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Published: Wednesday, 2/8/2006

After two decades, company is sold to hands-on executives

BY HOMER BRICKEY
BLADESENIOR BUSINESS WRITER
Tim Drouillard places a pane onto a cutting machine in the shop at Avondale Avenue and 11th Street. Tim Drouillard places a pane onto a cutting machine in the shop at Avondale Avenue and 11th Street.
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James Nicholson says he thinks the initial meeting with employees 'went very well.'
James Nicholson says he thinks the initial meeting with employees 'went very well.'
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The new owners of Toledo Mirror & Glass Co. arrived yesterday morning to meet with the 12 employees of the 88-year-old firm at Avondale Avenue and 11th Street near downtown Toledo.

"I thought it went very well," said James Nicholson, president. Paul Pellioni, vice president and co-owner, said: "They seemed energized."

For the first time in two decades, the old business, incorporated in January, 1918, will be run by its owners.

The men are buying the firm and its two-story 38,000-square-foot building through the National City Bank trust that had been managing the estate of F. Edward Walters. He had been owner and president but died in 1987.

The deal was closed Monday, said John Graham. He was brought in five years ago by National City to run the business until he found a buyer for it. He is a trustee for the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Toledo.

"The bank and the trustees are to be commended for keeping the business together and [waiting] for good buyers," he said. "This is nice for the community."

Terms of the sale were not disclosed.

The buyers negotiated with Mr. Graham for 10 months, said Mr. Pellioni, who was president of Hause Machines Inc., in Montpelier, Ohio, until that firm's sale last year. Mr. Nicholson has worked for several Toledo-area contractors, most recently as a project manager for Ebony Construction.

They said they looked at the viability of the building.

"We had to decide whether to stay downtown or go somewhere else," said Mr. Pellioni. "We're Toledoans, and there's been so much talk about revitalizing downtown Toledo. All things considered, there's still a place for a business like Toledo Mirror downtown."

But the building will need refurbishing, including new heating and air-conditioning equipment.

The firm - originally known as Toledo Mirror Works - was founded on Ontario Street downtown by a small group of investors led by Edward Jetter, who died in 1925. Mr. Walters was among the executives who took control, and he eventually became sole owner.

The company moved to its current address in the 1920s and for a time was known as Toledo Mirror, Paint & Glass Co. A fire in 1947 destroyed much of the facility, which was rebuilt. At its peak, Toledo Mirror had about 50 workers, and for many years it was a major distributor of glass in the Toledo area. Its business now is mostly work for contractors and window and door repair and maintenance jobs.

Mr. Nicholson said the firm also has eight contract workers who are members of the Glaziers union and one member of the Teamsters, but the outside work force swells to as many as 40 during the construction season.

The firm's biggest jobs now are installing glass for a contractor at the new Glass Pavilion at the Toledo Museum of Art, and rehabilitation work at Start High School.

Toledo Mirror has a metal fabrication department that makes window and door frames and room partitions.

"We want to have operations continue here and prosper," said Mr. Pellioni.

Contact Homer Brickey at:

homerbrickey@theblade.com

or 419-724-6129.



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