Will and Baumer moving from Syracuse?

Will and Baumer has made candles since 1855, but the company may be leaving the Syracuse area. / Action News photographer Andy Wolf

Higher costs of doing business, and church consolidations are making these tough times for one of the Syracuse area's oldest businesses. Marshall Ciccone, Will and Baumer's chief operating officer, says new owners want to move the operation to Tennessee next year. The 25 employees have been told, and will have to decide between their jobs and their community. The landmark candle company has been doing business here since 1855, and since the early 19-hundreds from it's factory with the chimney adorned with a candle, that borders the Onondaga Lake Parkway. Ciccone says the company's been looking for a new place to do business for awhile: there's 220-thousand square feet in the plant, and they barely use 80-thousand now. They've looked around the area, but have always thought they'd have to sell the 15 acre campus first---which Ciccone says should not be hard, given its location and view.At one point, the candle factory employed 400, but with pressure from foreign makers was forced to drop its floral and domestic lines. Its niche business is selling religious themed candles to churches (they even created candles for Pope Benedict's recent American visit), however with church consolidations and dropping attendance, and worries that candles will become more expensive (wax is oil based) the future here is not bright. New owners have promised more support and resources---but the question is, whether the current work force and its skills will make the move with the company.--Action News did check with development agencies and politicians in the area, who were surprised to hear of the company's leaving--we are told they did not apply for Empire Zone help or other assistance, before informing their workers that they're leaving.