OuterBox Solutions Inc., a digital marketing agency and web design company, is set to move from downtown Akron to a new location in Copley Township on Dec. 1, founder and CEO Justin Smith told Crain's on Wednesday, Oct. 30.
OuterBox currently employs 40 to 45 people but are expected to double that size in the next 3 to four years.
Smith said the company was looking to get out of downtown, with construction â€” not only on downtown's streets but on surrounding highways.
"Everything is ripped up and it has been," he said.
Dan Horrigan is in mad love with roundabouts.
I try not to be a Monday morning quarterback on new ideas. But have you seen this thing? It's small and in dead center of Main Street. My prediction is that thing gets dug up in less than 20 years. I'm sorry. I hate to be that guy with innovation. But I really believe it in this case.
The mayor says the city is going for a grander entrance into downtown, something that really catches your eye. They want more foot traffic and there will be bike lanes.
Have you ever biked in Akron? I have. Try going across one of those bridges on Market that have no extra space on the curb side. Akron drivers are not kind to bikers. It's terrifying. I stopped doing it. (For the record, I have biked across Scotland. So it's not like I have a bike phobia or anything. I'm just not biking on Akron roads.)
This is going to make it harder to drive down Main Street, plain and simple. And Akron is a driving town. We drive cars. I'm sorry it's not what Dan Horrigan wants. But it's the fact of the matter. He just keeps focused on fantasy future Akronites than the people that actually live in Akron now.
We have another roundabout coming at East Market Street and Canton Road in the citys Ellet neighborhood. Akron estimates the project will cost $4,470,891.
The key focus for Dan Horrigan is to get to 250,000 residents by 2050. He truly cares more about the future people of Akron than the people that live here already. We currently have 198,000 residents. They want to "attract middle-income residents." Akron's current median household income is $36,223
There is one way to solve MANY problems in Akron. J.O.B.S.
That's the difference of Akron today versus Akron 2 or 3 generations ago. All the jobs have dried up.
Now we have extreme opiate usage (and meth usage), escalating gun violence, Akron is now recorded as the 19th deadliest city in America calculated from the FBI's 2018 crime stats.
There's no hope in the hearts and minds of the current residents of Akron. That's what it all comes down to.
Horrigan is putting a pretty bow on Akron with his new "Grand Entrance" while the rest of the city burns.
They aren't just leaving downtown. They are leaving Akron entirely. They are moving to Copley.
People like OuterBox will be the marketing and advertising agencies of the future. Our big agencies in Akron come from a print arena. They don't have digital in their DNA like a company like OuterBox does.
Akron just lost a company that will likely be a significant business leader in the future. Or maybe they'll get bought up by a much bigger fish that would want to grow the OuterBox headquarters.
And not for nothing, these kinds of jobs that left Akron are really good jobs. They are jobs that pay mortgages. Horrigan says he wants to "attract middle-income residents" and he loses a company that was creating these exact kinds of jobs.
Does Horrigan think these workers are going to live in his new downtown lofts and commute (on bikes, I guess) to Copley?
It's a business tragedy. This is a major fumble and significant missed opportunity that should have never happened. Horrigan is ALL about the future of Akron and he just let a true Akron future gem get away.
In Mayor Horrigan's 15 person cabinet (that he immediately increased from the previous administration by 3 people as soon as he became mayor) there is not one single person dedicated to technology.
Samuel DeShazior, who they pulled from the Greater Akron Chamber (which is actually who runs Akron), looks like a nice cheery guy. But according to his LinkedIn profile, as soon as he got out of college he became the Senior Director of Business Development with the Greater Akron Chamber. He did that for 19 years and now he's the main Economic Developer of Akron. It doesn't appear this guy has ever once worked in an actual company much less run one. It looks like in 2004 and 2005 he went to some trade shows in Germany. That's nice.
I'm not dissing DeShazior. I'm just trying to make a point.
Without actual business leadership and actual understanding of future business growth sectors, it makes complete sense that a company like OuterBox just slips through the cracks and leaves Akron entirely.
Maybe Dan believes that once his pretty little roundabout gets all done there are going to be so many jobs flooding Akron, losing 45 here and there is going to be totally worth it. Yuppies with white fluffy dogs and baby strollers are going to be pouring out onto the downtown streets on their bikes and walking around. (Mind you, I'm writing this as an insane Fall rainstorm drenches our city.) People will just be walking and biking and biking and walking. It's going to be glorious. People are going to be throwing away their cars just so they can get downtown to walk and bike.
Let's say that happens. Let's say it all comes true. It's like a Utopian urban city of the future where the streets are filled with smiling, happy middle class people biking and walking everywhere.
There's just one problem: there is a Dystopian urban city 5 blocks in any direction where people can't afford skyrocketing water bills, people are dying from overdoses in abandoned houses and drug dealers are freely raping and beating and shooting anyone that gets in their way. Do we just pretend that isn't happening?
Here's a news flash: the minute Buffy has a drive by shooting on her street in the new and hip urban residential housing that's going up right in the middle of gang territories, she is getting the hell out of dodge.
It's what the immigrants do.
My dentist lived on the North side of Akron as a son of an immigrant from Romania. NONE of his family lives in Akron anymore. Shoot... his two dental practices aren't even in Akron.
Jobs. Jobs. Jobs.
It's the only hope we have of changing the tide of hopelessness and the dystopian reality that is truly what Akron currently is.
There is only one word that ever should come out of Dan Horrigan's mouth: JOBS.
I'm really sorry OuterBox felt the legitimate reason to leave Akron. It shouldn't have happened. Basic business understanding is that it's ALWAY easier and cheaper to keep a customer than to get a new customer. We didn't need to lose OuterBox. But we did. It'a just bad business, plain and simple.
I truly believe in my heart of hearts that one day we will shake off the stranglehold of out-of-touch elitists that have run our city for the last 30 years. We will, one day, have leaders that care about the people and businesses that currently are in Akron.