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An Indiana RV company took the bumpier road to find smooth sailing to success.
Open Range RV in Shipshewana opened just months before the market bottomed out. Now three years later their production and workforce has doubled, reports WNDU-TV, South Bend.
The wife and husband team says the secret to success is marketing their product to women.
From the start of opening his own business, owner Randy Graber had lots of ideas.
“He’s full of ideas,” agreed plant manager Jason Martin.
His ideas included ways to build better RVs than his competitors after working for them for nearly 20 years.
“We are always looking for that innovative new idea,” Graber said.
He also had ideas on how to sell more RVs when he started his own company just before the industry hit rock bottom. “When we started in August of ‘07 there was a lot of product out there,” Graber said. “We know we needed to do something out there and look unique.”
At Open Range in Shipshewana the trailers have a home-away-from-home feel with fireplaces, comfy cushions and unique curtains.
Graber can point out features in the trailers and fifth-wheels that include fireplaces, portable kitchen islands, and Corian countertops. He says one of the biggest selling points is the two-tone cabinets or the silver metallic exterior finish on the RVs.
“That’s a trend we set. It’s our marquee,” he explained. “And we’ve seen a lot of our competitors copying us.”
It all appeals more to women, a key selling point.
“I think when the woman walks in and falls in love with it, the man works from there,” agreed Human Resources Manager Tammy Holland.
At Open Range the road to success is ‘wide open’ because in the past year sales have gone up by 85%.
Martin said production doubled in the past year, “We went from six units a day to 12 units a day.”
Soon they’ll debut their sixth model Graber is calling “revolutionary” but won’t say much more. “It’s going to look like a million bucks for very few dollars,” he joked.
Except we know it will be full of new ideas.
Wife Pam Graber handles the RV designs.
Open Range started with just 50 employees in 2007. They now have 250 people working for them in Shipshewana.
The company plans to unveil their latest model at the National RV Trade Show in Louisville in November.