There’s a bunch of interesting nuggets of information in a local paper’s interview with Stratacache CEO Chris Riegel – most notably that he expects to be north of 1,000 employees within a year.
Talking to the Dayton Daily News, Riegel says he’s now at 750, with 320 of them in Dayton. About 90 employees work at the massive building Riegel has developed into a manufacturing plant and distribution centre for outdoor displays aimed at the QSR drive-thru sector. That number scales up as high as 120, based on customer demands.
While most companies in this industry that have tried to wedge their way into Asia have backed out or had nominal success, Riegel told the paper he’s going hard at that region.
“The market sector that we serve globally — brands, banks, car companies — spends about $1.2 trillion a year on trying to convince a customer what to wear, what to buy, what to drive, where to vacation,” Riegel told the paper.
“I can have a pretty good business by carving out a couple of percentage points of that.”
Much of the company’s heavy expansion is in China and India, meaning Stratacache is active in an area that that has some two-thirds of the global population. A “tier-two” city in China has eight million people, Riegel noted.
“The economic opportunity there is amazing,” he said.
That giant brownfield plant in suburban Dayton that Riegel brought back to life for screens was, I assumed, helped along by local tax incentives and grants. But Riegel told the paper he didn’t ask for or get any Montgomery County ED/GE (Economic Development/Government Equity) grants to invest in the site.
When Stratacache bought the building in the summer of 2016, the grass outside was four feet tall. To date, the company has invested some $30 million there.
“Not a dime of public money,” Riegel said.
Riegel also told the paper his company’s growth will remain, somewhat, in Ohio – which has talented people available, relatively low operating costs and far less regulation than places like California, where he has about 100 people (PRN, mostly, I assume).
Dave Haynes is the founder and editor of Sixteen:Nine, an online publication that has followed the digital signage industry for more than 13 years. Dave does strategic advisory consulting work for many end-users and vendors, and also writes for many of them. He’s based near Halifax, Nova Scotia.