May 29, 2016

Partly sunny

Business Beat: Fire-Dex deal adds jobs, helmets


Staff Intern

Fire-Dex announces the acquisition of Chieftain’s Safety Manufacturing, which means there will be 10 new jobs in Medina.

Fire-Dex, 780 S. Progress Drive, and Chieftain’s Safety Division, based in Mexico, manufacture firefighting gear, but Chieftain adds another product to Fire-Dex.

“With the Chieftain acquisition, we are acquiring the added capability of manufacturing our own firefighting helmets,” Fire-Dex President Bill Burke said in a statement.

Litchfield Township resident Heather Davis, an employee at Fire-Dex, puts the finishing touches on a bunker coat Tuesday in Medina. Fire-Dex will be adding helmet production to the Medina facility. (Andrew Dolph | Staff Photographer)

The merger will change the number of employees at the Medina location from 110 to 200 as a result of transferring several managers and some production from Mexico to Medina. Ten jobs will be added, growing Fire-Dex’s work force by 10 percent. Fire-Dex, however, will run Fire-Dex and Chieftain as separate operations and brands, he said.

“The transaction will make Fire-Dex a larger, stronger company, and create new opportunities for our people and our partners,” Burke said.

Chieftain has been in business since 1927 and is owned by The Protective Group. TPG said it sold the safety division to Fire-Dex because it believed it would be better suited in Medina.

“Since our main business is with the military and security markets we felt that the sale of our Chieftain Safety division to Fire-Dex was prudent” Ed Careaga, CEO of TPG, said in a statement. “This will allow TPG to focus on our core business. Likewise, with Fire-Dex’s current presence in the fire service market, it will allow Chieftain to move forward as part of a company that spends 100 percent of their time focusing on firefighter protective equipment.”

Fire-Dex acquired Chieftain for cost reasons. While it’s unusual to hear of jobs coming to the United States from Mexico, Burke said it was the best move for the company.

“With the cost of transportation and a reasonably low percentage of our cost for labor because of expensive materials, it’s easier for us to move jobs north,” Burke said.

Fire-Dex representative Steve Bonamer explained that in the end, labor cost less than transportation so it just made more sense to move helmet production to Medina.

Helmet production is part of the reason for new positions at Fire-Dex. There will be jobs open in production and the office, Burke said.

“I know the unemployment rate is up (to) 6 percent,” Burke said. “We still need employees.”

Fire-Dex has been in business since 1983, but moved to Medina in 1997 because Medina is Burke’s home, he said.

Dunkin’ Donuts

Dunkin’ Donuts, 3868 Center Road, opened at 5 a.m. Friday. About 10 people lined up outside the doors for the opening and the first weekend was a success, said Lynne Schroeder, a Dunkin’ Donuts spokeswoman.

“The community was very excited by us opening,” she said.

The restaurant covers nearly 2,300 square feet, employs 30 people and seats 23. This is the fourth store for franchisee Ken Blum, and he will open one more in Medina this year. The North Court Street location will re-open and remodeling will begin soon, Schroeder said.

The North Court location closed because the franchisee who owned it left Dunkin’s system and the company was looking for the right franchisee to re-open it, she said.


Conrad’s opened its newest location Monday at 1045 S. Court St. in Medina. The company provides vehicle repair services and name-brand tires, and this is its 31st location.

Conrad’s chose Medina because of its growth, and residents expressed interest in a car repair shop south of Public Square, said Dominic Umek, general manager of Conrad’s Tire Express and Total Car Care.

“We’re thrilled to be there,” he said. “It’s a market we’ve looked at for a number of years.”

Conrad’s is open from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays.

Guinta may be reached at 330-721-4046 or