NAPOLEON — A Defiance company’s plans to establish a light manufacturing facility in this town’s old Walmart building on Oakwood Avenue may be fading.
Napoleon’s planning commission approved a conditional use permit for Axis LED Group (ALG) on July 27 to manufacture several types of facial masks in the building at 1851 Oakwood Ave., which has been vacant for 18 years. The permit would have allowed light manufacturing in a building zoned for commercial use.
During an interview in August with The Crescent-News, ALG’s marketing manager, Todd Yunker, had discussed in depth plans for the company to employ 400-500 workers in time. The immediate plan, he indicated, was for the company to move in 60 new machines and employ as many as 400 workers by year’s end.
However, local officials have indicated that the company is considering other locations for its facility. There has been no discernible activity at the former Walmart building in recent weeks.
“We thought we were doing anything we could to keep them,” said Napoleon Mayor Jason Maassel. “We’re disappointed that they are not moving forward. We hope that they will.”
As for the building, he said, “we think we have a good site for them.” Although he understands the company’s decision, Maassel said “we hope they will consider us.”
An attempt to contact Yunker for comment Monday evening was unsuccessful.
ALG, which is primarily owned by Defiance High School graduate Adam Harmon, already has a facility at 2106 Baltimore Road. It manufactures LED lights that are sent all over the country.
During his second four-year term as mayor, Maassel said the former Walmart building has had a couple looks by prospective businesses, but these were storage related. He indicated that officials have been reluctant to have such a business locate there.