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Ashland firm buys Wolohan building

Ironton has one less building on its list of vacant commercial properties and has one more business operator willing to call the city home.

Jeremy Chapman, who owns Advanced Machine and Fabrication LLC, has purchased the old Wolohan lumber company building on South Third Street for $500,000 and plans to move his company from Ashland, Ky., to Ironton. Advanced Machine and Fabrication LLC manufactures highly specialized custom parts and tools for such clients as the West-Virginia-based Fletcher Mining and for international giant Siemens Corp., based in Germany. The sale was finalized Friday.

Chapman and his wife, Jessica, said they have faith in their decision to move operations to Ironton and they have faith as well in the city and in its future.

“I like Ironton and I want to see it grow,” Jessica Chapman said. “It’s a great town. I want to see it come back to life.”

Business officials said they have faith in Chapman as well.

“Jeremy is exactly what we need in Ironton. He is an enterprising and educated young man.

He has a real entrepreneurial spirit and a lot of youthful enthusiasm as well,” Ironton Port Authority Director Bill Dickens said of Chapman.

“We welcome Jeremy and his business to the city,” IPA member Charlie Haas agreed. “I’m impressed with his entrepreneurial skills and I look forward to his role in the growth of Ironton.”

IPA members had worked with Wolohan Lumber’s real estate division to market the building to prospective owners for the last two years.

Other business leaders have shown their faith as well: Oak Hill Banks’ Community Development Corporation has provided a $365,000 loan; Oak Hills Banks itself has provided a $200,000 business manager line of credit; the Ohio Valley Regional Development Corporation is providing $175,000 in financing. The Ohio Industrial Training Program has given a $15,000 training grant and American Electric Power has given a grant for a wiring upgrade.

“Oak Hill banks is pleased to work with the port authority and the OVRDC to help Jeremy bring his business to the city of Ironton,” Dan Mooney, of Oak Hill Banks, said.

Jessica Chapman said she and her husband appreciate Oak Hill Banks, the IPA and others who have shown their support for this endeavor.

The Wolohan lumber and hardware stored closed in 2001.

Chapman is a graduate of West Virginia University with a degree in engineering.Advanced Machine and Fabrication now employs 10 people. According to a prepared statement from the IPA, Chapman hopes to increase his staff to 25 within three years.