Construction of the Orscheln Farm and Home Store planned for Harry Sauner Road on the north end of Hillsboro has been placed on hold by the company, according to an email from an Orscheln representative forwarded to The Times-Gazette by Hillsboro Safety and Service Director Mel McKenzie.
In the email, sent Tuesday to administrative assistant Debbie Sansone, Orscheln representative Linda Mustoe said the construction was placed on hold due to the company having multiple other projects underway in other areas.
“Please assure Mayor Hastings that there is no Hillsboro city or city-government issue that contributed to Orscheln’s decision to place its Hillsboro, Ohio store construction on hold,” the email reads. “Orscheln has numerous expansion projects underway and given the number and size of these projects, we recently made several adjustments to our schedule including the difficult decision to place the Hillsboro site on hold. Hillsboro, Ohio is a welcoming, impressive, thriving community and market.”
The email included a note of thanks to Mayor Drew Hastings and the “Hillsboro City staff and citizens for your friendly and professional assistance.”
For now, McKenzie said, the city has heard nothing more.
“That’s all we know,” he said. “I think they’ve got too much invested in it to completely pull out. Purchasing property and starting development is quite a bit of monetary investment.”
However, there has been some speculation that the announcement Thursday by Kmart that it is closing its Hillsboro location might be tied to the decision by Orscheln to place its construction plan in Hillsboro on hold.
In many communities, Rural King stores have quickly taken up residence in former Kmart facilities. Like Orscheln, Rural King is a farm supply store.
Hastings said Thursday he did not know if that scenario was happening here, but said, “I have had conversations with Rural King in the last year or so, and they’re very interested in coming to Hillsboro.”
Orscheln recently opened a new store in nearby Mt. Orab.