The Waddell Company has manufactured products, most notably display cases, in Greenfield since the late 1880s. But there is a time for everything, and The Waddell Company’s time in Greenfield appears to be coming to an end.
It was recently learned that The Waddell Company, situated in the familiar gray building next to the railroad tracks on South Washington Street, will over the next year be moved to the GMi Companies’ Lebanon facility.
“We are saddened by the news that Waddell will be leaving Greenfield,” city manager Todd Wilkin said. “But, from a business standpoint, we understand their decision.”
Christye Leasure, who is part of the family ownership of the business and a director with Gmi Companies, which has included the Waddell Company since 1986, provided insight into the company’s decision.
The decision to move was not taken lightly, but in facing certain circumstances, it was the decision that was made. The reasons are due to a significant change in the market demand for Waddell products, collaboration on new products between Waddell and Ghent (Lebanon facility), consolidation of resources and addressing duplicate processes, improved business performance, difficulty in filling skilled labor positions, and proximity of freight carriers willing to come to Greenfield to meet customer demands.
“Considering the workforce dilemma that many businesses are facing, we believe this might help them alleviate some of their workforce issues,” Wilkin said. “They chose to consolidate their operations, and we understand that.”
This move will bring all of GMi’s brands — Ghent Manufacturing, Waddell and Vividboard — under one roof in Lebanon. Additionally, all of the 25 employees in Greenfield have been offered incentives for the next year as well as positions at the Lebanon facility.
“We would like to keep everyone on our team,” Leasure said.
“This decision was theirs and the comments that we are hearing that it was because we would not allow them to sell two properties adjacent to their warehouse are unfounded,” Wilkin said.
The village worked with the company on residential property matters, and a positive resolution was reached, Wilkin said. The matter was left with the company as all that was left to do was file the appropriate items with the county, which is up to the company to do, not the village.
That matter and the associated comments aside, it will be the end of an era in Greenfield when 512 S. Washington St. ceases to produce Waddell products.
“We have valued our relationship with the Greenfield community,” Leasure said. “The most important message we want to convey is we are not shutting down the business. This business was started in 1889 by the Waddell family in Greenfield and we intend to keep the brand going.”
Angela Shepherd is a correspondent for the village of Greenfield.