Garden supplier will rehab a vacant plant and bring 40 jobs to Suffield

A long-time eyesore in Suffield will be cleaned up and given new life as a mulch production site, promising to create 40 jobs in Portage County.

Oldcastle Lawn and Garden, an international wholesaler of mulch, soils and decorative rocks, has agreed to purchase the former property of a tire manufacturing plant at 61 state Route 43, at the corner of Manning Road. 

The Board of Portage County Commissioners inked a deal with the company to provide tax breaks in exchange for hiring 25 local employees immediately and raising that to 40 within three years, Portage Development Board President Brad Ehrhart said. 

The development board is a private nonprofit that assists industrial realtors, builders, local industries and communities maintain and improve the county’s economic base. The tax incentive is part of the Ohio Community Reinvestment Area program. 

County commissioners discussed the agreement at their Thursday meeting and welcomed the company to Portage County.

Oldcastle’s plan is to create two, and eventually three, automated bagging lines for colored mulch, topsoil and decorative rocks. In addition to hiring locally, the company will work with local suppliers as much as possible, Ehrhart added. 

The wholesaler’s customer base includes Lowes, Home Depot, Menards and other local and regional garden centers. According to Oldcastle’s website, the company employs more than 6,500 people across 195 facilities in 36 states and Canada. 

The agreement calls for Oldcastle to purchase the 67-acre site, raze the structures on it and cooperate with the EPA to clean it up. The land had been abandoned since at least 2011.

Oldcastle had been looking for a base of operations in Northeast Ohio and contacted Ehrhart.

Other county commission news

  • Retirement can set your tail wagging, especially if you’ve got one. Commissioners signed a resolution declaring K-9 officer Glock, age 8, is no longer needed by the sheriff’s office and authorized his sale to his handler, Deputy Ralph Hayes. The sheriff’s office is in the process of acquiring another K-9 officer.
  • Contingent on her passing pre-employment testing, commissioners hired Karen Valentin as a full-time social service worker, replacing Sharon Madden, for Portage County Job and Family Services.
  • They accepted the resignation of Terry Bruswick, purchasing clerk in the county’s Internal Services Department and will advertise for a full-time maintenance worker.