Toledo store manager Jennifer Tucker, center, cuts the ribbon for the store's grand opening, as Gabriel Brothers CEO Ken Seipel, to her left, and Toledo Mayor Mike Bell, with his hand raised, cheer on.
Having nearby college students, who like discounted clothing, was a factor in Gabriel Brothers opening its first store in metro Toledo on Monroe Street in Sylvania Township, its chief executive officer said today.
As a crowd of shoppers streamed into Gabe's at 5223 Monroe St. for the store's grand opening on a chilly early today, the discount retailer's CEO Ken Seipel said, "We love to have the students who are frugal shoppers and love brands. Stores next to a university or college town do very very well.”
With the store just about six miles from the the University of Toledo and not far from other area colleges, Mr. Seipel held a brand shirt that was reduced by more than 50 percent which he said attracts younger customers.
Some shoppers likened the store to a TJ Maxx.
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PHOTO GALLERY: Gabe's grand opening in Sylvania Township
The grand opening was occurred at 8 a.m. as shoppers were given coffee and donuts before entering the store, which is located next to the Target store. Toledo Mayor Mike Bell attended even though the store is not in the city.
The retailer based in Morgantown, W.Va., has 15 stores in Ohio and 38 in several states, but this was its first in the Toledo area. Gabe's sells a variety of products for up to 70 percent off department or specialty store prices, from greeting cards to shoes. This is its first new store since 2012.
The company conducted studies on traffic and recognized that Monroe Street, drawing traffic from the west because of the Westfield Franklin Park mall, is a strong retail corridor which gives the chain the “best chance for success.” The company considered about 20 communities in the region, and Toledo topped the list because of the location, available building, and it is “a friendly city,” Mr. Seipel said.
"This marks our first store that we opened up in a new market for quite some time," he said. "It is the beginning of our expansion. We are keeping an eye on Toledo.”
He said he will consider opening another store in the Toledo area.
The store has 150 employees, but it is accepting more job applications.
Gabe’s will be open 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday.
Contact Natalie Trusso Cafarello at: 419-206-0356, or ntrusso@theblade, or on Twitter @natalietrusso.