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New Wilson Football Factory holds media spotlight on Ada, Ohio

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By Paula Pyzik Scott

The July 8 community celebration of the new Wilson Football Factory, 517 E Highland Ave, held the media spotlight on Ada, Ohio for a second week. For this event, Lieutenant Governor Jon Husted was the honored guest speaker of the Ada Area Chamber of Commerce and Hardin County Chamber and Business Alliance.

The factory is a remarkable blend of manufacturing prowess and pop culture magic. Plant manager Andy Wentling convinced the Chicago-based company, which is a subsidiary of Finnish retailer Amer Sports, to invest in a new $15M plant in Ada. The opening coincides with a new agreement with the National Football League, which has used Ada-made footballs since 1955.

The Lieutenant Governor, who was an All-American defensive back for the University of Dayton Flyers and played on its 1989 DIII National Championship Football Team, exchanged tosses with members of the Ada High School football team on the plant’s “front lawn,” turf marked with 40- and 50-yard line markers.

Husted opened his speech with the comment that “there is nothing better than playing football on Friday night in the great state of Ohio.” He noted that the first official NFL football game was played in Dayton in 1920 and that the Pro Football Hall of Fame is located in Canton, Ohio. The state’s football profile made the government all the more eager to support the project with incentives and tax credits.

“This is what I love about Ohio,” Husted told the Icon. “Small towns can absolutely compete when they pull together. When they take pride in what they do, when the community buys in, when the educational institutions help train people with the skills they need…. This is something to be proud of when you live in Ada.”

This day was an opportunity for the community to celebrate the factory and its growth. Retired Wilson sewer Jane Helser was touring the factory with other former employees. She told the Icon that the new factory was “fantabulous” and a comfortable, spacious environment for the workers.

The ceremony attracted a large gathering of local business people and families, and featured the Ada High School football team and cheerleaders. 

Ada Area Chamber of Commerce director Lindsay Hollar took the opportunity to float the idea that, being an avid Cincinnati Bengals fan, it would be great to have quarterback Joe Burrow tour the facility. On a more serious note, she applauded Wilson’s choice to continue making footballs in Ada: “They choose to keep it handmade, they choose to keep it made in America, and they choose to keep it made in Ada, Ohio.”

The plant employs about 150 people and is currently hiring, said plant manager Andy Wentling. In the next three years, he expects to add 20-30 jobs. 

The new facility is also made to accommodate visitors. The plant floor can be seen from the lobby which includes a Wilson Sporting Goods shop. The factory can be visited Monday-Thursday from 8:00 a.m.-3:30 p.m. and Friday 8:00 a.m.-12:00 p.m. 

For more information on the Wilson Football Factory, including tour scheduling, visit

Tours are a “60 minute paid experience where visitors can walk the production floor and view every step that goes into making a leather NFL game football… Each tour is $15 per person. Tours are free for First Responders and active/former Military.” To register a group of 5 or more, call 419-634-9901.