Bennington expanding operations in Elkhart County

Published: Mar. 4, 2021 at 5:40 PM EST
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ELKHART COUNTY, Ind. (WNDU) - It seems the more America recreates—the more Elkhart County works.

And it’s not just the RV Industry that is picking up.

Boat maker Bennington today announced plans to expand immediately.

The company already has some 600 workers on the job at its plant off Decio Drive.

“We are back to, and exceeding pre-pandemic, and actually all-time levels for us right now,” said Jake Vogel, President of Polaris Boats, Bennington’s parent company. “People having a newfound appreciation for being outdoors and time with their family and friends on the water and our boats are a perfect platform for that.”

Bennington has secured the Center 605 building about a half mile up the road and boat building is expected to begin there soon. The expansion will create about 75 new jobs starting at around $15 an hour and ranging from direct labor to welding to procurement, to administrative positions in accounting and marketing.

“So, we’ve added this additional facility. It’s about 50,000 square feet. We’re looking to come online in April it’ll be kind of phased over you know over a few weeks’ time period,” Vogel explained.

Vogel says the number of buyers of new boats is up an unprecedented 35 percent, and there’s ‘half’ a chance they’ll end up buying something that was made in Elkhart.

“We’ve always been known as the RV capital of the world, but we’re also really the pontoon capital of the world. People don’t realize it because it’s not as big of a market but you know just with our businesses (Bennington, Polaris, Godfrey) we’re roughly 30 percent of the market. So you throw in some of the other competitors that we’ve got also with homes here in the Elkhart area…It’s certainly over 50 percent of the pontoon boats in the world are made here.”

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