On the Mantle, LLC dba W.Britain Toys in collaboration with JobsOhio, Ohio Southeast Economic Development (OhioSE), and Greater Chillicothe & Ross County Development recently 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.”
On the Mantle, LLC: Since 1893 W.Britain has been producing toy soldiers and military miniatures with attention to detail, quality, and authenticity. Each model figure is cast out of metal and hand-painted to the highest possible standards. Most major time periods are covered from the eighteenth century up to the conflicts of the twentieth century. Whatever your interest, W.Britain has figures and accessories for your collection!
Greater Chillicothe & Ross County Development is a public/private partnership, created for the purpose of advancing, encouraging, and promoting the industrial, economic, commercial, and civic development of Ross County. To learn more, visit us at GCRCD.com.
Ohio Southeast Economic Development (OhioSE) is the JobsOhio Network Partner for southern, eastern, and southeastern Ohio, providing economic development work and resources in 25 rural counties; they are the newest and geographically the largest of the six regions across the state. OhioSE partners closely with regional development districts, local economic development offices, state agencies, and other entities to expand, retain, and attract businesses in the counties they serve. Learn more at OhioSE.com.
JobsOhio is a private nonprofit economic development corporation designed to drive job creation and new capital investment in Ohio through business attraction, retention, and expansion. The organization also works to seed talent production in its targeted industries and to attract talent to Ohio through Find Your Ohio. JobsOhio works with six regional partners across Ohio: Dayton Development Coalition, Ohio Southeast Economic Development, One Columbus, REDI Cincinnati, Regional Growth Partnership, and Team NEO. Learn more at www.jobsohio.com. Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook.