Middlebury, Ind.-based towable builder EverGreen Recreational Vehicles LLC today (May 11) announced the appointment of Donald J. Walter to its board.
According to a news release, Walter spent the majority of his career in the RV industry serving in a variety of executive positions. With a background concentrated in senior sales and marketing posts, Walter ultimately became president of Holiday Rambler RV and Starcraft RV Inc.
Inducted into the RV/MH Hall of Fame in 2007, Walter was a long time participant in Recreation Vehicle Industry Association (RVIA) activities culminating with service on the board’s executive committee. An early advocate for an industrywide national advertising and public relations campaign, Walter was appointed co-chairman of the Go RVing Coalition.
“We’re incredibly pleased to have someone with Don’s vast experience in the RV industry join us on our board,” said EverGreen’s founder and Chairman Kelly Rose. “He will be a key addition to our team as we continue to grow our brand and our company in the coming years.”
EverGreen RV is a manufacturer of durable, eco-friendly, lightweight travel trailers and fifth-wheels. Complementing the existing EverGreen brands of Ever-Lite, i-Go, Element, and Ascend is Lifestyle Luxury RV, which concentrates on the high-end fifth-wheel market.
Middlebury, Ind.-based towable builder EverGreen Recreational Vehicles LLC announced that its Ever-Lite travel trailers were rated a “Best Buy” by Consumers Digest. According to a press release, the rating appears in the publication’s June 2012 issue and is online at www.consumersdigest.com.
“It is an incredible honor for us to be recognized as a ‘Best Buy’ by a publication as widely read and respected as Consumers Digest,” said EverGreen CEO Michael Schoeffler. “This recognition by a major consumer publication further validates our mission of making the most lightweight, durable, and green travel trailers and fifth wheels on the market.”
According to Consumers Digest, a “Best Buy” is a product that delivers exceptional value for a given amount of money and merits special attention from consumers based, in general, on its combination of eight criteria: performance, ease of use, features, quality of construction, warranty, efficiency, styling, and maintenance and service requirements.
“Best Buys” in travel trailers, specifically, were selected based on quality of construction, features, use of space, durability and ease of towing. Highlighted in the four-page review of the “Best Buys” for 2012 RVs was EverGreen’s use of durable, longer lasting, lightweight composites combined with vacuum lamination processes that resists water and mold damage.
“Unchecked water damage can destroy a new trailer in a matter of months,” said Jim Jussila of I-5 Uhlmann RV in Chehalis, Wash., who sells EverGreen and was also interviewed for the Consumers Digest article. “An all-composite trailer has the potential to outlast a conventional trailer by decades.”
Middlebury, Ind.-based EverGreen Recreation Vehicles LLC has added a third floorplan to its new ultra-lightweight Ascend travel trailer series – now available in 17-, 19- and 23-foot models.
According to a press release, the new Ascend can be towed by the family sedan or mid-sized SUVs with weights ranging from 2,900 to 3,950 pounds. EverGreen reported it has dedicated a full production line to the Ascend product at its Middlebury facility.
Key features include:
• Ascend’s vacuum laminated aluminum framed composite walls and floor lighten the coach, making the Ascend easier to tow with smaller tow vehicles like mid-sized SUVs or sedans.
• Ascend’s interior composites resist the occurrence of mold, mildew, and rot that degrade other RVs over time while also reducing the occurrence of VOC “off-gassing.
• A single seamless piece of fiberglass runs the entire length of the Ascend to make up its roof, front and back walls, adding structural integrity. The roof’s glossy finish is attractive and aerodynamic for improved fuel economy.
• In conjunction with the composite interior walls and floor, the underside of the Ascend is built with composites to better protect the coach from the elements.
Other differences found on the Ascend include a fresh water tank placed directly over the axle to reduce tongue weight and increase storage, as well as Beauflor padded enhanced flooring, adjustable axle hangers to lower or raise the unit height, and up to a 15,000 BTU roof air conditioning unit.
Ascend comes with a three-year limited structural warranty and one-year of free roadside assistance.
