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JASPER, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — A popular pretzel company in Perry County has relocated operations. Our partners at WEHT-TV report Tell City Pretzel has moved its production and retail facility to Jasper, the home of owners Brad and Sandy Smith.

The Smiths, who bought the company after it went out of business in 2009, originally purchased the location in Jasper more than a year ago to use as a storage facility. But Brad Smith says the time was right to relocate everything to the Dubois County city.

“I’m 60 years old, I’m spending anywhere from 15-20 hours on the road a week that I could be giving to the business,” Smith told WEHT. “So, we thought now’s the time to do it.”

Smith says two main factors went into the decision to relocate.

“The pretzel, what’s best for it and the company to make sure that it stays strong and the pretzel stays as popular as it is,” he said. “Number two is the employees. [I wanted to] make sure that they had options. Some of them came with me; some of them retired. Those were the two big issues I had.”

Smith says the new retail location will be set up like a brewery or distillery where you can see the pretzels being made. The company also plans to offer tours of the facility.

He adds residents in Tell City will still be able to buy the popular pretzels and he has no plans to change the name of the brand.

JASPER, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Jasper-based Kimball International Inc. (Nasdaq: KBAL) is reporting a fiscal second quarter net loss of $21.3 million, compared to an $838,000 loss during the same period a year ago. The manufacturer of office, home and hospital furniture says supply chain challenges, especially for its Poppin brand, created inventory problems.

The company says the industry is also facing labor issues that have increased costs and constrained its ability to produce and ship.

Chief Executive Officer Kristie Juster says overall demand for Kimball products were strong in Q2, driving double-digit, year-on-year revenue growth.

“Order rates continued to be robust, driving record backlog levels, which support our expectations for strong second half performance and underpin our confidence in our full year guidance,” said Juster. “We reaffirm our fiscal 2022 guidance for 15-20% revenue growth with adjusted gross margin in the third quarter similar to first half levels, followed by greater expansion in the fourth quarter as we benefit from higher volumes, price increases and ongoing efficiency projects.”

Kimball acquired New York-based Poppin in December 2020. Click here to view the full report.

JASPER (Inside INdiana Business) – Jasper-based German American Bancorp Inc. (Nasdaq: GABC) has completed its acquisition of Citizens Union Bancorp of Shelbyville Inc. in Kentucky. German American Bancorp first announced plans for the $154 million acquisition last year.

The bank says Citizens Union Chief Executive Officer David Bowling and President Darryl Taylor will take on regional roles in senior advisory capacities as regional chairman and vice chairman, respectively.

“This merger with Citizens Union represents the next step in German American’s strategic vision to expand our community-focused, customer-centric business model throughout the Commonwealth of Kentucky,” said German American President D. Neil Dauby. “This combination of German American’s existing operations in the greater Louisville, Kentucky market area with that of Citizens Union’s strong community banking franchise will result in tripling our market share to approximately 2.5% for an overall top-10 market share position.”

The bank says the acquisition will enhance its presence in the Louisville metropolitan area.

“This partnership with German American will enable us to deepen and broaden the financial services we provide in each of our markets, materially increase our lending limits and will provide great opportunity for both our customers and employees,” said Bowling. “Citizens Union is well aligned with German American both culturally and strategically, and through this partnership, German American is gaining a significant presence in the greater Louisville, Kentucky market area.”

According to Dauby, the acquisition increases German American’s deposit market share rank to No. 4 of banks with less than $20 billion in assets.

JASPER (Inside INdiana Business) – Jasper-based Kimball International Inc. (Nasdaq: KBAL) is investing in its Salem manufacturing facility. The company says the undisclosed investment will bring automated metal manufacturing technology to the facility.

The equipment, which is made by Salvagnini in Ohio, processes sheet metal into a variety of products, using punching, cutting, bending, and panel bending technology without intervention from operators. Kimball says it is the most technologically-advanced sheet metal manufacturing equipment available and will be the first of its kind in the United States.

“Kimball International is focused intently on building world-class operations capabilities in our communities,” said
Greg Meunier, executive vice president of global operations. “I’m excited that we will be installing this exceptional
equipment in our Salem facility over the next year. I believe it will propel us forward in our manufacturing
capabilities and give our Salem employees more opportunity and expertise in this area.”

According to Kimball, the equipment will improve sustainability efforts while decreasing waste and improving material utilization.

“We are incredibly proud of our long-standing presence here in Salem,” said Lonnie Nicholson, chief human resources officer for Kimball International. “Building a world-class metal operation like this one is an important investment that will benefit both our people at Kimball International and the Salem community.”

Kimball did not specify whether any jobs would be created as a result of the investment.

JASPER, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Jasper-based Kimball International Inc. (Nasdaq: KBAL) is reporting a fiscal first quarter net loss of $5.1 million, compared to net income of $5.4 million during the same quarter last year. Despite the drop, Chief Executive Officer Kristie Juster says the company is on pace for double-digit revenue growth in the second half of the fiscal year.

Kimball International is a commercial furnishings company that specializes in the workplace, health and hospitality markets. Juster says new product introductions drove revenue growth in both markets, “demonstrating how well Kimball International’s designs address changing dynamics within our key verticals.”

