Bargain chain Gabriel Brothers comes to ToledoWritten by Jeff McGinnis | | firstname.lastname@example.org
“Every visit is a treasure hunt,” according to one of the Gabriel Brothers’ advertising slogans. And as Bill Tichenor sat down for an interview with Toledo Free Press, he was preparing to hunt for treasure himself — for the people who would help bring the store’s brand of retail bargain shopping to the Toledo area.
For two and a half decades, Tichenor has been working for discount fashion retailer Gabriel Brothers, a chain headquartered in West Virginia that specializes in providing name brand designer clothing at heavily reduced prices. The stores have cultivated an intensely loyal customer base over their 50-plus year history, with their regular consumers affectionately nicknaming the store “Gabe’s” in the process.
“It’s a fashion retailer that sells brand-name clothing, up to 70 percent off department and specialty store prices,” Tichenor said. “It’s unique, it’s designer brands at a great value.”
It is under the Gabe’s moniker that the chain expanded into the Toledo area on Nov. 14, with a location at 5223 Monroe St. — the site of a former Media Play storefront, with Monroe Street’s thriving Target store right next door. (The shopping complex is in the process of reinventing itself in the days to come — beyond the arrival of the new store, the long-abandoned former Showcase movie theater is being removed.)
The new store will be the 15th Gabe’s to open in Ohio, and Tichenor — the district manager for the chain in this area — said he couldn’t be more thrilled about the opportunities expanding to a new city like Toledo will provide.
“It’s exciting. It’s a great time for us right now. We enjoy getting into new markets, expanding our brand. Fun times,” he said.
The opening has added more than 100 new jobs to the local market, which is what brought Tichenor to Toledo on an early October morning, a month removed from this week’s grand unveiling. The Gabe’s job fair drew hundreds of applicants looking for positions at the store in everything from supervisor positions to stocking roles.
“[We’re looking for] high energy, enthusiasm, associates who are willing to go the extra mile to provide the store good customer experience — to give the store and the customer a positive experience,” Tichenor said.
He said one of the best weapons the company has to get the word out about its service is the people it hires.
“We have the people we’re hiring here today to support that. We’re looking for people that are going to provide the great customer experience that our stores have to offer. Gabe’s — that designer product at that low price,” Tichenor said. “Our challenge is always going to be getting our brand out there, so that everybody recognizes our brand and understands it.”
Tichenor knows firsthand the opportunities that starting on the ground floor can bring to new associates. He began his career with Gabe’s at that level, too.
“Started out as an associate 25 years ago, worked my way up to management, the management level. And now I’m the district manager for the Cleveland area and Cincinnati market.”
Tichenor and his Gabe’s associates want to get everything started with a bang. The Monroe location has plans for a Nov. 14 ribbon-cutting ceremony, followed by an opening day celebration featuring special offers and even live music for attendees.
Tichenor said he is confident that what Gabe’s has to offer to Toledo shoppers is what will keep them coming back to the store in the days — and years — to come.
“Being able to offer the best designer brands, up to that 70 percent off, that’s what we’re going to do. That’s what’s going to bring them back, showing that positive experience through the way we engage with our customers and provide the brands and prices consistently, day in and day out,” he said. “It’s going to be a fun, energetic, enthusiastic store that’s excited to help customers.”