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Loan helps Ability Works move to Sandusky

Andy Ouriel • Dec 31, 2013 at 8:30 AM

City commissioners recently voted 5-0 to provide a $100,000 loan to Ability Works, formerly Double S Industries.

Commissioners Diedre Cole and Keith Grohe didn’t attend the meeting.

City officials provide low-interest credit, coined “revolving loans” to entrepreneurs and their business ventures with agreements for job creation.


Ability Works on the move

• Sandusky city commissioners approved a $100,000 lowinterest loan to Ability Works, formerly Double S Industries, to relocate the company’s headquarters from Galloway Road to Superior Street.

• Renovations and building acquisition should cost about $1.5 million.

• Ability Works, helping individuals with disabilities maintain independent lifestyles, employs about 75 people today and wants to increase job opportunities at the new site.

A loan enticed Ability Works executives to relocate from Perkins Township into Sandusky, bringing 75 taxpaying jobs with them.

“I am happy you are moving to Sandusky,” commissioner Julie Farrar said.

The $100,000 is to help buy and renovate Ability Works’ new headquarters at 301 Superior St., near the Erie County Health Department. The building formerly housed Periodical Publishers.

A private fundraising campaign spearheaded by company workers and board members should cover the remaining $1.4 million cost.

Executives at Ability Works, which serves adults with developmental disabilities primarily living in Erie County, said the 23,000-square-foot facility on Galloway Road in Perkins Township is too small.

Moving to the 24,000- square-foot site will allow the company to provide proper working spaces for clients with opportunities to grow, including surpassing present-day employment levels.

“We have seriously outgrown this facility,” said Allison Young, the company’s chief executive officer.

Ability Works pays about $4,000 a month for rent. In the new building, they wouldn’t pay any fee for space.

“We tried to look at what we need to do here, but the cost to purchase this building was out of our range, and we decided to move” Young said.

Among the jobs some workers, including adults with disabilities, complete for area businesses:

• Creating and manufacturing signs, decals, street banners and vinyl window graphics.

• Archiving paperwork into an easy-to-manage online records system.

• Labeling products, such as water bottles.

• Assembling nuts and bolts and other jobs for area manufacturers.

• Shredding documents.

• Subcontracting for custodial work.

• Cleaning homes.

Other clients affiliated with Ability Works landed jobs with Kalahari Resort, Firelands Regional Medical Center, Sawmill Creek Resort, Meijer and the Erie County Humane Society.

“There are more than 800 adults with developmental disabilities in Erie County who need support to live in their community and be part of their community,” Young said. “We make that happen”

Ability Works provides transportation to those needing rides to jobs and community events.

The company — funded mostly through Medicaid reimbursements — also offers day services, or a safe environment where adults with disabilities can  play, learn, interact or just get away from stressful situations for a bit.


Ability Works, 2008 to present

• 185: Total number of adults with disabilities served

• $5.77 million: Gross payroll

• 40,400: Number of rides provided

• 1,500: Number of people served through special events

Source: Ability Works

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