Gabe’s $77 million center opens: ‘We selected Springfield because it felt like home’

Clothing company plans to create 800 new jobs in five years.

The $77.5 million Gabe’s distribution center in Springfield is poised for a full-facility opening early next year, with some employees already working on site as a part of a plan to bring more than 800 full-time equivalent jobs to the area over the next five years.

Gabe’s, the discount retailer also known as Gabriel Brothers, announced last year it would build the facility in Springfield to support existing retail operations and pave the way for the company’s growth.

Located on a 114-acre property at1801 Prime Parkway at the Prime Ohio II Industrial Park near Interstate 70, the distribution center represents the largest single investment made by the West Virginia-based company. State and local economic incentives helped attract the company.

Construction started last fall, and the distribution center soft-opened in October, according to the company.

The new facility is larger than Gabe’s five other distribution centers combined.

Gabe’s declined to share how many employees are currently working in the facility, citing the privacy of new team members and an ongoing hiring event.

Support exceeds expectations

“Gabe’s was very excited to open our new Springfield facility,” said Jason Wolter, Gabe’s chief operating officer. “The local support and our business partners have exceeded our expectations. We look forward to being a member of this fantastic community for years to come.”

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The distribution site is still on track to bring more than 800 jobs over a five-year period that will include material handlers, packers, sorters, equipment operators, truck drivers, counters, maintenance, administration, supervisors, and management, said Chief Marketing Officer Leigh Guldig.

Supply chain issues have not significantly impacted the construction process for the facility, according to Guldig. No obstacles have also been experienced in terms of hiring employees for the space, as the company has received numerous outstanding job applications, Guldig said.

The Springfield expansion was announced by business leaders – who promoted the new facility as a major step in the company’s growth – in October 2021.

“We selected Springfield because it felt like home,” said Rick Szurlej, Gabe’s supply chain senior vice president. “Thank you to everyone who helped make this project a success.”

Springfield was also an ideal location for the center for the space’s ability to service Gabe’s current store footprint and expedite future company growth, Guldig added.

Springfield and Clark County leaders touted the project as the result of years of work toward boosting economic development in the area.

Greater Springfield Partnership vice-president of economic development Horton Hobbs said the development of the Gabe’s facility was transformational.

“We’re really excited about the level of engagement the company has shown with the community,” he said.

Hobbs said the company’s hiring process has gone “exceptionally well.”

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“We’re strategic about making sure our community knows what opportunities we have here,” he said.

The facility has enough space to expand to 1.3 million square-feet depending on the future needs of Gabe’s, according to the company.

Incentives offered

The project has been awarded both state and local economic incentives. The Ohio Tax Credit Authority approved a 1.488%, 10-year job creation tax credit in May 2022 for the Gabe’s project.

The city of Springfield has approved two agreements with Gabe’s, including a 100% tax abatement for 15 years regarding the property. The same agreement was approved by the Clark-Shawnee Local Board of Education in August 2021.

Springfield city commissioners also approved an Employment Incentive Agreement in fall 2021 with Gabe’s that will provide an annual 30% return to the company, depending on the amount of new income tax generated by jobs created at the facility each year over a five-year period.

Gabe’s currently has around 20 retail stores in Ohio, a presence which played a part in the chain selecting Springfield as the location of its new distribution center. The retailer’s closest location to Springfield is on North Fairfield Road in Beavercreek.

The company also has locations in West Virginia, Delaware, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia.

By the Numbers:

77.5: The cost, in millions, of the Gabe’s distribution center

2023: The year the center will be fully open

114: Number of acres for the distribution center

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