Gabriel Performance Products is a leading chemical supplier, offering both an extensive line of specialty proprietary products and custom manufactured chemicals formulated to exact specifications. Gabriel offers the strength of a history several decades long teamed with a forward-looking vision of continually improving their products, processes and services to provide the highest quality products and comprehensive chemical solutions.

Gabriel moved into the AES Building at 388 S. Main in December 2016. Downtown Akron Partnership sat down with Seth Tomasch, CEO of Gabriel, for lunch on the patio of Cilantro and talked about being a part of the downtown Akron business community.

How did you choose downtown Akron for your headquarters?

ST: We were looking to move to downtown Akron because of location. I live by the Cleveland airport and our CFO lives in Youngstown. Akron was in the middle and we were both driving to Ashtabula which was 80 miles for each of us. The facility in Ashtabula is our main manufacturing facility (one of three), but the office didn’t meet our needs for clients and office staff, and recruiting was difficult. We made some calls and connected with Warren [JLL] and looked at eight or 10 properties before deciding on AES.

Originally we planned to have five to seven employees move to this office and we ended up growing to 20. Our accounting, marketing, IT, supply chain, sales, customer service, regulatory compliance and management are based in this office.

Do you anticipate continued growth?

ST: We are a private-equity owned business which means we are expected to grow. In my three years with Gabriel, we’ve completed four acquisitions, established our headquarters in Akron, and professionalized all aspects of the company. Our sales have increased by two and a half times. We expect to continue this growth trajectory for the foreseeable future.

Talk about the importance of building a culture in your workplace

ST: I have a passion for culture and at Gabriel our culture is based around accountability, integrity and transparency. That can be something as simple as discouraging blind copies on an email thread. If it’s important enough to send to people, we send it to everybody. We are a mid-sized organization with 40 professional staff and 170 total employees, so you’d think you wouldn’t have these issues, but they still come up. We feel that accountability is achieved through peer-to-peer communication and holding each other accountable for successes and errors.

One of my favorite quotes is, “Integrity is the ability to accept the current reality.” Maybe we lost a customer, our freight rates doubled, our waste costs went up or whatever it is. Yes, that’s unfortunate, but you have to address it. You have to implement corrective actions and start counter -measuring it. You can’t ignore it. You have to react to it and make sure everybody knows about it so you can get greatest number of brains at the table to begin solving the problem.

What did you see about downtown that other companies might find appealing?

ST: We moved to Akron for two things: a small downtown with good amenities (walkable, approachable, parking and traffic flow) and recruiting. Out of the 20 people in our office, 14 or 15 were hired since we’ve been here. Talent is definitely here.

Have you connected with the University of Akron?

ST: When they opened the new corrosion engineering lab in July 2016 some of our R&D chemists came down for a tour. We’ve done a little bit of work with them since then, but frankly, not enough. We’ve underutilized the resource. The university’s reputation is awesome globally for corrosion engineering and polymers, so we have the contacts and have done some testing work with them. It’s a really cool asset that we haven’t used enough. It’s on our list of things to improve.

What’s your favorite place to eat in downtown?

ST: The place I eat most frequently is Totally Cooked to Go [in AES] because I can just walk downstairs and get a good lunch at a fair price. For customer entertainment and board meetings, we eat at Dante’s [DBA] a lot. The whole Northside neighborhood is cool. It’s nice to host people at the Courtyard Marriott and just walk next door. Another place we enjoy is Crave.

A place we just discovered recently, that will be our next high-level investor/customer meeting location, is BLU Jazz. They have an awesome private room in the back, which is what we find to be a limitation for the downtown eating scene – a private eating space.

What else would you like to see in downtown?

ST: There’s no place to pick up quick convenience items like gum, Advil and so on. A drug store would be a great addition. Downtown residential options and after-work traffic would be another good step forward.

We also could use a fitness facility in downtown and a place with a shower. I like to run at lunchtime.



 

Tenant Migration
Downtown Akron continues to experience this momentum. Over the last 18 months, JLL market experts have analyzed tenant trends as a number of new businesses, residences and retailers have joined the market. With more than 90,000 square feet of recent corporate relocations, this major boost continues to drive the downtown renaissance. To learn more about why companies are making this move or what spaces are available please contact Warren Blazy of JLL at warren.blazy@am.jll.com.





 


222 S Main (O’Neil’s Building)

 

Availabilities:
3rd Floor – 27,608 SF (full floor)
4th Floor – 5,582 SF

Did you know in 1928 as part of a promotional flight Goodyear landed a blimp on the roof of the department store to show the practicality of an “air yacht”?





AES Building

 

Availabilities:
2nd Floor – 21,097 SF
3rd Floor – 2,343 SF & 2,640 SF
6th Floor – 22,167 SF
7th Floor – 36,807 SF

Did you know in 1962 as the first American to orbit the earth John Glenn’s silver space suite was built by BF Goodrich as part of this complex?




Akron Centre Plaza

 

Availabilities:
5th Floor – 3,829 SF & 4,279 SF

6th Floor – 1,381 SF
7th Floor – 2,519 SF

9th Floor – 14,303 SF (full floor)

Did you know that as home to FirstEnergy’s HQ and the Chase tower that Akron Centre is home to more than 1,500 employees a day?