Jayco Corp. announced today (Feb. 24) that it has entered into a Letter of Intent (LOI) to acquire Shipshewana, Ind.-based Open Range RV Co.
According to a press release, the letter of intent “contemplates a transaction between the two companies and is subject to the execution of a definitive agreement between the two parties.”
Open Range RV will operate as a wholly owned and separate subsidiary while Randy Graber will remain as president. “The two companies are a natural match,” said Graber. “Culturally speaking, both Jayco and Open Range enjoy strong relationships with their dealer body, recognizing the importance of maintaining a partnership style association.”
With growth in excess of 20% annually, the management of Open Range recognized in order to maintain and further increase that type of growth, it was necessary to partner with a larger organization. “I am extremely excited to be able to take Open Range to the next level. It’s a dream come true.” said Graber.
Derald Bontrager, president and CEO of Middlebury-based Jayco, noted, “Open Range will be a perfect addition to the Jayco family. We are thrilled to partner with someone like Randy Graber who has such vast industry experience and innovative product knowledge.”
Open Range RV Owners Club hosted its first gathering the week of Aug. 5 in Shipshewanee, Ind., drawing around 100 attendees.
“It was nice to see a whole campground full of Open Ranges,” Open Range RV Co. President Randy Graber stated in a press release. “I was able to spend a good part of one day with the club. It was so good to hear and see many of the units and listen to their many ideas and see some of the tweaks they had done to their units.
“It was a great bonding experience for all of us. I look forward to next year and watching this event grow every year. Everyone had a wonderful experience.”
Owners enjoyed several seminars hosted by the towable builder during the event while Open Range service technicians spent time at the campground repairing and updating items for the attendees. There was also a pancake breakfast the Open Range staff grilled lunch on Friday.
Responding to growing demand and mounting sales, towable builder Open Range RV Co. will be expanding its facilities in Shipshewana, Ind., with plans to hire additional workers.
“Open Range RV Company has been a great partner in Shipshewana and LaGrange County, which is why the company has been the recipient of the LaGrange County Economic Development Corp.’s (LCEDC) Business Excellence award three years in a row,” said Keith Gillenwater, president and CEO of the LCEDC, in a press release. “Their rapid growth in such a short period of time is a demonstration of their company’s quality craftsmanship and is a testament to Open Range’s motto: ‘Enjoy the Journey!’ We look forward to continuing to build upon our great relationship with Open Range RV as they expand.”
According to the year-end report from Statistical Surveys Inc., Open Range continues to build market share, ranking No. 5 among fifth-wheel builders for 2012. “It is an honor that our high-quality fifth wheels and travel trailers are being recognized as providing a customer with a great unit with exceptional amenities, and at a price that is affordable,” said Randy Graber, president of Open Range.
Founded in 2007 with just three employees, the company has shown marked sales growth every year, including 2013. “So far, at the end of the first quarter of 2013, comparing this to 2012, we are experiencing a 31.1% increase in retail sales. We are truly humbled that our customers and dealers believe in our products,” Graber said.
Open Range has also been recognized with multiple “Quality Circle Awards” by the RV Dealers Association (RVDA), testament to the builder’s commitment to quality construction, innovative features and floorplans, and reduced weight, according to Gillenwater.
“The demand for Open Range’s recreational vehicles led our relatively new company to continue to grow during the recent recession, and as the economy has recovered, demand for new units has increased tremendously,” said Pam Graber, vice president of operations for Open Range RV.
Towable builder Open Range RV Co., headquartered in Shipshewana, Ind., has named Bill Flint as vice president of sales and marketing.
According to a press release, Flint is a disciplined and energetic entrepreneurial leader with 38 years of total business experience in the manufacturing of plastics and packaging products (injection molding, blow molding , extruded films, EPS foam and tooling), with 26 of those years in senior leadership positions.
