FORT WAYNE, Ind. — An Elkhart-based manufacturer is expanding its operations into Allen County. Vahala Foam, a fabricator of polyurethane cushion foam, today announced plans to invest about $6.8 million and add up to 125 new jobs at its new Fort Wayne location by the end of 2024.
Vahala Foam is a top-end supplier of polyurethane cushion foam for RV, marine, bedding, and office products. Founded in Elkhart in 1991 by Dave and Dan Vahala, the company’s products are used in furniture, mattresses, pillows, carpet padding, protective packaging, automotive seating, and more. Vahala Foam currently employs about 230 people at its two Elkhart facilities.
The company is leasing 132,000 square feet of space at 3405 Meyer Rd. in Fort Wayne. Manufacturing at the facility began in early January, and company leaders will soon begin their next phase of hiring CNC operators, saw operators, drivers, shipping and receiving personnel, maintenance technicians, and general labor as they build their Fort Wayne team. Interested applicants can learn more at Vahala Foam’s website. The company is also hosting an open house for the community on Friday, March 11 from 2-5 p.m.
“We’re proud of the growth we’ve seen in recent years, which we credit to our talented and hard-working team. Together, we have earned a reputation for creating superior products for our clients and look forward to expanding those capabilities in the Fort Wayne area,” Vahala Foam executive vice president Rebecca Stahly said. “We value our teammates and intend to build a culture of giving back to others and to our new community. We look forward to being a part of Fort Wayne, another great Hoosier community.”
Based on the company’s job creation plans, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) committed an investment in Vahala Foam Inc. of up to $1 million in the form of incentive-based tax credits. These tax credits are performance-based, meaning the company is eligible to claim incentives once Hoosiers are hired. Vahala’s location within the Summit City Entrepreneur and Enterprise District (SEED) also qualifies the company for investment-based local tax savings. The SEED offers real estate and personal property tax benefits for commercial investments to enhance manufacturing, innovation, technology, and logistics. Northeast Indiana Works will provide the company with additional hiring and training assistance.
“The City of Fort Wayne looks forward to partnering with Vahala Foam. We’re encouraged by their expansion plans and know that they will be a tremendous asset to our growing business community,” said Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry. “Vahala’s location within the SEED is important to our economic development plan and we anticipate continued investments, growth, and success through public-private partnerships.”
“We’re excited to see Vahala Foam expanding its footprint in northeast Indiana,” said Brock Herr, senior vice president of business development for the IEDC. “Indiana is committed to providing the best business environment to ensure the company’s growth in the Hoosier state for generations to come.”
About Vahala Foam
Vahala Foam is a top-end supplier of polyurethane cushion foam for RV, marine, bedding, and office products. Featuring a team of design experts who are educated and experienced in the latest technology, Vahala Foam has the ability to develop customized products from the uncomplicated to the complex. Learn more at vahalafoam.com.
The Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) is charged with growing the State economy, driving economic development, helping businesses launch, grow and locate in the state. Led by Secretary of Commerce Brad Chambers, @SecChambersIN, and governed by a 15-member board chaired by Governor Eric J. Holcomb, @GovHolcomb, the IEDC manages many initiatives, including performance-based tax credits, workforce training grants, innovation and entrepreneurship resources, public infrastructure assistance, and talent attraction and retention efforts. For more information about the IEDC, visit iedc.in.gov.
About Greater Fort Wayne Inc.
Greater Fort Wayne (GFW) Inc. serves Fort Wayne and Allen County, Ind., as its metro chamber alliance and primary point of contact for economic growth. GFW Inc. focuses on prosperity and community vibrancy through economic development, advocacy, programs, and resources that support business success, leadership development, graduate retention and community engagement. GFW Inc. worked with state and local partners to assist Vahala Foam with their plans. In 2021, GFW Inc. assisted 27 businesses in expansions or relocations in Allen County, resulting in more than 2,600 projected new jobs, more than $105 million in new annual payroll, and more than $498 million in new private investment.