FlexRack Has Plans for Former Things Remembered Building

NORTH JACKSON, Ohio – Information should be forthcoming in a month or so regarding FlexRack by Qcells’ plans for the former Things Remembered fulfillment center.

Formerly a subsidiary of Northern States Metals in Youngstown, the company known previously as Solar FlexRack received a 1.698%, eight-year job creation tax credit last year to support its expansion in the village of Highland Hills, a suburb of Cleveland. FlexRack manufactures custom-designed, fixed tilt ground mount and single-axis solar tracking systems in the commercial and utility-scale solar mounting industries, according to its website.

The company in October partnered with Alltrade Industrial Contractors Inc. to develop the largest, behind-the-meter solar project in Canada.

Things Remembered, which sold personalized and specialty gifts for home and office, closed its fulfillment center at 500 S. Bailey Road in 2023. 

In response to a request for comment, Staci Sikora, marketing manager for Qcells’ FlexRack division, said in an email that she could not say much about its Bailey Road operations but would be putting out a news release in the next month or so.

Also contacted for comment, Sarah Boyarko, vice president of economic development for Lake to River Economic Development, said she was “unable to comment on this opportunity.”

The job search website Indeed shows Qcells hiring for several positions in North Jackson, including quality technician, production scheduler/planner (steel tube mill), tube mill production technician, tube mill maintenance technician, tube mill lead operator and tube mill technician. 

WFMJ first reported Tuesday that the company plans to return to the Mahoning Valley, though it will maintain its headquarters in Highland Hills, citing a source within the company.

QCells, founded in Thalheim, Germany, in 1999, manufactures solar panels, home energy storage systems and energy management systems. In 2019, the company opened the largest solar factory in the Western Hemisphere – a 300,000-square-foot plant in Dalton, Ga. The company has two headquarters – a technology and innovation center in Germany and a global executive headquarters in South Korea, according to its website. As of now, QCells has four manufacturing sites in the U.S., South Korea, Malaysia and China.

On May 14, President Joe Biden announced plans to increase tariffs on solar modules and cells imported from China, with the intent of leveling the playing field for domestic manufacturers.

“President Biden’s decision today is an important step toward building a durable clean energy economy that will grow domestic manufacturing and create more U.S. jobs,” Danny O’Brien, QCells’ president of corporate affairs, said in a statement. “By aggressively enforcing our nation’s trade laws, President Biden is pursuing a dynamic industrial strategy that furthers the goals of the Inflation Reduction Act by shielding the emerging U.S. solar manufacturing industry from unfair competition.”

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