Jan. 23—Garmin Ltd., a GPS technology company based in Switzerland, plans to reconfigure its Yarmouth offices to accommodate an anticipated 50% increase in its workforce there over the next few years.
Garmin purchased Maine-based mapmaker DeLorme in 2016. Workers in Yarmouth design and provide software for Garmin's satellite and data communications devices.
The company is converting the second story of the three-story building on Delorme Drive from storage to offices, meeting rooms, an exercise room and space for other amenities.
Sara Kramlich, the company's site leader in Yarmouth, said Garmin needs to build out because it hopes to add 50 employees to the 100 already on the site. The Yarmouth facility also hosts workers from other Garmin locations, offers an internship program and is working on projects with the Roux Institute in Portland. Garmin will need to use all of the second and third floors to accommodate those people, Kramlich said.
The work to convert the space will run to the end of the year, assuming Garmin receives approval from the town Planning Board, she added. The proposal is expected to be reviewed by the board on Feb. 8 and Kramlich said the only major issue is likely to be the traffic impact, since the footprint of the building isn't changing.
Attempts to contact planning officials were unsuccessful Monday because the Town Hall was closed because of the weather.
Kramlich said the hiring is ongoing and it will probably take into at least 2024 before the 50 new workers are on board.
The building is still owned by Global Village, a firm founded by the DeLorme family. And even while construction is going on, the public can continue to visit the building's lobby to see Eartha, the world's largest rotating globe, Kramlich said.
Eartha measures 41 feet in diameter, weighs 5,600 pounds and made its first spin in 1998 after two years of construction.
The globe is currently accessible to the public from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. This spring, Portland-based Fork Food Lab plans to open a location in the lobby to sell refreshments to workers and visitors, according to Kramlich, and Eartha's hours will then mirror hours t0 be set by the food lab.
Kramlich said it was difficult to schedule public hours for Eartha after the 2016 acquisition, when Garmin closed the DeLorme map store, and then through the pandemic. But the intent is to make sure the public can view the globe as more workers are in the building.
In the U.S., Garmin is headquartered just outside of Kansas City. The company makes navigation and communications devices for fitness and outdoor recreation, as well as for marine, aviation and auto uses. Garmin also continues to publish popular hard-copy navigation guides such as the Maine Atlas & Gazetteer under the DeLorme brand.
The company has about 19,000 employees in 34 countries and reported revenue of nearly $5 billion and a gross profit of $2.89 billion in 2021.