The Goshen, Ind., City Council took the first step this week toward approving a tax abatement request for Supreme Corp. that will set the stage for expansion and possibly 350 new jobs in the next two years.

According to a report in the Goshen News, the council voted 7-0 to establish an economic redevelopment area, and appears poised to cast a final approval next month for tax abatement.

Supreme’s expansion plan involves the consolidation of corporate technical facilities and improvements to its manufacturing area. Those improvements involve $4.6 million in real property and $2.7 million in machinery and equipment, according to a report released by staff with Goshen’s Department of Community Development.

Supreme Corp., first established in 1974, manufactures various types of truck bodies for several industries and has other facilities in California, Texas, Pennsylvania and Georgia.

The Goshen News reported that the move by Supreme Corp., a division of Supreme Industries Inc., is the latest in a series of business expansion plans announced in the past six months that were coupled with tax abatement through the Goshen City Council. It’s also more welcome news for a local economy that garnered national attention as one of the hardest-hit areas in the country.

“Our core manufacturing base is alive and well in Elkhart County,” said Dave Ogle, director of business retention and expansion for the Economic Development Corporation of Elkhart County.

“This is a great opportunity for us,” Ogle said.

Supreme is seeking a seven-year tax phase-in that could result in the company saving $688,000 over the entire span. Despite the savings, the company points out that it will still pay an estimated $500,000 in additional property taxes during that time period.

Representatives of Supreme told council members the company is in the midst of planning to renovate and refurbish many of the company’s 13 buildings on its corporate campus along Kercher Road.

“We’re in need of expansion and we see the market is taking a good turn, so we hope to open up some capacity, improve the process and take on some more business,” said Michael Oium, vice president of operations for Supreme.

Some of the new jobs are expected to include technical and engineering positions. Additional hirings are expected to take place through 2014 and the company says the average wage of the new employees will be $35,622.