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Wednesday, March 12th, 2008

Purchase of company to bring jobs to Celina

By Nancy Allen
Eighth Floor LLC, the holding company of Celina-based Visions Awards, has purchased AITG Inc. of California.
The purchase will bring an undisclosed number of production and customer service jobs to the Celina facility, said Visions President Dave Willis on Tuesday, who quantified the number as "less than a dozen but significant." Three new customer service employees already have been hired, he added.
The deal includes closing the AITG facility in Los Angeles, Willis said. He would not say how many employees would be affected and financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
"We're glad to bring jobs back to the great state of Ohio and to Celina," he said.
Les Dorfman, president and CEO of AITG, will continue with Eighth Floor as vice president of sales in the Western Region servicing the West Coast, Willis said.
New lasering and engraving equipment to decorate wood, metal, glass and crystal will be added to the Visions facility to support the new business, Willis said.
AITG and its products will be added to other Eighth Floor companies which include Awardcraft, Visions and Craftsman Awards. The AITG acquisition is the second since January, when Eighth Floor purchased Texas-based Craftsman Awards.
"We have a great acquisition team and we are always looking at companies that can be integrated into our system to bring more money and jobs to the bottom line," Willis said. "Todd Thomas is leading the acquisition team. This is the second one for him in a couple of months."
In a time of economic uncertainty, it is good to know that Eighth Floor and Visions is growing and bringing new jobs to the area, Willis said. The company in recent weeks was named Business of the Year by the Celina/Mercer Chamber of Commerce.
The latest acquisition will help Eighth Floor expand capabilities in the business gift market. Some examples of business gifts include picture frames, paper weights, gifts that are given to all employees as appreciation, Willis said. AITG's Web site, www.aitginc.com, shows an array of business gift products that will be added to Eighth Floor's product offerings.
Willis said it would take about three to four months to integrate the new company into the existing Eighth Floor company.
The acquisition will elevate the company's position in the business gift segment, said Jay Donlin, vice president of sales and marketing for Eighth Floor via a news release. Business gifts are traditionally sold in the last two quarters of the year, whereas it is just the opposite for recognition awards, Donlin said.
AITG will continue to operate under its current brand and the "Gifts by Visions" line will be folded into AITG, forming a new division of Eighth Floor.
Eighth Floor LLC, the parent company of Visions, is the leading manufacturer of corporate recognition awards in the world. A new facility for the company was built in Celina in May 2000 at the intersection of Havemann Road and state Route 29. It employs about 150 people. The company also has a facility in the Philippines that employs 150 people and one in China that employs 300, Willis said.
Additional online story on this date
COLDWATER - Two local egg producers are donating more than a half million eggs to fill Easter tables and baskets of needy people across Ohio.
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