New Carlisle business to begin up to $8M expansion, add jobs

A New Carlisle metal fabricating company will soon kick off a major expansion of up to $8 million in new investment over the next year and is expected to create between 20 and 25 new jobs.

Fab Metals, established in New Carlisle in 1986, will build a 40,000-square-foot facility to provide enough space to take on additional business, said Tom Hensley, the company’s owner. The company now has about 25 full-time employees and 25 to 30 temporary workers, but plans to add about 20 new full-time workers as part of the expansion, he said.

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“Those people, a lot of them will be added on to our payroll in the coming months,” Hensley said of the temporary workers.

The New Carlisle City Council and Clark County commissioners also approved an enterprise zone agreement that will provide a 10-year, 75 percent tax abatement for the new construction, said Tom Hale, enterprise zone manager for Clark County. The property tax abatement is worth about $400,000 over the 10-year agreement.

The plan calls for an investment of $5.5 million to $6 million for the expansion, including equipment. But Fab Metals also plans to spend an additional $2 million investment on more equipment as early as next year.

The project could break ground within about a week and could be completed by March or April, Hensley said. The business makes metal components for customers in various industries, including trucking, automotive, the military, defense and aerospace.

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The company’s website lists some of its customers, including General Motors, Navistar Defense, Honda of America, General Dynamics, Cascade Corporation and the Champion Company.

Fab Metals has also purchased new equipment, including lasers and new press brakes in recent months as part of the expansion.

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“With the amount of work we have today, we’ve outgrown our existing building, so we were forced to expand our facility,” Hensley said. “We bought the 20 acres next door to us and we’re going to erect a new 40,000-square-foot building that’s even bigger than the one we’re in today.”

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The manufacturer’s existing building was constructed in 1997, and the company added about 10,000 square feet to that site in 2000. That site is currently about 30,000 square feet.

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Some of the new jobs will include press brake and laser operators, welders and some assembly workers.

“We’ve got some great employees.” Hensley said of the company’s success over the past three decades. “We started off with some good people. Quality is what they think about and if you build a good product you can find work. We’ve got employees who can do that, so that’s our asset.”

Hensley said he hopes the current expansion provides enough space for the foreseeable future, noting the significant investment the family-owned company is making.

“We hope our building size is going to give us enough floor space for a few years,” he said.

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