ASHLAND -- Central Ohio Medical Textiles (COMTEX) celebrated its recognized its new Ashland location Friday, Dec. 13 with a grand opening and ribbon cutting ceremony.
The new $20 million facility began operations in early November to test its equipment, hire and train staff and receive product deliveries, and since then is meeting the needs of two customers with its new 55 full-time employees.
The ceremony Friday included a ribbon cutting, dedication and blessing of the new space and the reveal of a locally commissioned art piece for the building's main entrance. The group heard from COMTEX CEO Myles J. Noel and members of the COMTEX board of directors Heather Brandon and Rick Jett before the dedication and blessing by Jim Letourneau of the Mount Carmel Health System and Rev. Douglas L. Ford of OhioHealth.
COMTEX is governed by a board of directors made up of members of both Mount Carmel Health System and OhioHealth, Noel explained.
"Both these organizations have done this, not to have fancy laundry equipment, they did it for patient experience," he said.
The facility services not only their laundry needs, but also those of other hospitals across Ohio. In November, the facility is cleaning laundry at the rate of 5 million pounds per year and hopes to increase that pace by 2 million pounds by the end of 2019. In January, the intention is to reach a rate of 10 million pounds annually from the Ashland facility.
Eventually, 20 to 25 million pounds of laundry could be serviced from Ashland, said Rick Gooch of COMTEX, who was one of many employees leading tours. Employment increases could follow, as at the groundbreaking ceremony 100 new jobs were predicted from the investment.
"We expect to grow at an exceptional rate," Noel said.
The facility at 1 COMTEX Way in Ashland is COMTEX's second location. Its primary plant operates at 575 Harmon Avenue in Columbus.
"We first looked very hard in Mansfield because Mansfield is where OhioHealth has a big presence. We looked in the greater community, we looked in the business park, but when I saw this location, I realized it's so close to the highway, it's so close to 71, it had a lot of the factors we need," Noel said.
Further, Ashland's leadership presented a strong case. When first seeing the space, Noel recalls a "whole team" showed up for the occasion.
He commended the city of Ashland's prompt responses and commitment to promises throughout the project's entirety. When requesting signage for the building, the approval came within 25 minutes, Noel said.