CLEVELAND — In Cleveland you could hear a collective sigh of relief as Sherwin-Williams made official the news that had been anticipated that they would be staying in Cleveland, their home of 154 years.
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The corporation has meant so much more to its home town, it's meant clout. When a delegation from Cleveland traveled to Washington, D.C. to bid for the Republican National Convention, then Sherwin-Williams Executive Chairman Chris Connor was there to help with the pitch. When the head of a Fortune 200 company stands up and says the city's corporate community is good for the $65 million needed to host the convention, there was no reason to doubt it.
"You really can't overstate the importance of it," said David Gilbert, President & CEO of Destination Cleveland. "Oftentimes companies are very identified with the cities in which they're headquartered particularly ones like Sherwin-Williams," he said. "Having them engaged having their executives engaged can make a world of difference in so many ways."
That engagement extends deep into the community as more than 100 Sherwin-Williams employees sitting on the boards of area non-profits with the company having donated more than $20 million over the last decade to various causes.
There's also the impact on institutions or the city's three professional sports teams has highlighted last fall with the dedication of the Sherwin-Williams entrance of the Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse which looks out towards their soon to be former headquarters.
"This is becoming a gigantic international company," said Joe Roman, CEO of the Greater Cleveland Partnership of the company's growth from revenues of $8.7 billion in 2011 to $17.9 billion last year.
The new headquarters will be built on the parking lots off West Sixth Street as well as the one off Public Square, prime pieces of downtown real estate that in the smile of downtown have been the missing tooth.
"It's a missing tooth because it's also been exposed for so long," Roman said. "It was a property where we thought there was going to be a building 25 years ago and that never happened and now we won't have parking lots there we'll have the kind of a building that that Public Square deserves."
And that David Gilbert said will change the feel and connectivity of downtown.
"There are types of decisions by individuals or companies about the aesthetics of a city, the vibrancy of a city," Gilbert said. "It certainly is not by far the only measure of health of a community but you need a vibrant downtown and Sherwin is building a building to fill in those gaps and end up having more employees that will live downtown. It only does good."
But Gilbert said the decision should do something else that can't be seen or measured.
"It needs to help our community and I think we're largely there, get over the psyche of losing. We shouldn't have expected Sherwin-Williams to want to leave, this is a phenomenal community," he said. "And we as a community ought to have confidence in that."