Family-owned niche marketer Akrochem likes to operate a bit under the public radar.
The longtime Akron business and its manufacturing arm, Revlis (silver spelled backward) specializes in compounding ingredients for the rubber, plastics and adhesives industries.
Business has been good, even through much of the Great Recession. Most of the company’s sales are in North America; it also exports to about 60 other nations.
Because of decent growth, Akrochem’s headquarters since 1946 off Fountain Street in Akron have become cramped.
That will change next spring or early summer when Akrochem moves its corporate offices from Akron to nearby Fairlawn in the much more spacious former Republic Steel headquarters at 3770 Embassy Parkway.
Besides giving office staff a modern setting, the move will open up about 15,000 square feet at the Fountain Street building for the expansion of Revlis manufacturing and laboratory work.
“We normally are low key,” said Walt Silver, chief executive officer.
But he and others decided it was time to share good news about their business and its history of being able to adapt to changing times.
Akrochem dates to 1929 and has been held by four generations of his family, Silver said. It was founded by Bob Silver — Walt’s grandfather — as Akron Chemical Co. and most of its early customers were the region’s tire companies. The name changed to Akrochem Corp. in 1988 to better reflect the changing and expanding nature of its business, which now services the nontire rubber industry.
Silver likes to say that Akrochem does not make a thing — the marketer’s sole customer is Revlis. “Everything Revlis makes, we sell,” Silver said.
With the planned opening next year of the Embassy Parkway headquarters, Akrochem will have four facilities in the area, including a Norton manufacturing site and a distribution center in Stow. The company has about 125 employees; 50 will move into the new headquarters.
Silver said the initial plan a couple of years ago was to find or build a new manufacturing space, not a new headquarters.
With the help of Ed Matzules, vice president at commercial real estate firm Hoff & Leigh, Silver and others scoured Summit County for industrial sites.
“We must have looked at eight or 10 buildings with Ed,” Silver said. “We didn’t find anything that really struck us.”
Last summer, he and the other Akrochem executives and board rethought things and decided to repurpose the Fountain Street site for Revlis manufacturing and move the corporate headquarters.
“I have groups of people who are way too jammed in,” Silver said. “It’s easier to move the offices than all of the equipment.”
Matzules said that as soon as he found the former Republic Steel site and looked at it, “I was pretty sure that was the one. And I was right.”
The three-story Embassy Parkway building is about 25,000 square feet, which will give Akrochem a lot more breathing room. It also has a lot more windows and the area offers amenities that include walking trails and an exercise facility, Matzules said. “It turned out to be a really good deal for them.”
The Embassy Parkway offices will be designed to improve communications among departments, said William Silver, Akrochem vice president and Walt’s brother. The location also is a relatively short drive to the corporation’s other facilities, he said.
Following a tour of the Embassy Parkway site, the company board quickly decided in the building lobby to make the purchase, Silver said. Akrochem will take over the top two floors. Part of the first floor will be leased to another small company that is there now, he said.
Remodeling will take a while to finish before the move takes place, Silver said.
“We would like it to look nice,” he said. “We have a lot to be proud of.”
Jim Mackinnon can be reached at 330-996-3544 or firstname.lastname@example.org