MIDDLEBURY – A big win for Elkhart County.
An Oklahoma-based company is building a new plant near Middlebury.
They provide metal that goes into making pontoon boats, RV’s and cargo trucks.
The company passed up sites in Chicago and Detroit to build here.
“We plan on this being a major hub for us,” said Champagne Metals Founder Mike Champagne.
Champagne Metals broke ground on a new 80,000 square foot processing plant near the Toll Road on Thursday. The company has a distribution plant in the area for its line of processed metals sold in coils and sheets.
Until now, those products were shipped in from their operation in Tulsa, Oklahoma. A new plant here would better serve local customers who use their line of cut aluminum.
“There’s RVs, there’s pontoon boats, there’s enclosed cargos,” said Champagne. “From our understanding and our knowledge, we think there’s more aluminum purchased in Elkhart County than any other county in the country.”
The new building will include a warehouse as well as the latest technology in aluminum processing.
“We’re bringing in one machine that will go up to a quarter-inch thick to 80 inches wide, and that will be one of our widest machines not only in this area, but in the country,” Champagne added. “Most of our competitors would go into Chicago or Detroit and put their major investment there. We are going to service Chicago and Detroit out of here, so we think we are going to where the business is at, and we will go to the major markets out of here.”
But the good economic news for Elkhart County and the company doesn’t end with the building of the new 80,000 square foot facility. Down the road, they plan to expand on that, which translates into even more jobs.
For the moment, they plan to have up to 40 workers on board by the end of next year.