Hudson -- Businesses of the year include a furniture store, flea market, expanding business, clothing store and law firm.

The City of Hudson Economic Development Department and Hudson Area Chamber of Commerce Nov. 19 announced their winners for business awards in 2015.

Anyone could nominate a business for the award, said Carolyn Konefal, president of the Hudson Area Chamber of Commerce. A committee represented by the city and the chamber of commerce reviewed the submissions and chose the winners based on the nature of the nominations.

Nicky Nicole

Business of the Year was awarded to Nicky Nicole owner M.J. Lehman.

They were an original tenant of First & Main and expanded from young girl clothing to teens and women five years ago, Konefal said.

"They're an integral part of the Hudson community and introduced Plaid Friday," Konefal said.

Lehman said she launched her store the night of the second Harry Potter event in Hudson.

"We watched our customers grow up and come back with their own children," Lehman said. "I look forward to the next 10 years."

(sub)-urban sit

The New Business of the Year was (sub)-urban sit, a furniture store at 98 N. Main St. which opened in May and is owned by Phil Bearden and his wife, Sherrie, in the former GAP store space.

"They wanted to offer unique, quality furniture obtainable for everyone," said Hudson Economic Development Director Chuck Wiedie.

Bearden gave credit to his wife and family for their support and guidance and said it was everyone's responsibility to be good community citizens as well a part of the business community.

"Hudson is truly a unique place," Bearden said. "It was laid down by people for us, and we not only keep it going but have a responsibility to make it better."

The Hudson Flea

The Entrepreneurial Advocates of the Year were Randy Baun and Patrick Randall of The Hudson Flea. In its second year, the Evaporator Works monthly offers vendors an opportunity to sell items in the open space around the buildings housing a variety of shops along Ravenna Street in the downtown.

On Flea Day they can have more than 3,500 customers and the traffic increases for other merchants in the downtown area, Konefal said.

"Not only have they spurred economic development, but they have brought something fun and eclectic and entrepreneur to Hudson," Konefal said.

Ramco Specialists Inc.

Ramco Specialists Inc. was named Economic Development Project of the Year. Ramco, which manufactures and distributes fasteners with global sales in excess of $80 million outgrew its facilities on Hudson Drive, said Wiedie. They will move to a new location of 165,000 square feet, a $12 million investment, to house the headquarters, manufacturing space and distribution center.

John Reichard said the company, which has been in Hudson for 38 years, looked at other communities for the expansion but ultimately made the decision to stay in Hudson.

Day Ketterer

The final award went to Day Ketterer for Business of the Year. The firm of 48 attorneys represent clients throughout Ohio.

Rob Roland, who accepted the award on behalf of the company, said Day Ketterer was formed in downtown Canton in 1872.

"We have a great history and great basis to grow," Roland said. "We are the firm of the future. We expect to continue to grow and 100 years from now, there will be a Day Ketterer in Hudson."

Special Speaker

Mike Mulhall, VP of Partnerships at Destination Cleveland was the keynote speaker at the Nov. 19 award event. Mulhall was involved in securing the 2016 Republican National Convention for Cleveland July 18-21, 2016, at Quicken Loans Arena and explained the economic impact it will have on the region.

The Cleveland area began to feel the impact as soon as it was announced it had won by the unanimous vote of the 60-member committee over Dallas and six other locations, including Columbus and Cincinnati, Mulhall said.

The RNC is the second largest media event in the world with 50,000 visitors to Northeast Ohio and $200 million in direct spending, he said.

The RNC provides Cleveland an opportunity to change any negative perceptions into a positive one, Mulhall said. Projects are accelerated to meet the July deadline date, including improvements to Public Square, streets, lighting, the airport, RTA and beautification projects to make "Cleveland like a new shiny penny."

The new Hilton Cleveland will provide 600 rooms and other hotels in the area will be needed, spreading the dollars as far south as Fairlawn and Summit County communities.

Volunteers are needed and business suppliers can offer their services to visitors by going to or A newsletter is available at

"Get involved," Mulhall said. "This is the first time Cleveland has hosted the convention in 80 years. History is being made. Embrace it. Be a part of the conversation, meet people in the community and showcase Cleveland."


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