by Sarah Einselen Pharos-Tribune
---- — WINAMAC — A Texas-based trailer manufacturer plans to open a new manufacturing hub in Winamac by March.
Antares Trailer LLC, based in Houston, Texas, plans to hire up to 42 people by 2017 for its new Midwest hub. The company assembles intermodal chassis equipment and will start making flatbed trailers.
“It’s going to be a pretty healthy increase in jobs,” Pulaski County Economic Development Director Nathan Origer said. “We have one of the lower unemployment rates in the state, and especially in northwest Indiana, and that’s going to help close that gap even further.”
The company will lease, renovate and equip the former Tippecanoe Beverage warehouse, a 50,000-square-foot facility. It will be operational by March, according to a press release from the Indiana Economic Development Corp. The company plans to begin assembling composite flatbed and drop deck trailers for its dealers by April.
IEDC offered Antares Trailer up to $225,000 in conditional tax credits based on the company’s job creation plans. The tax credits are performance-based, which means the company will not be eligible to claim the incentives until Hoosiers are hired, according to the release.
The town of Winamac also offered the company and the owner of the building it’s leasing about $60,000 worth of tax abatements over 10 years, Origer said.
The abatements covered personal property taxes and new construction as well as a vacant building deduction, which reduced existing property taxes since the building was vacant for about 13 months, Origer said.
Antares historically has been involved in marketing intermodal chassis and containers, serving logistics companies and transportation equipment dealers across the country, according to the IEDC release.
The trailer division is new and centered in Winamac, said Derrick Dilts, a Winamac native and partner with Bobby Horton in the venture.
Dilts expects about two-thirds of the new job positions to be filled by the end of this year, mainly in welding and general assembly. The rest are likely to be sales and drafting or engineering positions created as the business stabilizes.
With the creation of this new Midwest hub, the company will enter the composite flatbed and drop deck trailer market, with plans to produce about 50 trailers a month.
The new location will also allow Antares to transfer the delivery point for intermodal chassis from Texas to the railhead near its Winamac facility for customers located in the Chicago market, the release indicated.
“We’re 800 miles closer than some of our major [original equipment] competitors,” Dilts said.
“It was important to Antares that we were close to our core dealers, had access to skilled labor and located in a state that understood how to do business,” said Horton, a partner with Antares and designer of Antares’ new flatbed trailer, in the IEDC press release.
Antares is Horton’s first time owning a company making his product after a career spent designing trailers, Dilts said. “We’re excited that the guy who has actually made product for other people is making product for himself.”
The company has offices in Indianapolis and Houston, Texas, and distribution centers in Texas and Alabama.
Antares plans to begin hiring general assembly and welder positions immediately. Interested applicants may apply by emailing their information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sarah Einselen is news editor at the Pharos-Tribune. She can be reached at email@example.com or 574-732-5151. Twitter: @PharosSME