CHILLICOTHE – On the Mantle, LLC dba W.Britain Toys in collaboration with JobsOhio, Ohio Southeast Economic Development (OhioSE), and Greater Chillicothe & Ross County Development today announced an investment of over $226,000 to add manufacturing capabilities to the company’s operations in Chillicothe, OH, 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 Toy 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.
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.”
JobsOhio supported the project with a $25,000 JobsOhio Inclusion Grant and Ohio Southeast Economic Development assisted the company with the grant process.
“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.”