Sporting-goods firm establishing HQ, manufacturing in Plainfield, plans to hire 300

A company recently formed to consolidate several prominent athletic gear brands plans to move its manufacturing and distribution operations to a new headquarters in Plainfield, where it expects to create up to 300 jobs by early next year.

New York City-based Certor Sports LLC intends to invest $18.9 million to establish its headquarters and manufacturing and distribution operations in 208,000 square feet of leased space at 9400 Bradford Road.

State economic development officials have pledged up to $5 million in incentives for the firm, including $3 million in conditional tax credits based on the company’s hiring plans, according to a contract posted online by the Indiana Economic Development Corp.

Certor announced its formation in December and its acquisition of equipment brands Schutt, Tucci Bats, Hollywood Bases and Adams USA. All were owned by Litchfield, Illinois-based Kranos Corp.

Certor was created by Innovatus Capital Partners LLC, a New York City-based investment adviser and portfolio management firm to “consolidate sporting goods brands faced with significant headwinds due to COVID-19 and the corresponding disruption in youth, collegiate, and professional sports,” according to a media release on Dec. 23.

Earlier in 2020, Certor bought the assets of high-tech football helmet startup VICIS, which is based in Seattle. All brands in the Certor portfolio were expected to continue under the new ownership with the same insurance and product design warranties, the release said.

Jeff Holland, a director at Innovatus, told IBJ on Friday that Certor hopes to create 300 jobs at the facility by early next year. It plans to transition existing operations from three facilities in southern Illinois and one in the Seattle area over the fourth quarter of this year and the first quarter of 2022.

The supply-chain crisis that has gripped the nation during the pandemic could affect that timeline somewhat, he said.

Employees in southern Illinois have been invited to make the move to Plainfield and have been offered relocation packages, Holland said.

Certor decided to consolidate the operations in Plainfield to become more efficient, reduce the redundant costs of running multiple facilities, and to take advantage of the much larger labor market in central Indiana as compared to southern Illinois, Holland said.

In addition to the $3 million in conditional tax credits for job creation, the IEDC also has agreed to provide Certor with $1 million in Headquarters Relocation Tax Credits and $1 million in workforce training grants.

The industrial building at 9400 Bradford Road was constructed in 2020 with a total of about 340,000 square feet. About 20,000 square feet of Certor’s 208,000 square feet of space will be reserved for executive offices and front-office functions, Holland said. More than 100,000 square feet remains available to rent in the building.

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