FirstEnergyAll-American Soap Box Derby Countdown


Thank You Thursday - Marous Brothers Construction

Starting Gate 3 ResizeStarting line structure at Derby Downs - built by Marous
Brothers Construction in the spring of 2012

Marous Brothers Logo

It was the summer of 1936 and City of Akron officials and community leaders set about to find a larger and more permanent home for the Soap Box Derby. With the support of city officials, they scouted venues with the hills necessary to accommodate the gravity racecars. As the decision was announced for the chosen site, then-Mayor Lee D. Schroy proclaimed “It is fortunate that the new ski run at the airport is so ideally suited to the needs of the Soap Box Derby.” 

That announcement came on July 29, 1936—and the All-American Soap Box Derby ran on Derby Downs less than a month later! Throughout most of its history the iconic track had a headquarters office facility (new building added in 1992), a grandstand structure (replaced in 1999), a finish line bridge (replaced in 2000), and a topside storage and production facility (added the blue Hall of Fame and Museum building in 2001). What it didn’t have was a permanent starting line structure.

That all changed in the spring of 2012 when a team from Marous Brothers Construction set foot on the grounds of the world famous track to construct a new starting line structure. The first event to utilize the new $115,000 donated structure was the 75th running of the FirstEnergy All-American Soap Box Derby World Championship race in July, 2012. It was the first time in history that there was a permanent structure where the world’s best gravity racers started their heats in hopes of being crowned World Champion.

“The structure really changed the look and feel of racing here at Derby Downs,” said Derby President and CEO Joe Mazur. “All of the events here at the track really benefit by having a professional looking structure at the starting line. We’re so appreciative of the donation by Marous Brothers.”

Here is a letter that appeared in the program for the 75th FirstEnergy All-American Soap Box Derby from Marous Brothers Construction:

To Derby Nation:
With the possible exceptions of apple pie and baseball, there are few things more American than Soap Box Derby racing. Which is why, as a hometown proud builder, we enthusiastically support the All-American Soap Box Derby (AASBD).
Decades ago, we realized that the legacy you leave behind isn’t always made of brick and mortar. The vision of Marous Brothers Construction not only challenges us to be the best in our trade, but to be good stewards of the opportunities provided to us. In this, the leadership and staff of Marous Brothers Construction are committed to the communities in which we live and work, partnering with organizations whose mission it is to improve the lives of individuals and the condition of the world at large.
As a family-owned construction firm, Marous Brothers Construction understands and applauds the values inherent in the AASBD and are pleased to support your mission to instill in our youth basic skills of workmanship, the spirit of competition and the perseverance to complete a project from start to finish. We recognize that the Derby has been a way of life for many families and are proud to bring attention to this sport by constructing a new Starting Gate to stand atop the Derby Downs track where young racers can continue to experience their dream.
Marous Brothers Construction and the Marous family congratulate the All-American Soap Box Derby on 75 years of tradition. We trust that our partnership will ensure that these values and opportunities will be available for generations to come.
Here’s to the next 75, and the 75 after that…
Chip, Scott, and Ken Marous
Marous Brothers Construction

The Derby would like to say THANK YOU to Marous Brothers Construction for helping us continue our mission of building knowledge and character, and creating meaningful experiences through collaboration and fair and honest competition.

This is the fourth installment of our weekly “Thank You Thursday” feature. Each week we will offer a heartfelt “Thank You” to a corporation, civic or community leader, volunteer, foundation or an individual who has helped us continue our mission. To view previous features please click below.

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The starting line tent at the 2011 All-American Soap Box Derby.

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Marous Brothers Construction working on
the starting line structure at Derby Downs
in the spring of 2012. 

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Derby Board members Tom Welsh and Bob
Troyer, along with Derby President & CEO
Joe Mazur, Chip Marous, Jr., Marous Brothers Constuction President, Mike Marous, Project Manager – Construction Management Group
and Scott Marous, Jr., Director of Field
Operations – Design-Build Group at the ribbon cutting cermony for the new starting gate structure.

Thank You Thursday
Thursday, September 29, 2016 - FirstEnergy Corp.
Thursday, October 6, 2016 - Don Plusquellic
Thursday, October 13, 2016 - Bill Ginter