Smoker Craft Invests $12 Million In New Indiana Facility

The expansion will help Smoker Craft meet increased consumer demand, and create up to 100 new jobs.

Smoker Craft Inc., a fifth-generation, family-owned boat and pontoon manufacturer, will invest $12 million to construct and equip a 200,000-square-foot space on its current 600,000-square-foot production campus in New Paris, IN. The new facility, which will be used for additional boat manufacturing and shipping, will create up to 100 new jobs by the end of 2024.

“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,” Jones added. “We look forward to bringing more quality jobs to New Paris, and continuing our growth in the marine industry.”

Smoker Craft
Photo: Smoker Craft

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. The latest expansion project 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.

“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.”

Founded in 1961, Smoker Craft produces aluminum fishing boats, fiberglass sport boats and next-generation performance pontoons. The business sells its boats through a domestic and international network of more than 300 dealers.

Based on the company’s job creation plans, the IEDC committed an investment in Smoker Craft 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, so the company is eligible to claim incentives once employees are hired and investments are made. The Elkhart County Council approved real and personal property tax incentives.

“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.

The company, 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.



New RV Manufacturer, Encore RV, Launches in Elkhart, Ind.

By: RVBusiness | Published on: Sep 1, 2021 | Categories: Today’s Industry News

ELKHART, IN – A new RV company is launching at a time when the RV industry struggles through a shortage of workers and supply chain issues. Despite these issues, Encore RV is charging forward, almost embracing the headwinds many companies are facing today, according to a press release from the company.

Encore RV was founded in 2020 by Rich Schnippel, who has been involved in the RV and motorsports trailer industry since 2000, since 2010 with inTech RV.  The new company is planning to introduce their product during the upcoming Elkhart Open House, later this month.  In their inaugural year, Encore RV invites dealers to stop out at their manufacturing facility in Elkhart to look, not only at the campers, but also the production facility and see what makes this company unique.

Encore’s first product line, RŌM, will target the lightweight adventure trailer market that has become increasingly popular over the past 5 years, and Schnippel was a pioneer, designing several of today’s most popular models.  “Our desire is to create a product line which stands apart from other adventure trailers currently offered,” Schnippel stated, “we’ve designed the most well thought out and functional trailers in the market.”

One of the biggest standout features in the RŌM series is the 100% wood-free construction.  Every RŌM trailer showcases a lightweight, fully welded, all-aluminum frame and chassis.  To maintain the wood-free product, Encore utilizes composite floors and interior walls, while cabinetry is manufactured using precision CNC laser cut aluminum. This results in a strong, long-lasting and lightweight product.

Schnippel added, “I think people are going to be surprised at the value we’ve provided.  A lot of time has been spent meeting with and listening to both dealers and retail customers.  They’ve made it clear what’s important and we’ve incorporated those ideas into our designs and construction.  I’ve always enjoyed the design process and creating products which evoke real emotion…a passion you can see and hear when you’re talking to owners. It’s this passion which drives our innovation and motivates us to be better every single day.”

Encore has already begun establishing their dealer network and will be entertaining additional opportunities during the Open House, the release states.

If you would like to see the new RŌM series and learn more about Encore RV, stop out during the Open House. Encore RV is located at 4340 Pine Creek Road in Elkhart, Ind., just a short drive from the RV Hall of Fame.

Contact Rich Schnippel  at or by cell phone at 440-570-3030.



Manufacturing Readiness Grants Extended Through 2023, $20M Available

Launched in 2020, Manufacturing Readiness Grants have awarded $6.7 million to 87 Hoosier companies in 38 counties.

Applications for the Manufacturing Readiness Grant program, which was launched to stimulate private sector investments to modernize Indiana’s manufacturing sector, have re-opened to Indiana manufacturers across the state. Administered by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) in partnership with Conexus Indiana, this program has been extended through June 2023 with matching grants available to help respond to the global COVID-19 pandemic and position Hoosier operations for future growth and prosperity. Based on the strong response to the program, the Indiana General Assembly appropriated $20 million in the two-year state budget that runs through June 30, 2023.

Indiana companies are encouraged to review eligibility requirements and submit applications online.

Grants must be matched by the applicant on a minimum 1:1 basis. Grants undergo a rigorous peer review and recommendation process by a statewide committee of manufacturing professionals representing industry, academia, private equity and more.