Airgas to open center on Cooper Foster

By Jason Hawk -

A vacant building on the Amherst-Lorain border will be transformed into a retail site for gases and welding equipment.

Airgas USA plans to move into Lormet Credit Union’s old 2,124-square-foot building at 1897 Cooper Foster Park Rd. The space has been empty for two years.

Based in Radnor, Pa., Airgas boasts more than a million customers and 18,000 employees.

It caters to manufacturers, energy companies, health care services, food and retail services, and government defense and aerospace contractors.

The company is seeking to expand its coverage between Cleveland and Toledo.

“By opening a store in the Amherst area, we would be in a better presence to serve the current customers and grow our business. We would like to improve on customer service and present cost efficiencies to the local, current, and future customer base in the Amherst area,” Airgas wrote in a brief to city council.

The new location would require four employees. It would have a retail front with a showroom for customers as well as an inside warehousing area serving as a base for deliveries.

Spokesman Bryan Petel said the site would service about 200 industrial customers in the area who need everything from compressed oxygen and helium to protective eyewear.

City council president Jennifer Wasilk said her day job involves working with industrial facilities. She said Airgas provides “an essential service.”

“And it’s a good sign of economic recovery in this area because we have had services like this in the area and they’ve kind of gone by the wayside with the failure of our industrial facilities in Lorain County,” she said.

Airgas plans to lease the space for at least five years with options for renewal.

In Northeast Ohio, the company also has facilities in Oakwood Village and Brookpark.

Jason Hawk can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @EditorHawk on Twitter.

By Jason Hawk