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ONE TO WATCH: Whitley County manufacturer lauded as one of state’s top companies

July 24, 2012

Post & Mail photo / Brianne Eichman: Deb Randall, an employee with Sailrite, sews a furling sleeve for a sailboat at the company’s Columbia City factory.

COLUMBIA CITY — Columbia City’s Sailrite is one of 25 companies from 13 Indiana counties to earn a place in Indiana’s fifth annual field of “Companies to Watch.”
The company, started in 1969, is owned by Matt and Hallie Grant, who recently moved it less than a year ago to its current location at a 71,000 square foot building visible from U.S. 30 East.
“It’s a great honor, and a testament to our company,” said Hallie. “A lot of our growth is because of the good employees that we have.”
According to a press release from the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, the awards program is an initiative developed by the Cassopolis, Mich.-based Edward Lowe Foundation, with major sponsorship from Barnes and Thornburg, LLP, and the accolade, presented by the Indiana Economic Development Corporation, its Small Business Development Center network and the Edward Lowe Foundation, recognizes the state’s privately held businesses that employ six to 150 full-time employees and have between $750,000 to $100 million in annual revenue or capital.
Nearly 165 companies were nominated, and as Sailrite was chosen as a finalist, the company will be awarded at the Indiana Roof Ballroom in Indianapolis Aug. 23.
With slight fluctuation, the company employs 30-35 people, and while Sailrite is known for making sails, Hallie said it is probably the smaller portion of what they do.
“I believe we are the only sail kit makers in the United States,” said Hallie. “We are a marine and canvas store for do-it-yourselfers, and we are starting to cross over into the home market because a lot of the marine fabrics that we use can also be use in the home.”
In a press release Dan Hasler, Secretary of Commerce and chief executive officer of the Indiana Economic Development Corporation said, “Because of our steadfast commitment to creating the best business climate possible, it is no surprise that Indiana has become a hub for innovation and entrepreneurism. We are thrilled to honor this year’s class of ‘Companies to Watch’ as they exemplify the spirit of ingenuity. Indiana is filled with highly skilled, dynamic small businesses like these that are taking risks and working hard every day to create their own homegrown Hoosier success stories.”

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