RV Maker Plans Big Expansion

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(Image courtesy of Forest River) (Image courtesy of Forest River)

Elkhart-based Forest River Manufacturing LLC is planning to add as many as 425 new jobs in the next two years. As part of a $6.7 million investment, the recreational vehicle manufacturer has acquired four LaGrange County facilities that have been vacant for several years. Forest River says the expansion will help meet backlogged demand for its Cherokee fifth wheel and travel trailer line.

Renovations on one facility could be complete over the next couple of weeks and two others could wrap up by May. The future of the fourth facility could be determined by the end of the year. With the additional space, the Berkshire Hathaway Inc. subsidiary's footprint now covers 100 acres and 12 million square-feet, with locations that include Goshen, Millersburg, Topeka, Middlebury and Wakarusa.

Forest River Public Relations Director Mike Stump says "as a company that manufactures RVs across the nation, we considered many options before we decided to expand production into LaGrange. As home to the RV Capital of the World, Indiana offers the business climate and skilled labor force we need to to quickly increase production of the Cherokee line to meet rising demand. At Forest River, we're proud to be headquartered in the home of RVs and even more excited for our future of growth here in Indiana."

The company currently employs a total of 11,000 in the state. In 2014, Forest River opened a new facility in Bristol and added equipment to three Goshen operations. Initial plans called for 185 new workers, a number the manufacturer has exceeded.

Forest River produces travel trailers, fifth wheels, pop-up tent campers, park model trailers, destination trailers, cargo trailers, commercial vehicles, buses, pontoons, restroom trailers and mobile offices. It touts itself as the the largest shuttle bus manufacturer and second largest RV manufacturer, accounting for 37 percent of sales industry-wide.

The company has been offered up to $2,500,000 in conditional tax credits from the Indiana Economic Development Corp. You can connect to more about the plans by clicking here.

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