For the second year, CrossRoads RV will be hosting an open house in honor of all active-duty and retired military personnel. The Operation Appreciation Open House will be held on Armed Forces Day, May 19, at Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort at Barton Lake in Fremont, Ind.
According to a press release, the event is in celebration of the continuing partnership between CrossRoads RV and Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort at Barton Lake in the Operation Appreciation Program. The program was designed to benefit active-duty military personnel with some “rest and relaxation.” For Operation Appreciation, Jellystone donates a seasonal lot while CrossRoads RV supplies a luxurious Hampton destination trailer for military personnel and their families to use, free of charge.
During the open house, which runs from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., all of Jellystone’s amenities will be available, including minigolf, a waterslide and basketball. Additionally, special children’s activities are planned a lunch will be served from 11:30 a.m.–1:30 p.m. CrossRoads RV will also offer tours of the Operation Appreciation Hampton unit.
“At CrossRoads, we see both the Operation Appreciation program and our annual Operation Appreciation Open House as a way of giving back to the military community,” states Don Emahiser, president of Topeka, Ind.-based Thor Industries Inc. subsidiary. “Last year we were able to give more than 25 military families time together as a family. Our goal is to increase that number this year by getting the word out about the program. ”
The Operation Appreciation Open House is free and open to all active-duty and retired military personnel. To attend, please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org. More information on the Operation Appreciation program and its sponsors may be found at the CrossRoads RV website.
CrossRoads RV broke ground this morning on a new 93,000 square-foot manufacturing facility with 5,000 square feet of office space adjacent to the company’s existing 45-acre campus in Topeka, Ind.
According to a press release, the new production facility will house the company’s line of Cruiser towables. Construction is slated for completion in August.
The Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC) offered CrossRoads RV tax credits and training grants based on the company’s job creation plans while the town of Topeka granted a tax phase-in for the project. An additional 250 jobs will be created by this expansion.
“Indiana entered the recession making about half of all RVs. Now, we’re making more than four out of five,” noted Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels said in a statement. “That’s what happens when businesses in a tough economy look hard to see which state has the best economic climate.”
CrossRoads RV, a division of Thor Industries Inc., is one of the nation’s fastest growing recreational vehicle manufacturers. CrossRoads builds a variety of fifth-wheels and travel trailers, including the Cruiser, which has been one of the company’s most popular products since its debut 10 years ago.
According to Don Emahiser, president of CrossRoads RV, “We’re pleased to be able to expand our facilities in Topeka. The new Cruiser facility’s design adds flexibility to how we manufacture and keep up with demand.”
Nuway Construction, a design/build general contractor located in Goshen, Ind., was chosen for the project. “This facility has been specifically designed to meet CrossRoads RV’s lean manufacturing needs,” said Randy Huffman, president of Nuway Construction.
Topeka, Ind.-based towable builder CrossRoads RV has named industry veteran Vern Bontrager as the Western regional sales manager for the company’s Rushmore fifth-wheel line.
According to a press release, Bontrager’s territory will encompass dealers west of the Mississippi River and the Canadian provinces of British Columbia and Alberta.
Bontrager started his career at Jayco Inc. where he was a regional sales manager for the West Coast for 15 years. Most recently, Vern was the western regional sales manager at Newmar Corp. for 10 years.
“Vern’s 25-year Midwest, Southwest, and Pacific Coast focus means that he has a deep understanding of the specific challenges and needs in the western marketplace,” said Brad Whitehead, product manager of the Rushmore line for CrossRoads RV. “Vern brings a wide range of industry achievements and fifth-wheel knowledge that will help grow the Rushmore brand for Crossroads RV. We are very pleased to welcome him to the Rushmore team.”
Bontrager will be located at the CrossRoad’s Topeka corporate offices and traveling as needed for dealer support. CrossRoads RV is a subsidiary of Thor Industries Inc.
Topeka, Ind.-based CrossRoads RV has named Alexandria Trusov as director of marketing, filling a position vacated when Dave Boggs left the company.
According to a press release, Trusov brings over 15 years of management experience. Most recently she worked for at Elkhart Brass Mfg. Co. Inc., managing marketing projects which ranged from interactive online initiatives to communications strategies to new product launches. Additionally, for nearly 10 years Trusov worked for Market Strategies International, a top 20 global market research firm.
Trusov earned a bachelor’s degree from Indiana University and completed all course work for a masters in liberal studies with a concentration in sociology. She has also held leadership positions within the local chapter of the American Marketing Association for the last four years.
