Working to win appreciation

By BETH CRACE State Journal Staff Writer Published:

In a town where business means government, it's easy for industry to be overlooked.

"I don't think there's a high level of awareness of manufacturing in Frankfort or the importance of manufacturing in Frankfort," said Louis Allegra, executive vice president of Topy, which manufactures steel wheels for cars and trucks.

The company employs over 500, has expanded seven times since opening its doors, and has seen its client list grow exponentially. Topy now sells to DaimlerChrysler, Ford, General Motors, Honda, Isuzu, Mazda, Nissan, Subaru, Suzuki and Toyota.

But it's not uncommon, Allegra said, to run into a local resident who has no idea what Topy manufactures - and the Japanese-owned company has been calling Frankfort home since 1985. In fact, it beat out automotive giant Toyota to be the first wholly owned Japanese company to locate in Kentucky.

It's no secret state government serves as Frankfort and Franklin County's biggest employer. And while that has provided abundant employment opportunities and job stability, Allegra said manufacturers play an important role, too.

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