A comic book distribution company has announced plans to set up shop in New Haven. Lunar Distribution LLC, along with sister companies Discount Comic Book Service and InStockTrades, plan to invest more than $7 million to co-locate in a 150,000-square-foot facility in the Cedar Oak Industrial Park and create up to 130 jobs by the end of 2024.
Greater Fort Wayne Inc. says Lunar Distribution will lease the entire facility and occupy about 100,000 square feet. The company will sublease the remaining space to DCBS and InStockTrades.
In an email to Inside INdiana Business, co-owner Christina Merkler says the investment includes the lease and maintenance of the building, as well as additional technology, and job training. The investment will be made over the next five years.
Merkler says the new location will allow for optimal efficiency for the companies, and support continued growth.
“Over the last 22 years, we have found that the Ft. Wayne area is a great place for business to grow,” Merkler said. “In the Midwest, Indiana has become an apex for the distribution industry. Our central location between Indianapolis, Chicago, and Columbus makes the Fort Wayne/New Haven area a valuable asset for our logistical needs. The location is conveniently located close to the 469 bypass and FedEx shipping facilities, which will also be beneficial to our employees and customers. The low cost of living, numerous growth opportunities, and less saturated market showed us the potential in staying in Indiana.”
The company was founded by the Merkler family in April 2020 when another distributor closed its doors during the pandemic. Since that time, the Lunar has become a distributor for major comic book publishers, including Marvel and DC. The Merklers founded DCBS in 1999 and InStockTrades in 2004.
GFW says the companies combined employ nearly 100 workers in Indiana. Lunar Distribution plans to hire up to 90 new workers with DCBS and InStockTrades planning to add up to 40 jobs. The companies are looking to fill a variety of positions, including customer service representatives, order pickers and packers, forklift drivers, and tax specialists.
Merkler says the company will begin moving into the facility next week and expect to be fully operational by mid-June.
“This is a big win for our community,” New Haven Mayor Steve McMichael said in a news release. “The shell building that will house these companies is just being completed, and it’s already being filled by these growing businesses. That’s a strong testament to the business-friendly conditions we’ve created here in New Haven.”
The Indiana Economic Development Corp. has offered Lunar Distribution and DCBS a total of up to $950,000 in conditional tax credits, which the companies will not be eligible to claim until Hoosier workers are hired for the new jobs. Northeast Indiana Works plans to provide additional hiring and training assistance.