EverGreen Recreational Vehicles LLC announced the appointment of Mark Boessler as president, COO and shareholder of the Middlebury, Ind.-based towable builder.
According to a press release, Boessler will report directly to CEO Michael Schoeffler. Doug Lantz, the former president of EverGreen, will assume full responsibility of all sales and marketing as vice president of sales.
Boessler has 22 years in the industry and has managed every aspect of some of the most successful brands in the RV industry, according to EverGreen.
“We are very excited to have a person with the vast knowledge, experience and caliber of professionalism he brings to our organization,” commented EverGreen’s Chairman Kelly L. Rose.
Middlebury, Ind.-based EverGreen Recreational Vehicles LLC is adding the new Ascend lightweight travel trailer to its existing towable brands, which include Ever-Lite, Ever-Lite Select, Element and i-Go.
According to a press release, the Ascend is EverGreen’s most affordable, lightweight towable targeting the entry-level RV buyer. With six versatile floorplans, the Ascend features vacuum-laminated, aluminum-framed composite walls and floor. Composites lighten the coach, making the Ascend easier to tow even with smaller tow vehicles like mid-sized SUVs or sedans.
The roof is built with a single seamless piece of fiberglass running the entire length of the Ascend, offering an attractive look and added strength. The roof’s glossy finish also is less prone to leaks because it has fewer seams. In conjunction with the composite walls and floor, the fiberglass reinforced exterior skin of the Ascend is designed to be tougher and weigh less than other towable RVs of similar size. In addition, the underside of the Ascend is built with composites to better protect the coach from the elements.
Standard features on the Ascend include a kitchen skylight, aluminum-framed pass-through storage and bed base, dual gas struts under the bed for easier storage access, an inner-spring mattress, large deep tinted windows with safety glass, a 4-point gear driven slide system, 6-gallon gas/electric DSI water heater and a large double-door refrigerator freezer.
The Ascend also is equipped with a fresh water tank placed directly over the axle to reduce tongue weight and increase storage, as well as Beauflor padded enhanced flooring, adjustable axle hangers to lower or raise the unit height, up to a 15,000 BTU roof air conditioning unit, a three-year structural warranty and one-year of roadside assistance.
For more information visit http://www.goevergreenrv.com.
The story of the demise of fifth-wheel RV maker Carriage Inc. has all the makings of a typical news story on a factory being shut down.
As reported by the South Bend Tribune, nearly 200 knowledgeable, hardworking employees were battling to keep their 42-year-old Millersburg, Ind., company afloat during the recession and its aftermath, only to come into work Oct. 17, 2011, and learn Carriage was closing.
It might have ended there.
But the management team of Carriage opted to make a pitch to EverGreen Recreational Vehicles LLC of Middlebury, Ind., maker of light, eco-friendly travel trailers.
“Basically they made a presentation that really fits the mold of what we’re trying to do with EverGreen, with the quality, with the green (segment) and the integrity, and had some good product design activities,” said EverGreen CEO Michael Schoeffler. “And they were in the high-end fifth wheel, and it matched our strategic plan.”
But not perfectly.
Launching a fifth-wheel brand in 2012 was about 12 to 18 months ahead of EverGreen’s schedule. However, the opportunity was too good to pass up.
“As we sat and met with these people,” Schoeffler said, “and looked at what was available in this county, we said, ‘you know, we can’t pass on an opportunity all the time, because it might not be there 12 to 15 months from now.’”
And so in November, EverGreen agreed to launch its own fifth-wheel brand, Lifestyle Luxury RV, with the aid of the former Carriage personnel.
It was the right thing to do, Schoeffler noted, “because these people have a good, long history of building high-end fifth wheels that we wanted to be in.”
In mid-November, EverGreen hired 15 people from the former Carriage Inc.
Another 60 to 85 workers from Carriage are expected to be added later this year as production of the new Lifestyle Luxury RV fifth-wheels begins in March.
More could be hired in the future, too, Schoeffler said.
“This is a product and market that is much different than what we’re in today,” Schoeffler said. “And the consumer is much different. These people have just years and years of experience of high-end luxury fifth wheels, and those customers. That’s what was so attractive.”
