Discount clothier enters local market

Gabe’s to open in Sylvania Township

The Former Media Play located at 5225 Monroe Street in Toledo, Ohio will be home to Gabe's, a discount clothier.
The Former Media Play located at 5225 Monroe Street in Toledo, Ohio will be home to Gabe's, a discount clothier.

Discount fashion clothing retailer Gabriel Brothers Inc., which likes to operate under the name Gabe’s, has signed a lease to occupy the 50,000-square-foot former Media Play store in a shopping center on Monroe Street in Sylvania Township.

The retailer plans to open on Nov. 14, but first it will hire 150 employees through a job fair from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Oct. 7 and 8 at the Ramada Toledo Hotel and Conference Center, 3536 Secor Rd.

Gabe’s is the first of several retailers that Devonshire REIT plans to add to the Shops at Franklin Place, which it purchased on Sept. 4 from National Amusement Inc. Gabe’s will be near Target and Golf Galaxy.

Ken Seipel, Gabriel Brothers chief executive officer, said the Toledo store will be its 15th in Ohio.

The Morgantown, W.Va., retailer is privately held and operates 37 Gabe’s stores in six states. In 2012, Gabe’s added an unnamed investment partner to help fuel expansion. Mr. Seipel said the Toledo area store is the first step in its growth plan.

“When we looked carefully, Toledo mirrored very closely some of the communities that we’re most successful in,” Mr. Seipel said. “It’s a family-centric community with a strong sense of values. And [Toledoans] apparently love to shop.”

Gabriel Brothers specializes in men’s, women’s, and children’s brand-name apparel at discounts up to 70 percent. Mr. Seipel said the company achieves its discounts through teams of buyers who work with more than 6,000 vendors to purchase product overruns or canceled orders.

As a result, Gabe’s often will have the same jeans, shirts, blouses, and other items in its store the same week or day those items reach the shelves of full-price retailers.

However, Gabe’s items are usually a limited lot with little chance of being replenished.

Mr. Seipel said Gabe’s has a Costco-like philosophy when it comes to merchandising. “If you see it and like it, you better grab it” because it might not be available for long, he said.

“Our merchandise turns over quickly. We will bring a new truck [of merchandise] in five days a week, sometimes twice a day, with new product hitting the floor every day,” Mr. Seipel said.

If the retailer is successful, it could add a second store fairly quickly, he said. “Honestly, I look at Toledo as a multistore market. If this is as successful, we plan to do more,” Mr. Seipel said.