The back of a station wagon served as his retail outlet, except on Sundays, when Anthony Gatto put the seats back in the car to take his children to church. With five hungry mouths to feed, him and his wife, Patricia Gatto embarked on what would become a staple for electrical supplies in the surrounding areas of Northeastern Ohio.

When Anthony Gatto moved his electrical supplies into a real store in 1968, his first checkout counter was a plank across a carpenter’s sawhorses. Passerby traffic could look through the large picture windows of the store front in these early days and see well stocked shelves…at least the appearance of well stocked shelves. In actuality, some were merely empty boxes. Perception was used as a useful tool by Anthony Gatto back then.

He first educated himself in the electrical industry by reading carton descriptions, examining the parts and questioning the people who used them. Mr. Gatto worked with two of his brothers in the electrical industry in Cleveland. He then worked for Harry Strauss of Leader Electric Supply in Cleveland Ohio. After working for Mr. Strauss for about one year, Anthony Gatto shared his dream with his boss. Mr. Strauss allowed him to use his truck and also purchase material on the honor system at “cost” plus 5% so that he could establish himself in the Akron market.  He purchased material by borrowing $5,000 on his house and $5,000 from friend, Nick Cardello who owned Cardello Electric in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

He stored and stacked, almost to the ceiling, 12/2 and 14/2 wire in his home’s detached garage in Warrensville Ohio. To help out, his wife Patricia Gatto and a couple of their children would make deliveries to job sites while he was connecting with the contractors and building shelves at what was to be his first supply house on East South Street in Akron. Formerly a curio store, the new business base on East South Street was a completely empty shell with 600 square feet up and 600 square feet in the cellar.

In the early days, he made house calls to electrical contractors from sunup until sundown in the freezing cold nights of Northeast Ohio, to establish a business base. Many contractors told him he was crazy, that the competition would be too tough. But Mr. Gatto persevered, exclaiming, “I’m just looking for the crumbs!” Several good, honest Akron contractors who were impressed with his determination gave him a chance. It became a symbiotic relationship.

After many months of hard work and sweat of his brow, Anthony Gatto loaded up a truck that was given to him by one of the electrical contractors. He and his family drove from Cleveland to Akron working until the wee hours of the night unloading equipment in the rain. That first day seemed so gloomy like the weather but he did not give up. His work had just begun. After approximately nine years, he had grown enough to require a larger facility for his thriving business. He moved the store’s operation to its present location at 406 W. Exchange Street in Akron, Ohio and has been there ever since.

His modest beginnings are no longer evident to customers who frequent Apex Electric Supply Company Inc. which is owned and operated by Gatto and his family. Light fixtures, Panel boards, circuit breakers, switches and fans now more than fill the 30,000 square foot building at 406 W. Exchange Street in Akron. Building his business on the “crumbs” he now stocks more than 15,000 items from approximately 300 different manufacturers/vendors.

Three generations of his family, including Founder Anthony Gatto are currently employed by Apex Electric Supply Company Inc along with their efficient staff of experienced, knowledgeable and courteous individuals serving residential, commercial, and industrial customers.

Quotes from Anthony Gatto and Words of Wisdom from a True Entrepreneur:

“Doesn’t every person dream of owning their own business?

You must have a goal which takes a constant hammering away and persistence.

You can’t give up easily. At the first reversal, you don’t turn around. You’ve got to have the right kind of attitude. Venturing out on your own to start a business isn’t easy. You have to fight every inch of the way.”  “Things just don’t happen; you’ve got to make them happen,” Mr. Gatto says of his business philosophy.

“Sometimes people forget the struggle of where they came from. You must never forget where you came from”