Adventurer Manufacturing Ltd. is in the final stages of completing its relocation from Abbotsford, British Columbia to Yakima, Wash.
As reported by the Yakima Herald-Republic, the truck camper builder has purchased two buildings totaling 70,000 square feet not far from the former site of the now-defunct Western RV Inc. Western RV, a high-end motorhome manufacturer, laid off 220 workers after shutting down its Union Gap plant for good in April. Chinook RV/Trail Wagons, another RV manufacturer, closed its doors in 2006.
Adventurer is looking to hire some of those experienced laborers and aims to have 80 employees by the holidays, said operations manager Jeff Gaskell. “It depends on the learning curve of our new hires,” he said.
Gaskell himself is a product of the Yakima Valley RV industry. He spent eight years at Chinook RV, serving as its director of manufacturing before the company closed its doors.
“It is a big challenge to start the plant from scratch, but we’re getting there,” Gaskell said.
Indeed, relocating the company proved to be quite a challenge for New Vision, the county’s private non-profit economic development arm. The organization helped the company fill out the necessary paperwork to incorporate as an American company and find tax credits and training programs the company may qualify for.
“We had to learn a lot, and we had to learn to search for some of the information to respond to their needs and questions,” said Dave McFadden, New Vision president.
Adventurer’s camper products range in price from about $12,500 to as much as $31,000 for its top-of-the-line model. It also manufactures smaller motorhomes, travel trailers and fifth-wheel trailers under the Adventurer, Slumber Queen and Diplomat brand names.
Adventurer CEO and founder James Epp will remain in Canada to run other companies, which include Fraserway RV, a dealership with several locations throughout Canada, Gaskell said.
Fraserway will continue to sell Adventurer products throughout Canada. They will also be sold in the U.S. through a separate dealer network.