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Urbana company seeing its best year in more than 50-year history

A decades-old Urbana company is having its best year in its history due to a handful of new products, an improving economy and good timing.

The Hall Company has already grown 16 percent in the last year, and expects to improve by 20 percent by the end of this year, said Kyle Hall, president of the roughly 54-year old company. The company had about 30 employees in January but has 35 now, and plans to be close to 40 by the end of this year.

The family-owned company faced ups and downs during the recession, Hall said, but he is expecting steady growth in the next few years. The company plans to hire a handful of production workers as well as an engineer and other positions.

“I think for the foreseeable future we’re going to see growth because a lot of these are long-term projects,” Hall said.

Manufacturing overall has picked up in recent years, said Angelia Erbaugh, president of the Dayton Region Manufacturer’s Association. The industry plays a significant role in the region’s economy, employing almost 12 percent of the region’s workforce and contributing $5.6 billion to the area’s total payroll.

Several other firms across the region are also seeing an uptick in business, she said.

“For a couple years I thought the mood was cautiously optimistic, and now I don’t think the word cautiously is involved anymore,” Erbaugh said.

The company produces a variety of products, including proximity sensing components often used in CT scanners and other medical devices that detect objects and prevent patients from being injured. Along with collision avoidance technology for medical devices, the company also specializes in keypads and other products in which a person needs to interact with a machine or other piece of equipment.

Among the more recent projects, the Hall Company is now making the controls for a Michigan company that produces industrial wine chillers used at large restaurant chains like Olive Garden, as well as high-end wine chillers sold at stores like Lowe’s, Hall said.

“It really is one of our first forays in recent years into consumer appliances,” he said. “It’s a pretty big volume for us. We do a lot of parts that are in the thousands a year; but this is 1,500 to 2,000 a month, so they’ve quickly become our second- or third-largest customer.

The company is also seeing a boost in its business with GE in Israel and China. The firm also ships products to customers in Japan and Europe.

“As we’re going right now, this would definitely be our best year in our company history,” Hall said.

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