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Bedford: Ohio's oldest company to close

12:42 PM, Jun 8, 2012   |    comments
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BEDFORD -- A Bedford company founded in 1816 has announced it is going out of business.

The Taylor Companies, manufacturers of office furniture and chairs, blamed the recession and the state of Ohio for failing to fulfill the company's application to grant it ten years of tax abatement at its new plant in Bedford.    

"It is with a heavy heart that I announce that The Taylor Companies will soon cease all business operations after production of existing furniture orders," said Jeff Baldassari, President and CEO.

"The closing saddens the entire Taylor family of workers and is an unfortunate end to a truly historic business enterprise that lasted almost 200 years, but was brought down by an unprecedented sequence of events dating back to December, 2007."

The company, which is the oldest furniture manufacturer in the United States and oldest company in Ohio, has been in private family hands for seven generations.

Baldassari said his company decided to stay in Ohio and build a new plant in Bedford in 2004, and got a promise from the state of ten year tax abatement on a so-called Brownfield site the company was going to develop.

The abatement never happened, and cost the company nearly a million dollars. Taylor fought in court, but mounting legal costs caused it to abandon the fight, and ultimately go out of business.

Baldassari said the recession also helped bring the company down.

"Taylor's customer base was especially hard-hit by the recession, resulting in a marked decrease in orders for new furniture," the company said in a Friday news release.

"In the end, despite the valiant efforts of many, including the Ohio Department of Development, Cuyahoga County, and the City of Bedford, Taylor could not secure additional financing in order to remain viable."

"This is a sad ending in so many ways," said Brett Meals, Executive Vice President and 7th generation Taylor family member. "It's sad for our local communities, our Taylor family of employees, and it's certainly sad for my family."

"It was not for lack of trying. Without the efforts and commitment of our long-standing employees, this would have happened much sooner," Meals stated. 

"Moving to this new facility had all the promise and hope in all of our hearts for a much different outcome than this one."

WKYC-TV

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