Kent State Stark and Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce Partner on 'Blue, Gold & Grateful' Initiative

Stark Campus employees to support small business this holiday season; $7K boost to local economy

Kent State University at Stark and the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce are partnering on a new Kent State University employee appreciation initiative that gives back to local businesses and families.

The "Blue, Gold & Grateful!" campaign provides all Kent State University at Stark employees with a $20 voucher to spend at select small businesses during the month of December. 

“Our faculty and staff have worked diligently to accomplish great things this semester, including achieving enrollment growth during a pandemic,” said Denise A. Seachrist, Ph.D., dean and chief administrative officer at Kent State University at Stark. “We are happy to extend this small token of appreciation toward the purchase of a heartfelt gift after an unprecedented year when we’ve discovered ways to rally together to keep our community strong.”

Working with the chamber, Kent State Stark identified and selected the following small businesses that agreed to participate in the program:

  • Muggzwigz Coffee & Tea locations:  Downtown Coffee & Tea Bar Roastery & HQ, 137 Walnut Ave. NE, Canton; Lake Cable Coffee & Tea Bar, 5854 Fulton Drive NW, Canton; Portage Lakes Coffee & Tea Bar, 3452 Manchester Road, Akron.
  • Mama Guzzardi's Italian Restaurant:  1107 N. Main St., North Canton.
  • Shale Brewing Company:  7253 Whipple Ave. NW, North Canton.
  • Studio Arts & Glass:  7495 Strauss Ave. NW, North Canton.
  • Nothing Bundt Cakes:  4468 Belden Village St. NW, Suite B, Canton.

Dennis P. Saunier, president and CEO of the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce, agreed the win-win initiative helps strengthen the county’s business community – providing for a boost of up to $7,000 to the local economy. 
“Our small business community, particularly restaurants and retailers, have been especially hard-hit during this pandemic,” Saunier said. “When Kent State Stark approached us with an initiative that would not only serve as a thanks to their employees, but would boost local businesses in the process, we jumped at the opportunity to form this partnership.”

Joe Rozsa, communications director at Shale Brewing Company, said the local brewery is happy to take part in “Blue, Gold & Grateful!”.

“Shale Brewing Company has always been a firm believer in collaborating with and supporting local businesses and organizations whenever possible. The idea Kent State Stark gifted funds to their employees to explore local businesses and spend those funds locally is nothing short of genius,” Rozsa said. “We welcome the opportunity not only to participate but to serve those who have visited before, but we especially look forward to serving those who haven’t.”

Seachrist said one of 2020’s biggest lessons is about the importance of home: a safe place we can count on.

“There’s no better way to support local families than to check off those holiday shopping lists right in our hometown, where original handmade gifts and tastes of the season can be purchased with pride,” she said. “Such thoughtfully curated items are sure to be treasured during a season for which we have so much to be thankful.”

For media inquiries, please contact Melissa Seeton, assistant director of communications at Kent State University at Stark at; and Collyn Floyd, director of marketing and events at the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce at

POSTED: Wednesday, December 9, 2020 03:32 PM
Updated: Friday, December 9, 2022 01:27 PM
Melissa Griffy Seeton