Country Coach Revival Boosts Town’s Spirit
Back in 2009, RV manufacturer Country Coach closed its doors in Junction City, Ore. But a near-empty business warehouse is showing signs of life.
It’s all part of one man’s push to restore the once-thriving Lane County business.
“It was a relief to hear that there was a possibility that something would get going again,” said Terry Keeler, employee.
Workers are busy with organizing manuals, sorting through old files, and re-pairing those parts of the infrastructure that need tending.
The 10 employees that Country Coach has hired back so far consider themselves the lucky ones.
“There’s a lot of people out of work, the RV industry collapsed around here. People are all looking for that job and I’m sure it’s giving them hope to see something coming back,” said Jim Cooley, service manager.
Country Coach is slowly getting back on its feet. Eventually it will focus on selling parts, servicing RVs and consignment sales.
“The product is good, we have the ability to build it, we have the talent here, we have the facility. Why not do it?” said Ron Lee, president of Country Coach Corp.
Ron Lee, the brother of founder Bob Lee, is responsible for Country Coach’s re-birth. His idea is to start lean, make smart choices and eventually grow.
“It’s going to take years to rebuild this company to what it was. I mean in its peak heyday, you’re talking 1,800 employees,” Lee said.
But it’s the changing image of Country Coach that the community of Junction City says will make a big difference no matter how small operations are at this point.
“This would be just be a bonus for us here in town. It really gets us excited to see new things happening and the town is kind of getting a resurgence going on right now,” said Tom Slagle of Junction City.
Country Coach says when the time comes to start manufacturing RVs again, it wants to take a close look at greener technology, like hybrid diesels.
Owners say improving gas mileage would most likely improve interest and sales.