MASSILLON — An entrepreneur from Sugarcreek is aiming high to make his most recent major purchase a successful business venture.
Taylor Shaw is not your typical businessman. He turned 27 in late July. Four months earlier, in March, he bought the historic Lincoln Professional Building downtown, which houses Chase bank.
The self-described workaholic credits his ambition and early successes to his dedicated work ethic. He is also the owner of an old machine shop located on South Broadway in Sugarcreek, part of which has been converted into an office that he uses. A section of the building is also rented to another business.
In addition, Shaw has another building in Sugarcreek that he eventually wants to remodel for a future car dealership.
“I pretty much started from scratch and began working 20-hour days right out of high school,” said Shaw, who works in the property insurance industry and as a restoration agent.
Shaw has lofty expectations for the 27,000 square-foot, six-story structure at 11 Lincoln Way W, which he bought for $425,000, according to Stark County Auditor’s records.
“The place has a lot of potential for growth,” said Shaw. “It was a no-brainer with Chase bank being the anchor tenant.”
Chase occupies the first floor of the structure, and Connect 2 Doctors, a physicians care connection service, has an office on the third floor. The bank has a lease inherited by Shaw that runs through 2023, and has an option until 2028.
A sixth-floor penthouse available for weekend rentals, an event center on the fifth floor and additional professional office space for floors three and four are future ideas Shaw has for the nearly century-old building, which was constructed in 1922, and is on the National Historic Register. The structure is the former home of First National Bank.
Weddings, receptions, anniversary parties and high school dances are “cool hangout” examples of events the building could host down the road, Shaw said.
“I’ve been working with and sharing [ideas] with the city, and they’ve been supportive,” said Shaw, adding that several floors of the building are in need of remodeling. “There might even be an opportunity for loft apartments if I can find the right partner.”
Shaw has no timetable for completion of his big ideas for the Lincoln building, which has no original blueprints. So far, he said, he’s been taking a close look at the steel and concrete structure, and dreaming big.
Much of the inside consists of empty wall studs, removed drywall and chipped or peeling siding. Significant work is needed for the building’s higher floors.
“I’ve been doing some experimental demo to see what’s all here,” Shaw said. “Structurally, this place is very stout.”
Shaw said he began investing in rental properties not long after graduating in 2010 from Sugarcreeks’ Garaway High School, and “did some [home and business] flips on the side.” He said it’s not uncommon for folks to question his business experience and motivation due to his “young age.”
“At 19 years old, I’d get critiqued pretty heavily, just because of my age,” Shaw said. “Not many young guys are doing this.”
Ted Herncane, president of the MassillonWest Stark Chamber of Commerce and executive director of the Massillon Development Foundation, called Shaw an impressive businessman who seems driven to improve the Lincoln building. He also said Shaw has solid business connections and associates.
“I wouldn’t hold a person’s age against them,” Herncane said. “In the meetings I’ve had with Mr. Shaw, he seems like a very focused entrepreneur. He had the resources to purchase the building, so I believe he will bring the renovation to completion.”
Shaw got the itch for insurance and restoration through his father, who works as a restoration firm manager. After high school, he moved to Texas and earned an insurance adjuster license and worked with Pilot Catastrophe Services.
“I thought I’d give it a shot and jump in head first,” he said.
Over the past several years, Shaw has opened insurance and restoration offices in Florida and North Carolina, as well as Northeast Ohio.