Fillmore's quest for economic development may reach a pinnacle of achievement this month with the arrival of a manufacturing firm that could employ as many as 130 people within the next five years.

"That could mean an annual payroll of about $2.6 million," said Mayor Keith Gillins.The foundation was laid for the Display Network Inc. coming to the Fillmore area when city officials agreed about a year ago to lend the firm $190,000, Gillins said. "They are working toward additional financing, and if it falls into place DNI could be here in September."

The firm's product is a new innovation, particularly for large-volume businesses like supermarkets, where prices frequently change. It is an electronic shelf labeling procedure that allows changing of some 25,000 labels in only about two minutes, according to Hank Blankenstein, corporation vice president.

He told local officials, at a recent meeting in Fillmore, that the product has a lifetime of up to 25 years and virtually eliminates errors in marking merchandise.

Gillins said company officials reported that development of the product has been well received among potential customers. "The product (development) is 95 percent complete," he said, adding that the electronic labels would replace bar labels and that the equipment is solar powered.

The mayor emphasized that the city's financial support was not a grant but a loan in return for a promise to locate a plant in Fillmore. "An attorney was involved at every step (in drawing up the agreement and loan papers) and it is like any other loan," Gillins said. "It has to be paid back.

The loan agreement calls for paying interest only for three years.

The corporation has been developing the technology in the San Jose area in California.

A site for the plant in Fillmore has not been selected, the mayor reported.