4740 Belpar St. NW is in what remains of the former Aston Park plaza. Apple Growth has six full-time employees in the space, which also serves as a temporary home for staff that works out of the company's other offices.

Apple Growth is a certified public accounting and business services firm that specializes in accounting, finance, law, management and technology. The firm also offers business planning and analysis to help manage growth.

The firm already serves several clients in Stark County, including several long established customers, so it made sense to open an office here, said Brittany White, director of practice growth and marketing.

Apple Growth has worked with companies involved with construction, real estate, manufacturing, healthcare and restaurants, said Adam Pearce, who serves as manager for the local office.

Pearce, who grew up in Lake Township, and White, who is from Plain Township, said the firm has staffed the local office with Stark County residents and natives. Pearce noted that colleges in Stark County have strong accounting programs and that offers a great pool of talent for the firm.

Since opening the local office last year, Apple Growth has become involved with the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce, Women's Impact and a number of community organizations.

Apple Growth started in 1943 in Akron when Jay Heinick, an accounting student, began helping people file their income taxes. The firm has 115 employees with the main office in Akron and additional offices in Kent and Beachwood. Last year, in addition to opening the Belden Village office, Apple Growth consolidated two Cleveland offices at the Beachwood location.

While filing taxes helped launch the business, that is just part of what the firm does today, Pearce said. Apple Growth offers clients a service called the health growth check-up, which reviews a variety of areas to help businesses. "It's a tool kit for business owners," Pearce said.

Change of heart

In December, Krupa Global Investments, based in the Czech Republic, issued a statement complaining about Diebold Nixdorf management and the DN Now plan the company is using as it works to restructure and combat losses.

The investment firm's attitude has changed with the new year.

In a post on the investment website SeekingAlpha, Krupa Global said it believes Diebold Nixdorf is heading toward a positive turnaround. Opinions changed after "a detailed conversation" with the company's management, the post states.

One factor cited is the company's announcement that Jeff Rutherford has become chief financial officer after three months as interim CFO. Also cited was the decision to hire Julian Sparkes as leader for global IT and digital operations and Hermann Wimmer as leader for global retail. Those changes were announced the first week of January.

Krupa Global, which owns about 1.1 percent of Diebold Nixdorf's stock, criticized company leadership and said the DN Now plan "fails to address our concerns concretely."

After talking with Diebold Nixdorf management, Krupa learned that DN Now includes plans to eliminate 1,600 jobs worldwide and reduce its automatic teller machine models from more than 100 to fewer than 40. Krupa also noted that following a review of DN Now, the U.S. investment firm D.A. Davidson recommended buying Diebold Nixdorf shares and projected the price would rise to $5 per share.

"We strongly agree with this assessment," Krupa wrote in the post, adding that it believes Diebold Nixdorf shares could pass $10 in value.

Diebold Nixdorf shares were valued at more than $19 per share in January 2018, but the stock price dropped sharply last summer after the company projected a 2018 net loss ranging between $470 million and $520 million. Last Friday shares closed at $3.95.

Rice's Landscapes wins three awards

The Ohio Nursery & Landscape Association presented three awards to Rice's Landscape Redefined at the association's 46th annual Landscape Awards.

The awards recognize work by skilled landscape professionals. Using a 100-point system, the association presented 17 awards this year. Merit awards were presented to entries that received more than 70 points.

A project by Rice's at the Secrest Arboretum Health & Wellness Garden received the commercial installation award for a project priced at more that $75,000. Rice's also received merit awards for work done at two residential properties.

MAGNET survey results

More than 500 manufacturers responded to the Ohio Manufacturing Survey in December, and now the Manufacturing Advocacy & Growth Network is prepared to release the results.

Survey participants answered questions about successes, challenges, priorities and strategies. The results will be discussed in programs planned for Feb. 14 in Independence and Feb. 15 at the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce.

Edward "Ned" Hill, a professor in the John Glenn College of Public Affairs at Ohio State University, and Ethan Karp, MAGNET president and chief executive officer, will give presentations, while Team NEO officials will offer a review of national manufacturing trends.

For more information or to register, visit www.manufacturingsuccess.org.

Reach Edd at 330-580-8484 or edd.pritchard@cantonrep.com

On Twitter: @epritchardREP