ELKHART — Champion Manufacturing Inc. has decided to remain in Elkhart, although the company will be moving to another location down the road from the current site.
The groundbreaking ceremony for a new facility was on Tuesday morning and officials were excited about the possibilities it will offer what they called a rapidly growing company.
“We’re really looking to expand our capacity,” Champion Manufacturing CFO Doug Heinisch said.
The company began its search for a new location within a few hours of Elkhart, but they were unable to find an appropriate building. They began searching in Elkhart for a larger facility but decided to construct a new building instead which will be built by DJ Construction.
“There’s so many positive things about this community. It’s really a great place to raise a family and there’s a good work force, and a great base of suppliers. We pretty much get all of our supplied components and assemblies from local suppliers,” CEO Matt Weismiller said.
Champion Manufacturing was founded 27 years ago in Elkhart and has remained at its location on Industrial Drive since then.
With 77 employees in the Elkhart location and roughly 55 throughout the rest of the country, Champion Manufacturing hopes the new building will offer the additional space needed to supply the products company officials said they hope to offer.
“That’s really the issue right now,” Weismiller said. “We don’t have enough loading docks. We don’t have enough square footage to manage all the lines we’re currently running and store all of our inventory. We basically are bursting out of our current facility.”
The new building will be 85,000 square feet, more than double the 42,000-square-foot building the company is now.
“We believe we’re going to need almost all of it right away,” Weismiller said. “We have a couple of very big contracts which we are very close to landing and we’re going to need space for them as well.”
Right now the company creates around close to 25,000 chairs per year. It corners the market on chairs for dialysis patients, but executives are hoping that the new facility will help them to expand to new specialty chair markets in acute care and infusion. The new building will increase its capacity by about 80 percent, Heinisch said.
Weismiller added that the new facility and new contracts will create jobs within the company, although it is unknown how many yet.
“It’s a great company to be here and we’re glad that they’re choosing Elkhart,” Chris Hooley, Economic Development Corporation of Elkhart County’s director of Business Retention and Expansion, said.
Company officials said they are hoping that the new building will be completed in late spring of next year.
It will be located at the corner of C.R. 17 and Hoffman Street in Elkhart.