Sailrite to take over Kilgore bldg.

COLUMBIA CITY — A maritime materials company that has strong ties to Whitley County is returning home.Sailrite Enterprises, Inc. announced Tuesday it would be moving its operations to the former Kilgore, Mfg. building in Gateway Industrial Park.The company, formerly located in Columbia City, relocated near Merriam, but outgrew that facility, according to Matt Grant, company vice president.“Kilgore is a big building for us, but we’re going to fill it,” Grant said.Company president Hallie Grant is spearheading the move, motivated by a personal tie to the area.“My heart’s in Whitley County,” she said.“Well, we’re happy to have you back in Whitley County,” said Council President Kim Wheeler.Matt Grant estimated it would take about $300,000 to $400,000 to bring the Kilgore building up to standards required by Sailrite, a marine mail-order catalog company.“We’re hoping to close on this (building purchase) by the end of the month,” he said.The Grants added they hoped to be completely moved in and operational before the end of the year “and I suspect we’ll be in way before that,” Matt Grant said.The council approved a $25,000 CEDIT (County Economic Development Income Tax)-based incentive to help the company with the transition.In a press statement issued through the Whitley County Economic Development Corporation, Matt Grant said “we are very pleased to be returning to Whitley County at this point in our company’s history.”