Smoker Craft, Inc., one of the oldest family-owned boat manufacturers, announced plans today to expand its operations here, creating up to 100 new jobs by 2018.
The homegrown-Hoosier company will invest $4.1 million to renovate and equip its 500,000 square-foot production facility at 68143 Clunette St. in New Paris. Expanding with 90,000 additional square feet operational by March, the company’s growth will allow it to increase production by 50 percent and create manufacturing efficiencies in quality and consistency.
“Companies like Smoker Craft know the horizons are bright for business in Indiana,” said Governor Mike Pence. “By balancing our budgets and investing in our workforce, Indiana offers a stable business environment that allows companies to plan for growth, creating new Hoosier jobs and opportunities.”
Smoker Craft, which currently employs more than 440 full-time associates, plans to begin hiring for line positions in February. Interested applicants may apply at the company’s facility.
“We chose to expand our presence in Indiana because it has been our home since 1903,” said Doug Smoker, president and chief executive officer of Smoker Craft. “It has an excellent workforce which believes in hard work and dedication to the company. Many of our workers have been with us for over 20 years. The state is working hard to grow the workforce through many local programs and it remains very attractive from a regulation standpoint. Clearly Indiana is the place where we want to grow.”
Founded in 1961, Smoker Craft produces aluminum fishing boats, high-adrenaline fiberglass sport boats and next-generation performance pontoons. The fifth generation family-owned business sells its boats through a domestic and international network of more than 300 dealers. In 2009, Smoker Craft was awarded the Marine Industry CSI Award by the National Marine Manufacturers Association, honoring the company’s aluminum product line for measuring customer satisfaction and pursuing continuous improvement, with its fiberglass product line receiving the same honor in 2007. In addition to its Indiana facility, the company also operates in LaGrange, Georgia and Stayton, Oregon.
The Indiana Economic Development Corporation offered Smoker Craft, Inc. up to $780,000 in conditional tax credits and up to $20,000 in training grants based on the company’s job creation plans. These tax credits are performance-based, meaning until Hoosiers are hired, the company is not eligible to claim incentives. Elkhart County approved additional incentives at the request of Economic Development Corporation of Elkhart County.
“The addition of 100 new higher paying jobs is tremendous news for the county,” said John Letherman, president of the Elkhart County Council. “Smoker Craft has thrived in Elkhart County as a family-owned and operated company with roots dating back to 1903. We are pleased Smoker Craft decided to continue their long relationship with Elkhart County and the community of New Paris in choosing to expand their facility.”
Just last week, Indiana-based Ameritrans Bus also announced it will grow its Elkhart County operations. The company, which assembles and distributes small to mid-size transportation vehicles, is planning to open a new facility in Nappanee to assemble double deck buses, creating more than 70 new jobs in the coming years.
Source: The Indiana Economic Development Corp., Inside INdiana Business