A Long Legacy of Innovation Generates New Investment, Opportunities In Greater Akron

Downtown Akron Skyline
Downtown Akron Skyline
Greater Akron is a cultural and economic hub of a bustling Northeast Ohio region that is home to more than 4 million people.
"Akron and Northeast Ohio is clearly a growth area and a very attractive area for businesses to consider,” says Corey Roberts, vice president of global parts and services for Snap-on Business Solutions.

When $2.5 billion changes hands, there’s usually a good reason.

Greater Akron has generated that amount in the form of new capital investment, and the reason is on the tip of everyone’s tongue: business climate.

“I think Akron and Northeast Ohio is clearly a growth area and a very attractive area for businesses to consider,” says Corey Roberts, vice president of global parts and services for Snap-on Business Solutions, an Akron-area company that services original equipment manufacturers in the automotive, power sports and construction industries.

The company has outgrown its facility in Richfield and is upgrading to a 105,000-square-foot building.

“For the wealth of talent that we have here – and we do have a wealth of talent – for the financial incentives that all the various local governments and authorities provide, and for all the knowledge base when it comes to the automotive sector, we can’t think of a better place to be,” Roberts says.

Economic and Cultural Hub

Greater Akron is a cultural and economic hub of a bustling Northeast Ohio region that is home to more than 4 million people. More than 21,000 businesses call Greater Akron home, including 150 Fortune 500 companies.

Leveraging its manufacturing heritage, Greater Akron is now an innovation leader in liquid crystal and polymer research. The polymer industry employs 16,000 people alone and the region is the nation’s leader in making plastic-processing equipment. Health care, medical research and education are major drivers of the economy.

Recent success stories include plans by Bridgestone Americas for a $100 million technical center adjacent to its Akron operations, and the corporate headquarters expansion of 1,300-store jewelry chain Sterling that will retain 2,300 jobs. A $900 million develop­ment will be anchored by the new 450,000-square-foot world headquarters for Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. and include 1.2 million square feet of office, retail and residential space.

Site Selection magazine for the second straight year ranked Akron No. 2 among metros with populations of 200,000 to 1 million for its 39 new projects in 2008.

“Employees enjoy living here for the diversity of recreational opportunities, desirable school systems, tremendous medical options and affordable housing,” says Karl Warnke, CEO of Kent-based, employee-owned Davey Tree Expert Co.

For many business owners, Greater Akron as a business location represents the perfect blend of enjoyable living and high-powered opportunity.

“Akron is the best of everything in small doses,” says Joel Testa, COO for Testa Cos., a Cuyahoga Falls-based real estate developer. “When you have too much of one thing, that tends to create other problems. The nice thing about the Akron market is that you’ve got the things that are great about bigger cities or other areas, but not so much that it creates other problems.”

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