For 13 years he served as president of two separate companies: EFP Corp., headquartered in Elkhart with four manufacturing facilities in three states; and Flambeau Corp. headquartered in Baraboo, Wis. with 10 manufacturing facilities and 1,100 employees, including plants in the U.S., Mexico and England.
Flint also worked for Libby Owens Ford Glass (Plastics Division), AEP Industries, W.R. Grace Co. and the J B Poindexter Co., in two different positions.
Flint and his family reside in Goshen.
Two Indiana RV manufacturers and an industry supplier were honored by the LaGrange County Economic Development Corp. (LCEDC) with “Business Excellence” awards at the organization’s annual Investor’s Meeting on March 8. According to a press release, the meeting was held at the Michiana Event Center in Howe, Ind.
CrossRoads RV and supplier S&H Metals, both based in Topeka, along with Open Range RV Co., Shipshewana, were among the companies presented with the LCEDC recognition. Other firms included Mudd-Ox Inc., Nishikawa Standard/NISCO, Spectrum Finishing. The companies were chosen for their contributions to LaGrange County’s economic growth in 2012 as well as for partnering with the LCDEC to assist them in their business development projects.
“We are honored to be able to work with the companies that were recognized today,” said Keith Gillenwater, president and CEO of the LCDEC. “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 six companies have a tremendous economic impact on LaGrange County and are very valued employers,” said Mark Leu, LCDEC 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.”
In addition to honoring the local companies, the LCEDC also recognized outgoing board members Joe Pierce, Jerry Ankney, and Fred Brown. Special Guest John Stafford of the Community Research Institute at Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne presented a talk on how LaGrange County is faring versus other rural Indiana counties. Gillenwater and Leu also gave reports on the state of the local economy, a recap of the organizations 2012 activities and successes and a preview of projects and priorities for 2013.
“We are off and running with our strategic plan in place that gives us to a call to action, and we believe that 2013 promises to be a great year for our economic development efforts in LaGrange County,” Gillenwater said.
To watch an accompanying video by WSBT TV, South Bend, Ind., click here.
A good indicator of the turnaround in the RV industry is the RV Open House being held in Indiana’s Elkhart County this week. According to a report by WSBT, South Bend, RV makers large and small are rolling out the red carpet, showing dealers from across the country the latest models.
One local company was able to weather the economic downturn without laying off workers. Open Range RV Co., is based in Shipshewana and is a true mom-and-pop company started by Randy Graber and his wife back in 2007 with six employees.
The company weathered the recession without laying off any workers and now employs about 300 people. Owners credit their success to finding and developing a niche market.
“The industry had a lot of product out there, and I knew that we couldn’t just get in this market and build something like everybody else,” said Graber. “If we were going to get in, we had to have something different and unique.”
Their business philosophy is to build RVs and constantly tweak and improve them – fifth-wheels at first, travel trailers later.
“We did start with the fifth-wheels with a lot of unique ideas that no one else had, and that sets up apart and gave us a product that hit the ground running and was very successful out there, stood out in the crowd, and we have just been doing that since,” said Graber.
The fact the company is a family owned operation that has developed a successful niche market has not gone unnoticed by dealers across the country, many of whom are glad to be doing business with them.
“Randy’s a very innovative guy,” said Missouri RV dealer Glenn Thomas. “He is always doing, changing floor plans, making new ideas. He doesn’t usually copy what other people do. A lot of people copy what he does.”
“This is our third year coming, and Open Range has grown quite a bit, and we are seeing more sales reps and a lot more representation, and it’s kind of nice to see a company do so well,” said RV dealer Tony Staab of Nebraska.
The Open House for dealers started Monday and runs through Thursday (Sept. 20), mostly centered along County Road 6 and at the RV/MH Hall of Fame on County Road 17.
Open Range RV Co. will be unveiling of its “Anniversary Edition” 10,000th unit during next week’s Elkhart County RV Open House.
