X-Cel Optical to Cease Operations Within the Year

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SAUK RAPIDS, Minn.—The last glass lens manufacturer in the U.S., X-Cel Optical, will be closing within a year after more than eight decades in business. The Sauk Rapids, Minn.-based company, which is owned by Essilor of America, notified state and local officials of their plans to close the facility. A local radio station, WJON, first reported the news. An Essilor spokesperson told VMail, "While consumers are buying more glasses than ever, there has been a steady decline in consumer demand for bifocals, trifocals and glass lenses, which are the primary products made at X-Cel.

As a result of this change, Essilor has made the decision to gradually shift the remaining production from the X-Cel plant in Sauk Rapids to our global network of manufacturing plants which produce these materials over the next year. We anticipate that our X-Cel Optical employees will have the opportunity to join one of the several Essilor family of companies providing jobs in this area. In the coming months, we are providing assistance in placing them in new roles within our lab network.”

X-Cel is the only remaining manufacturer of glass lenses and polarized glass lenses in the U.S. According to X-Cel Optical’s website, the company’s founders, Elmer Voss and Vincent Condon, moved their company from California to Sauk Rapids in 1946.