Gabe’s Springfield distribution center will pave the way for new stores, CEO says

Gabriel Brothers Inc.’s proposed $77.5 million Springfield distribution center is the company’s largest single investment in its history, and the facility will play a significant role in the retailer’s expansion plans, President and CEO Jason Mazzola said Tuesday.

Mazzola was in town for a groundbreaking ceremony for the planned 870,000-square-foot facility. The distribution center at 1801 Prime Parkway is scheduled to be fully operational by the fall of 2022. The company intends to fill the equivalent of 833 full-time jobs over a five-year period, generating $27.8 million in new annual payroll.

ExploreWhat to know about Gabriel Brothers, opening $77.5M distribution center in Springfield

Gabriel Brothers Inc. — also called Gabe’s — is a home, apparel and footwear retailer. It’s expected to start the hiring process early next year. Company officials will be hiring for such positions as material handlers, packers, sorters, equipment operation, truck drivers, counters, maintenance, administration, supervisors and managers.

Mazzola said the distribution center in Springfield will be the company’s largest one yet, and will have more capacity than if Gabe’s were to combine its five existing distribution centers, which are in West Virginia.

The Springfield facility will support each of Gabe’s 120 stores that are in 14 states as well as allow the company to expand its presence. The chain’s closest retail outlet to Springfield is in Beavercreek.

“(Tuesday) is a transformative day because it allows us to go to the next stage in our growth. Right now if we did not open this (distribution center) we wouldn’t be able to open any more stores after 2022. This gives us a runway to the next 120 stores. This is the evolution of our company and we are thrilled to be here,” Mazzola said.

Gabe’s has been looking to build a new facility for the past 18 months, and has been in talks with Springfield and Clark County officials since May.

The Community Improvement Corporation of Springfield and Clark County, which includes local economic development leaders and elected officials, had been in talks with NP Springfield Industrial LLC, who was working on Gabe’s behalf.

That included the sale of 114 acres of land at the Prime Ohio II Industrial Park for $42,000 per acre for a total of approximately $4.7 million. The CIC owns the land at Prime Ohio II and that $9 million industrial park was completed in 2014 in order to aid local development efforts in the area.

Gabe’s distribution center will be the first major project at the industrial park since its completion.

“(Tuesday’s) groundbreaking is a key milestone in our community’s renaissance and it is another catalyst in helping us build a vibrant Springfield and Clark County,” said Mike McDorman, the president of the Greater Springfield Partnership.

He also is part of the CIC.

The groundbreaking on Tuesday and Gabe’s announcement of its planned new facility earlier this month comes as the project has received both state and local economic incentives.

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The Ohio Tax Credit Authority approved a 1.488%, 10-year job creation tax credit for the project.

Springfield city commissioners also approved an Enterprise Zone Agreement that will allow for a 100% tax abatement for 15 years regarding the property at 1801-1830 Prime Parkway. The same agreement was approved by the Clark-Shawnee Local Board of Education in August.

Springfield city commissioners are also expected to vote this month on a Employment Incentive Agreement with Gabe’s that would provide a 30% return on income tax generated by new jobs created by the distribution center.

The 30% return would be calculated annually for a period of five years, and that figure would depend on how many new jobs are created each year.

The employment incentive agreement calls for Gabe’s to create 833 full-time equivalent jobs during that five year time period, that accounts for a total of 708 full-time jobs and 345 part-time jobs, said Tom Franzen, the director of economic development for the city of Springfield.

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