Fueled by increased product demand, Fender Musical Instruments Corp. is expanding its operations in Corona with a new facility that will add another 100,000 square feet of space.
The storied company is retrofitting an existing building at 345 Cessna Circle, which it is leasing. Fender plans to hire hundreds of additional workers for the new operation. It will complement the company’s adjacent 200,000-square-foot facility at 311 Cessna Circle, which has nearly 1,000 employees.
Openings are available for a variety of jobs, ranging from engineers and supervisors to hourly employees, including mill/machinists and others who handle sanding, painting, buffing and final assembly.
Ed Magee, Fender’s executive vice president of operations, said the additional space is sorely needed.
“The pandemic catalyzed incredible interest in learning guitar all around the world,” Magee said via email. “With that spike in interest comes growing demand for instruments to play.”
When COVID-19 lockdowns began, the company offered a free, three-month subscription to Fender Play, a learning app for guitar, bass and ukulele. Since then, an estimated 1 million users have accessed the app, Magee said.
The new facility is expected to be up and running by October. It will support Fender’s Custom Shop and “Made in the USA” production lines across the Fender, Gretsch, Jackson, Charvel and EVH brands.
A community college partnership
Fender’s Corona-based factory also has forged a Master Builder Apprentices partnership with Norco Community College that allows the company to recruit, train and hire new employees.
Marco Garcia, a Centennial High School graduate, joined Fender’s executive team as director of operations. Fender’s expansion is part of the company’s mission to create a “Fender Campus” in Corona, grow its manufacturing footprint and continue investing in the community.
“We have established strong connections to this community, and it certainly influences who we are and how we operate,” Magee said. “We are committed to Corona, our growth, and are very excited about the future.”
Jessica Gonzales, the city’s economic development director, said Corona is eager to provide the resources needed for local businesses to thrive.
“Fender’s expansion and growth illustrate that Corona truly is at the core of economic prosperity,” she said. “Fender’s balance of craftsmanship, commitment to workforce development and innovation highlight the quality of manufacturers that Corona attracts.”
Used by top players
The name Fender is synonymous with some of the best musicians in rock, country and blues. Over the years, top players like Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, Keith Urban and Brad Paisley have wielded Fender Stratocasters and Telecasters as their primary axes, and the company’s amplifiers, effects pedals and accessories are seen on stages throughout the world.
Fender also maintains a custom shop, known as the “Dream Factory.” It has grown to become a preeminent maker of highly collectible, custom instruments used by both working professionals and guitar enthusiasts.
As a founding member of the Fender Custom Shop, Redlands resident Alan Hamel designed the sonically expanded Twisted Tele neck pickup and also worked on the Western Boots Telecaster models and Vintage Hot Rod Stratocaster guitars.