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.
The company’s new location will be on the second floor of the Crown Pointe Office Building at 175 W. Montrose Ave., Smith said. OuterBox was able to sublease the 10,400 square feet of space for eight years. The move gives the growing firm much-needed space that better fits its needs, he said.
Founded in 2004, OuterBox currently occupies about 7,000 square feet of space on two floors in downtown Akron’s Kaiser Building in downtown Akron, one of the oldest buildings in the Rubber City, Smith said. Tony Troppe and investors own the spot.
The Copley location not only will give OuterBox more space, Smith said, but also includes more amenities, such as bigger conference rooms, a lunchroom and more common areas. While the downtown space is an open concept, the Copley office is a combination of open and closed areas, allowing for better productivity.
“I think it will be better from an environment perspective, not being as open,” Smith said.
The new office comes largely furnished and not many renovations will be done, he added.
Smith said the company was looking to get out of downtown, with construction — not only on downtown’s streets but on surrounding highways — a factor.
“Everything is ripped up and it has been,” he said.
The construction, the lack of parking and a need for space drove the company to make the move, the release said.
Akron’s deputy mayor for economic development, Sam DeShazior, said the city began working with OuterBox early last year when a consultant hired by the firm contacted city officials. In addition to offering several suggestions of possible locations within the city, Akron in March convened representatives from several economic development resources — Team NEO, ConxusNEO, the University of Akron and the Greater Akron Chamber, among others — to meet with company officials to discuss issues ranging from talent attraction to real estate needs. In the end, OuterBox decided on its new site in Copley.
“I think the bottom line is they couldn’t visualize past the construction and the infrastructure work that was going on downtown,” DeShazior said.
DeShazior continued, “We’re saddened about that, because we’d like to put them in the portfolio of what we envision for Akron and the downtown innovation corridor.”
OuterBox’s greatest need was for a more modern space that could accommodate the needs of a growing tech company, Smith said. The company in September was approved for a seven-year, 1.358% Job Creation Tax Credit. The tax credit amount is estimated at $235,000 if the company adds 50 full-time employees by the end of 2022, a news release stated.
Smith echoed that in an interview with Crain’s, saying that while the firm currently employs 40 to 45 people in Akron, he expects to double the size of the company in the next three to four years.
The company in 2019 expanded to the Columbus market with an office in the Polaris area.
While OuterBox is moving from Akron, it will be within the Copley joint economic development district (JEDD), Smith said. Through the JEDD agreement, Akron can collect income taxes from those employed within the district.