For Greg Kitson and his former co-workers from Carriage, getting back in their old business in a nearby location was quite a break.
“We are thrilled it was able to come together so quickly,” said Kitson, director of engineering and product development for Lifestyle Luxury RV. “We are thrilled to be able to come to look towards tomorrow to be able to put great people back to work.
“That’s where the thrill and the passion come from. The other part of the passion is building a great product.”
Officially, Lifestyle Luxury RV is a stand-alone company that is a division of EverGreen, Kitson said.
“What EverGreen did is that they’ve taken their expertise out there and put themselves out there and really tried to separate themselves from the marketplace,” he said. “Lifestyle will do the same thing.
“We’re at different price points and different products with different techniques, but all in all it still comes down to the people involved and how you take care of dealers, customers, suppliers and employees. It’s a great opportunity for all who are involved in this.”
To watch an accompanying video on this story click here.
About 200 people lost their jobs when Carriage Inc. shut down, but there is good news as many of those workers have joined forces to form a new company.
WSBT, South Bend, reported that work is currently under way in Middlebury, Ind., to open a new company known as Lifestyle Luxury RV. It aims to make high-end fifth wheel travel trailers at a vacant factory. The driving force behind the new company is a good number of people who used to work at Carriage in Millersburg, including Greg Kitson who worked at the company for nearly 20 years.
“We have a lot of people on board that have a lot of years of service, a lot of expertise in what they do and great people,” said Kitson. “They are the most loyal people.”
Kitson, along with other former Carriage employees, developed an idea to keep that workforce together and help develop a new company.
“We had a plan and a vision,” he said.
As a group, they approached Evergreen Recreational Vehicles LLC, which has been in business for three years and makes towable RVs. They proposed teaming up with Evergreen to create a new division, to make high-end fifth wheels. Evergreen already had plans to get into luxury fifth-wheels within the next 18 months.
“We were impressed with their cohesiveness,” said Michael Schoeffler, CEO of Evergreen RV. “They had the same values, the same type of business principles that we have as a company, and then they approached us within a week’s time. We put together a plan, hired them, and kicked the program off.”
Lifestyle Luxury RV will be a separate division, operated by mostly former Carriage employees under Evergreen.
For the former Carriage employees and Evergreen, it is a win-win situation. They will have a new product line and a new beginning for some with high hopes for the future.
“Carriage was a great place to work and a great bunch of people,” said Dana Everage, a former Carriage employee. “I am sure we can make this even better.”
They recently purchased 100,000 square foot vacant factory and will spend upwards of $2.5 million on improving the plant.
EverGreen Recreational Vehicles LLC has added two new twin-axle floorplans to its Element travel trailer series, designed for “larger families and more camping comfort,” according to a news release.
The two new, twin axle 26-foot Element models include the ET26 SRK rear kitchen and the ET26 SRL rear lounge floorplans. EverGreen said the sleeping capacity in both new floorplans increases by one adult. Highlights include:
• ET 26 SRK: The floorplan features a rear kitchen configuration with two lounge seating areas facing each other across the living area. The roadside slideout lounge area has a dining table that converts into a full-sized bed that sleeps two. The lounge curbside converts to sleep one adult. The larger bath features a private enclosure shower with seat, commode and sink. A front bedroom with a 60-inch by 8-inch queen-sized bed is surrounded by headboard and wardrobe storage.
• ET 26 SRL: This rear lounge floor plan has a modified U-shaped lounge/dinette that converts to a full-sized bed. An adjacent chaise next to the entertainment center converts to a single bed to sleep one additional adult. The full kitchen slideout on the roadside is mid-coach. Across from the kitchen, a larger bath features a private enclosure shower with seat, commode and sink
• New Twin Axles: The new 26-foot series Element’s twin 3,500 pound axles increase the GVWR of the camper to 7,000 pounds. EverGreen’s Advanced Fulcrum Tracking (AFT) axle system provides balanced stability and true tracking by placing the axle system further to the rear of the coach. The use of lightweight composites and aluminum forward of the axle help reduce the tongue weight.
