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GOSHEN, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Goshen-based Viewrail is looking to add to its portfolio. The modern stairs and railing manufacturer has inked an agreement to acquire Simmons Stairways Inc. in California, though financial terms of the deal were not immediately disclosed.

Simmons Stairways, which has been in business for more than 30 years, specializes in custom curved hardwood stairs and handrails.

“We are thrilled to have a physical presence in one of our largest markets with other well-trained and well-known experts working alongside us,” Viewrail Chief Executive Officer Len Morris said in written remarks. “It’s a fantastic opportunity to bring Viewrail’s design ability and manufacturing power to the California region.”

Simmons Stairways owner Howard Simmons says joining with Viewrail seemed like a good fit.

“When I first met Len a few years back at the Las Vegas International Builders Show, I knew that what he was doing would revolutionize the building industry,” said Simmons. “I am glad to be a part of that change before my working years come to an end.”

Viewrail says its director of California business development, Trent Jacobs, will run Simmons Stairways until the end of the year, at which point all new business will transfer to Viewrail.

The company did not specify if any jobs would be affected by the deal. Viewrail did not immediately respond to a request for more information from Inside INdiana Business.

In February, Viewrail detailed plans to implement an inflation protection plan for employees. Through the plan, the company would review inflation rates each quarter and increase wages to match inflation.

The move came less than a year after Viewrail announced it would increase pay to $25 per hour for hourly employees and at least $55,000 annually for salaried employees.

GOSHEN, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Goshen Health is joining a growing list of health systems in Indiana that are increasing their minimum wage. The healthcare provider says it is raising its minimum wage to $16 per hour.

Randy Christophel, president and chief executive officer of Goshen Health, says the pay increase helps demonstrate the health system’s appreciation for its employees’ contributions.

“Given the increases in living costs, as well as increased competition among employers, we wanted to give applicants another reason to consider joining us at Goshen Health,” Christophel said in written remarks. “In addition, our colleagues who are impacted by this pay increase are essential to enabling us to deliver high-quality, safe healthcare services to our patients.”

Goshen Health is currently hiring for a variety of jobs, including administrative, nursing, and support services positions.

Last year, Community Health Network in Indianapolis, Mishawaka-based Franciscan Alliance, and Columbus Regional Health each announced they were increasing their minimum wage to $15 per hour.

GOSHEN, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — A Goshen-based manufacturer of modern stairs and railing has detailed plans for an inflation protection plan for employees. Viewrail says it will review inflation rates each quarter and increase wages to match inflation.

The company says with the prediction of high inflation rates for 2022, it wants to ensure that cost-of-living wage increases reflect the shift.

“This is another outpouring of our belief that each person and their families are eternal beings, and we are committed to treating them that way,” Troy Burns, chief leadership and learning officer for Viewrail, said in a news release. “We want to provide opportunities for growth.”

Viewrail says the program will not replace or eliminate normal opportunities for wage growth based on individual performance.

The company says if a particular quarter sees negative inflation, there will not be any wage reductions. However, wages may be reduced if the negative inflation continues in the following quarter.

However, Burns calls that scenario “extremely unlikely” and a “very last resort” if negative inflation had drastic effects on the company’s business performance as a whole.

“Our main objective through this initiative is to be very intentional with our employees regarding wages and their earning potential,” Burns tells Inside INdiana Business. “We do NOT want an issue such as inflation to have our employees feel as if they are losing ground in their wages, but that through hard work and perseverance, our organization will take care of them and treat them as the eternal beings we believe they are.”

Viewrail says the rate of inflation used to determine any wage increases will be based on data provided by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

The plan comes less than a year after Viewrail detailed plans to boost pay to $25 per hour for hourly employees and at least $55,000 annually for salaried employees.

GOSHEN, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Chicago-based Evergreen Real Estate Group will Thursday break ground on a $30 million assisted living development in Goshen. The developer says the four-story, 120-unit Green Oaks of Goshen community will target low-income seniors.

Green Oaks of Goshen will include 49 studio and 71 one-bedroom apartments. The units will be reserved for seniors age 62 or older with incomes at or below 80% of the Area Median Income.

Evergreen says the community will be licensed and regulated as a residential care facility by the Indiana State Department of Health and approved as an assisted living Medicaid-waiver provider by the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration. Illinois-based Gardant Management Solutions will operate the community when it opens.

“Green Oaks of Goshen aligns with the city’s goal of creating modern, affordable housing for area seniors, as well as our own mission of creating vibrant residential communities for every income level and stage of life,” Evergreen Chief Executive Officer Steve Rappin said in a news release. “Our partnership with Gardant Management Solutions will ensure residents receive personalized care from a reputable provider, making it possible for them to safely age in place while staying close to where many of them currently live.”

Evergreen did not specify how many jobs will be created, though the community will include certified staff providing 24-hour care and assistance for residents.

GOSHEN, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Shiloh Industries Inc. in Ohio has acquired two automotive facilities from Germany-based Benteler International, including one in Goshen. Financial details are not being disclosed, but Shiloh says the facilities will help in its effort to streamline operations to focus on lightweighting for the auto industry.

The Goshen facility, along with the other facility in Michigan, provide hot forming and welding services for Shiloh. John Stewart, founder and managing partner of Shiloh parent MiddleGround Capital tells Inside INdiana Business the company does not expect the acquisition to have a negative effect on jobs.

