BUSINESS DIGEST || Rust Belt apparel

Rust Belt apparel


A new apparel company promotes pride in Rust Belt cities such as Youngstown.

RustLife designs and prints its products using local companies in the Rust Belt.

Merchandise is available at

The site currently offers Youngstown and Pittsburgh collections, with plans to add designs for other Rust Belt cities.

RustLife sells T-shirts and plans to add other merchandise.

Backpack donations


Round Room LLC, an authorized wireless retailer for Verizon, announced its TCC and Wireless Zone stores are donating 187,000 backpacks filled with school supplies to children across the U.S.

Locally, a TCC Verizon is located at 5507 Mahoning Ave.

This donation marks TCC’s sixth annual School Rocks Backpack Giveaway.

“By providing families across the country with essential school supplies, we’re easing the back-to-school shopping burden and helping set children up for success,” said Scott Moorehead, Round Room CEO.

More than 1,200 participating stores are inviting families to visit select locations between 1 and 4 p.m. July 22 to pick up a backpack. One backpack per child present will be given away on a first-come, first-served basis, while supplies last.

Each participating TCC store will donate up to 220 backpacks. All leftover backpacks will be donated to local schools.

Meeting set


The Western Reserve Chapter of the Society for Human Resources Management will host a meeting July 10 at the Avalon Inn & Resort, 9519 E. Market St.

Soniya Khan, benefits adviser for the U.S. Department of Labor, will present on Part 7 of ERISA and COBRA. The presentation will include a summary of Part 7, and discussion of compliance requirements and topics such as grandfathered health plans, prohibition on pre-existing conditions exclusions, 90-day waiting period limitations and more.

Visit to register. The cost is $10 for students, $20 for members and $25 for nonmembers.

Registration and breakfast are from 7:30 to 8 a.m. The presentation is from 8 to 9 a.m.

Auto tariffs


An automotive trade group representing automakers such as General Motors said a 25 percent tariff on imported vehicles being considered by the Trump administration would cost American consumers $45 billion annually, or $5,800 per vehicle, according to media reports.

“This tariff would hit American consumers with a tax of nearly $45 billion, based on 2017 auto sales, [which] would largely cancel out the benefits of the tax cuts,” said the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers.

The group plans to file written comments with the U.S. Commerce Department.

Google prepping its Duplex bot for a summer rollout


Google is prepping for a summer rollout of Duplex, a new voice-powered digital concierge that can call businesses with simple requests. That has meant addressing criticism that it sometimes sounds too human. The company explains that adding spoken fillers such as “um” and “ah” improved Duplex’s ability to book appointments because it was able to interact more naturally with humans. Duplex will also identify itself as an automated assistant upfront and will disclose that it’s recording calls.

Staff/wire reports

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