Towable builder Open Range RV Co. is moving ahead with a planned expansion at its headquarters in Shipshewana, Ind., that would include additional manufacturing space, new equipment and the hiring of 10 to 15 workers.
According to a report in the Goshen News, Open Range has applied for a 10-year phase-in tax abatement with the Shipshewana clerk-treasurer’s office. Estimated costs for the expansion are $580,880 for construction on the addition to its current facilities and $475,000 for manufacturing equipment. The newspaper reported that Open Range filed a request for a little more than $1 million in tax abatements.
In a separate report by KPCnews.com, the LaGrange County Plan Commission has given the go-ahead for the construction.
“This growth will allow the company to improve product flow and production,” Open Range Production Manager Jason Martin told the commission. Open Range President Randy Graber could not be reached for comment.
Open Range, founded in August of 2007 by industry veteran Graber, builds travel trailers and fifth-wheels under the brand names Light, Open Range, Mesa Ridge, Journeyer, Residential, and Roamer along with the Rolling Thunder toy hauler line.
Randy Graber, president of Open Range RV Co., announced today (March 22) the appointment of Mike Crane as national sales manager for the Shipshewana, Ind.-based towables manufacturer.
“Mike brings with him a strong and successful sales background, both in retail and wholesale,” Graber said in a release. “We are certain that his enthusiasm, passion and commitment to Open Range will make him an asset to the Open Range family.”
Crane, who attended Wayne State University in Detroit, Mich., began his sales career at Camper’s Paradise in Detroit, Mich., owned by Pete Sirian, the father of his wife, Carolyn. During 15 years at Camper’s Paradise, Crane rose to become, at different times, the top salesman in the U.S. for Palomino Products and the top regional salesman for KZ RV models. He also spent five years as a sales representative for Shipshewana-based KZ RV and, for the last four years, as a sales representative for Elkhart, Ind.-based Forest River Inc.’s Cedar Creek subsidiary.
Open Range manufactures travel trailers, fifth-wheels and toy haulers and, according to Graber, is on a roll. “The company’s gross sales for the first two months of 2011 are up more than 103% compared to the same period last year,” he said. “And, according to the January 2011 report by Statistical Surveys Inc., we are now the fourth-largest manufacturer of fifth-wheels.”
The LaGrange County Economic Development Corp. (LCEDC) in northern Indiana has honored seven LaGrange County companies, including three RV firms, with the inaugural “Business Excellence” award at the LCEDC’s second annual Investor’s Meeting.
The RV companies honored were Cruiser RV LLC, Open Range RV Co. and Starcraft RV Inc., according to a news release.
The companies were chosen for the award to honor them for their contributions to LaGrange County’s economic growth in 2010, as well as for utilizing the services of the development corporation to help them in their growth.
“We are honored to be able to work with the companies that were recognized today,” said Keith Gillenwater, LCEDC executive director. “All of the companies honored today are industries in 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.”
“The companies that were honored today have a tremendous economic impact on LaGrange County and are very valued employers,” said Joseph Pierce, president of the corporation’s board of directors. “We developed this new 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 development corporation also held its second annual Investor’s Meeting. Gillenwater and Pierce both gave reports on the state of the local economy, a recap of the organizations 2010 activities and successes, and a preview of projects and priorities for 2011.