SAUK RAPIDS - A longtime Sauk Rapids optical company is shutting down. X-Cel Optical, which is owned by Essilor of America, has notified state and local officials of their plans to close the facility sometime in June 2020.

According to a letter sent to the Commissioner of the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, the facility located at 806 South Benton Drive and its two satellite plants will be impacted.

All affected employees have been notified of the permanent closure. There are about 125 full-time employees who work at X-Cel Optical in Sauk Rapids, the rest are through a temp agency.

A spokeswoman for the company says that 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.

Sauk Rapids Community Development Director Todd Schultz says the company plans to move their operations to other countries.

Shultz also says they may keep the main building on Benton Drive to absorb space needs from the other plants.  He says it does sound like they will be closing the back building at their Benton Drive location and the smaller building on Stearns Drive.

The company says they plan to offer jobs to everyone that wants to remain working at one of the other Essilor-owned plants in the area.

According to their website, X-Cel Optical has been in Sauk Rapids for 73 years when Elmer Voss and Vincent Condon moved the company to town from California in 1946. Their website also says they are the only remaining manufacturer of glass lenses and polarized glass lenses in the US.

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