Elkhart Open House Week Continuing to Evolve
Just as the recreational vehicle industry is growing and changing, Elkhart County RV Open House Week in northern Indiana continues to grow and change.
As reported by The Elkhart Truth, this year it’s not only bigger in terms of the core of the industry — more manufacturers, more display space, more units, more dealers, more entertainment, and yes, more blimp-type balloons along County Road 6 — it’s spilling over.
Suppliers are jumping into the event, with Lippert Components Inc. showing off its wares and talking with dealers, Dometic hosting dealer tours of its huge factory, and even once-removed suppliers like Bright Ideas LEDs watching the trends in the industry.
“We’ve had dealers here on tours every day so far,” said April Klein, Lippert’s vice president of customer support services. “It’s going great. Dealers are very positive. There’s so many customers here, and we’re here to support them. It’s nice to have it in your hometown.”
Bob Tiedge of Lippert said having the show in the front yard of Lippert’s new C.R. 6 headquarters provided great exposure, as the company had a variety of products on display, from a basic RV frame to brakes to hitch parts.
A few miles to the south, Dave Schutz said dealers had been touring Dometic’s facility, seeing how the company makes refrigerators and air conditioning units that go into the RVs built in and around Elkhart County. Dometic also provide stoves, toilets and awnings for the RV industry.
In 2009, the company spent $20 million to move RV refrigerator production from Sweden’s Electrolux headquarters to here because the RV industry is here. “Elkhart offered the best of the market,” and that brought 400 jobs here making hundreds of refrigerators and air conditioners a day, Schutz said. It has a testing facility in LaGrange that it offer to RV builders, and the company has benefitted from double-digit growth in the RV industry the last few years. “We’ve grown with it. Right now Elkhart is the envy of the Dometic world,” Schutz said.
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