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Greenville Business Eyes Another Expansion

Less than two years after it expanded its space in Greenville, a specialty glass business is already out of space and thinking about its options.

From the July 27, 2016 edition of The Dayton Business Journal

By Tristan Navera, Senior Reporter

Less than two years after it expanded its space in Greenville, a specialty glass business is already out of space and thinking about its options.

JAFE Decorating Inc. has already filled up the 14,000-square-foot expansion it kicked off at its 1250 Martin St. site in 2014. The business, which handles specialty paint coatings and staining for glass, has 75 employees on three production lines and is riding on a number of big contract wins that mean it's out of capacity for all the work, said owner Randy O'Dell.

"We're only continuing to grow," O'Dell said. "Going from 30 employees to 75 in six years has been a big jump. But we've found quality people."

O'Dell said he and his company will begin strategic planning next week as it considers its options on how to expand business. It's now at 50,000 square feet of space and he says it's "very possibly time" that the company add a fourth production line.

This as a number of big business deals require the company to work six to seven days a week to fill major orders and is busting at the seams inside its building. Its seasonal employment is normally lower in the summer, as well. O'Dell said he's only beginning to think about what kind of space or capital investment this could require. The growth in contracts in recent years, especially with big customers, has been coming through word of mouth.

Among its biggest deals this year, it's responsible for painting 4 million light bulbs that will be sold in Walmart stores this fall for a new veterans initiative — it partnered with Sylvania to make the light bulbs for the Greenlight a Vet program, and it must to have the bulbs ready by Veteran's Day.

That project has one of JAFE's lines going continuously every day. But business has exploded in recent years, especially with the company landing big contracts with candle companies. It now has a backlog through September for new work.

Workforce remains a key factor that the company must find as it grows. Typically it has only recruited from around Darke County, though a number of people who have come from other areas have since relocated there.

"We've recruited within the county because people here have that work ethic," O'Dell said. "But having our location here, close to so many big highways, that's been helpful too."

JAFE has been an example of success for Darke County, with the company doing big expansions since O'Dell took it over in 2009. Founded in 1978, it began in the glass staining business — useful for beakers and other glass containers in chemistry and medical uses — but now makes up just 10 percent of its business thanks to the growth of the glass painting side.

"Small businesses like JAFE have been kind to Darke County," said Mike Stegall, a Darke County commissioner. "They hit on the very same needs, which are quality and good work ethic, which they find here."

Click Here to read the articcle in The Dayton Business Journal