Boat maker Smoker Craft Inc.’s planned $12 million expansion in New Paris, south of Goshen in Elkhart County, could create up to 100 new jobs by the end of 2024.
The family-owned company plans to construct and equip a 200,000-square-foot space on its current 600,000-square-foot production campus at 68143 Clunette St. for additional boat manufacturing and shipping, the Indiana Economic Development Corp. said. The expansion is needed to help the company meet growing customer demand and should be operational by April.
“With homegrown Hoosier companies like Smoker Craft at the helm, Indiana will continue driving its economy forward, positioning our state for long-term economic stabilization and growth,” said Jim Staton, senior vice president and chief business development officer for the IEDC. “We’re excited Smoker Craft chose to continue propelling its growth here in Indiana, creating even more quality career opportunities for Hoosiers.”
The company’s latest expansion follows an announcement from nearly seven years ago when Smoker Craft announced plans to expand in New Paris. The company at that time announced an investment of $4.1 million, which would create up to 100 new jobs by the end of 2018.
“Smoker Craft Inc. started construction on a 200,000-square-foot warehouse and shipping facility,” said Tim Jones, vice president of finance for Smoker Craft. “This expansion will be used to increase efficiencies to the loading process and allow us to ship not only more boats to our dealers all over North America but raise the quality of the delivered product.”
He said the warehouse portion of the project is designed to free up manufacturing space in all three of the company’s product lines: aluminum fishing boats, pontoon boats and fiberglass deck boats.
“This expansion will help meet the increased demand for our product throughout our dealer network,” Jones said. “We look forward to bringing more quality jobs to New Paris, Indiana, and continuing our growth in the marine industry.”
Smoker Craft, which was founded in 1961 and currently employs 800 people in the U.S., including 770 in Indiana, is hiring for computer numerical control (CNC) welding positions.
The IEDC is providing up to $600,000 in incentives to Smoker Craft and an additional $200,000 from the Hoosier Business Investment tax credit program based on the company’s planned capital investment in Indiana.
The tax credits are performance-based, meaning the company is eligible to claim incentives once people are hired and investments are made, the state said. The Elkhart County Council approved real and personal property tax incentives.