BOARDMAN, Ohio – One of the Wagner family “kids” was celebrated Oct. 21 for reaching 40 years old.
“It doesn’t seem like 40 years,” said Bob Wagner, president and CEO. It was also not long ago when his and wife Cheryl’s firstborn, daughter Mandy, was a baby, just like the company, he said.
“The time goes by so fast.”
That company is American Business Center Inc. To celebrate the milestone, a celebration ribbon cutting was held at ABC, located at 7677 South Ave., by the Youngstown-Warren Regional Chamber.
“This is one of the most important parts of our mission as the chamber – to celebrate opening a business or continuing to be successful in Mahoning or Trumbull counties,” said Samantha Ensminger, events coordinator for the Chamber.
In October 1981, Wagner opened ABC on Market Street in Boardman, selling copiers. By 1990, the company grew enough that it moved to South Avenue. Eventually it was headquartered where it is today.
ABC sells services and office supply equipment, and stocks everything locally. Its strong focus on customer service and caring about employees have led to the local business’s success, Wagner said.
“We listen to our customers and supply them with what their needs are,” he said.
Over the years, working relationships have forged to create bonds, where “a lot of our clients are like family,” he continued. “Service is key. You can have the best product in the world, but if you don’t have the service to back it up, that equipment doesn’t mean much. You can never give too good a service.”
Looking back over the last four decades, Wagner is proud of the longevity of his employees’ careers. Recently there were two retirements. Each were part of the ABC team for more than 20 years. Usually, the office supply industry is one where people tend to move around, Wagner said, but it seems when they work at ABC, they find their permanent work home.
Syl Frazzini, vice president of sales and production print specialist with ABC, said additional reasons the company has been around so long include giving back to the community and having different perspectives.
Recently, ABC was awarded an excellence award from Ricoh Americas Corp., recognizing its sustainability efforts, Frazzini said.
There’s a zero-to-landfill initiative ABC Inc. has adopted, he said, which resonates with its customer base. The company also looks ahead, and incorporates sustainability into its business model, Frazzini added.
To marry sustainability with helping others in the community, several families are given remaining parts of older equipment, who in turn sell the parts for scrap, making some extra money, Frazzini said.
“It’s the atmosphere. We all help one another. We care not only about the job that we all do, but we care about their lives and families,” Wagner added.
Going forward, Wagner said he’s looking forward to continue a gradual growth.
“We grow so we can continue offering the service,” he said.
Too fast an expansion, and the quality care ABC is known for will be compromised.
“If you rapidly expand, you lose control of being able to provide individual care to clientele,” Wagner said.
Pictured at top: Cheryl and Bob Wagner.