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OSI moving to I-81 business park

November 26, 1999|By LAURA ERNDE

Office Suppliers Inc. is moving from Fountainhead Plaza to a new building in the Interstate 81 Business Park off Maugans Avenue, the company announced Friday.

As part of the move, OSI will close its retail counter and focus solely on the commercial customers who make up the bulk of the business, said General Manager Don Ardinger.

OSI's new masonry building, which will cost an estimated $2 million, will be next to a Hampton Inn that's also being built in the business park behind Taco Bell.

The building will start out at 20,500 square feet when it opens in the spring, but it will have the ability to double in size, depending on what other tenants move in, Ardinger said. OSI also might use some of the space.

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Developer Asad Ghattas is orchestrating the move. Ghattas owns OSI, Fountainhead Plaza and the business park.

Ghattas is hoping to use OSI's well-established reputation to attract other upscale tenants to the business park, Ardinger said.

Ardinger said OSI's current 32,000-square-foot building is being renovated to accommodate an undisclosed tenant who is interested in establishing a marketing and office presence in Hagerstown.

Tom Riford, marketing director for the Hagerstown-Washington County Economic Development Commission, said he couldn't comment on any ongoing negotiations.

Although OSI's new building will be smaller at first, the company views it as an expansion because there will no longer be a need for retail floor space.

Also, the new building will combine showroom and office space, with its 40 employees using state-of-the-art furniture and equipment to demonstrate for customers, Ardinger said.

"We're excited that OSI is doing this. They're a great company," Riford said.

OSI has had a long history in Washington County.

It was only a small office supply store owned by a large publishing firm when Asad Ghattas bought OSI in 1972. When Ghattas built Fountainhead Plaza in 1987, OSI's glass-walled building on the end became an anchor along with Martin's grocery store.

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