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The Suburbanite
  • Grabowski & Co. owner humbled by success

  • Through hard work and determination, Sue Grabowski made her dream of owning a marketing and communications agency come true more than 16 years ago.

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  • Through hard work and determination, Sue Grabowski made her dream of owning a marketing and communications agency come true more than 16 years ago.
    She started her own company from a home office, and today, she and her team have worked on campaigns and projects for all types of companies from Fortune 500 to small business and nonprofit organizations.
    Grabowski & Company has grown from one employee to a creative team of 20 people. Grabowski enjoys her work, and the company has received numerous awards. Some of her clients have been with her from the beginning.
    “I’m incredibly humbled by how it has all transformed,” Grabowski said. “I’ve always focused on providing the best work and customer service I could.”
    Grabowski, a Canton native, graduated from Glen Oak High School and received a bachelor’s in communication arts with a focus on journalism from Malone University. She worked as a writer for a trade magazine and then went to work with a small advertising agency.
    “There were three people at the ad agency, and I learned so much from that experience,” Grabowski said. “I decided then that I wanted to own my own agency. I went to work for Progressive Insurance as a senior communications specialist to get experience working with a big company. They became my first client when I started my agency, and they are still a client today.”
    The agency works with companies and organizations from all over Northeast Ohio and has worked with clients from out of state, including branding a new school in New York City. Grabowski said the written word is the foundation of the agency’s work.
    “Without the right messaging for a company, the artwork just doesn’t matter,” she said. “Many of our clients learn what their message really is when we start working with them. We start on a project by finding out what a company’s unique deliverables are and what promises they make to their customers. We do this by asking a lot of questions.”
    A good example is a project involving one of Grabowski’s new clients, a latex tubing manufacturer. The company thought its messaging should be about the product. Grabowski said the real message was how the company’s clients appreciated the customer service they received.
    “The company wanted to focus on product integrity, but we believe it’s the people integrity that is the real message,” she said.
    The short list of services that Grabowski & Company provides includes writing, graphic design, website development, logo design, company branding, multimedia and illustration, printed materials and event planning. Once the agency knows the objectives of a project, the writers start developing content. Then the graphic designers and artists work with the writers to make sure the imagery goes with the words.
    Page 2 of 2 - “We work with projects from the conceptual or big idea to working through the smallest details,” Grabowski said.
    Daryl Dirham, copy editor and account services, has worked for Grabowski for eight years and said the team becomes “more like ambassadors for our clients than contract workers.”
    “We take our jobs seriously, but not ourselves. We take a personal interest in our clients, sometimes to a fault,” Dirham said. “My favorite part of the job is being able to help clients find out who they are and then being able to help them bring their vision to life.”
    Dirham said it’s been a privilege to write for clients that do meaningful work in the community.  
    “Working with such organizations has afforded me the opportunity to know and talk with some really fascinating people,” he said.
    After starting in Grabowski’s home in 1997, the company is now located in its own building on Cleveland Avenue in Uniontown. Grabowski and her husband, Leonard, and three children, Abbi, 15, Mitch, 12, and Zane, 8, live in Lake Township. Her husband is a full-time, stay-at-home dad and is the in-stadium announcer for the Akron Aeros.
    The company has won numerous awards, including ADDY awards, the Weatherhead 100 for 2012 from Case Western Reserve for one of the fastest growing businesses in Northeast Ohio and the Business Excellence award from the Canton Regional Chamber of Commerce.
    “My dad used to say ‘Make yourself indispensable and work at a level where a company can’t afford to let you go.’ That’s what the team here does. We give 100 percent all of the time,” Grabowski said.
    One of the many projects Grabowski & Company is working on is for Employer’s Health in Canton and the American Psychological Foundation in Washington D.C. for a campaign on depression in the workplace. The campaign launches this spring and can be seen at www.rightdirectionforme.com beginning in May.