How Blue Ash is wooing companies

Posted at 6:00 AM, May 06, 2016
and last updated 2016-05-06 06:00:54-04

BLUE ASH, Ohio — The Business Backer didn’t want to leave the city it has called home for more than nine years, but rapid growth nearly forced the company out of Blue Ash.

With a 4.6 percent vacancy rate for Class A office space, finding a new home for a growing business in Blue Ash can be challenging. So when ITelligence put 28,000 square feet of office space on the market, The Business Backer pounced.

“As soon as we saw the space and saw that the opportunity was there, this became our No. 1 priority,” said Jim Salters, CEO of The Business Backer.

The Business Backer and ITellience celebrated their new relationship at a ribbon-cutting ceremony this week. The Business Backer will occupy the first floor of the ITelligence building, located at 10866 Reed Hartman Highway.

“We were really lucky to get Business Backer to come in as a tenant and join us here,” said ITelligence COO Tim Breen. “They’re a really fast-growing, young, vibrant company here in Blue Ash.”

The Business Backer had about 30 employees in 2013. Now it has more than 100, with plans to add 60 to 70 more in the next three to five years, according to The Business Backer COO Steve Tosh.

The jobs the company plans to add have salaries of between $50,000 and $100,000. The new positions will include sales, underwriting, technology, business process and product management, Tosh said.

Staying in Blue Ash will help The Business Backer hit its talent-acquisition goals, Tosh said.

“Blue Ash is still the best combination of location, ease of access, affordability and quality of life for everybody that works here at The Business Backer,” Tosh said. “We are thrilled to stay here in Blue Ash.”

The Business Backer specializes in small business financing. Salters chalked up the company’s rapid growth to unique approach to lending.

“There’s a lot of term loan, term-based lending options that a lot of companies have been offering,” Salters said. “Our focus is on ongoing access to capital — more of a line-of-credit type of approach.

“That’s been a real differentiator for us. It’s allowed us to gain a lot of market share.”

The city of Blue Ash incentivized The Business Backer to stay with tax abatements.

“It’s kind of like family; you don’t want to let your family go,” Blue Ash Mayor Lee Czerwonka said. “They grew up here, they started here, so let’s keep them here and not let them go.”