“Alexandria brings a different level of experience to the CrossRoads team,” stated Don Emahiser, president of CrossRoads RV. “As our company grows, we are actively seeking ways to make our customer outreach more engaging and increasing our communications. Alexandria’s background of both business to business experience in the manufacturing sector and direct consumer market research offers us that opportunity.”
CrossRoads RV, Topeka, Ind., announced that industry veteran Brad Whitehead has been named as product manager for the towable builder’s Rushmore fifth-wheel line.
According to a press release, his responsibilities will include all aspects of market growth and dealer outreach for the Rushmore line.
Most recently, Whitehead was the president/general manager for Shasta RV, a division of Forest River Inc. He has also held leadership positions with several other RV manufacturers during his 20-year career in the RV industry.
“Rushmore is a relatively young product line and Brad’s depth of industry knowledge and leadership skills will provide a great foundation to build Rushmore,” said Matt Thompson, general manager of CrossRoads RV. “We have confidence that Brad will help our dealers grow the Rushmore line.”
Whitehead will be working out of CrossRoad’s Topeka corporate offices. His contact information is email@example.com or 574-584-4954 (mobile).
Three Indiana RV builders were honored by the LaGrange County Economic Development Corp. (LCED) with Business Excellence awards at the organization’s annual investor’s meeting on March 9. According to a press release, the meeting was held at the Michiana Event Center in Howe.
RV companies recognized included Crossroads RV, Topeka; Cruiser RV LLC, Howe; and Open Range RV Co., Middlebury. Also receiving awards were Trinity Pallet & Logistics and Tri-State Hardwood Company Inc.
The companies were chosen for their contributions to LaGrange County’s economic growth in 2011 as well as for partnering with the LCED to assist them in their business development projects. LaGrange is just east of RV manufacturing hub Elkhart County in Indiana.
“We are honored to be able to work with the companies that were recognized today,” said Keith Gillenwater, LCED president and CEO. “All of the companies honored today are industries in our core areas of focus for LaGrange County’s current and future economic development, and exemplify the quality of companies that we have in LaGrange County.”
“These five companies have a tremendous economic impact on LaGrange County and are very valued employers,” said Mark Leu, LCED chairman. “We developed this award as a way to acknowledge companies who have contributed to our communities continued growth and I cannot think of a more deserving group to recognize.”
Don Emahiser, president of CrossRoads RV, today (March 9) announced a staffing change for the Topeka, Ind.-based towable builder.
Effective immediately, Tom Montague will step in as general manager for the Sunset and Slingshot lines while Matt Thompson will be acting general manager for the Zinger and Hampton brands.
“I believe this change will allow us to be flexible as we consider the next stage in our growth,” said Emahiser in a press release. “Additionally, all of our dealers can accept my personal assurance that they will not experience any changes in the excellent level of service they have come to expect.”
Individual product managers and regional sales managers remain unchanged and “stand ready to help current dealers of all CrossRoads lines.”
Indiana’s LaGrange County Economic Development Corp. (LCEDC) has awarded a $50,000 grant from the LaGrange County Investment Fund to CrossRoads RV.
According to a press release, the towable builder announced last December that it was expanding operations and constructing a new facility at its campus in Topeka. The project is expected to result in the creation of up to 250 new jobs at CrossRoads RV by 2014, and will include approximately $3.9 million in new investment in the community.
“We are thankful for the assistance from the LCEDC and the LaGrange County Investment Fund,” said Don Emahiser, president of CrossRoads RV. “We were nearing capacity with our current facilities, and really needed to find additional manufacturing space. This grant from the Investment Fund really helped us make constructing a new facility that is tailored to our needs a reality.”
“We are always happy to help a local company like CrossRoads RV expand their operations in our community,” said Ken Mishler, chair of the LaGrange County Investment Fund Advisory Board. “This grant helped CrossRoads RV create another large investment into our LaGrange County community and we are thrilled that they have continued to grow locally.”
The CrossRoads RV grant represents the largest job creation project to date. “Making LaGrange County attractive for business investment is the main goal of the LCEDC and the Investment Fund. We are thankful to the LaGrange County Commissioners and Council for giving us the ability to provide an investment incentive such as this to our customers to help them bring growth to our community,” said Mark Leu, chairman for the LCEDC. “Their foresight in helping the LCEDC create this fund continues to pay dividends for our economic development efforts.”
“CrossRoads RV has been a great partner for the Town of Topeka and LaGrange County, and we’re excited that they have continued to grow in our community,” said Keith Gillenwater, president and CEO of the LaGrange County Economic Development Corp. “A local success story like the continued growth of CrossRoads RV as one of our largest employers is truly what the mission of the LCEDC is all about –bettering the lives of all in our community through the opportunities that economic development brings.”
