Toy Manufacturer Makes Investment Boost For Chillicothe Operation

Presented By Classic Brands

(SEOhio.com) – On the Mantle, LLC dba W. Britain Toy Soldier & Model Figure Company in collaboration with JobsOhio, Ohio SE, and Greater Chillicothe Ross County Development have announced an investment of over $226,000 to add manufacturing capabilities to the company’s operations in Chillicothe, creating eight new jobs.

“Like most businesses in this country, the unforeseen complications of COVID-19 and related shipping backlogs from China over the past two years have illustrated how dependent we have become on offshore manufacturing,” said President of W.Britain, Ken Osen.

This was not always the case with W.Britain toys and model figures, said Osen. Founded in 1893 as a family-owned and operated business in the UK, it grew to be one of the largest and best-known manufacturers of miniature figurines, scenery, and historical models. Although the company has changed names and ownership over the past 129 years, the attention to detail, quality, and authenticity has always been a governing philosophy and hallmark of W.Britain.

“With the recent experience of global supply chain problems, we are convinced that a larger percentage of our unique products can be entirely designed and produced here in the United States, and with the support of JobsOhio, Ohio SE, and Greater Chillicothe Ross County Development this is becoming a reality,” said Osen.

As an American-owned company that relocated to Chillicothe, Ohio, in 2020, these company values remain today. “For the last 26 years, we have taken pride that all our research, development, prototyping, and fulfillment of finished goods has been done here in the United States,” said Osen. “In fact, we are the only ones in our industry who have embraced this approach.” 

Although part of the business has always included the domestic manufacturing and finishing of specialized items, this has traditionally been a very small component due to lack of space, staff, and equipment. 

“With the recent experience of global supply chain problems, we are convinced that a larger percentage of our unique products can be entirely designed and produced here in the United States, and with the support of JobsOhio, Ohio Southeast Economic Development (OhioSE), and Greater Chillicothe & Ross County Development this is becoming a reality,” said Osen. “Our immediate goal is to further increase our staff, which will allow W.Britain to manufacture a larger portion of our scale model miniatures, model kits, and accessories here in Chillicothe.”

To maintain quality, it will be paramount to train new staff members in a variety of areas, said Osen. This will include the handling of materials and techniques and educating the new team members on the history behind what the various models represent. 

“We are in the process of reconfiguring the workspace at our main office on Water Street for this new aspect of our business, including the addition of new workstations and specialized equipment. With these first steps in training and manufacturing, we will grow the existing business and decrease our dependence on offshore manufacturing,” said Osen. “We thank JobsOhio for their support and confidence in our local business.”

“As a community, we are excited to welcome this manufacturer of custom figurines, scenery, and historical models to our downtown district,” said Tammy Eallonardo, Director of Economic Development. “Similar items have been sold at Chillicothe’s ‘History Store’ for many years and are very popular among collectors and history buffs. It is exciting to know that these items will now be manufactured locally.”

The JobsOhio Inclusion Grant exists to provide financial support for eligible projects in designated distressed communities and/or for businesses owned by underrepresented populations across the state.

”W. Britain Toys has over 129-year history and global brand recognition,” said OhioSE President Mike Jacoby. “We are gratified to see the company enter a new chapter of expansion based upon the company’s craftsmanship and the productivity of its Chillicothe workforce.”

Vinton County Park District OK’d For Over $900,000 Clean Ohio Fund

Presented By Ross-Chillicothe Convention & Visitor’s Bureau

(McArthur) – A grant application by the Vinton County Park District to the Clean Ohio Conservation Fund requesting $991,614 for the acquisition of two new park properties was approved March 31, 2022.  Clean Ohio will fund 71.2% of the total $1,391,835 project cost, while the remaining 28.8% is comprised of local match including an environmental assessment, timber value, and in-kind labor.

“The Vinton County Park District is thrilled to be awarded funding for the acquisition of its first park properties.  Not only will these projects protect wetlands, wildlife, and historic structures, they will provide recreational and educational opportunities that will stimulate tourism and economic growth closer to our county’s villages,” said Caleb Appleman, Acting Director of the Vinton County Park District.

The two properties being acquired include 158 acres south of McArthur where the McArthur Brick Company once operated and 84 acres on Lake Road.  The McArthur Brick Co. Historic Preserve will partially serve as an urban park, providing outdoor recreation opportunities for McArthur residents, in addition to protecting wetlands and surviving remnants of the brick plant.  Interpretive signage, trails, and benches will be installed for guests to enjoy.  The cabin located at the property’s entrance will become the Park District Headquarters office, with a permanent sign to built along State Route 93.

