Smith Store Fixtures plans ‘major expansion’
The Harrison County Council Monday night moved to approve a property tax abatement for Fred Smith Store Fixtures Inc. of Depauw, which plans to add a second facility in the Harrison County Business Park northwest of downtown Corydon.
Darrell Voelker, executive Director of the Harrison County Economic Development Corp., called the addition a major expansion for the furniture parts company.
A property tax abatement ‘ 10 years for the facility and five years for the equipment ‘ is available because the area is designated as an Economic Revitalization Area.
The new facility will be located at the end of Commerce Way on a 20-acre shovel-ready site.
Steve Smith, chief executive officer of the company, said the new facility will provide 12 to 14 jobs immediately and eventually 30 or so is likely.
‘The facility should handle 40,’ he said.
The plan is to have the new facility open and operational by December.
The company expects to hire additional manufacturing personnel, including sawyers, CNC operators, edge bander operators and skilled craftsmen, as well as administrative, maintenance and material handling associates in the coming months. Interested applicants can learn more about positions as they become available at www.fssf.weebly.com/careers.html.
Fred Smith Store Fixtures will invest $8.5 million to lease and equip a 70,000-square-foot building.
‘When we considered building a new facility, two main factors came to mind,’ Smith said in an Indiana Economic Development Corp. release. ‘The first is the workforce. Our people are what have gotten us here today, and we knew we wanted to stick with the workforce available in Southern Indiana.
‘The second factor is logistics,’ he said. ‘Fred Smith Store Fixtures has operated in a rural setting for 51 years. It’s important to improve logistics to better serve customers. We needed to make sure the two plants could easily work together, and building in the Harrison County (Business) Park in Corydon allows us to meet our needs.’
Fred Smith Store Fixtures mainly provides the parts for office furniture and hospitality furniture, Smith said.
The current 140,000-square foot facility is along S.R. 337 south of Frenchtown in northwest Harrison County.
‘If you haven’t seen it, then you’ve probably never driven from Corydon to Depauw,’ Voelker said of the large manufacturing facility. ‘It’s been growing over the years.’
The company has provided high-quality laminate panels and component parts since 1963 when Fred and Laura Smith built a small shop in the field behind their house and began installing fixtures in a wide variety of locations, including bars, restaurants, banks and libraries. The focus eventually shifted from installation to manufacturing for offices, hotels and stores.
More than 140 employees currently work at the facility.
The council approved the property tax abatement, 7-0, pending research from legal counsel Mike Summers, who said he thought a public hearing is necessary before it can be approved.
Along with the county’s tax abatement, the Indiana EDC offered Smith’s Store Fixtures up to $175,000 in conditional tax credits and $50,000 in training grants based on the company’s job creation plans.
‘Fred Smith Store Fixtures is a true Indiana success story,’ Eric Doden, president of the Indiana Economic Development Corp., said. ‘Launching in rural Indiana, the company has grown to become an important economic driver for its region. Supported by a business environment and team that works, Fred Smith Store Fixtures’ success today shows that, when all the elements come together, Indiana is the perfect state for growth.’
These tax credits are performance-based, meaning, until Hoosiers are hired, the company is not eligible to claim incentives.
‘Our county is an ideal community for business growth,’ Harrison County Council Chair Gary Davis, who also sits on the county’s EDC board, said. ‘Both new and existing businesses find this location, our workforce and the quality of life to be outstanding. Smith Store Fixtures has been successful and growing here for decades, and now they are making a significant investment to grow their business even more. These new jobs bring great opportunities for the people of Harrison County.’
Voelker said it’s an exciting time in the county, and he expects a couple more companies to come before the council for abatements in the near future.
During the ‘old business’ section of Monday’s meeting, Davis asked Councilman Kyle Nix to let Blue River Township Trustee Michael Beyerle know that he needs to first visit the Harrison County Board of Commissioners to gain approval for a possible additional appropriation for a new fire substation for the Ramsey Volunteer Fire Dept. in his township.
Beyerle presented a request of $150,000 to the council in a meeting earlier this year.
The council’s next meeting will be Monday, April 13, at 7 p.m. at the Government Center in south Corydon.