Batavia, Ill. -- Dignitaries and tile industry leaders gathered last month in June to celebrate the grand opening of the first North American factory by Wedi, a family-owned German company that picked the northeast side of Batavia, Ill., for its operation.

The day-long celebration opened with a ribbon-cutting by the Batavia Chamber of Commerce, attended by State Rep. Mike Fortner and Batavia's City Administrator Laura Newman, Mayor Jeff Schielke, aldermen Susan Stark and Tony Malay, and other officials.

Owner and managing director, Stephan Wedi, said the machinery at the Batavia facility is even more modern than the production line in Germany. "Wedi is all about vision and all about dreams," he said, adding it's a great moment to see it coming true at the new factory.

Wanting to make the "jump over the big pond to the United States," Wedi said involved challenges ranging from metrics versus inches to time differences and language barriers. Working with customers' input, he said they found the solutions and are growing "our German-American dream." Wedi credited much of the U.S. groundwork to Bastian Lohmann, general manager and vice president of sales and marketing.

Holly Deitchman, president and CEO of the Batavia Chamber of Commerce, was pleased Wedi welcomed people in to see the facility. "It's nice when a global partner chooses our community to expand into North America," she said, noting the Batavia facility has 250 employees. She said Wedi is committed to the success of the whole community. In planning the day's festivities, it reached out to Batavia firms, including Gatherings By Design to coordinate activities, Enticing Cuisine for catering, and Fast Color in North Aurora for signs and advertising, Deitchman said.

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