The owners of Great Lakes Forest Products, an Elkhart, IN-based lumber manufacturing business, will establish a new sister company to produce laminated wood panels. The new company, Great Lakes Lamination, will create up to 100 new jobs in Bristol, IN by 2022 to support its growing business.
”We are very excited to start Great Lakes Lamination and are thankful we have the support from the community,” said Mark Smith, co-owner of Great Lakes Forest Products. “It is our plan to exceed our customers’ expectations in both quality and service, and we believe we have the right team to do so. We remain optimistic and hopeful that our market penetration will continue to grow and opportunities will present themselves to expand our customer base. We believe that Bristol is an ideal production and shipping location to service our current customers and expand into other markets. We are thankful for the opportunity the Bristol Town Council and state of Indiana have presented to us and look forward to growing together.”
Great Lakes Lamination will invest $7 million to establish operations in Bristol, purchasing and equipping a 115,000-square-foot facility. The company, which plans to start new production this summer, will largely serve the RV industry, which is heavily concentrated in north central Indiana. The state produces approximately 80 percent of the world’s RVs, with industry shipments topping more than 483,000 models in 2018. The RV Industry Association expects 2019 to be the third-highest year on record for total RV shipments.
The new company will be led by the leadership team of its sister company, Great Lakes Forest Products. In order to support its new and growing business, Great Lakes Lamination expects to hire between 50 and 100 new positions by the end of 2022. The company anticipates ramping up recruiting efforts in the second quarter of 2019 to hire new production positions.
“We are thrilled to see businesses growing and launching new operations here in the most manufacturing-intensive state in the country,” said Elaine Bedel, president of the the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC). “The establishment of Great Lakes Lamination sets the northern region of the state up for continued success for many years to come.”
The IEDC offered Great Lakes Lamination up to $500,000 in conditional tax credits based on the company’s plans to create up to 100 new jobs by the end of 2022. These tax credits are performance-based, so until employees are hired, the company is not eligible to claim incentives. The town of Bristol approved additional incentives based on the company’s plans to create up to 53 new jobs by 2021.
“The town of Bristol is pleased to welcome Great Lakes Lamination into our community,” said Michael “Mitch” Mitchell, Bristol town manager. “As our new industrial neighbor, Great Lakes Lamination will be renovating an unused industrial building and providing jobs to the people of Bristol and Elkhart County. It has been our pleasure to work with our development partner, Elkhart County EDC to complete this economic redevelopment project. By working with Great Lakes Lamination and the Elkhart County EDC to bring this new business to our community, Bristol continues to provide businesses across multiple sectors a culture and location for success. Great Lakes Lamination has shown its desire to further our vision to provide opportunities for the people of Indiana to make an impact on Indiana’s and the United States’ economic future.”
Great Lakes Forest Products was established in 1989 as an office wholesale lumber company that sold to the manufactured housing and industrial lumber markets. As 2004 approached, the founders saw the opportunity to start a lumber remanufacturing plant and move operations to Elkhart, in order to service the manufactured housing, recreational vehicle, industrial and retail lumber industries.
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