December 5, 2007 – The Cherokee-Ledger News – By Tom Brooks – tombrooks@ledgernews.com

A northern Cherokee County supplier of industrial tapes and other product lines is expanding with a growing workforce and a new building.

Stag Enterprise Inc. moved five years ago from Kennesaw to Wilbanks Industrial Park off Airport Drive. It is adding employees, as the distributor of tapes and supplies to area schools and other major customers prepares to open up space in its new building located nearby, said President Elizabeth Gats.

Stag Enterprise is a family business started in 1993 by Elizabeth and Larry Gats, a veteran industrial tape salesman. It has a workforce of about 22 employees, with three joining the staff this week, Elizabeth Gats said.

(Right: One third of Stag Enterprise’s employees are members of the family of President Elizabeth Gats, far right, and her husband, Larry Gats, sales director, far left. From left, they include daughter Tanny Davidson, account executive; daughter Rachel Niederer, purchasing manager; son-in-law Duncan Niederer, government sales manager; and son Aaron Gats, operations manager. Not pictured is son-in-law Mark Davidson, general manager and international sales executive. Tom Brooks | Ledger-News)

Its headquarters will remain in its 22,000-square-foot Wilbanks Industrial Park facility built five years ago, and the company soon will be expanding into 10,400 square feet of its new 46,800 square foot building in the I-575/Airport Industrial Park, Elizabeth Gats said.

The new $2.5-million complex is available for lease and will ultimately be used for further expansion, she said.

The company is preparing for the steady rate of growth it has experienced since it was started to continue, with its response to customer demands a key factor in facing competing companies, Elizabeth Gats said.

“Customer service is very important,” Elizabeth Gats said. “Delivery time is extremely important.”

Larry Gats, director of sales, said the expansion in the new space is expected in mid-December. “We’re all set to go,” he said.

Top customers include Georgia Power Company, Cobb County School District and Cherokee County School District, Elizabeth Gats said.

Along with industrial tape, Stag Enterprise sells safety supplies, janitorial supplies, and other goods.

The move from its former headquarters in Kennesaw to about 25 miles north of Interstate 75 still is “no big deal” for the company as it reaches customers, Elizabeth Gats said.

Its location near Ball Ground appeals to employees and prospective employees seeking to escape crowded Cobb County and the traffic of I-75 and I-285, she said.

(Right: Stag Enterprise is expanding its operations to include 10,400 square feet of its new 46,800-square-foot building in the I-575/Airport Industrial Park. The remainder of the new complex is available for lease and will eventually be used for further expansion, Stag Enterprise President Elizabeth Gats said. Its headquarters is in the Wilbanks Industrial Park. Both locations are off Airport Drive, immediately east of Interstate 575’s Exit 24 in northern Cherokee. Tom Brooks | Ledger-News)

Calls about the new space have been fielded from existing businesses in Gwinnett County, Elizabeth Gats said, adding the companies also are attracted to Cherokee as “an up-and-coming county” with a more peaceful setting than suburban Gwinnett.

The company is minority-owned, as Elizabeth Gats is Asian Pacific American, a native of the Philippines, who has lived in the United States for 45 years. Elizabeth Gats is an Army veteran, serving while stationed in Japan during the Vietnam War, she said.

Elizabeth Gats got her start in the industrial tapes supply business by assisting her husband, a New York native, she said. With a gross revenue level of about $17 million annually, the company is poised for meeting its vision of steady growth that will allow it to take over more space in its new building in future years, Elizabeth Gats said.
“As we grow, we will just take more units,” she said.

Stag Enterprise is very much a family enterprise that includes children and in-laws of Elizabeth and Larry Gats.
Also working in the company are son Aaron Gats, operations manager; daughter Rachel Niederer, purchasing manager and her husband, Duncan Niederer, government sales manager; daughter Tanny Davidson, account executive and her husband, Mark Davidson, general manager and international sales executive.

The second generation of the family offers a variety of talents and business experiences that will make the company well suited for the future and changes in the marketplace, Elizabeth Gats said.