“We acquired the Benteler facilities because we believe the employees at the company and the investments made in the facilities are jobs worth preserving,” said Stewart. “All employees are now employees of Shiloh and we anticipate brining more business into the two facilities due to future programs with a variety of automotive OEMs.”

Lightweighting in the auto industry involves the use of lighter metal alloys to reduce the weight of vehicles while maintaining or improving performance.

Stewart says the work performed at the facilities adds to an “offering of talent and assets” in the lightweighting process that OEMs are looking for when trying to meet fuel emission standards and improve efficiency of electric vehicles.

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — A new report from the Wall Street Journal and shows two Indiana communities are among the top 20 emerging housing markets out of 300 communities. The publication says the addition of real estate tax data to the Emerging Housing Markets Index is part of the reason.

Fort Wayne comes in at No. 3 across the U.S, an improvement of 31 spots and Elkhart-Goshen now ranks No. 13, up 37 positions from the previous quarterly report.

Editors say the new report reflects the addition of tax bills, based on feedback from readers.

“We were looking for real-estate tax friendly markets. Areas with higher effective real estate taxes were ranked lower while areas with lower effective real estate taxes are ranked higher,” explained the WSJ.

The index identifies markets that will be good areas in which to purchase a home for homeowners and investors. It uses housing market data, real estate taxes, economic vitality, and quality of life metrics to develop the index.

The Journal says while the emerging housing markets have lower home prices, they also tend to have lower average wages.

While two Hoosier communities climbed in ranking, one Indiana community dropped. Lafayette-West Lafayette declined 15 positions from No. 6 in the first quarter index. No reason was given for the drop.

Click here to view the full report.

GOSHEN, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) – A manufacturer in Goshen is changing its compensation policy in an effort to not only boost employee morale, but also attract new talent. Viewrail/StairSupplies says, beginning June 7, all hourly employees will earn at least $25 per hour and salaried staff will earn at least $55,000 annually.

Founder Len Morris says the pay increase is just a start for the company, which manufactures floating stair systems and traditional stair components. 

“We expect to continue to grow and our associates income can grow with us,” Morris said in a news release. “We manufacture premium products, and we want the best possible team members in every position in the company. It’s more than simply paying a competitive wage in a competitive environment. We believe this is the right step to take for all our stakeholders, including our current employees, new hires, our company itself, and our customers.”

Viewrail/StairSupplies employs 320 people across nine facilities in Goshen. The company says it is looking to hire up to 70 more workers by the end of the year.

In addition to the change in compensation, Morris says the company is heavily investing in additional training for employees. He says by the fall, every employee will have spent at least a half-day in the company’s new training center to get hands-on experience with every aspect of the products it makes.

“We want to put world-class tools in our employees hands to improve productivity, so that we provide more value to them and in turn, can provide more value to our customers,” he said. “When people understand how crucial their role is, they are able to gain more enrichment in their professional lives.”

GOSHEN, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Goshen Health will Friday mark a milestone in the construction of its new four-story patient tower. Officials will hold a private “topping out” ceremony where the final steel beam will be placed on the building, which is slated to open in the fall of 2022.

The health system broke ground on the patient tower in November 2019. When complete, the facility will include large patient rooms with space for visitors and medical technology.

Goshen Health Chief Executive Officer Randy Christophel will join other health system executives for the “topping out” ceremony, which is scheduled for 11 a.m.

The ceremony comes just days after the Goshen Physicians Family Medicine broke ground on a new facility in Elkhart.

GOSHEN, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) – Goshen College has announced that SAT or ACT test results will be optional for students who apply for admission during the 2021-2022 academic year. The college says the decision is due to the challenges faced by students taking the tests during the spring, summer and fall of this year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Dominique Burgunder-Johnson, vice president of marketing and enrollment at Goshen College, says the decision aims to make the college’s admissions requirements accessible and equitable for those wishing to enroll for the fall of 2021.

“Giving applicants the option of whether or not to have their SAT or ACT scores considered in their admission decision will still give students who have scores the opportunity to submit them, but will not create additional barriers to applying for students who do not have test scores readily available. Making the submission of test scores optional also allows for students who may have test scores, but do not feel that their results accurately represent their academic abilities, to not have those scores considered in their final admissions decision,” said Burgunder-Johnson.

Goshen College says applicants will still be required to complete its online application form and provide official high school transcripts to be considered for admission.

You can find more information by clicking here.

GOSHEN, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Goshen-based Ben’s Soft Pretzels LLC is continuing its growth across the U.S. The company, which has more than 100 locations nationwide, has expanded into its eleventh state with a new location in Arkansas.

Financial details of the expansion were not disclosed. The company says it has partnered with Illinois-based Road Ranger USA to open the new pretzel bakery inside the newly-opened Travel Center in Brinkley, Arkansas.

“People deserve excellent food that’s handcrafted right in front of them, especially when they travel, as is the case with Ben’s Soft Pretzels,” Chief Executive Officer Scott Jones said in a news release. “By partnering with Road Ranger Travel Centers…we get to share our famous pretzels with hungry Road Ranger travelers no matter where their travels may take them.”

Ben’s Soft Pretzels opened in 2008 and has been in expansion mode over the last several years. The company also this month opened a new location at Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari in Spencer County, and also launched DIY pretzel kits in conjunction with Michigan-based Gordon Food Service.