The park district is seeking photos, stories, and information on the brick plant’s operations to use in crafting a history of the property and interpretive signage.  Anyone wishing to share can email marketingdirector@vintoncounty.com or call 740-596-5033.

The Lake Road property, known as Treebeard’s Retreat, looks and feels like a miniature state park.  It features rolling hills covered in mature forest, with a 3.6-acre lake and shelter house.  Two cabins will be utilized for park district operations, while campsites and relaxation structures will be enjoyed by guests.

Courtesy of Vinton County Park District

The park district plans to open Treebeard’s Retreat this fall, while the McArthur Brick Co. Historic Preserve will be opening in 2023 after invasive plant removal and mining remediation activities have been completed that will make the property safe for public enjoyment. Treebeard’s Retreat, on the other hand, has been used as a private vacation property for over four decades.  With existing trails and amenities, it will require little work to transition into public use.

The Clean Ohio Conservation Fund is a state program through the Ohio Public Works Commission (OPWC) that awards funds to preserve open spaces, sensitive ecological areas, and stream corridors. Second-round funding awards totaled $4,282,778 for projects located in Adams, Fayette, Ross, Scioto, and Vinton Counties.  The Ohio Valley Regional Development Commission (OVRDC), the Ohio Public Works Commission, and the Natural Resources Assistance Council (NRAC) work together to facilitate distribution of the Clean Ohio Conservation Fund in District 15 in the following southern Ohio counties: Adams, Brown, Fayette, Gallia, Highland, Jackson, Lawrence, Pike, Ross, Scioto and Vinton.

State of the Community Update Slated For April 29th

Presented By Hometown-Motors, Inc.

(Chillicothe) – An update on the Chillicothe/Ross County community will be presented by local leaders from multiple perspectives on the morning of April of 29th.

Presenters include:

  • Chamber CEO Mike Throne
  • Chillicothe City Schools Superintendent Debbie Swinehart
  • All three Ross County Commissioners – Dwight Garrett, Doug Corcoran, and James Lowe
  • Chillicothe Mayor Luke Feeney

Each will address the achievements of their respective areas and what the community can expect in the near future.

A continental breakfast and coffee from Deeply Rooted Cafe will be served starting at 8am at the downtown events venue The Postmark, 105 South Paint Street in Chillicothe. Presenters will begin at 9am.

Chillicothe’s State of the Community will take place at The Postmark on April 29th.

Reserve your spot [beginning April 13th] by using https://chillicotheohio.com/events/.

Ohio A.G. Opens Applications for School Drug Use Prevention Grants

Presented By Accurate Heating, Cooling & Plumbing

(Columbus) — Ohio Attorney General Dave Yost is accepting applications for $2.66 million in grant funding for local law enforcement agencies to provide drug use prevention programming to schools during the 2022-23 academic year.

The annual Drug Use Prevention (DUP) Grant Program pays up to 50% of salaries for DARE-certified officers and school resource officers (SRO) who provide in-class instruction and direct counseling.

Officers can teach from a wide range of approved curricula – including “Botvin Life Skills,” “DARE Keeping it Real,” “I’m Special,” “Reach Out Now” and more. The grant money can also be used to pay for one-on-one counseling time and school- sponsored events.

“When it comes to combating drug use, I believe local sheriffs and local superintendents know what will work in their communities better than some bureaucrat in Columbus,” said Yost, referring to the program’s flexibility. “What works in Ashland or Ashtabula counties may not work in Cuyahoga or Columbiana counties. That’s why the grant covers various curricula as well as direct counseling and special events.” 

The deadline for submitting applications is May 3.

Since he took office in 2019, AG Yost has awarded more than $8 million directly to local law enforcement agencies for this much-needed instruction, money that local law enforcement agencies appreciate.

“Without this grant, we would not be able to get out into the community, teach this material and build relationships with these kids,” said DARE Officer Eric Mericle of the Lima City Police Department.

Any Ohio law enforcement agency with certified DARE officers and/or SROs is eligible to apply for the grant. To learn more about the DUP Grant Program, visit the Attorney General’s website here.

Applications can be completed online here. Questions regarding the application process can be directed to Sam Gedert via email at sam.gedert@OhioAGO.gov or by phone at (614) 995-0328.