The Candle-lite company in Leesburg announced Thursday a major investment in the local production facility. The nearly $12 million investment will add new production equipment, make leasehold improvements at the facility, and includes 50 new full-time jobs at the operation over the next three years, according to a press release.
The project was announced at a gathering of company officials, community leaders, and economic development partners Thursday in Leesburg. Highland County Commissioner Shane Wilkin said Thursday the expansion was art of a joint effort between a number of development organizations.
The new investment comes as Candle-lite, a CL Products International LLC Company, celebrates the 175th anniversary in the industry. Candle-lite is the oldest candle company in the United States and makes all of its candles at the Leesburg facility.
“During our peak season, we employ over 600 people in our Leesburg facility,” said Calvin Johnston, CEO. “Our employees are the foundation of our success. Many of our employees have spent their entire careers at Candle-lite and work beside second and third generation family members.”
In a prepared statement, Wilkin said, “On behalf of commissioners Jeff Duncan and Tom Horst, as well as our economic development clerk, Nicole Oberrecht, I would like to thank all who have participated in this retention and expansion project. This is a perfect example of how state, regional, county, local and private sector can successfully collaborate to support crucial economic development in our area.”
Wilkin said later that jobs are always important, “maybe more important in this environment.” He said Thursday’s development had been in the work for several months, and said it takes a number of partners to make such a project a reality.
“Nobody really knew we were working on it, but it’s been in the pipeline for some time,” said Wilkin
The project brings new capital investment and jobs to one of Highland County’s largest employers.
Dayton Power and Light (DP&L), a subsidiary of the AES Corporation, provided an economic development grant to the company.
“At DP&L, we believe one of our most important responsibilities is to support economic development. We take great pride in our community and DP&L is committed to the growth and prosperity of the entire region. Our economic development grants are one way we can assist and enhance the communities we serve,” said DP&L President and CEO Tom Raga.
JobsOhio, along with regional partner the Appalachian Partnership for Economic Growth (APEG), provided support for the project.
“APEG is pleased to have facilitated such strong support for this important regional project,” said John Molinaro, president and CEO of the Appalachian Partnership for Economic Growth. “The new capital investment and job creation continue Candle-lite’s role as a major employer in the region and strong presence in the international marketplace.”
“The Southern Ohio Agricultural and Community Development Foundation (SOACDF) is proud to partner with Candle-lite as it continues its long history of investment and growth in Leesburg and Highland County,” stated Don Branson, executive director. “The foundation’s economic development program is specifically designed to assist companies that make strategic investments in local communities with the objective being job retention and creation.”
Village of Leesburg Mayor Danny Daulton said, “It is impossible to say just how important Candle-lite is to the village of Leesburg and Highland County. We are pleased to be able to support the county’s largest employer with this important expansion project.”