Atrium co-owner David Hirsh said his business is in Johnstown to stay, and he anticipates the number of employees to climb from 117 to as many as 175 employees in 2018.

Atrium co-owner David Hirsh said his business is in Johnstown to stay, and he anticipates the number of employees to climb from 117 to as many as 175 employees in 2018.

The Johnstown Planning and Zoning Commission approved a certificate of appropriateness last month for a $3-million expansion of Atrium, 188 Commerce Blvd., in the village's industrial park.

Hirsh told the Johnstown Village Council on Tuesday evening that now may be an odd time to go through an expansion with the poor economy, but customers are looking for good service.

"We're expanding our workforce when good people are out there and they can't find good jobs," he said. "We love it here and built a great labor force. We're committed to the schools, the village and local restaurants. We need Johnstown as Johnstown is looking to us to partner in the community."

In projections he originally gave council three years ago, Hirsh estimated there would be 90 employees in 2010.

A revision of those numbers estimates 120 employees in 2010 and as many as 165 to 175 employees in 2018.

In 2008, Hirsh said, Atrium paid $125,000 in taxes, while about $27,000 was rebated from village tax incentives.

"I'm asking you to reset incentives and carry it out further," Hirsh said. "I spoke to a couple members of council, the superintendent of schools and Randy (Ashbook). I listened to what's going on. I understand times are tight, but it won't be like this forever."

Hirsh said Atrium is willing to take a two-year tax incentive hiatus in 2009-2010. Instead, he would accept it in later years.

"We appreciate your support," he added. "We're doing everything we can to grow and be a member of this community."

Council didn't discuss or take any action on Hirsh's request Tuesday evening.

In addition to his comments to council, Hirsh presented members with a "Letter of Financial Support" from the Licking County Planning Department to the Ohio Department of Development.

The letter from Rob Klinger, Licking County economic development manager, offered support for Atrium's application for the Job Creation Tax Credit and other state incentives.

The value of the incentive based on real property investment for new construction has been estimated at approximately $590,000 over a 10-year period, Klinger wrote.

Atrium's approximately 105,000-square-foot expansion will be located to the rear of the existing facility, which is zoned for light manufacturing use.

Hirsh told The Independent he hopes the expansion is finished in August.

He anticipates Atrium will hire an additional 50 employees in the next few years to add to its existing 117-member staff.

Atrium was launched in Johnstown about 10 years ago by Hirsh and Douglas Tu, both of whom previously worked at the Limited. Atrium was located in Gahanna, then in Blacklick, before moving to Johnstown.

The business moved into its new 150,000-square-foot facility in October 2006 from its former location at 495 E. Coshocton St. in Johnstown. The building sits on 25 acres.

There are two divisions of the business -- Atrium Buying Corporation and Atrium Warehouse and Assembly. Atrium is a specialty retailer, with Limited brands, American Eagle and Longaberger being top clients.

Merchandise is imported, and then various types of embellishments are added to garments such as rhinestones, embroidery or screen printing. The business also provides items for storefront displays.

In other action at Tuesday's meeting, an ordinance was approved to amend the annual appropriation ordinance of the village of Johnstown.

The legislation was necessary in order to change the appropriation for the sewer replacement and improvement fund to $686,000.

In council discussion, Joe Ethier said some type of spring clean-up needs to be considered for all the trash that collects along Main Street near Concord Crossing and other areas of the village.

Ethier and he and his grandson spent three hours collecting trash along the bike trail two weeks ago. They filled three 40-gallon plastic bags, he said.

"We need to rid ourselves of an eyesore," he said.

Council member Carol VanDeest said the Lion's Club used to clean up trash.

"It's possible some other organizations can start back up," she said.

Mayor Kevin Riffe also presented Ida Kimes with a proclamation for her work with the Johnstown Historical Society.

A proclamation was also presented to Hayden Turk, a second-grader from Oregon Elementary. The legislation dedicated April 25 as Hayden Turk Day.