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Covelli gets naming rights to Chevy

Published: Wed, April 29, 2009 @ 12:10 a.m.


The Chevy Centre


Bruce Zoldan


Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams

By David Skolnick

The terms of the contract will be disclosed today.

YOUNGSTOWN — The city-owned Chevrolet Centre is getting a new name today.

The city will announce today that it’s reached a deal with Covelli Enterprises to name the facility after the Warren-based restaurant franchisee, sources say.

The terms of the contract and the name of the center will be disclosed at a morning press conference at the facility’s community room.

Covelli owns 134 Panera restaurants and three O’Charley’s restaurants, according to the Restaurant Finance Monitor, a publication that follows the restaurant franchising industry. The publication’s 2008 Top 200 Restaurant Franchisees report, released Tuesday, lists Covelli ninth on the list with $320 million in revenue last year.

Because Covelli is a franchisee of the two restaurants and not the owner of either, the company will use the name “Covelli” rather than “Panera” or “O’Charley’s” in the center’s name, sources say.

Sam Covelli. president and chief executive officer of Covelli Enterprises, couldn’t be reached Tuesday to comment.

Youngstown Mayor Jay Williams and Eric Ryan, the center’s executive director, declined to comment Tuesday on the naming rights deal except to say details would be provided today.

The center will quickly change its Web site, e-mail addresses and numerous Chevrolet Centre signs to reflect a new name, Ryan said.

“We’re already working on it,” he said. “It’s a very time-consuming deal.”

Because of steep financial losses in a struggling economy, General Motors didn’t renew its contract for the naming rights when a three-year deal expired Sept. 30, 2008.

GM paid $175,000 in cash annually and provided four vehicles a year to the city for the naming rights.

The city didn’t change the center’s name during the past seven months as it negotiated with a number of different businesses in the area.

The city received a proposal from Bruce Zoldan, owner of the B.J. Alan fireworks company and the Mahoning Valley Phantoms hockey team that played most of its home games at the center, for the naming rights.

Zoldan had offered $140,000 annually for five years for the center’s naming rights.

While Zoldan lost out on the naming rights, he’s going to own a United States Hockey League team that will play its home games at the center next season.

The USHL is the top junior hockey league in the country. The Phantoms play in the North American Hockey League, also a junior league, but not considered by hockey experts on par with the USHL in talent.



1RailRoaded(7 comments)posted 6 years, 3 months ago

As I said before what has Sam Covelli done for youngstown, put some Panera bread stores in a few areas. Mr. Zoldan I think has done more for this city than they realized he has a large operation in this town do they want him to leave I would. He is a good person who deserves better than this . He has employed at one time a lot of people in the city has Mr. Covelli,I think not I think on principle he should leave youngstown to show them they have no idea what they are doing. Always the buck, what about the people that need jobs he hires does Covelli help downtown youngstown I think not. Bad mistake on the city"s part.You have class Mr. Zoldan it is the city that does not.

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2scrooge(563 comments)posted 6 years, 3 months ago

So Jay turns down $20K/ year? I guess we're making so much revenue and saving so much more with the layoffs in the safety forces that he shouldn't be concerned with the $20K.

How about this Jay......try for a longer term deal next time. 3 years is a joke! Are we going to go thru this every 3 years?

Maybe American Standard will be the highest bidder so we can call it the toilet bowl?
BFI/Waste Management for the garbage dump?
LaFarge for the slag pit?

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3bmurphy714(1 comment)posted 6 years, 3 months ago

I'm sorry, but Bruce Zoldan was one of the talking heads who was against the Chevrolet Centre being built because it was another sheet of ice in Youngstown, and was going to take fans away from Icezone. Perhaps a trip back in time to review his comments would refresh people's minds on his outspoken comments against the centre.

You want to give him the naming rights? I don't think so.

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4andersonathan(682 comments)posted 6 years, 3 months ago

It is about time a name is picked. Now we can move on.

Now can some one build a Hotel in that area.

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