“Robust order growth in the first quarter was broad-based, with strong year-on-year increases across all Workplace and Health verticals, and the highest order level in our Hospitality market in a year,” Juster said. “These trends are consistent with our strategy of capturing growth in the Health market as it ramps post-COVID, pivoting to more customized projects in the Hospitality market, and gaining traction in Workplace by expanding our offerings with products and solutions that provide flexibility and adaptability.”

You can connect to the full earnings report by clicking here.

JASPER, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Jasper-based Kimball Electronics Inc. (Nasdaq: KE) is reporting fiscal first quarter net income of $2.6 million, down from $16.8 million during the same period a year ago. Chief Executive Officer Donald Charron says the company continues to deal with challenges caused by issues in the global supply chain.

Kimball also saw a 12% drop in net sales to $293 million. Charron says component shortages continue to make it challenging for the company to keep pace with strong market demand.

“We were disappointed by the lack of improvement in the overall situation in the September ending quarter, when we were actually expecting some level of recovery,” Charron said. “Conditions deteriorated in the period due to COVID related restrictions in Malaysia, and the worsening of the backlog in U.S. west coast ports. While these supply chain challenges had a more significant impact on absorption than anticipated, we are committed to retaining our experienced and talented workforce around the world as we see these disruptions as a short-term issue.”

Charron says as supply constraints get better, the company will be well positioned to ramp up production.

You can view the full earnings report by clicking here.

JASPER, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Two tech-based companies in southern Indiana are joining forces. Jasper-based Perfleek Inc., which has developed an online real estate marketplace, has merged with Two Ladders Consulting, headquartered in Tell City.

Perfleek’s marketplace allows users to search for real estate listings and vacation rental properties. The company says the merger will allow it to expand advertising and marketing services for real estate agents and vacation rental property managers and owners.

“Marketing is the foundation of every successful agent and broker, and that’s why we are committed to delivering powerful results to every agent,” Andrew Welsh, chief executive officer of Perfleek, said in a news release. “Two Ladders will make Perfleek’s value proposition stronger than ever, enabling agents that engage with Perfleek to be more efficient and accessible to potential buyers.”

The companies say Two Ladders will continue to operate under its own brand name with co-founder and President Neil Young continuing in his leadership role along with this existing team.

JASPER, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Vincennes University has partnered with Carmel-based Telamon Corp. to place 11 collaborative robots at the school’s campus in Jasper. VU says the investment brings advanced technology and training to Dubois County to support the manufacturing employers throughout the area.

The school says the cobots lab, located in the Center for Technology, Innovation, and Manufacturing, will allow students to learn about the latest technology in a variety of fields, including manufacturing, medical, and aviation. It will also help are employers by hosting demonstrations and workshops on cobot technologies and applications.

“Cobots represent the next generation of automation within the manufacturing sector and will become part of the solution to overcoming current productivity and workforce challenge,” said CTIM Director Jacob Berg. “The VUJ Cobot Learning Lab is a resource for all community partners to explore and test collaborative robots.”

Cobots are intended for direct human interaction in a shared space, acting as “an extra set of hands,” said VU. They are smaller, able to be moved, and easier to reprogram to perform different tasks.

VU says the lab is part of an $8 million grant funded by Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment Inc., to bolster the 21st century workforce.

JASPER, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Jasper-based German American Bancorp Inc. (Nasdaq: GABC) has announced plans to acquire Citizens United Bancorp (CUB) of Shelbyville Inc. in Kentucky. The bank says the cash and stock deal is valued at $154 million.

When the deal is complete, CUB and its subsidiary, Citizens Union Bank of Shelbyville, will be integrated with the German American Bank brand. German American Chief Executive Officer Mark Schroeder says the acquisition will enhance the bank’s presence in the Louisville metropolitan area.

“Our combined operations in the broader Louisville market area places us in a top 10 market share position in the largest metropolitan market area in the Commonwealth of Kentucky,” Schroeder said in a news release. “CUB has built a solid community banking franchise in each of the Kentucky markets they serve giving German American an opportunity to provide our extensive offerings of banking, insurance and investment products and services to CUB’s current and prospective clients.”

The acquisition is expected to close in the first quarter of 2022 and still requires approval by regulators and CUB shareholders. German American says the combined bank will have assets of approximately $6.4 billion with 83 branches across Indiana and Kentucky.

JASPER, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Jasper-based Kimball Electronics Inc. (Nasdaq: KE) has launched a new subsidiary. The company says Kimball Medical Solutions will focus on various types of manufacturing needs for the medical industry.

Kimball says the new business unit will provide electronics manufacturing, precision injection molded plastics, contract manufacturing, assembly and packaging services, sterilization and cold chain management, custom automation services and test systems, machine vision and artificial intelligence and design engineering services.

“Our unified approach to providing innovative solutions and specialized services for the medical market from all of our areas of expertise and capabilities will enable our medical customers to increase their speed to market,” Don Charron, chief executive officer of Kimball Electronics, said in a news release. “We want Kimball Medical Solutions to be a single-source for our customers’ medical manufacturing needs.”

The company did not specify whether the new subsidiary would require additional space or if there are plans to add jobs. Inside INdiana Business has reached out to Kimball for more information, but has not yet received a response.