On a snowy Indiana morning that was clouded with the past, the future emerged bright as Syracuse, Ind.-based Redwood RV, a division of Thor Industries Inc., purchased the brand names, trademarks and intellectual property of venerable RV manufacturer Carriage Inc. Tuesday (Feb. 21) during a court-ordered liquidation of Carriage assets.
Carriage, a luxury fifth-wheel manufacturer established in 1969, was ordered into liquidation following protracted discussions between company executives and its lenders, primarily PNC Bank out of Indianapolis. Ultimately, PNC filed suit Oct. 18 to take possession of Carriage, which reportedly owed the bank more than $5 million.
More than 700 bidders had reportedly registered with Ross, Ohio-based Myron Bowling Auctioneers Inc. for the one-day event. Bidding for the Carriage intangible assets was the high point of the event, which also included everything from lots of axles to finished fifth-wheels.
“It’s a historic brand, it’s been around for more than 40 years, and we think there’s a place for historical brands in this industry,” said Don Emahiser, president of both Redwood RV and Topeka, Ind.-based CrossRoads RV. “And we think we’re a company that’s up to the challenge of continuing its legacy.”
Emahiser told RVBUSINESS.com that the Thor division had its eye on the Carriage brand since the former Millersburg, Ind., company had faltered last fall and it became evident that the intellectual property might become available.
“Once the company shut down, we knew the name would be available and, yes, there was an attraction there,” Emahiser noted. “But up until then, no, because Redwood’s been doing amazingly well.
“It’s (Carriage) a brand name we felt we could do something with — and if it became available, who better than us to carry on the tradition?
“But it wasn’t something we planned until Carriage went out of business.”
Emahiser said his own personal link to Carriage — he was president of the builder prior to moving to Thor two years ago and helping to establish Redwood — was an element in the decision to acquire the Carriage brand.
“Not only that,” he added, “but we have a lot of Carriage DNA throughout Redwood and CrossRoads. Likewise, the changes we have going on here have attracted people with Carriage in their background.
“We have, beyond myself, in other executive positions, group leaders, foremen, all the way down to entry-level spots. So we have a good amount of the carriage DNA here. When the brands became available to us it was almost a natural to try to make a play for them.”
According to Emahiser, there is no timetable or firm plans to announce when the Thor division will bring back the Carriage name, which was reportedly purchased for $100,000.
Twenty-six military families enjoyed CrossRoads RV’s hospitality this past summer in “Operation Appreciation”.
According to a press release, CrossRoads RV partnered with Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp Resort at Barton Lake in Fremont, Ind., to offer free lodging for members of the U.S. military and their families in appreciation of their service to the country.
The park donated a seasonal lot while CrossRoads RV supplied a Hampton destination trailer, which the Topeka, Ind.-based company manufactures. The program began May 6 and ran through the camping season.
The military families came from eight states, as far away as Texas, and stayed a total of 127 days. Responses to CrossRoads included:
• One service man wrote, “I want to extend my gratitude to you. . .The hospitality that was granted my family was outstanding. They are under an extensive amount of stress due to my deployment. For them to be able to enjoy some down time and relax was well needed. By the kindness of your company that was made possible. Once again, thank you.”
• Another military family wrote, “My husband and I wanted to send you a special note to thank you for the ‘Operation Appreciation RV’ that we stayed in last week at Yogi Bear Campground. It was a wonderful week for our family to be together. The RV was great and made our camping trip a great experience. Thanks again for all your help and effort in planning this trip.”
• “We are going to surprise our kids with this trip!. . .They are going to be thrilled! We absolutely love to camp and this would have been the first year that we wouldn’t have gone. I can’t tell you how much we appreciate this,” said another family.
• A retired Naval Officer read about CrossRoads’ Operation Appreciation and expressed his gratitude by saying, “These men and women make great sacrifices for our freedom and safety. Your efforts to show appreciation is. . .very special to these service men and women. I’m glad to see. . .the American people show their gratitude and appreciation.”
According to Jellystone Park at Barton Lake President of Operations Julie Corcimiglia, the company launched Operation Appreciation as a way of honoring U.S. service men and women for their sacrifice, bravery and hard work to ensure American freedom and plans to continue the program during next summer’s camping season as well.
“We were thrilled to be part of Operation Appreciation honoring our military men and women for their service to our country. It was very rewarding watching the family’s camp and spend quality time together. They all deserve it so much! We are looking forward to meeting the new families again next year,” stated Corcimiglia.
CrossRoads will be accepting reservations for the 2012 camping season on Feb. 1. For reservation please call 888-226-7496 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.