BERNE, Ind. (WANE) - Around 100 new jobs are heading to Berne as three companies plan expansions to their operations there.
"Some people don't look at a hundred jobs as that great of an opportunity, but for us, it's huge," Larry Macklin, the executive director for the Adams County Economic Development Corporation, said. "It doesn't happen overnight, but the announcements make us very pleased."
FCC, an auto parts manufacturer, plans to invest $41 million in a 75,000-square-foot building expansion and added machinery. The expansion will create around 50 jobs, Sandra Affolder, the administrations manager, said.
"We've been here since 2003. We have a good relationship with the county and this was the right thing to do," Affolder said.
Construction has already started and should be finished in summer 2014. Most of the job openings will be production jobs, but there could be some opportunities for engineers and managers too. FCC is already accepting applications. Anyone interested should go to the plant at 936 E Parr Road in Berne.
Key Fasteners, which already employs 87 people, estimates around ten more jobs to come with its expansion.
The Japanese-owned company, which makes parts for Honda, plans to spend $1.6 million building a 39,000-square-foot factory expansion. Another $8 million will be spent on equipment. A lot of equipment is coming from other plants in Japan.
"Overall, our business is growing rapidly," John Johnston, the company's executive vice president, said.
Some of the parts made at Key Fasteners are used in brake and fuel systems. The Berne location also makes all of the exposed wheel nuts for every Honda and Acura made in North America.
"The city of Berne is very cooperative with local businesses doing everything they can to help us," Johnston said.
The plant's been in Berne since 1989. People can apply for the openings, which are mainly production and some engineering, at the plant at 525 Key Way Drive in Berne.
"We made a decision several years ago not to go to China," Dave Burson, the controller at Smith Brothers of Berne, said.
Now, the furniture company is planning an expansion that will create around 43 jobs in the next few years. The building expansion will be two floors of 55,000-square-feet each. That will cost around $5 million. The company estimates spending around $1.6 million more on additional equipment.
A big boost in business is the reason behind this expansion.
"We've added larger dealers. Our name's getting out there. Our back-log is high and our sales are up 18 percent year-to-date," Burson said.
The company already employs 320 people. The new jobs, which will be mostly production, could pay around $16 per hour when someone is fully trained.
The people of Berne is what's keeping the local company expanding at home.
"It's a hard-working community. There are good people here with a good work ethic. It's Indiana's workforce. It's better here," Burson said.
The new jobs won't be open until April when construction is expected to be finished. People can apply at the Workone Northeast office.
"They're things you hope happen to your community and to have three of them happen at about the same time is very exciting," Bill McKean, Berne's mayor, said.
McKean said the city and the companies have been in talks for about the last six months and they just happened to all come together at the same time.
All three companies also qualified for and were granted a super abatement.
"We just adopted it last month, so the timing worked well," McKean said. "Some of [the qualifications] are based on salaries. They have to be a little on the higher-end jobs. It's a ten-year abatement, but the first five years are 100 percent. The other abatement was staggered over the ten years. If the state passed this and others around us have it, we better get on board too."
Incentives aside, McKean says the three businesses expanding help push his city's economy in the right direction.
"For Berne to get 100 jobs, it's big. It may not happen for years, but it's a slam dunk," he said.
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