Lumber producer focuses on RVs, gets big tax credits for Indiana expansion
March 27, 2019 | 5:06 pm UTC
ELKHART, Ind. - Remanufactured lumber and plywood maker Great Lakes Forest Products will invest $7 million to create a sister company in Bristol, Indiana, creating a potential 100 new jobs by 2022.
The sister company will produce laminated wood panels for the RV industry, which is concentrated heavily in Northcentral Indiana. The region is the "RV capital of the world" - producing around 80 percent of the world's RVs. The $7 million investment will go toward purchasing and equipping the 115,000-square-foot facility. 
The Indiana Economic Development Corporation is providing Great Lakes up to $500,000 in performance-based tax credits. The company must hire employees before receiving incentives. The town of Bristol approved more benefits.
”We are very excited to start Great Lakes Lamination and are thankful we have the support from the community,” said Mark Smith, co-owner of Great Lakes Forest Products. “We remain optimistic and hopeful that our market penetration will continue to grow and opportunities will present themselves to expand our customer base."
Great Lakes began in 1989 as a wholesale lumber company that sold to the housing and industrial lumber markets. It joins RV wood component giant Patrick Industries in the region, who is seeing huge growth. Patrick acquired seven firms in 2017 and saw a 34 percent jump in sales, growing to more than 4,000 employees.

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Robert Dalheim

Robert Dalheim is an editor at the Woodworking Network. Along with publishing online news articles, he writes feature stories for the FDMC print publication. He can be reached at [email protected]