Word that a new company wants to relaunch Fenton Art Glass could be tremendous news for the entire Mid-Ohio Valley.
It especially could be great news for Fenton's hometown of Williamstown, which until recently could depend on the jobs the glass business provided since 1906. In recent years Fenton struggled with rising costs, falling sales and a growing debt. The decline of Fenton has left a huge hole in the city's economy. But hard times have been softened by the recent location of the Hino truck plant, which has become a thriving part of the area's economy.
We hope officials at U.S. Glass acquire what they need to get the Fenton factory back on its feet and producing glass pieces as only the proud craftsmen who have worked there over the years can create. Right now, these craftsmen represent a great natural resource who could give the Fenton Art Glass touch to creations.
The entire Valley will be watching with great interest. Fenton's factory tours and gift shop have been huge tourist attractions for decades. Fenton ranked at or near the top of reasons why tourists want to come to the region and spend their money.
There are no guarantees Fenton can return to its prominent place in the area's economy. In fact, as of late last week, there wasn't even a formal deal finalized. A major issue is paying off the $600,000 property tax bill on the 300,000-square-foot Williamstown factory.
But there's now hope that the company can resume producing glass pieces at a profitable level and return to being a major employer.