November 25, 2014

Medina
Cloudy
35°F

Business Beat: Taking sting out of filling gas tank

By MARIA KACIK

Staff Writer

At the beginning of this month, gas prices throughout the county were held under $3.50 a gallon. As the weeks went on, they crept up to near $4 a gallon.

Now, area businesses are helping to lessen the sting consumers are feeling from high gas prices.

Businesses are running special discounts and promotions that revolve around the price of gas. For example, a receipt from the gas pump acted as a coupon at Donatos Pizza, which has shops in Medina and Brunswick. Customers received however much they paid per gallon of gas off the price of a large pizza. The promotion ended Monday.

In addition, Choice Hotels — which includes Rodeway Inn on state Route 18 in Medina Township, the Sleep Inn on South Carpenter Road in Brunswick and the Comfort Inn on Park Avenue West in Seville — is offering a $50 gas card to customers who stay at the hotels three separate times before Aug. 14.

Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge dealers throughout the country have promised the buyers of new cars $2.99 a gallon of gas for three years. Until June 2, those who purchase a new Chrysler, Jeep and Dodge and select the Let’s Refuel America program will receive a gas card that only charges the card owner $2.99 a gallon for gas.

“The program has been a smashing success,” said Lou Kaltenstein, owner of the Lodi Auto Mall on Orrin Road in Westfield Township. “As the way the gas prices are going, this is kind of an escalating incentive.”

Nelson Axelrod, owner and president of Axelrod Chrysler-Dodge and Jeep on Broad Street in Wadsworth, said the Let’s Refuel America program has been going so well the dealership briefly sold out of economy cars. Despite the high gas prices, though, Axelrod said many of the “gas guzzlers” like pickup trucks are still selling.

“It’s hard to put a family in an economy car,” he said.

Kaltenstein said he’s been telling his customers they should keep their vehicle’s tires inflated correctly and regularly clean the air and fuel filters to get the best gas mileage.

“People are going to take a lot of one-tank trips that are closer to home this summer. But that means they’re still driving so they have to maintain their fuel economy when they’re driving,” he said.

For years, grocery stores in the county have been helping their customers with the price of gas.

Since installing gas pumps two years ago, Miller Bros. in Lodi has been offering gas discounts to customers. Owner Ken Long explained 1,000 items throughout the store offer a discount on gas. Total discounts are printed on customers’ receipts.

“Gas is a big issue right now so any way you can save, they’re going to take advantage of it,” he said.

Linda Lawless of Lodi, who was shopping in Miller Bros. Tuesday, said she usually receives a 12- to 20-cent discount off her gas.

“If you fill up your tank all the way, it’s a pretty good savings,” she said.

In addition, Buehler’s grocery stores offer their customers $10 gift cards to Marathon gas stations when they have received 500 points for buying certain items in the store.

Giant Eagle grocery stores offer discounts to customers through the Fuelperks program. The chain has been offering the Fuelperks program for years.

Dan Donovan, spokesperson for the company, said there hasn’t been any rise in use of the program with the recent spike in gas prices.

“The trend is just kind of continuous. Because the vast majority of customers redeem their Fuelperks always, it just hasn’t changed with the change of the gas price,” Donovan said.

Bob Voyner of Medina stood at the pumps at the GetGo station at Smith Road and South Court Street in Medina on Friday, ready to fill up his pickup truck and the three empty plastic gas jugs he had lined up. With Memorial Day weekend about to begin, gas prices stood at just below $4 a gallon.

He, however, would not be paying so much. Thanks to the discounts he received on his Fuelperks account for shopping at Giant Eagle this month, he paid $2.60 a gallon for what should have been $3.90

“You got to load (the points) up a bit,” he said with a smile.

Speech therapy
For years, Language Learning Associates of Fairlawn has been helping Medina children with speech-language therapy services. With a new Medina office opening early next month, they will make the trip a lot shorter for those children and their families, while also opening up their services to more families in the area.

Established in 1987, Language Learning Associates provides therapy to children with speech comprehension and articulation issues and also some who have trouble learning to read. Owner Troy McClowry said the company often provides services on top of the speech therapy provided at school, offering appointments after school and in the summer months. The company also works with children who do not qualify for their schools’ speech therapy.

Last year, the company opened an office in Hudson and on June 9 it will open its third office at 3637 Medina Road, Suite 220, in Medina Township.

McClowry said the company already provides services to about 30 Medina families.

“We’ve been around for a while. It wasn’t such a knee-jerk move. There’s a need. And (Medina) is a growing community,” said McClowry, a Montville Township resident. “I think more accessibility will be granted to the families we already serve in Medina, but it will also allow us to service areas like Brunswick and Wadsworth.”

McClowry explained Language Learning Associates already has a contract with the Medina City School District to “lighten a load for the speech therapists that are already working there.” In addition, the company screens students of The Nurtury on Spring Grove Street in Medina for speech problems.

“Not only do we provide these services, but we become a part of the community as well,” McClowry said.

New home
The Wadsworth Branch of Howard Hanna Smythe Cramer has a new home.

“We’ve moved almost across the street,” said Jim Penko of Howard Hanna Smythe Cramer’s communications and advertising department. Formerly at 209 Great Oaks Trail, the office is now located at 185 Great Oaks Trail. It employs approximately 40 realtors.

Today, the group will celebrate with a grand opening celebration that will serve as this month’s Wadsworth Chamber of Commerce business after business spotlight. The event will be from 4 to 7 p.m. with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 5.

“In moving to the new location, what we have done is we think it will be more appropriate in meeting the increase in selling and buying activity that we have seen in the area,” Penko said.

Since 2000, the listing volume at the Wadsworth office has quadrupled. And the situation keeps looking better, Penko said.

“Even though the market is off, we’re doing very well,” he said.

Kacik may be reached at 330-721-4049 or business@ohio.net.