THE ROP SHOP'S PARENT COMPANY, OUTDOOR CONCEPTS, IS BUSINESS OF THE YEAR
WRITTEN BY: DEVAN FILCHAK
Steve Gerber was in a meeting when he was told he had to leave due to something “very important.”
Unbeknownst to him, all of his staff and members of the Wells County Chamber of Commerce were waiting for him. Erin Prible, executive director of the chamber was emotional as she told him that Outdoor Concepts had been selected as the chamber’s Business of the Year.
“I know you guys very very dearly, so this means so much to me.”
As she began to describe the way the Gerbers have given back as part of their business, she started to tear up.
“I can’t even look at you,” she said to the Gerbers. “You continue to be such a strong local business member in our community.”
Topp wrote in the nomination letter. “They give these people (young and old) a chance to work hard, follow the rules (that we often just assume everyone knows about), and succeed in their daily life.”
Gerber said he had no idea the surprise announcement was coming or that his business had been selected. He was in the middle of a meeting when he was told he, his wife Gayla Gerber and his son Landon Gerber had to come out to the showroom for something “really important.”
“I’m really surprised,” he said. “We had no idea.”
Steve and Gayla Gerber opened their business in 1987, and Outdoor Concepts has been in its current 20,000-square-foot location since 2009 at 2275 N. Main St. in Bluffton.
Outdoor Concepts was nominated for the honor by Angie Topp. She noted how the once small landscaping business has grown through both the local shop and the online portion of their business.
But Topp said the business isn’t just about landscaping.
“A bigger reason that I think that Outdoor Concepts is deserving of this award is the fact that Steve and Gayla use their business as a ministry to some of the people in our community that are on the brink of making it, or drowning in the stress that their daily life can hold,” Topp wrote in the nomination letter. “They give these people (young and old) a chance to work hard, follow the rules (that we often just assume everyone knows about), and succeed in their daily life.”
Outdoor Concepts will be recognized at the annual chamber dinner.
Gerber was humble when he said he appreciates the recognition.
“I just feel like there are a lot of other businesses that are well deserving,” he said.
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