LAPORTE — A leading maker of mattresses cut the ribbon Wednesday at its new plant in LaPorte County, where it plans to hire 300 more workers by late 2023.
Corsicana Mattress Co. opened its ninth location in the U.S. about three months ago inside a once vacant 165,000 square foot manufacturing structure at Indiana 2 and 500 West.
James Booth, chief operating officer for the Dallas, Texas based firm, said the assembly plant, with close to 40 employees, is operating at about 10% capacity.
The plan is to be at full capacity once another roughly 300 workers have been hired and trained over the next 18 months.
“You can only bring so many people in at a time and train them. There’s a tremendous amount of training,” Booth said.
He expects about 15% of the beds-in-a-box produced by the company will come out of the new plant once full capacity is reached.
Customers seem drawn by the price and convenience of the combination inner spring and memory foam mattress which folds out when taken out of the box.
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The bed in a box is available at brick-and-mortar stores and online.
Booth said the company, founded in 1971, also makes its own traditional mattresses and mattresses under a contract to the specifics of other brands.
The firm, listed by Furniture Today as among the ten largest makers of mattresses in the nation, employs about 950 people at eight other locations in Texas, North Carolina, Florida, Tennessee, Arizona, Washington, Connecticut and Illinois.
Booth said the company was looking to open another Midwest location to reduce shipping costs for customers when he discovered the structure empty for about 20-years between LaPorte and Westville.
He was immediately sold on the height, column spacing and layout of the building.
“It’s what we needed,” he said.
Booth said more than $3 million was spent on restoring the once dilapidated but structurally sound facility.
Over $4 million was invested on things like equipment and inventory.
Booth said the location is also ideal for reaching more customers between Chicago and Detroit because of shipping costs being lower from having a plant closer to those markets.
Another reason cited for the expansion was meeting higher demand from an increase in online sales early in the COVID-19 pandemic.
Other incentives came in the form of a 10-year tax abatement from LaPorte County and $2.3 million tax credits based on job creation from the Indiana Economic Development Corp.
LaPorte County Commissioner Sheila Matias said newly created jobs are the most rewarding part about the effort involved in bringing the property back to life.
Matias also said what’s special is a once crumbling structure with trees growing on the inside put back to good use.
“It was a long journey. I can’t be happier. I can’t be prouder,” she said.