The Shipshewana, Ind.-based towable builder will be showing product, including the milestone unit, at its display at Norco Industries on the north side of Northland Drive.
Open Range, founded in 2007, produces travel trailers and fifth-wheels under the brand names Open Range, Mesa Ridge, Journeyer, Residential, Roamer and Light. The company continues to expand, most recently beginning construction on 15,000-square-foot addition to its customer service center located just east of the company’s main Shipshewana campus.
Open Range RV Co. will be expanding operations at its facilities in Shipshewana, Ind., according to a press release from the LaGrange County Economic Development Corp. (LCEDC).
The company plans to add a 15,000-square-foot addition to its customer service center located just east of the company’s main Shipshewana campus. The release stated that these investments “will allow Open Range RV to operate more efficiently and provide a higher level of service to their customers by having more parts and inventory on hand for custom projects as well as warranty work.” The project will also result in the addition of 10-15 new employees with an average wage of $45,000/year.
The Town of Shipshewana has initially approved a 10-year tax abatement request from the company at the request of the LCEDC. “Open Range RV has been a great partner in Shipshewana and LaGrange County, and we’re happy to continue to support their continued growth as one of our largest employers” said Roger Yoder, president of the Shipshewana Town Council.
“Our customer demand continues to necessitate our expansion at our home in Shipshewana” said Randy Graber, president of Open Range . “We are excited that our customers continue to appreciate the high quality units that we produce, and their dedication to our brand makes us continue to work hard and innovate for them.”
Open Range, founded in 2007, produces fifth-wheels and travel trailers under the Open Range, Mesa Ridge, Journeyer, Residential, Roamer and Light brand names. Since its inception, the company has earned several Quality Circle Awards from the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA).
“Open Range RV’s continued growth in our community is a tribute to the quality craftsmanship that Open Range RV exemplifies, and truly is a testament to Open Range’s motto: “Enjoy the Journey!” We look forward to continuing to work with Open Range RV Co. as they build upon their successes in LaGrange County,” said Keith Gillenwater, LCEDC president and CEO.
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.”
Towable builder Open Range RV Co. is moving ahead with plans to add a 21,500-square-foot addition to its main campus located on the north side of Shipshewana, Ind., as well as adding new equipment to the facility, including a new CNC router.
According to a press release from the LaGrange County Economic Development Corp., these investments will allow Open Range to “operate more efficiently and produce an even better quality product for their customers.” The project will also result in the addition of 10-15 new employees with an average wage of around $45,000.
The Town of Shipshewana approved abatement requests from the company and the LaGrange County Economic Development Corp. for 10 years on the real estate improvements and five years for the personal property. According to an earlier report by the Goshen News, estimated costs for the expansion are $580,880 for construction on the addition to its current facilities and $475,000 for manufacturing equipment.
“Open Range RV is a valued employer in the Town of Shipshewana, and we are glad that we can continue to build on our partnership with Open Range as they expand their operations here,” said Roger Yoder, president of the Shipshewana Town Council.
“Open Range has been a great partner in Shipshewana and LaGrange County, and we’re elated that they have continued to grow within LaGrange County” said Keith Gillenwater, executive director of the LaGrange County Economic Development Corporation. “Their continued growth in our community is a tribute to the quality craftsmanship that Open Range RV exemplifies, and truly is a testament to Open Range’s motto: ‘Enjoy the Journey!’ We look forward to continuing to work with Open Range.”
Open Range, founded in Shipshewana in 2007, has quickly grown to become a leading manufacturer of high quality fifth-wheels and travel trailers, and has been recognized multiple times with the “Quality Circle Award” by the Recreation Vehicle Dealers Association (RVDA).
“The continued demand for Open Range’s recreational vehicles has spurred our growth over the past few years” said Randy Graber, president of Open Range . “We are thrilled that our customers continue to appreciate the high quality and wide range of towable RV’s that we produce, and this growth really can be attributed to their dedication to our brand.”