• Still Lightweight for Easy Towing: The extension from 25 feet, eight inches to 28 feet, two inches, only increases the tongue weight of the new twin axle series Element by less than 100 pounds. Both floorplans have a dry weight of approximately 4,900 pounds, fully equipped, including options.
EverGreen Recreational Vehicles LLC is building its original all-composite Ever-Lite travel trailers in all seven of its popular deep-slide models and two additional floorplans for 2012 – the 27RB and the 29FK – which are showcased at this week’s 49th Annual National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky.
According to a press release, limiting production of the original Ever-Lite brand makes it the only EverGreen product “built for discriminating buyers looking for an all-composite, more durable, longer lasting, sustainable travel trailer.”
EverGreen said that its exclusive ComposiTek construction makes it 20% lighter than competing brands. The all-composite walls, floor and roof are lighter and stronger than wood products while also resisting rot, mold and mildew. The ComposiTek manufacturing process replaces 50 sheets of lauan plywood in each trailer and thus yields a camper with virtually no harmful VOC off-gassing air — especially noticeable to people with allergies or eye sensitivity to formaldehyde.
Other improvements for all 2012 Ever-Lite models include:
• Redesigned upholstered furniture styling.
• New interior valance designs.
• Skylights and sprayer faucets.
• New planked wood Beauflor laminate flooring.
• Campfire kitchenette (three models).
• Wardrobe slideout (three models).
• Entertainment center.
• New Corian countertops.
• New full front two-tone cap.
EverGreen Recreational Vehicles LLC is showing its line of 2012 i-Go Lite travel trailers and fifth-wheels during the Nov. 29-Dec. 1 49th Annual National RV Trade Show in Louisville, Ky.
According to a press release, the i-Go Lite targets “economy-conscious camping families the opportunity to own a lightweight, quality-built EverGreen at a very affordable price.” The 2012 i-Go Lite is available in eight floorplans, including six travel trailers less than 30 feet in length and weighing from 4,600 to just over 5,000 pounds.
Evergreen said that the i-Go Lite is crafted with the same aluminum-framed, vacuum-laminated processes and 100-point quality control systems as all EverGreen products. By limiting the amount of composite materials to a lightweight composite inner shell, and producing a narrower, 7 foot six inch trailer, EverGreen was able to dramatically reduce the price on the new i-Go Lite series of trailers.
Travel trailer floorplans include:
• The new i-Go Lite floorplans G220RB and G236RBK are both rear bath models with roadside, center deep slides with mid-kitchens and front bedrooms. The over-sized dinette/sleeper in the slide out measures 84″ by 42″ to sleep two adults comfortably and has under-seat storage. Sofa models have storage underneath. In addition, the slightly larger G236RBK features a kitchen table inside and EverGreen’s popular Campfire Kitchenette-a full service outside kitchen with cooktop, refrigerator and food storage curbside.
• The G239BH sleeps six with a queen bed, large dinette that converts to a full sized bed and an additional twin “bunk house” in the rear of the camper.
• The model G249RB features a more open floorplan designed for entertaining with a large sofa bed in the slideout facing a dinette and a galley L-shaped kitchen with expanded counter space and kitchen storage.
• The G256BH features a large dinette and sofa slideout opposite the kitchen. Perfect for families with lots of kids, this floorplan sleeps up to eight with twin bunks tucked into the curbside, aft corner.
• The largest of the i-Go Lite travel trailers, the G269FK, features EverGreen’s popular front, L-shaped kitchen floorplan with loads of storage. A slideout jack knife sofa is opposite a dinette. Access the bedroom through the bath into in the rear of the coach.
EverGreen said that two new i-Go Lite fifth-wheels are designed for towing by half-ton trucks, including:
• The G27RK-5 features a rear kitchen configuration with counter space and overhead storage across the entire rear of the coach. The large combo dinette and sofa slideout is opposite the kitchen. Access to the front bedroom is through a private bath on both fifth wheels.
• The G27RL-5 is a rear lounge floor plan perfect for entertaining with the slide out sofa and easy chairs aft. A dinette is opposite the galley style kitchen curbside.