2018 Nominee One: The Schroer Group

Every day the Schroer family and their employees touch the lives of over 7,500 people when they are most vulnerable. The family’s love affair with caring for the elderly began when Jerry Schroer Sr., a Cleveland-based chemical salesman, decided his home was more important than his job.

Facing a move to New Jersey in 1972, Jerry Schroer’s wife, Sue, balked at leaving Cleveland where they’d lived since moving from their native St. Louis. The small nursing homes operated by Sue Schroer’s father pointed toward a solution. Jerry liked the business and found a 50 bed nursing home for sale in Westerville, Ohio near Columbus. Knowing he could run the business without leaving their Cleveland home, Jerry and Sue put everything they owned on the line. As their son, Jerry Jr. recalls, “If the furnace broke down, they’d have struggled to find the money to fix it.”

Fortunately the furnace held up, and Jerry Schroer Sr. found his passion in life. Two years later he bought a second Ohio nursing home south of Navarre. Soon he added a third outside Louisville. The growing business soon needed a professional management structure and Stark County provided a good centralized location for their new headquarters.

Today, The Schroer Group has become one of Stark County’s most dynamic business stories. The company provides support services to independent nursing homes, including pharmacy, therapy, home health and hospice care, foodservice, management services and more. They also own 27 Altercare Nursing Homes in two states. All together the 3,500 TSG employees touch the lives of over 7,500 elderly people, daily. It is as much a responsibility as a business opportunity.

45 years after Jerry Schroer Sr. put everything his family owned on the line to buy their first nursing home, the company continues to follow his lead. His passion for comforting elderly nursing home residents is shared by son, Jerry Jr., now CEO of the family-owned business, another son Andrew, and the rest of the management team. Most important, they’ve infused their dedication to quality care throughout the company. The gleaming offices in North Canton’s Hoover District are bursting at the seams and plans are underway for a headquarters expansion. But, those are superficial changes. If you ask Jerry Schroer Jr. what drives the company he’ll tell you “Quality, compassionate care for people at the most vulnerable point in their lives. All our success follows.”

The truth of this statement is seen by tracking where the success flows. TSG and the Schroer family have become shining examples of the many ways a successful company can improve the lives of employees and local neighbors. Saint Ignatius High School, one of their many charities, thanked the family for their enduring support with an article in the alumni newsletter headlined: “To Labor and Not to Ask for Reward.”

However, there have been many rewards along the way, including an unprecedented two Gold Awards for Quality from the American Health Care Association and 14 straight North Coast 99 Awards as one of the area’s best places to work. The link between the two awards is passionate caring people focused on delivering high quality care.

After almost a half century, the company he founded far exceeds his vision, but still walks in Jerry Schroer Sr.’s footsteps.