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Carriage Founder, Employee Recall Good Times

Editor’s Note: The following are letters to the editor published in the Goshen (Ind.) News offering thoughts on Carriage Inc.’s demise from the company’s founder, Clarence T. Yoder, and his wife Ideana, and Dean Miller, a long-time employee.

This letter is long overdue, but with the closing of Carriage it has prompted us to write.

From 1968 to 1999, Carriage, Inc. was our life. You were like a family to us, and we can never express our appreciation enough. There have been so many talented, loyal employees that have given their all throughout the years. It was your pride in the product, working together, and cooperation that made Carriage tick.

We are very saddened by this turn of events that brings an end to the Carriage era. We wish each of you our very best, and hope you will contribute to another company as you have to Carriage through the years.

Please keep in touch and thanks again.

— C.T. and Ideana Yoder

To all the former Carriage employees I consider it a privilege and a blessing to have been able to work at a place that was built on integrity. In working with you the past 20-plus years, many of you became good friends and you made Carriage a good place of employment, one that produced a quality product.

Through the years quite a number of people left for “greener pastures” and then came back to Carriage largely because of the good atmosphere that was created by you, my fellow workers. The past number of years, especially the last couple of months, has been a struggle and disappointing to many of you. As you move on to new jobs and the future, remember to keep your priorities in order and keep being a positive influence in your world.

Working at Carriage has been a good experience for me personally. Thanks to Clarence and Ideana Yoder for your years of caring for your employees and the community. God bless you all in your future.

— Dean Miller


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#1 Comment By Steve On January 11, 2012 @ 11:31 pm

It’s always sad when dedicated people lose their jobs. However, nothing has been said to the customers that are the reason the company stayed in business so long. There are many of us that recently purchased Carriage and now are out in the cold with no warranty and no place to go for work. I’m sure we will also suffer from lack of parts that are unique to Carriage. It seems that there could have been some communication to the dedicated customers. Buyer beware at it’s best.

#2 Comment By Roger On January 12, 2012 @ 1:20 pm

I find the letters written by the Yoder’s and Mr. Dean a wonderful expression of gratitude. I know the letters were heartfelt Many in the industry have suffered over the past few years.

As for the comment above by STEVE, shame on him for his lack of compassion and his selfishness about just purchasing a Carriage and the lack of parts and service that will be available for him. The letter was from people that didn’t just lose their job!! They lost their jobs, a life at a place they loved and given much of themselves to.They didn’t leave out a Thank You to the customers on purpose. That I am sure of. Steve can find parts for his Carriage if he wants. Almost all of the items in any newer RV is available. There are a lot of reputable dealers that will help an orphaned customer find the parts they need and give them the service they are looking for.

Everyone lost something with the passing of Carriage. Owners of the company, owners of a Carriage, employees at Carriage, investors in Carriage, suppliers to Carriage, Carriage dealers, others of whom I am sure I have missed, and the RV industry as a whole. They will be missed.

#3 Comment By Vern Rice On January 20, 2012 @ 8:17 am

To Mr. and Mrs. Yoder,
Your friendship thru the years was always so very special to Sharon and Me. If you remember some of our conversations I started retail selling your fine, high quality product years ahead of many other dealers at Chappel-Spears in Portland, Oregon. That was the late 70’s. I loved the product so much that I sold more of them then the Holiday Ramblers we also handled. I even bought a Carriage for myself. Time went on and I moved to Salem, Oregon and went to work for Wagers Trailer Sales, another Holiday Rambler Dealer. Well, it was not long with my influence, we also became a Carriage dealer. We took on the full towable line and at that time you had entered into the Class “C” motor home business. I did a huge amount of floor plan design, probably unknown to you. I then was chosen to be on the advisory board where I spent 5 or 6 years. I won retail salesman of the year 2 different years and came in 2nd once and 3rd once. Then the ultimate, I was asked to come to work for you. Work for the man that I respected more than any other man on earth. That only lasted 1 year and you sold the company and I left.
All total I have completed 47 total years in the RV industry. I have now retired, except I do operate a RV consulting business from home.