Boat Manufacturer Investing $12M

Boat Manufacturer Investing $12M

Smoker Craft Inc., a fifth-generation, family-owned boat and pontoon manufacturer, announced plans to expand operations in north central Indiana, creating up to 100 new jobs by the end of 2024.

“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, SVP and chief business development officer for the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (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 will invest $12 million to construct and equip an a 200,000-square-foot space on its current 600,000-square-foot production campus at 68143 Clunette St. in New Paris for additional boat manufacturing and shipping. This expansion will allow the company to serve growing customer demand. Construction has begun, and the new building is expected to be fully operational by April 2022.

The announcement comes nearly seven years after Smoker Craft announced plans to expand operations in New Paris, investing $4.1 million and creating 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. The warehouse portion of the project is designed to free up manufacturing space in all three of our 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. We look forward to bringing more quality jobs to New Paris, Indiana, and continuing our growth in the Marine Industry.”

Smoker Craft, which currently employs 800 U.S. associates including 770 in Indiana, is hiring for computer numerical control (CNC) welding positions. Interested applicants may apply online.

Founded in 1961, Smoker Craft produces aluminum fishing boats, high-adrenaline fiberglass sport boats and next-generation performance pontoons. The business sells its boats through a domestic and international network of more than 300 dealers. In 2018, Smoker Craft was awarded the Marine Industry Customer Satisfaction Index Award by the National Marine Manufacturers Association for measuring customer satisfaction and pursuing continuous improvement of its aluminum outboard, deck and pontoon boats.

“We are extremely pleased that Smoker Craft Inc., a legacy Elkhart County company and a leader in the boating industry, continues to thrive and grow additional production capabilities in New Paris,” said Chris Stager, president of the Economic Development Corporation of Elkhart County.

Based on the company’s job creation plans, the IEDC committed an investment in Smoker Craft Inc. of up to $600,000 in the form of incentive-based tax credits. The IEDC will also commit up to $200,000 from the Hoosier Business Investment (HBI) tax credit program based on the company’s planned capital investment in Indiana. These tax credits are performance-based, meaning the company is eligible to claim incentives once Hoosiers are hired and investments are made. The Elkhart County Council approved real and personal property tax incentives.

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