Diversification helping businesses in N. Baltimore

Reported by Dick Berry email
Posted by Kate Oatis email

WOOD COUNTY (WTOL) - The effects of the falling stock market, the crisis in the automotive industry and the increase in unemployment are being felt almost everywhere.

Indeed, business owners in Wood County are feeling the pinch, too.

They're not about to go out of business at the Great Scott in North Baltimore, but shoppers are being thriftier when grocery shopping.

"People are cutting back. There's no doubt about it. Everything going on at the factories. It's worrisome," said Gary Ossman, store manager.

Printer Rick Mays has seen his business drop as well. He's even taken a part-time job as a custodian.

"Well, because other people are using other methods of getting their printing done. And people aren't buying promotional items like scratch pads and things like that," Mays explained.

The bottom fell out of North Baltimore auto parts supplier Continental Structural Plastics last April, when workers learned the plant was moving to Wyandott County. By year's end, 270 jobs will be gone.

Tom Blaha heads up the Wood County Economic Development Commission. He worries other parts suppliers in the county could fold, too, leading to greater job loss.

But, he says, "When automotive comes back, we're still here for them."

In the meantime, he expects Wood County will survive because it's not heavily dependent on the automotive industry. He points to the planned CSX Intermodal in North Baltimore and the First Solar expansion in Perrysburg Township as examples because they both could create hundreds of new jobs.

"I think because we had the foresight to plan for some alternatives, we're not as bad off as we could be," Blaha said.