Nifco America Corp., a maker of plastic clips and fasteners in the automotive industry, is expanding its footprint in Canal Winchester.

The Canal Winchester Planning and Zoning Commission has approved the company's plans to build a new 175,000-square-foot warehouse and production facility at 7877 Robinett Way, near its existing North American headquarters in the Canal Pointe Industry and Commerce Park.

"The growth and success of Nifco is a great illustration of what was envisioned for the Canal Pointe industrial park," City Council President Bruce Jarvis said. "The positive benefits of hosting a company of this quality are many and wide-reaching in terms of jobs, revenue and economic activity with no real impact to our schools, infrastructure or environment.

"Our challenge going forward is to find/develop the next Canal Pointe and to attract and retain quality businesses like Nifco America," he said.

In the past year, the city sold 36 acres to Nifco, which will use the new site mostly for warehousing space, according to City Development Director Lucas Haire.

"They currently have more than 600 employees, and with this project, they will have approximately 100 more employees," Haire said. "Some of them are being transferred. They currently have warehouse space that they lease in Groveport. Their lease is coming up next year, and they wanted to move their operation closer for efficiency."

Nifco, a subsidiary of Nifco Inc., based in Japan, will receive a 15-year, 100 percent abatement of real property taxes for the expansion, just as it did in 2005, when it moved its offices from South Hamilton Road in Groveport to Canal Winchester.

The relocation was part of a 39,000-square-foot expansion at the nearly 125,000-square-foot manufacturing plant on Dove Parkway in the industry and commerce park.

It's not clear when the company will break ground on the new facility.

Jeff Green, Groveport's economic development director, did not respond to a phone call or email seeking comment on the impact of Nifco's decision to discontinue leasing warehouse space in that community.

Nifco America began operations in 1987 as a small plant in Hilliard, servicing Honda primarily, according to its website. In 1991, it opened a second plant in Tennessee to meet the increasing demands of Nissan.

It also added molding and assembly operations in Kentucky in 2007 to meet Toyota's needs.

In 2005, Nifco further expanded its North American operations by adding molding and assembly operations in Chihuahua, Mexico.

"They've been great for the community, and they're very fast-growing," Haire said.

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"They currently have more than 600 employees, and with this project, they will have approximately 100 more employees."

-- LUCAS HAIRE

Canal Winchester

development director