09/29/2016

Innovation in Northeast Georgia: Gap Partners

By Ryan Waldrep, Assistant Director for Entrepreneur and Small Business Development

Small Business Spotlight | Rabun Gap, Rabun County | Region 2

prolock-rightGeorgia is home to many different types of great small businesses, from retail companies selling today’s hottest trends to companies that produce and transport goods that our country depends on day-in and day-out.

Nestled among the mountains, Gap Partners is located in Rabun Gap in Georgia’s northeastern-most point.

Gap Partners produces an innovative inventory management control cabinet. These cabinets are used in manufacturing facilities not only here in Georgia, but across the globe.

Founded in 1985 to fulfill a specialty contract, Gap Manufacturing transformed into a custom sheet metal fabrication facility. Over time the company grew and was acquired in 2008 and became Gap Partners, a division of PPI. However, the same values that played a prominent role in the success in the early days of the company govern the facility today.

Several Fortune 500 companies such as Stanley, Black & Decker, Siemens, and Caterpillar depend on the products Gap Partners creates to keep their employees stay organized and efficient.

Sales growth has been phenomenal at Gap Partners, and the company produces more than 100 specialized inventory control cabinets per month!

Five years ago, the company partnered with the Development Authority of Rabun County and moved into a new 92,000 square-foot manufacturing facility that once was home to textile manufacturing. Gap Partners now employs more than 85 people at its facility in Rabun Gap.

dsc_0894Remember those values that guided the company in its early days? Well, they are still alive and well today. Key principles such as teamwork and incorporation of ideas are celebrated daily. And Ken Fisher, Chairman of Gap Partners and General Manager of its Rabun Gap facility, continues to enforce that the company’s largest asset is its people.

In the conference room, there are large black and white photos of employees hailing values such as Inspire; Create; Be a Blessing; and Work Hard, Play Hard.

Christina Burdett offered some great advice to the growing entrepreneur. “Treat teammates with the utmost respect.”

“You succeed when you work in groups, and you’ll go faster and farther.” – Christina Burdett, Sales Manager, Gap Partners

She also advised working very closely with your partners. Because of their close collaboration with Black & Decker and Stanley, Gap Partners was named their “2013 Partner of the Year.”

picture2Ken Fisher has also looked for ways to continue the success of Gap Partners while embracing the values of the company. In the past several months, Gap Partners has formed a relationship with the Great Promise Partnership.

The program works with at-risk youth, guaranteeing that if they will continue their education, the Great Promise Partnership will support their efforts and help them prepare for further education, military service or the workforce after graduation.

So the next time you grab that product off the shelf or see some heavy equipment working, think about the many small businesses that were involved in getting that product to you. Great companies, just like GAP Partners. Check them out online!

waldrep-ryanGot a Small Business question? Start the conversation! Contact Ryan Waldrep, Assistant Director for Entrepreneur and Small Business Development, at (229) 868-3428 or [email protected].

Contact GDEcD

For more information on Georgia’s public-private business partnerships, contact the Georgia Department of Economic Development at 404.962.4000.

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