72-year-old Nowak Supply likely to move for riverfront development

Local News

The owners of Nowak Supply in Fort Wayne have been working on a game plan for a potential future move.

“We’re in an exciting transition time, going from the second generation to the third generation, where we are looking to expand our business to every area that we have,” Chief Operations Officer Scott Sherman said.

Nowak supply has been a mainstay on Superior St. along the St. Marys River for 72 years. Founded in 1946 as the Marvel Williams Company, the business repaired gas and welding equipment.

Fast forward to today the business still handles welding, but has added chemical gasses, safety services, jon rentals,  balloons (a business with roots to the old days) and the fast growing offerings for first reponders.

All of those services are based in four buildings between Wells and Harrison Streets. That fact could be changing soon.

 “[The Nowak] building has some real potential for development along the river,” Mayor Tom Henry told NewsChannel 15.

 The Nowak buildings are in the Phase Two area of riverfront development. That phase will focus on bringing private investment to the area in the form of hospitality and entertainment businesses. Nowak doesn’t fit in with that plan.

 “We have been supportive of the downtown riverfront projects from the beginning,” Sherman explained. “We love what they’re doing downtown. We’re excited to be a part of it. And we’re looking forward to seeing what it’s going to do to Fort Wayne in the future.”

That future likely means a move for the company… a process made a bit complicated because of the services it offers. The owners have been working with city leaders to make that move the smoothest it can be for everyone involved though.

The mayor’s office shared a statement with NewsChannel 15 about the conversations between city leaders and Nowak owners. 

It reads: “Fort Wayne is fortunate to have a company like Nowak in our community. They are good community partners and we’ll continue to have a positive dialogue with them about their future.”

“We’re not closing down,” Sherman added. “We’re a stong company that has welcomed people downtown to see us… now and in the future. And if and when anything takes place, we’ll certainly let people know where we’ll go if that’s the possibility.”

The second phase of riverfront development will be featured in a special report Monday at 6:00 p.m. on NewsChannel 15. Chris Darby talks with Mayor Tom Henry about downtown development. It’s the first part in a series giving you new perspectives of the fast-changing heart of the city.

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