CHURUBUSCO — The owners of C&A Tool will invest $3.5 million in equipment at the Churubusco facility, a sign that the company plans to continue to grow in northeast Indiana.

Last year, C&A Tool was sold to New Hampshire Ball Bearing, which is owned by an off-shore company in Japan. Many have questioned what the future will hold for the Churubusco facility, and the recent announcement has put many at ease.

“This is a good indication that the company believes they can grow and expand the business here, when they could be putting dollars in any of their other facilities on the planet,” said Jon Myers, Whitley County Economic Development Corp. president. “This is a good sign from the new owners.”

With the investment, C&A Tool looks to add 20 employees, and recently has hired 25 additional employees.

The investment is for equipment only, as there is ample space in the current building.

Several of C&A Tool’s buildings still have available space. Rob Marr, company president, said the former DANA facility is about 50 percent full, and the DeKalb County campus is using about 50 percent of its building as well.

With the sale of the company from Dick Conrow to New Hampshire Ball Bearing, C&A Tool is in a position of competing with sister companies for investment dollars. However, so far, Marr said the new owners are happy with the Churubusco operation.

“The new owners are very supportive, not only financially but across the board for us,” Marr said. “They’re bringing new opportunities to us.”

Many corporate visitors from all over the world have been to Churubusco in the past six months.

“They’re very complimentary, not only of the operation, but the community as well,” Marr said.

Myers and Marr were present at the June 20 Churubusco Town Council meeting, seeking a 10-year tax abatement for the investment.

“For 11.5 years I’ve been on council, and we have partnered nearly every year with C&A for expansion projects. They have delivered time and time again, witnessed by their exponential growth,” said Council President Frank Kessler.

The council unanimously approved the abatement.

The next challenge for C&A Tool is finding employees during a time when the unemployment rate in Whitley County is below 3 percent. Though trained employees may be hard to come by, hard workers are plentiful, Marr said.

“You can find good people, especially in our community,” Marr said. “The difficult part is finding people with the right skill level. We do a tremendous job of bringing in good people and getting them up to speed as quickly as we can.”

C&A Tool also partners with Ivy Tech Community College in Fort Wayne, providing free courses to employees.

Marr reported there are about 575 employees among the company’s four facilities.

C&A Tool is a national and international contract manufacturer, serving the transportation market, aeronautical and defense, medical, industrial, food processing, machine tools and more.

The new equipment is for manufacturing research and development and information technology.

“As one of the largest employers in Whitley County, we are pleased to see the continued growth of C&A Tool and the company’s continued confidence in our highly skilled workforce,” Myers said.