Archbold, OH

Gendron To Close Archbold Factory

Gendron, Inc., an Archbold manufacturer since 1959, will close the doors of its East Lugbill Road plant by the end of the year.

Steven Cotter, president and owner of the company which manufactures wheelchairs, wheeled stretches, and other medical equipment, said the Archbold plant fell victim to its outdated production processes.

“Updating (the Archbold facility) could not be economically justified. That was really at the core of the decision,” Cotter said.

He put the cost of updating the Archbold plant, “at well over several million dollars, on the low end. We couldn’t justify doing that.”

There will be a gradual phase out of manufacturing in Archbold. Production will be spread around to three contract manufacturers in Ohio, Indiana, and Michigan.

“None of the production will move outside the United States,” he said.

Currently, there are 27 to 30 production workers at the Archbold plant, plus supervisory personnel.

Some of the Archbold workers will be offered positions in the company’s Pioneer facility. Those displaced by the decision will be offered the first employment opportunities that become available.

Support operations in Archbold, such as engineering, fi- nance, etc., which include about 15 persons, will be moved, but at this point a location has not been chosen.

“There are several locations we’re looking at,” Cotter said.

Once Gendron has moved out of the Archbold plant, the building, approximately 50,000 to 60,000 square feet, will be for sale.

Getting Beat Up

The company’s competition uses production processes and methods that are much further advanced than those utilized at Archbold.

“Nobody’s happy about this, including me. Nobody likes to upset the lives of people who have worked here for years. Nobody likes to upset their families.

“We’re getting beat up in the marketplace, because other manufacturers, who make essentially the same product, can produce their products for a lot less,” Cotter said.


Information from the Internet states Gendron traces its roots to Toledo in the 1870s, when Peter Gendron patented his design for wire wheels.

He set up production in Toledo in 1875, manufacturing his wire wheels for a wide variety of uses, including baby carriages, children’s pedal cars, and “invalid chairs,” today known as wheelchairs.

In 1890, the company had more than 300 employees.

By 1910, the company owned most of a city block in Toledo. Its manufacturing facilities covered 250,000 square feet. The company was reportedly producing 2.5 million steel wheels a year.

The factory moved to Perrysburg in 1941, then to Archbold in 1959.

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