Keystone RV is planning to build a new 120,000-square foot manufacturing facility in Goshen, Ind., according to plans it has filed with the city’s plan commission, the Elkhart Truth reported.
The new plant would be built at 3425 Corrie Dr., north of C.R. 40 and south of Keystone’s existing complex at 2642 Hackberry Dr. It would initially employ about 100 new hires, said Keystone spokesman Jim Mac.
The Goshen Plan Commission was slated to consider a zoning request for the project at its meeting Today, (Aug. 19).
If approved, the company plans to break ground within 30 days and start production early next year.
“This new plant will increase our manufacturing capacity and will help us better address our dealer and retail customers’ needs,“ Mac said. ”We are pleased to be in a position to continue to grow in Elkhart County and Goshen.“
Keystone is asking the city to annex the roughly 60-acre site, according to the meeting agenda documents.
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Kampgrounds of America Inc. (KOA) has teamed with Keystone RV Co. and The Coleman Co. for “KOA’s 50th Anniversary Giveaway,” according to a press release.
Beginning March 1, campers will be able to register each week for a chance to win one of 50 weeks of free KOA camping anywhere in North America. Once each month, a lucky entrant will also be selected to receive a $500 shopping spree at Coleman.com. And, in October 2012, a camper will be selected to win a $40,000 Vantage travel trailer from Keystone.
Campers can enter their names once each week at www.KOAKompass.com.
“We think this will be a very fun way to celebrate our 50th birthday,” said KOA CEO Jim Rogers. “We partnered with Keystone RV last year to give away a great Keystone Springdale RV, and it proved to be wildly popular with campers. So, being able to offer a brand new Keystone Vantage – which is now in its very first year of production – is a real treat.”
“Our joint promotion with KOA in 2011 was widely successful,” said Matt Zimmerman, president of Goshen, Ind.-based Keystone RV. “This 50th Anniversary KOA celebration is even bigger and better.”
The Vantage trailer is built using curved, laminated fiberglass sidewalls and an arched roof, offering wide-body livability and comfort in a distinctive look. The Vantage interior features contemporary-glazed maple cabinets, two-tone fascia, and an open-air spaciousness.
Rogers said The Coleman Co. – another iconic name in the camping industry – is a natural partner for “KOA’s 50th Anniversary Giveaway.”
“Everyone knows Coleman and the quality that name brings to mind,” he said. “Who hasn’t camped with a Coleman lantern or sleeping bag over the years?”
Upon seeing the news this morning (Sept. 17) of the $200 million acquisition of Heartland Recreational Vehicles LLC by Thor Industries Inc., industry insiders have been speculating as to whether Heartland President and CEO Brian Brady will stick around for the long haul.
You know, they speculate, why should he?
A veteran of Coachmen Industries Inc., Holiday Rambler Corp., Damon Corp. and Heartland, Brady’s been through the business wars – and economic cycles – for years. He’s cashed out well from his latest venture, a company that’s been generating sales of about $400 million a year.
Besides, he’s now being called upon to operate Heartland as a unit of a company with which he and Heartland’s 1,000 employees had intensely competed in the towable RV arena.
But Brian Brady isn’t going anywhere. Nor, for the record, does he mind doing business with a company that until recently was viewed as a formidable rival.
“We have always viewed Keystone as the class of the industry – you know, Thor in general terms and Keystone being the crown jewel in their portfolio,” Brady told RVBUSINESS.com. “We at Heartland have had an immense respect for the Keystone team, and in many respects we admired their significant accomplishments.
“You know, with that said, I think we were able to demonstrate that we could compete effectively with them, and we did. And I would imagine, with the way Thor manages, that we’re going to continue to compete with Keystone. But, you know, for me personally and the other initial investors in Heartland, we’re essentially owners of Thor now. So whether Heartland wins or Dutchmen wins or Keystone wins, we all win.”
As for his own personal career moves, again, Brady says he’s staying put rather than fleeing the day-to-day stress of the business world. “Yes, I am staying for the foreseeable future,” he said. “I have no plans at this point to disengage from Heartland and Thor. And I’ve made that commitment to Ron Fenech and Peter Orthwein.
“To be honest with you,” he added, “I feel really reinvigorated. I’m looking forward to getting this week behind us and going back to work on Monday.”
Fact is, Brady still enjoys the game.
“I do, and I enjoy the game because of the people with whom I work. We’ve really got such terrific people at Heartland. You know, Heartland is no different than any other successful enterprise in any industry. At the end of the day, it comes down to the team – the men and women around whom you build your business.”
Mike Thompson’s RV Super Stores Tuesday (Nov. 3) opened a fourth location in Cathedral City, Calif., about 130 miles east of its flagship dealership in Santa Fe Springs southeast of Los Angeles.
“It’s kind of exciting that for the first time in a year and a half, we are hiring people instead of laying them off,” said Mark Rosenbaum, Mike Thompson’s sales director.
Mike Thompson’s, which also operates stores in Colton and Fountain Valley, Calif., has hired about 25 people to staff the new dealership featuring an outdoor display area on two acres.
“We’ve moved into the Palm Desert area to capture some of the Snow Bird market — the people from the East Coast, Midwest and Northwest who come to the sunny areas during winter months,” Rosenbaum said. “There was inventory sitting on the ground as of Tuesday. Five customers showed up while we were setting up.”
Rosenbaum said Mike Thompson’s will market heavily to RV owners occupying Palm Desert-area RV campgrounds and resorts with which the dealership already has made contact.
The dealership, Rosenbaum said, will establish temporary displays at several local campgrounds. “The local campgrounds have been absolutely the best you could possibly ask for,” Rosenbaum said. “They’re looking forward to a dealer being involved in the market out here.
”We will be visiting the campgrounds with units and we will have get-togethers for the campers. Word-of-mounth is the most important marketing we can do.”
Having recently added Tiffin motorhomes to its inventory, Mike Thompson’s also retails Itasca, Fleetwood Bounder and Bounder Classic, Forest River Georgetown, Damon, CT Coachworks and Four Winds motorhomes and Keystone towable RVs.
The new store’s split will be about 50/50 between motorhomes and towables, although Rosenbaum said that ”trailers will probably grow more.”
Rosenbaum credited Mike Thompson’s 97% customer satisfaction rating — measured by an independent research company — as generating the business to expand during economically challenging times.
”Our customer service index is pretty strong so we have some very strong customer loyalty,” he said.
“We welcome this partnership and feel that the favorable pricing and unique designs of these units will be very enticing for campgrounds, RV parks and resorts as they continue to diversify their business base with rental accommodations,” said Linda Profaizer, ARVC’s president and CEO.
About one-third of the nation’s commercially owned campgrounds, RV parks and RV resorts offer rental units to accommodate families and other travelers who don’t have an RV, but want to enjoy the Great Outdoors – and the numbers are growing, according to the release.