BRISTOL — Satellite Industries celebrated the completion of a 120,000-square-foot addition to its existing plant with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday.
Satellite offers 15 models of portable restrooms ranging from standard to wheelchair accessible and various specialty models. Restrooms are available in flushing and non-flushing, according to the company's website.
The expansion was needed to accommodate customer demand and will allow the company to build more luxury mobile restrooms, part of its specialty trailer division called "Satellite Suites," officials said.
New laminating equipment used to manufacture walls and other flat surfaces will occupy 45,000 square feet of the new space. A new state of the art racking system was also built, to increase active inventory space.
When the company found the land at 1686 Commerce Drive in Bristol about five years ago, it was a cornfield, according to John Babcock, president of Satellite Industries.
The first phase of the project was completed in 2014 — a 120,000-square-foot distribution and manufacturing facility.
Now, with the completion of the second phase, the project totals 240,000 square feet under roof.
“We picked this location because it's a central location to our suppliers,” Babcock said. “And we tried to make ourselves a destination employer — and having a new facility and a nice environment to work in is a big part of that. We originally looked at buying buildings and then decided that if we’re going to do it the right way, we’re going to build.”
The total cost for both phases of the project comes in at just over $8 million, Babcock said.
Five years ago, there were just 15 employees at the location. That number has since grown to about 140 employees in Bristol.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony was attended by community members, work crews and business officials.
Elkhart Chamber of Commerce President Levon Johnson said the plant has been an asset to the community.
“I truly believe that great communities are made up of excellent businesses and excellent businesses are made up of even better people,” he said. “So, as I sit here and look at the ownership, leadership and employees, I couldn’t be more proud of the commitment that you’ve had to Satellite and Satellite has had to the Bristol community and greater Elkhart.”
U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski said she was impressed by the plant two years ago when she was given a tour and has since talked about the company and its workers to her colleagues in Washington.
“Keep doing what you’re doing. You’re the best-skilled workforce in this country, and our future is bright for two reasons, a strong economy and strong employees that are a family. I’ll never forget the labor of love that you guys have here,” she said during the ceremony.
Nuway Construction of Goshen was the contractor for the project.